People may think George A. Romero’s feminist credentials are as scant as Abel Ferrara’s, but the director insists his fourth film, Season of the Witch, is unambiguously in support of women.
Suburban housewife Joan Mitchell (Jan White) is haunted by regular nightmares, diagnosed as subconscious resentment of her apple pie lifestyle. With husband Jack (Bill Thunhurst) away on business, she is left with daughter Nikki (Joedda McClain) and her friend Shirley (Ann Muffly), who introduces her to Marion Hamilton (Virginia Greenwald).
Marion, a self-appointed witchcraft expert, blames organised religion for society’s ills and Joan begins to agree with her views. But her nightmares become real as her daughter is seduced and leaves home in shame. In desperation she seeks a solution in witchcraft, asking Marion to teach her the rites, unaware that the decision will wreck the lives of all around her.
The success of Night of the Living Dead made financing a little easier for Romero’s follow-ups, and his pitch for Joan’s story received enthusiastic backing. Distributor reaction to the finished film was not so positive, leading to substantial cuts and a title change to suggest salacious appeal. “It was a pretty disappointing experience,” admits Romero, who later reassessed Season of the Witch as “the best of the first four films” he made.
Also known as The Hungry Wives.
Jan White as Joan Mitchell
Raymond Laine as Gregg Williamson
Ann Muffly as Shirley Randolph
Joedda McClain as Nikki Mitchell
Bill Thunhurst as Jack Mitchell
Neil Fisher as Dr. Miller
S. William Hinzman as The Intruder
Esther Lapidus as Sylvia
Dan Mallinger as Sergeant Frazer
Daryl Montgomery as Larry
Ken Peters as John Fuller
Shirlee Strasser as Grace
Robert Trow as Detective Mills
Jean Wechsler as Gloria
Charlotte Carter as Mary
Linda Creagan as Patty
Marvin Lieber as Jerry Randolph
Virginia Greenwald as Marion Hamilton
Writer and Director: George A. Romero
Studio: Latent Image
Year of Release: 1972
Duration: 104 minutes