Monday, July 25, 2011

Simon, King of the Witches (1971)

The Evil Spirit Must Choose Evil!

Simon, King of the Witches
Screw Harry Potter, this hippie was the real king of the witches.  At least he's supposed to be, but he comes across as being rather lame; quite powerful but still lame.  What kind of a witch-king always wears an ascot?  Simon, King of the Witches is marketed as a bloody, Satanic orgy-fest but it's really just a character study of a San Francisco vagrant with a knowledge of the occult and real supernatural powers.

As an indication of the success of Simon Sinestrari (Andrew Prine) he lives in a storm drain, which doesn't make much sense to me because he has real powers and could improve his living arrangements quite easily.  He does later, but I'll get to that in a second.

So, Simon wanders the streets of San Francisco when it rains because the trickle of water in his home becomes a torrent and would wash him out to sea.  He is picked up by the police for vagrancy and held at the station where he meets a young hustler (George Paulsin) and they become friends.

After their release, Turk introduces Simon to a wealthy, counterculture Bohemian called Hercules who likes to throw parties where people indulge in activities which aren't part of the "establishment," and then bump uglies.

Simon becomes a sort of entertainer for these well-to-do elites as a psychic and seller of occult trinkets.  He also becomes enamored by the beautiful daughter (Brenda Scott) of the District Attorney and they begin a romance.   His situation improves and with the money he makes from these parties he is able to move out of his storm drain and into a basement apartment where he can perform his rituals without the constant fear of rain.

After a tarot card reading for a skeptical gentleman, Simon is given a fake check as payment and when he discovers this, he calls upon the forces of darkness and curses the guy.  The man is then killed by a falling flowerpot.  This is just the beginning of Simon's use of the dark arts.  I don't want to give away too much, but Simon runs into problems with his girlfriend's father and has enough with "the man" bumming him out and harassing his druggy friends so he uses his powers to declare war on the establishment and bring down the city... by making it rain a lot.

Ultimately, it's a good movie but it falls apart toward the end.  Andrew Prine's performance is what makes this film what it is, and I don't think the film would be nearly as good with another actor at the helm.  He makes an annoying but convincing witch.  There isn't much violence and only two deaths that I recall, but there are more than a few booby sightings.  Overall, Simon, King of the Witches is a unique, entertaining and campy little tale.

Also, if you like ascots you will love this movie.

Violence Rating/Index: 2 out of 5
Booby Rating/Index: 3 out of 5  - Click to see the nude scenes.

Smoke weed everyday.