Just in time for the turn of the year, a special “New Year’s Eve 2021” playlist can now be found on the YouTube channel CiNENET Germany. It includes the found-footage horror film “The Presence”, which has already been shown worldwide on Netflix, the horror classic “The House That Dripped Blood” with Christopher Lee and Peter…
The film “The Sorceress” (German title: “Die Mächte des Lichts“) is a rare action and fantasy film from the forge of Roger Corman from the USA. UCM.ONE is releasing the film, on the M-Square Classics label for the first time in the uncut, newly scanned and restored HD version.
The ruthless ruler Traigon (Roberto Ballesteros) makes a pact with the forces of darkness. But the dark forces demand a blood sacrifice from him – his own children. Traigon, obsessed with greed for power, does not hesitate and sends his warriors to take the two twin daughters Mira (Leigh Harris) and Mara (Lynette Harris). But the two succeed in the curse and mature in solitude, in turn becoming two brave warriors. When one day they are tracked down by their father with his hordes, because he still wants to perform the blood sacrifice, the dramatic battle begins: Traigon and the forces of darkness against the two Amazon-like daughters who have the forces of light on their side …
About director Jack Hill
Jack Hill was born in Los Angeles on 28 January 1933 and was active as a director and screenwriter between 1960 and 1980. During this time he was behind the camera only 19 times as a director and wrote 21 screenplays. He began his career at the University of California, where he first played in the orchestra and contributed to the soundtrack of “Doctor Zhivago” (1965) and “The Brothers Karamazov” (1969), among others. He transferred to UCLA Film School, where he and fellow student Francis Ford Coppola were taken under the wing of Dorothy Azner. Hill first worked as a cameraman, sound technician and on the editing of student films until he and Coppola finally worked together on “The Terror” for Roger Corman in 1963. What marked Copolla’s start towards world fame led Hill in a completely different direction. He found his home in horror, fantasy and exploitation films, and even if the big breakthrough always eluded him, “Coffy” (1973) and “Foxy Brown” (1974) were particularly successful at the box office. A small fan community remains loyal to him to this day, including director Quentin Tarantino, who once called him the “Howard Hawks of exploitation films”. Hill’s last film, “The Powers of Light“, was made in Mexico in 1982.
About Jim Wynorski (screenplay)
“Jay Andrews, Arch Stanton, H.R. Blueberry, Henry Noble…”. Trash legend Jim Wynorksi has many names. Born on 14 August 1950, Jim Wynorski flunked out of film school and initially worked in a publishing house. But because he really wanted to get into the film business, he quit the job and moved to Los Angeles. There he worked briefly on the TV series “Breaking Away“, but was fired. By chance he came into contact with director and producer Roger Corman, which led to him writing the screenplay for “Mutant” (also known as “Forbidden World“) in 1982. He made his directorial debut with the 1984 adventure flick “Three Angels on Death Island“, followed only two years later by his second film, “Shopping”, this time in collaboration with Roger Corman‘s wife Julie. Since Roger Corman liked the film, he hired Wynorski to direct “Mystor – The Death Hunter 2“, which was shot in Argentina and the USA in 1987. The way was paved for an indescribable trash career and with flicks like “The Green Thing from the Swamp” (1989), “Transylvania Twist” (1989) and “The Haunting of Morella” Wynorski gave the world further very special milestones in film history.
Collaboration with Fred Olen Ray, an old friend, followed in the 1990s, and together they made a series of B-movies, all with budgets well under $100,000.- “Scream Queen Hot Tub Party” (1991), made in one day, “Bio-Hazard – The Alien Force” (1994), with a budget of $450,000.-, and “Dark Universe” (1993), with a budget of just $40,000.-. Only “The Island of the Giant Dinosaurs” from 1994 fell out of line, as the film had the unfathomable budget of $ 190,000.- In the early 1990s, Jim Wynorski briefly deviated from his path and tried his hand at shallow family comedies and, now and then, erotic thrillers with the Munchie films. In the 2000s, Jim Wynorski devoted himself to three genres in particular: Between 2001 and 2010, he made various creature films, including “Raptor” (2001) in collaboration with Roger Corman and “Project Viper” for the SyFy channel. He also worked diligently in the action genre, shooting and producing almost twenty films between 1998 and 2004 alone. With “The Bare Wench Project“, a parody of “The Blair Witch Project“, he laid the foundation for a new genre in 2000: erotic parodies. The surprising success of the erotic comedy led to several sequels and a number of other parodies of well-known films, such as “The Witches of Breastwick” (2005), “Alabama Jones and the Busty Crusade” (2005) or “The Da Vinci Coed” (2007). To date, Jim Wynorski has dabbled in all genres and can look back on an impressive trash filmography, with over a hundred films directed by him. He has appeared sixty times as a producer and over fifty times as a screenwriter. His latest stroke of genius “CobraGator” was released in 2019.
Anecdotes about the film
The name Jack Hill is missing from the film credits. Instead, the name Brian Stuart is there, a combination of the first names of producer Corman’s two sons. Roger Corman had the finished film recut and director Jack Hill removed from the credits because he was not satisfied with the effects work and Roger Corman also did not want to comply with Jack Hill‘s request to include his friend Sid Haig with a role in the film.
Original title: Sorceress
Director: Jack Hill
Screnplay: Jim Wynorski
Actors & actresses: Leigh Harris, Lynette Harris, Bob Nelson, David Millbern, Bruno Rey, Roberto Ballesteros
Producer: Roger Corman
Cinematography: Álex Phillips Jr.
Editing: Larry Bock, Barry Zetlin
Art director: Joe Greenman
Costumes: Kleomenes, Stamatiades
Special effects: John Carl Buechler, Marcus Patchet
Visual effects: Rebecca Bush, Steve Caldwell, William T. Conway, Deborah Gaydos, Julia Gibson, Linda Henry, Holly Hudson, Austin McKinney, Juniko Moody, Nance Rosen, Joseph Yanuzzi, Domonic Muir
Technical departement: Carlos Montaño
Sound: Howard Neiman
Music: James Horner
Production companies: Conacine, New World Pictures
Year of production: 1982
Countries: Argentina, USA
Length: 83 Min
Rating: FSK 16
Aspect ratio: 1.78 : 1
Sound: Dolby Digital
Extras: Original trailer, Artwork gallery, Booklet with 16 pages
Argentina: Los bárbaros
Australia: Mutant (The Devil’s Advocate)
Denmark: Den onde pagt
Finland: Pimeyden ruhtinaat
Greece: Σκοτεινές Δυνάμεις
Italia: La spada e la magia
USA: The Barbarian Women (working title)
Yugoslavia (Croatian poster title): Carobnice
Start USA: March 1982
Start Germany: April 15, 1983
Mediabook start (Blu-Ray & DVD) Germany: March 20, 2020
It is said that the two sisters and leading actresses Leigh and Lynette Harris, who were seen shortly before with their charms in the US Playboy, were given the contract for the leading roles mainly for tax reasons – production subsidy from the USA.
Roger Corman & New World Pictures
Producer, actor, director, screenwriter: Roger William Corman was born on 5 April 1926 in Detroit, Michigan, and began his remarkable film career after studying engineering at Stanford, initially as a messenger at 20th Century Fox, but only a short time later went to Great Britain to study English literature at Oxford University. He eventually returned to Hollywood as a frahling and co-produced his first film, “Highway Dragnet” in 1953. Although he was not mentioned by name, Roger Corman also took over the production assistance under William F. Broidy for free in order to gain experience, Corman had written the script himself and sold it to Broidy for $ 2,000. This money motivated Corman to produce more films and laid the foundation of his producing career. With the money for the script in his pocket and thanks to the financial support of some friends, Roger Corman produced his first own film in 1954: “Monster from the Ocean Floor” was completed for just $ 30,000 and brought in a whopping $ 850,000 at the box office. His directorial debut followed a year later with the western “Five Guns Go West“, and especially in the 1950s and 1960s Roger Corman was extremely productive as a principal director at AIP. AIP first put him in the director’s chair for “Revolver Kelly” and “Teenage Caveman“, and Roger Corman also took over the direction of “Scream, Baby Killer“, in which Jack Nicholson played his first leading role.
Although established and successful as a director, producing remained his real passion, and so in 1959 he founded The Filmgroup, his first own production company, together with his brother Gene. Specialising in low-budget films for drive-in cinemas, the first three films “High School Big Shot“, “T-Bird Gang” and “Attack of the Giant Leeches” were made in the company’s founding year, as was “The Legacy of Prof. Bondi“, a black comedy produced for AIP. They then tried to persuade Roger Corman to direct two low-budget horror films, but Corman refused and convinced AIP to let him direct an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe‘s “The Fall of the House of Usher” instead. Vincent Price took the lead role in 1960’s “The Accursed” and the film became one of AIP‘s biggest successes.
Until the mid-1960s, Roger Corman continued to direct for various studios, also to finance further films for The Filmgroup. In 1970 he finally made his big breakthrough as an independent film producer: the first three films of his newly founded production company New World Pictures, “Hyenas of the Night” (1970), “The Student Nurses” (1970) and “The Big Doll House“, were enormously successful at the box office and brought the young company a turnover of $3.2 million. Roger Corman had copied AIP‘s recipe for success and focused on low-cost productions with fresh actors that were to be distributed internationally. At first, the focus was primarily on horror and (s)exploitation flicks, but every now and then a drama or a thriller was mixed into New World‘s portfolio and, from the mid-1970s, science fiction and fantasy films as well. During this time, Roger Corman and New World Pictures began to virtually flood the film world with B and C gems of film history, and Corman “shone” again and again with his own adaptations of major cinema successes such as “Star Wars” (“Planet of Terror” 1981) or “Conan – the Barbarian” (“Deathstalker – the Death Hunter” 1983) and was never too shy to take over sets and entire scenes from previous films.
At first, the international distribution of the films was limited until Roger Corman expanded his company in 1984 to include three additional divisions. From then on, New World International took care of worldwide distribution, New World Television specialised in TV productions and New World Video was to conquer the ever-growing home video market. In 1987, New World Pictures changed its name to New World Entertainment, bought Marvel Comics and wanted to buy the toy companies Kenner and Mattel, but this never happened. At the same time, the company was enjoying considerable success, especially with TV productions for Lorimar-Telepictures, but at the same time the company’s financial situation was strained, which led to the reorganisation, while Roger Corman himself continued to follow his passion and produce B-movies. Parts of the company went to the Andrews Group, Four Star Television and Sony Pictures until New World finally became part of 20th Century Fox and thus now belongs to the Disney Company.
Today, Roger Corman – at the age of 93 – is still shaking up the film world as a producer, which has earned him the honourable title of “Pope of Pop Cinema“. Moreover, in the course of his career, which so far comprises an incredible 415 film productions and 56 directorial works, he took dozens of filmmakers under his wing who today enjoy world fame. Whether Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Manahem Golan or James Horner, whether Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda or Dennis Hopper, they all owe their career to New World Pictures and Roger Corman.
Swords, Wizards, Barbarians – Fantasy Cult of the 1980s
In 1982, a genre emerged that would flood cinema screens with pure testosterone for a decade and into the 1990s: The barbarian film. Probably the best-known representative of the genre is “Conan the Barbarian” from 1982, which helped Arnold Schwarzenegger to his breakthrough, received a sequel two years later and was remade in 2011. And after Arnold Schwarzenegger took the sword of the god Krom to oppose the evil snake cult with thief Subotai and warrior Valeria, dozens of wild men and women, mostly scantily clad, masters in battle, merciless to the enemy, conquered cinema screens and TV screens. Alongside the barbarian film, the 1980s were to become the decade of the fantastic film in general, which had already been foreshadowed a year earlier with Terry Gilliam‘s “The Time Bandits” (1981) or “Excalibur” (1981) and continued with classics such as “The Last Unicorn” (1982), “Krull” (1983), “The Neverending Story” (1984), “The Day of the Falcon“, “Legend” (1985), “The Princess Bride” (1987) or “Willow” (1988). However, it was not only lavish and expensive productions that fans of the fantastic could enjoy, the decade also produced some gems of trash cinema, with which directors and producers like Jim Wynorksi or Roger Corman in particular made a name for themselves. Films such as “Ator – Lord of Fire” (1982), “The Powers of Light” (1982) or “Deathstalker” (1983) captivate with bad dialogue, lousy effects and clichéd fantasy presentation, but enjoy great popularity among trash fans precisely for this reason.
Sorceress | Trailer (German)
Comments about the movie
“The Powers of Light” has quite charming make-up and creature tricks, okay action and a self-deprecating approach, especially concerning the main characters’ confusion about their gender.” (Actionfreunde.de)
“It’s hard to say anything serious about this fantasy farce when it doesn’t take its audience seriously. Let’s put it this way: a colourful fun with naked women, dimwitted men and badly tricked mythical creatures.” (Christophhartung.de)
“No, this is not a good film, but at least there is a lot of humour, pointless action and two hot naked twins. That’s something…” (Craneshot)
“A real gem of the emerging fantasy and barbarian films of the time.” (Haikosfilmlexikon.de)
“What other B-movies try to do for 90 minutes, Corman tears down in 5-minute intervals. In one film, mind you. Swords, villains, monsters, tits, axes, brawls, patter, wigs, rags.” (neon-zombie.net)
“You can’t go far wrong with Powers of Light if you’re a B-fan. The film is a veritable smorgasbord of wacky ideas, so there’s never actually a dull moment.” (badmovies.co.uk)
“An unjustly forgotten gem of shallow entertainment.” (ofdb.de/review)
Features and technical data of the Limited Mediabook Edition
Film in the original theatrical version, 16-page booklet | Picture format: Full screen 1.78:1 (original format); Blu-Ray WS 1.78:1 / 1080p 23,976 | Total running time Blu-Ray 83 min, DVD 79 min | Sound format: DVD German DD 2.0, English DD 2.0; Blu-Ray: German DTS- HD Master Audio 2.0, English DTS- HD Master Audio 2.0 | Extras: Original trailer; 16-page booklet; Artwork gallery | Rating: FSK 16