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Simon, King of the Witches (1971)

Allyson Ames , Norman Burton , Bruce Kessler  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Allyson Ames, Norman Burton, Jay Della, Angus Duncan, William Martel
  • Directors: Bruce Kessler
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Dark Sky Films
  • DVD Release Date: June 24, 2008
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015I2S0G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,511 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Simon, King of the Witches" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

"All I touch, I corrupt."

Simon Sinestrari is a warlock. Though he lives in a storm drain and sometimes talks to trees, he's the real deal, no smoke and mirrors. Deadly serious about his craft, he despises falsehoods and misconceptions toward his witchy profession. And as for those who don t believe...

After being picked up for vagrancy, Simon spends a night in jail with Turk (George Paulsin), a young hustler with connections to powerful people in powerful places. One such character is Hercules (Gerald York), a skeptical philanthropist who hires Simon to work a party of hipsters and the well-to-do, among whom is beautiful Linda (Brenda Scott), the pill-popping daughter of the local district attorney. In-between romantic dalliances and colorful sex-magik ceremonies with Linda, Simon must contend with those who dare to challenge his magical prowess, eventually forcing him to summon dark forces of revenge and murder.

Also starring Warhol Factory regular Ultra Violet as Sarah, and an array of trippy 2001-styled special effects, Simon King of the Witches is a shining vehicle for Andrew Prine (Grizzly, The Centerfold Girls), who gives a mesmerizing performance as Simon in this hip, funny, and often bizarre countercultural cult classic by director Bruce Kessler (The Gay Deceivers).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Simon, the witch of 1971 L.A., is sincere and capable, but only manages to
move his headquarters from a cubbyhole in a storm drain to a rented
basement space during this bizarre tale. Most of his focus is to bring
down a poseur (who wrote him a bum check), and the police force and D.A.
He name-drops alot of mythical beings, and conjures up a glowing-red
vortex to harm his enemies. His most entertaining attempt at hexing
involves the unclad participation of fragile and big-eyed Brenda Scott.

The occult yarn gets even stranger when Simon, like Marvel's Dr. Strange,
steps into a Magic Mirror, reeling through a "2001" inspired "psychedelic
light show," to try to save Brenda Scott from evil forces. You couldn't
say things work out too well, but Simon instructs us that "Death is only
temporary."

Andrew Prine was a wise choice for playing Simon. He reminded me of the
young Ian Anderson of "Jethro Tull" fame, in looks and insouciant manner.
Another possible model was Niall MacGinnis as conjurer Karswell in the
1957 "Night of the Demon." Prine's occult line-readings were much like
those of MacGinnis--could Simon be Karswell's long-lost American son?

"Simon" is another crazy B-movie gem from the long-ago Countercultural
Stoner Occult Hippie times!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simon, King of the Magical Movies August 28, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
While this is not a perfect movie, it is a great movie, one of the few about real magic and a real magician. It is sly, witty, and despite its failings, quite brilliant. It never fails to move and inspire us. We seldom see movies more than once but we've seen this one over a dozen times. If you love magic, you will most likely love this movie. If you love movies, you'll appreciate the innovation and creativity that went into this one. It truly is magic.
kyela,
the silver elves
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much Better Than I Expected... August 20, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Simon - King of The Witches:

I won't repeat and thus detract from the other positive reviewer's comments on this movie. However, as a fan of the sci-fi/horror genres I had read about this movie but never expected it to be released on DVD.

After receiving it I watched it three times to catch all of the overt and subtle nuances and then watched the special features featurette "Simon Says" with actor Andrew Prine. The result? I found this movie to have a clear objective and to show another side of "witchcraft" departing from the stereotypical with an understandable storyline requiring only minimal "suspension of disbelief."

Released in 1971, this movie was cast in the days before computer generated special effects (FX) were conceived (obviously!). However the effects that were created and used are well done and successfully incorporated into the frames. The performances of Andrew Prine (Simon) and the supporting actors and actresses were professional and consistent with the better movies of period.

I thought the film photography was clear and professionally produced and perhaps only borders on the line between a "B" and "A" rated movie at worst. At best, it is an exemplar of the genre that could be believed and that makes for a good movie! As director Bruce Kessler stated in an interview the downfall of the movie was that "it was not marketed and sold properly." I agree with him. If it was, it might have risen to a higher level of film acclaim.

Regardless, "Simon - King of the Witches" is a worthwhile 99 minute trip into the occult and bizarre that may keep you coming back for more. Although thirty-seven years old at the time of this writing I rate "Simon" at 5 stars. Get it for Halloween and view with an open mind. You won't be disappointed!

JP
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Thabion
Format:DVD
Simon, King of the Witches
Directed by Bruce Kessler. Written by Robert Phippeny, 1971

This film has several levels of meaning. Superficially it appears to be a stylish excursion through the Southern California psychedelic pop-culture era of self-styled warlocks and witches circa 1970. This was a time when magick was in the air and even the mundane world had a mysterious shimmer and sparkle. There will never be a time quite like it again - And for those of us caught in the spell of that bygone era, Southern California was the Land of Oz.
You can recapture the flavor and mystery of that now-ancient time and faraway place with the excellent DVD reissue of the 1971 film Simon, King of The Witches. How do I know this? Because according to urban myth, I was the real-life (if any of our lives at that time could be called "real") model for the character of Simon Sinistari, the Hollywood warlock in the film.
Now that requires some qualification: I never lived in a storm drain, I never performed an 11th degree operation (gay sex magick), and I never killed anybody, but other than that, how many black bearded, cigar smoking, wine drinking, witch-bashing, self-proclaimed mighty wizards were there prowling the streets of Hollywood during the 1969-70 years? I ask this question because, in the excellent commentaries included in this reissue, both the actor Andrew Prine and the director Bruce Kessler state that screen writer Robert Phippeny was himself "a warlock" and the model for his own character. If this is true I will be more than happy to concede Simon's tarnished crown to Phippeny----but I would like to know where he was while we were "doing his thing."
The general consensus among the "old guard" (some of us did survive!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting
Very interesting but very offbeat. The film contains some very strange scenes and dialog and there moments when the actors seem just a bit uncomfortable with their dialog. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kevin
4.0 out of 5 stars Billy Jack...with Wizards!
Simon: King of the Witches is a study in contradiction. On the one hand, it's supposed to be about white magic, on the other, the protagonist resolves almost everything through... Read more
Published on January 24, 2011 by Garrett Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars Definite Must-See
As a fan of occult and B-horror films, I am very impressed by the visual quality, script, and the performance by Andrew Prine as Simon. Read more
Published on November 18, 2010 by Phyllis Le Chat
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Sky Classic Release
I had only seen this film in an 84 minute Roadshow Home Video relase in the early 80s. Dark Sky has done a superb job with a pristine uncut print and very entertaining talk with... Read more
Published on October 11, 2009 by Trevor William Douglas
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as a Hammer film
First, understand that this is not quite as "bad" as a sixties sexploitation film and not quite as "good" as your average Hammer horror flick -- it does combine elements of both,... Read more
Published on October 29, 2008 by Mortir
2.0 out of 5 stars It is what it is...
I saw this years ago and if you are into witch-kitch, then this is for you. It's like pagan B grade sci-fi without the sci, so B grade witch-fi. Read more
Published on September 21, 2008 by Keith Vorderbruggen
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun little Film
This is a fun little film from the 1960s. Now personally I wouldn't do a human sacrifice on "the man" instead I'd turn him into a big bunny, but then this would be Danny Darko and... Read more
Published on September 5, 2008 by Krishna Hermes
5.0 out of 5 stars Hail Simon!
i picked up this DVD at best buy and knew instantly that it would be worth seeing. great performance and authentically written, Simon is a real warlock. Read more
Published on July 30, 2008 by Darrick Dishaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Fun - Good Magick - Entertaining
- Review of Simon, King of the Witches -

This review refers to the VHS version. I will update this as soon as I get the DVD. Read more
Published on July 19, 2008 by Mark L. Nelson
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