The Night of the Sorcerers
Dir. Amando de Ossorio
What the fuck was it with Africa and low budget Euro-sh(l)ockers in the 1970s? It’s like setting a film in Africa was fair game to just let every abhorrent, normally repressed racial stereotype about black people run rampant on celluloid. Granted, our Old World relations never really had to deal with the history of slavery and racial integration in quite the same way we did here in the U.S. of A, but even they should have paused at some point when filming a chiseled-chin white dude mowing down a horde of primitive black folks in grass skirts to ponder the racial implications. Films like The Night of the Sorcerers are enough to make The Birth of Nation look like a paragon of progressive racial tolerance.
Amando “Blind Dead” de Ossorio gets straight to the white women being menaced by leering black guys within the opening scenes of this 1973 zombie-voodoo-vampire-sexploitation failure. It seems 11 local magicians like to string up white women, rip their clothes off via bullwhip and decapitate them in order to turn them into vampiric “leopard women” who romp around the jungle in hilarious slow motion decked out in dime store vampire fangs and laughably lame animal print bikinis … for some reason. It’s kinda vague. Luckily a handful of British soldiers in khakis and natty pith helmets put a stop to that … at least for 60 years when a bunch of do-gooder endangered species researchers happen to drift across the forbidden altar.
Zombology: The Limeys may have smoked the local magicians, but thanks to voodoo their zombified bodies keep on trucking, just waiting for a new sacrifice to find its way to their altar to revive their manslaughtering ways. With the help of the blood-drinking leopard women, the magicians, who emerge from their stony cairns each night – and apparently neatly bury themselves again each morning – lure the braless free spirits accompanying the researchers to the altar one at a time to add them to their collection of pasty white servants.
Inverting the classic Scooby-Doo plot, the men immediately dismiss any talk of living dead sorcerers as a hoax to scare them away from their research only to later confront the zombified reality. Though they’re central to the film, the women in The Night of the Sorcerers have no personality development beyond casual nudity and insane jealously of each other. Though there’s decapitations galore, the film falls short on both gore and suspense. De Ossorio has never been a deft hand with pacing, and The Night of the Sorcerers lags even at 80 minutes. Racially insensitive, riding a ridiculous plot conceit and poorly executed, The Night of the Sorcerers sucks 92 percent as bad as Hell of the Living Dead.