GRAPEVINE,Texas Jan. 10 -- At first I was afraid to watch "Witchcraft XI: Sisters in Blood" since somehow -- what was I doing? Where was I? How could this happen? -- I missed ALL the "Witchcraft" movies from one through ten.
How am I gonna follow the plot? That's probably at least 15 hours of witchly incantations, demonic murders, and a whole heck of a lot of nekkid scenes.
I know I missed something, too, because the "Witchcraft" series -- which, let's face it, is longer running than any series except maybe James Bond, -- obviously thrives on that timeless principle of female seduction: She might not go for the Long Island Iced Tea, but give her a few cool- sounding Latin chants at a sance and she'll be rolling around like a carp on a grapple hook.
Actually the women in this movie don't need much encouragement. They routinely rip off their blouses as a segue between scenes. And be warned, they do have a lot of sex scenes in this movie.
Anita Page, who must be in her late nineties at this point, plays the lead nun in a Catholic school. Anita was one of the hottest silent film stars of the twenties, stealing "Our Dancing Daughters" from Joan Crawford, receiving 10,000 fan letters a week, and becoming Clark Gable's FIRST leading lady in the sound era.
Every leading man wanted her, but she retired in 1934, at the end of her seven-year MGM contract, and moved to Coronado, Calif., with her hubbie.
After he died in 1988, I guess she figured it was time to start up the old career again. Anyhow, how cool is it that producer Jerry Feifer and writer/director Ron Ford put Anita Page in this movie? She even consented to a grisly murder scene.
Anyhow, this is the old story of the demonic drama teacher at the Catholic school who casts three nubile young girls as the witches in "Macbeth," then suggests they go to the grave of the dead witches at a local cemetery to do a little method-acting research. By the next morning, a frat boy has been sexed to death at the gravesite after being lured there by the three coeds chanting and dancing.
Pretty soon Stephanie Beaton and Mikul Robins, the same two detectives from "Witchcraft" 9 and 10, show up to toss sarcastic questions at the bimbos, the nuns, the priests, the monsignor, the local lawyer who seems to know more than he's saying, and anybody else who questions their status as B-movie "X Files" investigators.
It turns out that Anita Page has been hiding the secret four-headed key to the gateway to hell, and the witches who were killed 300 years ago are getting ready to come back and bring a guy named Abadon with them, and once they do that -- well, actually, the girls are turning into the witches, and the drama teacher is turning into Abadon -- and pretty soon everybody is getting stabbed and munched on the cheek while the cast prepares for the advent of the day-uh-vil.
Unfortunately, the special effects budget commands that the day-uh-vil can never get TOO FAR out of that hole in the ground, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
Twelve dead bodies, 47 breasts, multiple aardvarking, blood-sucking, topless satanic rituals, candelabra head-bashing, kinky photo session (with an Instamatic) and a rooftop plunge and painfully gratuitous "Macbeth" rehearsals are all part of the show.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for:
Kathleen St. Lawrence, the slinky bare-midriffed coed who's the most eager to please the devil, for saying "I've always been interested in the black arts."
Stephanie Beaton, as the cop in a mini-skirt who gets raped by an invisible 300-year-old demon (I think).
James Servais as the horny psychic Michael-Douglas-look-alike lawyer who says "I do feel a dark presence here."
Miranda O'Dell as the spunky young acting student who says "We were raised by religious fanatics -- they were horrible people."
Lauren Ian Richards as the sarcastic redhead.
Anita Page, as the scary-looking Sister Seraphina, who uses a walker and screams, "You must kill them!"
Joseph P. Haggerty as the priggish monsignor, for saying "You dare speak that way to me in my own home?"
And Don Donason as the drama teacher turned demonic agent, for saying "Return your allegiance to him!"
Two and a half stars. Joe Bob says check it out.
To check out Joe Bob's voluminous guide to all the B movies ever made, go to www.joebob-briggs.comhttp://www.joebob-briggs.comor email him at JoeBob@upi.commailto:JoeBob@upi.com. Snail-mail: P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221.