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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

                 An Annotated List 
              of Recommended Viewing 
                  (compiled 3/89) 
                  by Mike Nichols 
                Although this list is a long one, it could easily  have been much
      longer.  In fact, the hard part was deciding which of many good  movies had
      to be left out,  due to limitations  of space.   So I used  a few rules  to
      guide me.   First, I  gave preference  to movies  that had  a strong  Pagan
      message, as opposed to films that  are 'merely' entertaining.  Thus, a film
      like  'Never Cry Wolf',  though it has  no supernatural elements,  made the
      list; whereas superbly crafted atmospheric entertainments like 'Gothic' and
      'Eyes  of  Fire'  didn't.   Second,  in  dealing with  the  supernatural, I
      concentrated on films  that informed, or at least stayed  within the realms
      of  possibility.  Hence, I  include 'The Haunting',  but not 'Poltergeist'.
      Inevitably,  I will  have left  out  some of  your favorites,  for which  I
      apologize in advance.  But I had to stop somewhere. 
      APPRENTICE TO MURDER, 1988, C-94m 
      D:  R.L. Thomas.    Donald Sutherland,  Chad Lowe,  Mia Sara,  Knut Husebo,
      Rutanya Alsa. 
           Intriguing fact-based story of a man who was a 'hex-meister' in the 
      Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.  His practice of folk medicine lands him in 
      trouble with the law, and a final confrontation with a rival sorcerer leads
      to a  charge of murder.  Sutherland is appealing  in the lead role, and the
      story  unfolds mainly through  his eyes.   Mia  Sara does a  nice job  in a
      supporting role.  There's a lot of authentic folk magic to lend atmosphere.
      THE BELIEVERS, 1987, C-114m 
      D:  John Schlesinger.   Martin  Sheen, Helen  Shaver, Harley  Cross, Robert
      Loggia,  Elizabeth Wilson,  Lee  Richardson, Harris  Yulin, Richard  Masur,
      Carla Pinza, Jimmy Smits. 
                Afterthe death ofhis wife, Sheen andhis son moveto New York City,
      where they become involved  in a grisly series of cultish human sacrifices.
      Although  the religion  of Santeria  is unfortunately  shown in  a negative
      light, there is  enough authenticity to lend lots of  interest.  A gripping
      BELL, BOOK, AND CANDLE, 1958, C-103m 
      D: Richard Quine.  James Stewart, Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovaks, 
      Hermione Gingold. 
                Yes, I'm well aware that this movie, based on the John Van Druten
      play, is responsible for more misinformation about Witchcraft than anything
      outside the  'Bewitched' TV  series.   Still,  I hardly  know  a Pagan  who
      doesn't  love it.  For many  of us, it was the  first time we'd encountered
      the idea  of Witchcraft alive  and well in  a modern  metropolis.  And  Kim
      Novak is STILL my idea of what a Witch OUGHT to look like.   And none of us
      will ever  forget Kovak's reading of the line 'Witches, boy!  Witches!'  Or
      Stewart's offhand comment that it feels more like Halloween than Christmas.
      Lots of fun. 
      BROTHER SUN, SISTER MOON, 1973-Italian-British, C-121m 
      D: Franco Zeffirelli.  Graham Faulkner, Judi Bowker, Leigh Lawson, Alec 
      Guinness, Valentina Cortese, Kenneth Cranham 
                For most Pagans, St.  Francis of Assisi is usually  considered an
      honorary Pagan, at the very  least.  His insistence on finding  divinity in
      nature is exactly what Paganism is all about.  This film biography portrays
      his extreme  love of and sensitivity  to nature with poignant  beauty.  And
      the musical  score by Donovan is  such a perfect choice  that, having heard
      it, nothing else would ever do.  This is  also a visually stunning film, as
      those who remember Zefferelli's 'Romeo and  Juliet' might expect.  If  ever
      Christianity could be made palatable to the sensibilities of Neo-Pagans, it
      would have  to be through the  eyes of a  nature mystic like Francis.   The
      Catholic Church came close to naming him a heretic but, at the last minute,
      the Pope  (played by Alec  Guinness) sanctioned  him.  (Old  Obi Wan  comes
      through again!) 
      BURN, WITCH, BURN!, 1962-British, 90m 
      D:  Sidney Hayers.  Janey Blair, Peter Wyngarde, Margaret Johnston, Anthony
                Based  on the Fritz Leiber classic 'Conjure Wife' and scripted by
      Richard Matheson, this is an interesting view of Witchcraft.  Granted, this
      has as many misconceptions as 'Bell, Book, and Candle', yet the premise is 
      intriguing: that ALL  women are secretly  Witches, and  ALL men don't  know
      about  it.  This is  mainly about one  woman's use of magic  to advance the
      career of her schoolteacher husband. 
      D:  Robert  Stevenson.   Albert Sharpe,  Janet  Munro, Sean  Connery, Jimmy
      O'Dea, Kieron Moore, Estelle Winwood. 
           Simply the best fantasy ever filmed.  No kidding.  This is a PERFECT 
      little movie, and (along  with 'The Quiet Man') the  ultimate St. Patrick's
      Day film.  Sharpe is sensational as  Darby O'Gill, who likes to sit in  the
      pub telling stories about his adventures  with the King of the Leprechauns.
      Unbeknownst to everyone, they are TRUE stories!  Every tidbit of Irish 
      folklore, from banshees to the crock of gold  to the costa bower (the death
      coach) is worked into the plot.  The  music and songs are great.  So is the
      cast, many  of whom  were brought  over from the  Abbey Theater  in Dublin!
      Sean  Connery makes his  screen debut, in  a SINGING role!   The subsequent
      untimely death of  Janet Munro robbed  the screen of  one of its  brightest
      actresses.  (Her character's combination of willfulness and femininity is a
      textbook  study.   Compared  to  her,  Princess  Leia's  character  is  not
      'strong-willed' -- it's just  snotty!)  The special effects  are miraculous
      for 1959!  When Darby walks into King Brian's throne room, we walks THROUGH
      a crowd of Leprechauns, and I defy anyone  to find a matte line!  In  fact,
      the special effects  are so good throughout,  that you FORGET that  they're
      special effects,  and end up deciding  that they must have  rounded up some
      real Leprechauns from somewhere. 
      THE DARK CRYSTAL, 1983-British, C-94m 
      D: Jim Henson and Frank Oz.  Performed by Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, Frank
      Oz, Dave Goelz, Brian Muehl, Jean Pierre Amiel, Kiran Shaw. 
                The creators of the Muppets come up with an entire fantasy world,
      where even the  flora and fauna are  original.  And this world  is in grave
      peril  unless  the missing  shard  of the  Dark  Crystal can  be  found and
      restored  to it.   This  is a   hero-quest  in the  classic mold,  with art
      stylings   by  Brian   Froud.     Although   wonderfully  imaginative   and
      entertaining,  it has  a  very  strong  message  of  mysticism,  all  about
      universal  balance and  the synthesis  of opposites.   (One wonders  if the
      entire quartz crystal fad of the late 1980's had its origins here!) 
      DON'T LOOK NOW, 1973-British, C-110m 
      D: Nicolas Roeg.  Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Mason, Clelia 
      Matania, Massimo Serato. 
                Based ona so-so occultthriller by Daphnedu Maurier, thisbecomes a
      brilliant film  in the hands  of Italian  director Nicolas Roeg  (famed for
      'The Man Who  Fell to Earth).   Shortly after  their daughter has  drowned,
      Sutherland (who restores mosaics in old churches) and his wife go to Venice
      where they meet two sisters  who are spiritualists.  They begin  to receive
      messages  from the daughter, who  keeps warning Sutherland  to leave Venice
      because he  is in mortal danger.  If ever  a film captured the real feeling
      of how  psychic  ability operates,  this  is it.    The use  of  subjective
      editing, and the symbolic use (and total control of!)  color throughout the
      film is masterful.  (This film also  contains one of the most stylish  love
      scenes ever  filmed.)  Squeamish people need to be warned about the violent
      ending, however.  
      THE DUNWICH HORROR, 1970, C-90m 
      D: Daniel Haller.  Sandra Dee, Dean Stockwell, Ed Begley, Sam Jaffe, Lloyd 
      Bochner, Joanna Moore, Talia Coppolia (Shire). 
                Nice adaptation of an H. P.Lovecraft story, with a wonderfulcast.
      Stockwell is the quintessential ritual magician, both mysterious and 
      compelling.  He steals the original 'Necronomicon' from a  library in order
      to  'bring back  the Old  Ones', a race  of powerful  but dark  beings that
      inhabited the  earth before humans.   Sam Jaffe is wonderful  as his crazed
      grandfather.   (What happened to the  father is part of  the mystery!)  And
      Sandra Dee is  perfect as the  innocent virgin chosen  to be the  unwilling
      host mother for  the rebirth of these  demons.  (Some versions  of the film
      cut the last scene short, which shows a developing fetus  superimposed over
      Dee's abdomen.  'Nuff  said.)  By the way,  no film has ever shown  the raw
      power of  otherworldly beings as well  as this.  No  'latex lovelies' here.
      Just pure, unadulterated elemental force.  Nice job! 
      THE EMERALD FOREST, 1985, C-113m 
      D: John Boorman.  Powers Boothe, Meg Foster, Charley Boorman, Dira Pass. 
                A look atour ownculture through theeyes of theaboriginal tribesof
      the  Amazon.    (They   call  us  the  'termite  people',  because  of  the
      deforestation  and   industrial  development  we  have   brought  to  their
      homeland.)  The director's son,  Charley, is totally convincing as a  young
      boy raised by aborigines.  Great music by Junior Homrich. 
      THE ENTITY, 1983, C-115m 
      D: Sidney J. Furie.  Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver,  Jacqueline Brooks, David
      Lablosa, George Coe, Margaret Blye. 
                The trulyfrightening thing about thismovie is that it'sbased on a
      true story, about a woman who is repeatedly violently raped by an invisible
      presence.  Initially, she seeks the help of a psychologist, who is a strict
      behaviorist  and thinks that it  is all 'in  her mind'.  It  is not until a
      chance encounter with a team of parapsychologist  from the local university
      that  she finally  finds people  who understand  her problem.   One  of the
      film's  great strengths is its  portrayal of the  professional rivalry that
      develops  between  the  psychologist  (who  has  begun  taking  a  personal
      interest) and  the parapsychologists,  who are interested  in investigating
      the phenomena.   The final scene in  the gymnasium is the  only part of the
      film based on speculation only.  At last report, the case was still active.
       EXCALIBUR, 1981-British, C-140m 
      D: John Boorman.   Nicol  Williamson, Nigel Terry,  Helen Mirren,  Nicholas
      Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Corin Redgrave, Paul Geoffrey. 
                A stylish adaptationof ThomasMalory's 'Le MorteD'Arthur'. Boorman
      knew  exactly what  he was doing  in combining  certain key  characters and
      keeping the  spirit of the  legends.   The Grail Quest  is especially  well
      handled.    Williamson's Merlin  and  Mirren's Morgana  are  both brilliant
      performances.  Great music.  Try to see this one on the big screen. 
      HARVEY, 1950, 104m 
      D: Henry Koster.  James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Peggy Dow, Charles  Drake,
      Cecil Kellaway, Victoria Horne, Jesse White, Wallace Ford, Ida Moore. 
           Imagine a movie that chooses as its main theme a Welsh animal spirit 
      called a pooka (or 'pwcca' in Welsh)!  That would be improbable enough by 
      today's standards.  But the fact that it happened in a 1940's Pulitzer 
      Prize-winning play and subsequent movie boggles the mind!  The pooka in 
      question is a 6-foot  invisible rabbit named Harvey, who  manifests himself
      only to  a gentle tippler  named Elwood  P. Dowd, played  to perfection  by
      Stewart.   Jesse White (the  lonely Maytag  repairman) made his  film debut
      here.  Few movies are as much fun as this. 
      THE HAUNTING, 1963, 112m 
      D: Robert Wise.  Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn,
      Lois Maxwell, Fay Compton 
                Based on ShirleyJackson's masterpiece 'TheHaunting of HillHouse',
      this is probably  the ultimate ghost movie.  A  parapsychologist and a team
      of student assistants  investigate a haunted  house.  Based on  the premise
      that no  ghost ever hurts anyone  physically; the damage is  always done by
      the victim to himself, psychologically.  Julie Harris is marvelous. 
      INHERIT THE WIND, 1960, 127m 
      D: Stanley Kramer.  Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, Florence 
      Eldridge, Dick  York,  Harry Morgan,  Donna Anderson,  Elliot Reid,  Claude
      Akins, Noah Beery, Jr., Norman Fell. 
                This should be required viewing for every Pagan.  For many of us,
      there came  a time  when our  own ideologies  simply collided  head-on with
      fundamental  Christian faith, and  we knew  we could  no longer  accept it.
      Never has a movie embodied this theme so well.  Based on the play by Jerome
      Lawrence and Robert E.  Lee, it deals with the Scopes  Monkey Trial of 1925
      in  Tennessee,  where  a high  school  teacher  was  arrested for  teaching
      Darwin's Theory  of Evolution.  The  debate that ensued was  between two of
      the most brilliant  minds of  their day,  the great  trial lawyer  Clarence
      Darrow  for  the  defense,  and  two-time  Presidential  candidate  William
      Jennings  Bryan for  the  prosecution.    Kelly's  character  is  based  on
      acid-tongued columnist  H. L.  Mencken.   This is riveting,  from first  to
      D: Hal Bartlett.  Many seagulls. 
           Although the film is flawed and drags a little toward the end, it is 
      nevertheless well worth seeing.  The photography is beautiful, and Neil 
      Diamond's  score (including  'Skybird') is  marvelous.   It is,  of course,
      based on Richard Bach's marvelous tale  of a little seagull that refuses to
      fit  in  with his  flock,  preferring to  follow  a higher,  more mystical,
      calling.  This is yet another one you should try to see on the big screen. 
      LADYHAWKE, 1985, C-124m 
      D: Richard Donner.  Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Leo
      McKern, John Wood, Ken Hutchison, Alfred Molina. 
                Whoever decidedon themusic for thisfilm should beshot! Think what
      a nice soundtrack by Clannad would have been like.  That reservation aside,
      this  is  a great  medieval fantasy  concerning  two lovers  who  have been
      separated by a curse, and a young thief who  becomes their ally, an unusual
      but charming  role for Matthew Broderick.   (If anyone ever  gets around to
      filming Katherine Kurtz's 'Deryni' books, this is the team that ought to do
      THE LAST UNICORN, 1982, C-84m 
      D: Rankin & Bass.  Voices of Mia Farrow, Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Tammy 
      Grimes, Robert Klein, Angela Lansbury, Christopher Lee. 
                Based on theincomparable fantasy novel by PeterS. Beagle, this is
      very adult animation.   And  because Beagle himself  wrote the  screenplay,
      this film  contains spiritual  one-liners that  hit you  right in the  gut.
      Example:  'Never run from anything immortal.  It attracts their attention.'
      Though this is NOT classic Disney animation (in fact, it looks like limited
      animation), the voice-work, screenplay,  and art stylings are all  so good,
      you're  inclined to  overlook it.   Angela  Lansbury's character  voice for
      Mommy Fortuna  is marvelous.   And there's  a lovely lyrical  score by  the
      group America. 
      THE LAST WAVE, 1977-Australian, C-106m 
      D: Peter Weir.  Richard Chamberlain, Olivia Hamnett, (David) Gulpilil, 
      Frederick Parslow, Vivean Gray, Nanjiwarra Amagula. 
                Chamberlainplays anAustralian lawyerdefending anaborigine accused
      of a murder that was actually done by magic.  This is a rare and wonderful 
      glimpse  into the tribal religion  of the native  Australians, their myths,
      and their  belief in  the Dream Time.   Peter  Weir (famed  for 'Picnic  at
      Hanging Rock') directs this atmospheric thriller. 
      LEGEND, 1985-British, C-89m 
      D: Ridley Scott.  Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice 
      Playten, Billy Barty. 
                Oneof the mostvisually luscious filmsever created. Every frame is
      gorgeous.  The plot is nearly archetypal, with evil (Curry) attempting to 
      seduce innocence (Sara).  Though it's hard to accept Cruise as the hero  of
      this Grimm's-like fairy  tale, Curry  and Sara turn  in good  performances.
      The European version runs 20 minutes longer and  retains the original (and,
      in my opinion,  superior) musical score  by Jerry Goldsmith.   The American
      score is by Tangerine Dream. 
      THE LORD OF THE RINGS, 1978, C-133m 
      D: Ralph Bakshi.  Voices of Christopher Guard, William Squire, John Hurt, 
      Michael Sholes, Dominic Guard. 
           This ambitious but flawed animated feature covers half of J.R.R. 
      Tolkien's fantasy trilogy, ending much too abruptly.  But for all the 
      criticism  usually heaped  upon this  film, there  ARE moments  of absolute
      genius.   Such as the Dark Riders  attempting to kill Frodo  and friends in
      their beds at the Prancing Pony  Inn.  Or Gandalf and Frodo's moonlit  walk
      through  the Shire.   Or  the first  time Frodo  puts on  the ring.   These
      moments alone make the movie well worth seeing. 
      NEVER CRY WOLF, 1983, C-105m 
      D:  Carroll   Ballard.    Charles  Martin  Smith,  Brian  Dennehy,  Zachary
      Ittimangnaq, Samson Jorah. 
           A brilliant performance by Smith (based on author Farley Mowat) as a 
      young man sent to study wolves in the Arctic.  Again, we are treated to the
      insights of the native culture (the Innuit), and are  shown how it has been
      debased  through contact with  our own greedy culture.   This film contains
      some of the most spectacular nature  photography ever put on film.  Ballard
      was  chief nature photographer  for Disney Studios  for years.   Try to see
      this one on the big screen. 
      NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE, 1979-West German, C-107m 
      D: Werner Herzog.  Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Roland Topor.
              Forvampire lovers, this film isthe creme de lacreme.  Werner Herzog
      is a leader of modern German Expressionist cinema, and here he is operating
      at the top of his  form.  The spooky atmosphere is so thick  you could peel
      it off the  screen in layers.  (Try  to see this one in the  theater.)  The
      creepiness  of Kinski's Dracula  is equaled only  by the  classic beauty of
      Adjani's Lucy.  This is the  perfect film for Halloween night.   The German
      language  version with  English subtitles  is far  superior to  the English
      version, and slightly longer.  (The  SOUND of the German dialogue  actually
      fits the mood of the film better.) 
      D: Vincente Minnelli.  Barbra Streisand, Yves Montand, Bob Newhart, Larry 
      Blyden, Simon Oakland, Jack Nicholson.  Alan Lerner & Burton Lane score. 
                Probablyinspired by the case of BrideyMurphy, this musical is all
      about hypnosis, past  life regression, ESP,  reincarnation, and other  'New
      Age' topics (though 20 years too early).  (One wonders how Shirley MacLaine
      missed  starring  in  this.    Yet,  one  is  thankful  for small  favors.)
      Streisand  is  wonderful, especially  in  the  lavish flashback  sequences.
      Montand should have  been replaced.  Still, the plot's surprising turns are
      well within the realm of supernatural possibility. 
      D: Wes  Craven.  Bill  Pullman, Cathy  Tyson, Zakes  Mokae, Paul  Winfield,
      Brent Jennings, Theresa Merritt, Michael Gough. 
                Directed by Wes Craven  (famed for his 'Nightmare on  Elm Street'
      series), this is the true story of Wade Davis, an ethnobotanist who is sent
      to  Haiti  to  bring  back  the   secret  of  the  so-called  Zombie  drug,
      tetrodotoxin.   But the local  practitioners of 'Voodoo'  don't yield their
      secrets too  easily and, before it's all over, Davis finds himself a victim
      of  the drug -- which gives Craven  carte blanche for the wonderful special
      effects he's famous  for.   Like 'The Believers',  this film  unfortunately
      shows the native religion (Voudoun) primarily  in a negative light.  Still,
      at  times  it  manages  to  capture  its  beauty,  mystery  and  innocence,
      especially in the festival scenes when the entire village  spends the night
      asleep in a candle-lighted forest. 
      7 FACES OF DR. LAO, 1964, C-100m 
      D: George Pal.  Tony Randall, Barbara Eden, Arthur O'Connell, John Ericson,
      Kevin  Tate,  Argentina Brunetti,  Noah  Beery, Jr.,  Minerva  Urecal, John
      Qualen, Lee Patrick, Royal Dano. 
                For  people  who think  that decent  fantasy  films are  a recent
      development, this movie  is going to  come as a  delightful surprise.   The
      special effects  and gentle magic  of director  George Pal was  the perfect
      means of bringing the Charles Finney classic 'The Circus of Dr. Lao' to the
      screen.   Randall, in  a tour  de force  performance of  six roles, is  the
      mysterious  Chinese guru,  Dr.  Lao, whose  travelling  circus changes  the
      course of history for  a small Western town.  For the better.  A lovely and
      funny film with  a spiritual  dimension that would  appeal to every  Pagan.
      Nice musical score by Leigh Harline combines Western and Oriental music. 
      SILENT RUNNING, 1971, C-89m 
      D: Douglas Trumbull.  Bruce Dern, Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin, Jesse Vint. 
                Should be subtitled 'Druidsin Spaaaaace!!!'  Aboard thedeep space
      ship  Valley Forge, the very talented Bruce  Dern (in his most likable film
      role  ever)  battles to  save  the last  vestiges of  the  Earth's forests.
      Special effects by the team  that created '2001'.  And a  brilliant musical
      score by Peter Schickele (whose better-known comic persona is P.D.Q. Bach),
      sung by Joan Baez. 
      SLEEPING BEAUTY, 1959, C-75m 
      D:  Clyde Geronimi.   Voices of  Mary Costa,  Bill Shirley,  Elinor Audley,
      Verna Felton, Barbara Jo Allen, Barbara Luddy. 
                The  all-time masterpiece of the animator's art, this is the most
      lavish and most expensive (by contemporary standards) animated feature ever
      done by Disney  studios.  The uninitiated may babble  about 'Fantasia', but
      the true cognoscente of  animation know that THIS is the  apogee of the art
      form.   From the lush color stylings (heavy  use of greens and purples), to
      the elegantly stylized backgrounds, to  the figure of Maleficent  (designed
      by  Marc Davis),  to  a fire-breathing  dragon  that wasn't  equaled  until
      'Dragonslayer', this  film is superb.   Voice work by Audley  and Felton is
      outstanding.   The film should  also serve as a  textbook example of how to
      adapt a classical score (Tchaikovsky's 'Sleeping Beauty Ballet') to a movie
      soundtrack.    Never  has  it  been  done  better.    See  it.    One  last
      consideration: this was filmed in the extra-wide-screen Technerama process,
      and naturally loses a lot when transferred to video.   Try to see this in a
      theater.   One with a BIG screen  and a state-of-the-art sound system.  You
      will be amazed. 
      D: Jack  Clayton.  Jason  Robards, Jonathan Pryce,  Diane Ladd,  Pam Grier,
      Royal Dano, Shawn Carson, Vidal Peterson, Mary Grace Canfield, James Stacy,
      narrated by Arthur Hill. 
                RayBradbury's fantasy novel is brought tothe screen by a director
      who understands it.  This is a mood piece, and it's done to perfection.  It
      all  takes  place  in  that  strange  twilight  halfway between  children's
      make-believe and the  world of the  supernatural.  You're never  quite sure
      which it is.   Jonathan Pryce  is utterly mesmerizing  as the sinister  Mr.
      Dark, leader  of a mysterious travelling  carnival.  He has  so much screen
      presence you can barely take your eyes off him.  I haven't seen an actor in
      such total control of a role since Gene Wilder did 'Willy Wonka'.  An added
      bonus is  that Bradbury himself wrote the screenplay, and it shows.  It's a
      real cut above the insipid screenplays we're all used to. 
      STAR WARS, 1977, C-121m 
      D: George Lucas.  Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing,
      Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, voice of  James Earl Jones (as
      Darth Vader) 
                Despite the spaceships and high-tech doodads, this is really more
      fantasy than science fiction.  And the reliance which director George Lucas
      placed in the theories of  Joseph Campbell help shape a story  that is very
      near to  myth.  The  other two movies  in the trilogy,  'The Empire Strikes
      Back'  and 'Return of the  Jedi' are also important.   The main interest to
      most Pagans lies in the mystical sub-motif of 'the Force',  a kind a 'mana'
      that is ethically neutral,  but may be  used in magic  for either good  (as
      evidenced by Obi Wan Kenobe) or evil (as evidenced by Darth Vader).  In the
      second film, it is the great  Jedi Master, Yoda (created by Muppet masters,
      Jim Henson and Frank  Oz), who teaches  us most about the  Force.  This  is
      pure magic. 
      THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS, 1980, C-84 
      D: John Hough.  Bette Davis, Carroll Baker, David McCallum, Lynn-Holly 
      Johnson, Kyle Richards, Ian Bannen, Richard Pasco. 
                What I wouldn't giveto have seen thisas a teenager! Johnson stars
      as a girl whose family has just rented an old English country house,  where
      she is  haunted by the  image of a  young girl  who disappeared years  ago.
      During  a strange seance-type  initiation ritual.   In the ruins  of an old
      chapel.  During a freak  lightning storm.  During an eclipse.   The subtext
      is so  thick you  could cut  it with a  knife.   Even though  such elements
      remain unstated, for those of us interested in power points, ley lines, and
      astronomical  alignments, this  movie  is  a  real  treat.    Someone  Knew
      Something!  Sadly, the end is badly flawed.  But no matter, because the fun
      is  in  the  getting  there.   A  delightful  cast,  and  great  atmosphere
      throughout, make this film special. 
      THE WICKER MAN, 1973-British, C-95m 
      D: Robin Hardy.  Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Diane 
      Cilento, Ingrid Pitt, Lindsay Kemp. 
                Based on the Anthony Shaffer thriller,this movie is a favorite of
      most Pagans.    The plot  concerns  a police  sergeant (Woodward)  sent  to
      investigate the  disappearance of a young  girl, on a small  island off the
      coast of Scotland.  There he finds a completely Pagan society.  Local color
      and beautiful  folk music  enhance the  most loving  portrayal  of a  Pagan
      society ever committed to film.   Unfortunately, in the end, the Pagans are
      'revealed' to be the requisite bad  guys.  If you can overlook  the ending,
      however, this is fine  movie.  Every  Pagan I know who's  seen it wants  to
      move to Summer Isle immediately. 
      WILLOW, 1988, C-125m 
      D: Ron Howard.  Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Warwick Davis, Jean Marsh, 
      Patricia Hayes, Billy Barty, Pat Roach, Gavan O'Herlihy. 
                Despitethe story byGeorge Lucas, thisis NOT the'Star Wars' of the
      fantasy genre.  Too derivative (especially Mad Martigan, who is  a Han Solo
      clone).  Still, the film has a lot to say about magic, and Davis gives a 
      delightful performance.  Jean  Marsh is terrific as the evil Queen Bavmorda
      (in a  role that  almost parallels her  role as Queen  Mombi in  'Return to
      Oz').   And the scene in which Chirlindrea  appears to Willow in the forest
      is as close to an epiphany of the  Goddess as I've ever seen on film.  That
      scene alone is worth the admission price. 
      WINDWALKER, 1980, C-108m 
      D: Keith Merrill.   Trevor Howard, Nick  Ramus, James Remar, Serene  Hedin,
      Dusty Iron Wing McCrea. 
                This  is the best cowboy-and-Indian movie I've ever seen.  Mainly
      because  there are no cowboys  in it.  It is  pure Native American.  Trevor
      Howard  is incredible as the old Indian  chief who returns from the dead in
      order to protect his family, and restore to  it a lost son, a twin who  was
      stolen at  birth by  an enemy  tribe.  This  film FEELS  more like  genuine
      Native American than any  other I can think of.   The Utah mountain scenery
      is breath-taking.  Costuming  (mostly furs) is authentic.   And dialogue is
      actually in the Cheyenne and Crow  languages, with English subtitles.   And
      there's enough  mysticism (especially in the old Indian's relationship with
      his horse) to please any Pagan audience. 
      WIZARDS, 1977, C-80m 
      D: Ralph Bakshi.  Voices of Bob Holt, Jesse Wells, Richard Romanus, David 
      Proval, Mark Hamill. 
                Post-holocaust scenario withthe forcesof evil technologyled bythe
      wizard Blackwolf arrayed against the forces of benevolent  magic led by the
      wizard Avatar.   With background stylings  a la Roger  Dean, and  character
      design that borrows from  Vaughn Bode, this is tongue-in-cheek  wizardry at
      its finest.  The character of Elinor,  a faery nymph, is a complete success
      -- a milestone in  adult animation.  Great voice work and  nice music.  And
      who is that wonderful (uncredited) narrator??? 
      XANADU, 1980, C-88m 
      D: Robert Greenwald.  Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck, Gene Kelly, James 
      Sloyan, Dimitra Arliss, Katie Hanley. 
           Yeah, yeah, I know.  On one level, it's just Olivia Newton-John on 
      roller-skates.   But on another level,  it is the  story of how one  of the
      nine  muses of classical mythology (Terpsichore) comes down from Olympus to
      inspire  a young artist.  On yet a third level, it is the biggest Hollywood
      musical produced  since the golden years of MGM.   And it works well on all
      counts.  The  brilliant musical score (including several  chart-toppers) is
      provided by the Electric Light Orchestra's Jeff Lynne, and Olivia does them
      up proper.  Gene  Kelly might not dance as well as he  once did, but he can
      still charm  as well.  And did anyone notice that's Sandahl Bergman leading
      the  muses  in dance?   As  if  that weren't  enough,  the film  includes a
      delightful  animated segment that marked  the debut for  Don Bluth studios,
      which later gave us 'The Secret of NIHM' and 'An American Tail'. 

Next: Candlemas (Gwydion)