Thursday, August 27, 2009
SIMON, KING OF THE WITCHES (1971) (shown May, 1991)
Conjure Cinema came about due to my wife, Laura. She had heard about a group of people out in California called P.A.N., the Pagan Assistance Network, who were staging various events in order to raise money and goods for the homeless in their area. We both thought this was a fantastic idea, and wanted to do something similar here on the East Coast. I had already been writing a series of articles entitled Conjure Cinema, which was a history of witchcraft and magic in the movies. Since I have a life-long interest in/obsession with movies of all kinds and have an ever-expanding collection of films in all formats (and I mean ALL formats - Laura calls my collection "The Museum of Failed Technology" :) ), the obvious answer was to host a monthly film party, with the admission price being something that could be donated to the various shelters in the Boston area. Laura pulled that all together, contacting the different shelters, including Pine Street Inn (for men), Rosie's Place (for women), and a homeless family shelter. What she found was interesting: mainly that they needed different items for different times of the year, and not just the obvious (e.g., toys at Christmas time for the family shelter, etc.) - so we worked out a list of the most-needed items, and posted this along with our announcement of what we were showing. Laura also contacted the original P.A.N. folks, and got their blessing to use the name, so we were off and running.
To kick things off in style, our first show (which took place on May 18th, 1991) was 1971's SIMON, KING OF THE WITCHES. It starred Andrew Prince and Brenda Scott, and tells the tragic tale of a male witch who lives in a L.A. storm sewer and makes his living selling charms and amulets, all the while having run-ins with other occultists, disbelievers and 'The Man' (well, it WAS the '70s, after all). Best line (spoken by a nude blonde lying on an altar), "Don't touch me ... I'm a religious object!" SIMON also has the distinction of being the only film that we have shown more than once at CC. I'll talk more about this title, including my meeting with Andrew Prine and the AMAZING tie-in novelization to the film, later on in this blog. NEXT: How I Choose The Films.