Anna Biller Productions

Fabulous films about men, women, and love


THE LOVE WITCH REVIEWS



THE LOVE WITCH PRESS

REVIEWS:

 

INDIEWIRE
Sex, death, Satanic rituals, God-level costume design, and cinema’s greatest tampon joke ensue, as Biller spins an arch but hyper-sincere story about the true price of patriarchy. A spellbinding homage to old pulp paperbacks and the Technicolor melodramas of the 1960s, Anna Biller’s THE LOVE WITCH is a throwback that’s told with the kind of perverse conviction and studied expertise that would make Quentin Tarantino blush. [more] –David Ehrlich

 

BLOUINARTINFO
At once hilarious and grotesque, with awe-inspiring costume and set designs that hark back to such low-budget curiosities as Hammer horror movies and the erotic cinema of Radley Metzger, Biller’s vision is less nostalgic throwback than genre-recalibration, putting a woman in a position of power as a perpetrator of violence against men. [more] -Craig Hubert

 

THE NEW YORKER
A metaphysical astonishment. The costumes and furnishings, Biller’s own handmade versions of the era’s candy-coated extravagances, are as exquisitely arch and theatrical as the performances and the action, which—for all their comic exaggeration—echo with an uncanny symbolic power. [more] –Richard Brody

 

THE VILLAGE VOICE
The Love Witch is a sort of retro throwback modeled on the stylized European exploitation films of the 1960s. Biller shot it, ravishingly, on 35mm and furnished every frame with uncanny precision; the result really could pass as a relic of the era. That it's quite funny and charming seems almost beside the point. I'm keen to watch it again just to luxuriate in it. [more]-Calum Marsh

 

SCREEN DAILY
Just about the only filmmakers who have previously attained this level of control over their visions are Russ Meyer and Wes Anderson; the fact that The Love Witch evokes both their self-enclosed universes, but with a uniquely female viewpoint, suggest how fresh and strange Biller’s imagination is. Biller does more than resurrect a chic, cool bygone film style. She counters many of the underlying assumptions of the male-directed exploitation films she evokes, even as Elaine is ultimately shown to be a genuine monster. [more] –Kim Newman

 

CAHIERS DU CINÉMA
With her latest film The Love Witch, Anna Biller goes beyond mere homage to the vintage cinema of Corman or Franco, rehabilitating it in a feminist, nudist, and glamorous incarnation. –Nicolas Stanzick

 

WALL STREET JOURNAL
Extravagantly fulfills the filmmaker’s intention to create ‘visual pleasure for women.' -Steve Dollar

 

BALTIMORE SUN
'The Love Witch’ proved a very good witch indeed
Wildly entertaining, Biller’s film is a loving throwback to late-‘60s adult fare. Its look and feel, from the film stock Biller chose to shoot on to the soundtrack to the raven-haired Robinson's Morticia Addams-length hair, was all wonderfully evocative of the period. The result is a cinematic ride to be relished — cheeky, compelling and often hilarious, clearly like the work of few other (if any) contemporary filmmakers. [more] –Chris Kaltenbach

 

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
‘The Love Witch’ Casts a wickedly entertaining spell.
Destined to be a cult classic, this sophomore effort by Anna Biller (Viva) is a heady throwback to the American and European sexploitation horror films of the late '60s and early '70s. Shot in glorious 35mm and featuring a vibrant color palette that makes Technicolor seem like sepia, The Love Witch is an expertly executed homage that works brilliantly on its own original terms. Suffusing its genre conventions with sly feminist commentary on the relations between the sexes, the pic offers as much for the mind as the eye, and that's saying something. [more] –Frank Scheck

 

CHICAGO READER
This spellbinding ode to exploitation films of the 1960s and '70s is impressive not only for its mock-Technicolor hues and period mise-en-scène but also for what lies beneath: a creepy and cunning examination of female fantasy. Robert Frost once wrote that “love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired,” and Biller’s witch, both liberated in exploiting her sexuality and repressed by her white-knight fantasies, embodies the idea. [more] –Leah Pickett

 

SIGHT AND SOUND
There is no film in this year’s FrightFest offerings more visually attractive than The Love Witch. It combines the retro glamour, back projection and technicolour brilliance of 1960s cinema, was shot on archaising 35mm, and boasts perhaps the most immaculately applied lipstick and eyeliner of the new century. Yet all this is part of the film’s seductive artifice, fashioned to mesmerise the viewer in much the way that witch protagonist Elaine (Samantha Robinson, in a wonderfully stylised performance) uses makeup, dress and wig to lure male lovers by reflecting their fantasies. [more] -Anton Bitel

 

SHOCK TILL YOU DROP
THE LOVE WITCH is a stylish, disarming, allegorical soap-opera.
THE LOVE WITCH’s colors are blinding, its art decoration, mise en scene and costumes (designed by Biller) are stunning. The tone of the picture veers maniacally between dissonant voice overs, stylized stilted dialogue exchanges, stag loop erotica, Jess Franco-esque nightclub hang-outs, romantic mania, serious drama, absurdist comedy and sometimes gory violence. THE LOVE WITCH is a kind of horror movie but it’s far more than just that. It’s as much a vibrant, daring art installation as it is a kind of highly sexualized vintage movie of the week. This is a fiercely intelligent, visionary work hiding in the skin of a trashy exploitation movie bauble and it firmly locks-in Biller in as one of the most exciting filmmakers alive. [more] –Chris Alexander

 

CINEMATIC INVESTIGATIONS
Using the aesthetics of 1960s sexploitation cinema and shot on 35mm, Biller envelops the viewer in a completely realised, Technicolour world, at once removed from, and inherently familiar as, ‘real’. Real in the sense that Elaine’s entirely constructed femininity, functioning to give pleasure to the men she gives her love potion to, is only a slight exaggeration from the everyday standard of beauty with which women are still conditioned to comply. The Love Witch was a particular highlight of IFFR 2016 – a gloriously seductive feminist work, and a distinctly pleasurable viewing experience. [more] –Harriet Warman

 

SCI-FI NOW
Anna Biller’s horror throwback The Love Witch is so beautiful it makes other films look bad
Anna Biller’s The Love Witch is so beautifully made that, at a certain point, you start to wonder why everyone else isn’t trying as hard. This immaculate tribute to 1960s Technicolor and soap opera melodrama, which played at Fantasia Film Festival, is absolutely stunning to look at, and shows an incredible clarity of vision, voice and skill. It’s not long before we’re under the filmmaker’s spell as surely as the hapless men are under the witch’s. The surface pleasures are certainly a joy, but Biller’s voice sounds clearly throughout. This is really quite wonderful. [more] –Jonathan Hatfull

 

VAGUE VISAGES
Anna Biller’s The Love Witch — a playful ode to Giallo and Euro-horror of the ‘60s and ‘70s — brims with substance. What Biller manages to accomplish with The Love Witch is nothing short of astonishing — not only in the painstaking recreation of the mood, sets and look of the films she’s referencing, but in how she spiritually re-appropriates that decorative world into something radical and new. [more] –Justine A. Smith

 

BLOODY DISGUSTING
‘The Love Witch’ Casts a Sexy, Subversive Spell
The Love Witch is a spellbinding and hilarious homage to the erotic exploitation films of the ‘60s and ‘70s, with faux Technicolor hues and period décor and costumes to spare. Lurking beneath the gorgeous images is a rather clever exploration of female desires. Director Anna Biller subverts the traditionally macho melodrama to deliver something incredibly shrewd that’s as funny as it is smart. [more] –Patrick Cooper

 

GRUSESOME MAGAZINE
“The Love Witch” (2016): Serial Killing Meets Sexual Politics in Occult Thriller
Writer/director Anna Biller’s films are equal parts labors of love, valentines to both classic and cult cinema, celluloid discourses on sexual politics, and visual eye candy that feeds viewers’ minds at the same time — along with so much more. This film is a cinephile’s treasure trove and is unlike anything else you will see this year, no matter the genre. The Love Witch contains some of the most exciting, original filmmaking in recent memory, independent or otherwise. [more] –Joseph Perry

 

THE WILD HUNT
The Love Witch is packed with meaning, embedded in its stunning visuals, the use of music, and the narrative presentation. The incredible attention to symbolic detail make The Love Witch a juicy film to watch. Film buffs will enjoy the visual texture that comes across in 35mm, as well as the careful nods to old film constructions. Biller’s film is a creative, aggressive and open commentary on life as a woman in modern society, both in body and heart, as well as a treatise on love as it exists between the genders. [more] –Heather Greene

 

THE SKINNY
Nowadays, the word “auteur” is used very much interchangeably with “director” and often means one with a recognisable style or vision , usually achieved through a governing stake of control over their films, a privilege not enjoyed by many directors for hire in Hollywood (and certainly not back in the heyday of B movies). Anna Biller is, however, an auteur in the term’s most potent incarnation. The Love Witch is nothing less than a tour de force of 21st century queer, feminist film. But this is a multi-faceted gem, and The Love Witch can simply be enjoyed as a '70s gothic romp – riotously funny, overwrought, dramatic and full of suspense. [more] –Rachel Bowles

 

CULTURE FIX
Biller's dedication and stunning craftsmanship ensures The Love Witch is an undeniable cult masterpiece that reminds us that the spirit of sixties occult cinema is alive and doing very well. [more]

 

STAGE BUDDY
Other filmmakers have reproduced vintage film aesthetics, but seldom with as much brio and intelligence as writer/director Anna Biller in The Love Witch. The Love Witch overall is a giddy delight. Samantha Robinson is captivating, the film is visually stunning, a lovingly detailed portrayal of witchcraft and an astute repurposing of exploitation conventions. [more] –Joe Blessing

 

TV BOMB
Biller subverts sexploitation tropes into a devilishly clever and subtle feminist comment on the performative nature of sexuality and gender. In its mischievous examination of sexual politics, it’s way more progressive than something like the dismal Danish Girl, but won’t get a fraction of the attention. –Kevin Wright

 

INTERVIEWS:

FILMMAKER MAGAZINE INTERVIEW
“I’m Actually Trying to Create a Film for Women”: Anna Biller on The Love Witch

Over the last decade, Los Angeles-based film artist Anna Biller has eked out a small but fervid following; watching her films is like undergoing hypnosis by means of feng shui, wherein the viewer is lulled into a stilted, cheeky and brilliantly manicured simulacra of golden-era Hollywood staging, blocking and delivery. However indebted these forms are to their masculinist forebears, Biller is not content to be considered a pastiche artist: in the below discussion she concedes that her choices are guided by what gives her cinephilic pleasure, although — because? — the feminist interrogations of her work are impossible to ignore. [more]

 

ANOTHER MAG INTERVIEW
Why We're Under the Spell of Sultry New Film The Love Witch

Anna Biller makes films that can kill you with one look. Nine years ago, her movie Viva, a tale of promiscuity in 1970s Los Angeles suburbia, earned her a reputation as a starlet of underground Hollywood. The film is blessed by the striking, celluloid beauty of 35mm, which is perfectly offset against the kitsch costumes of Biller’s characters and the vivid artwork that adorns the walls of their abodes. It should come as no surprise then that her sophomore feature The Love Witch gets a similarly stylish treatment. Set in a strangely ambiguous era, it toys with ideas of sexual prowess and feminist ideals that feel contemporary, but are delivered under a fantastical Technicolor spotlight. Ahead of The Love Witch’s Discovery screening at FrightFest 2016, Biller spoke to AnOther about how she created a twisted, yet intelligent piece of statement cinema. [more] -Douglas Greenwood

 

HELLO GIGGLES INTERVIEW
CLOTHES MINDED The psychedelic costumes in "The Love Witch" prove that not all witches have to wear black

When I first saw the trailer for The Love Witch, my jaw-dropped at the gorgeously vibrant, highly-stylized visuals. The scenes looked incredibly authentic, as though they were ripped straight out of old Technicolor films from the 1960s. Today, we are focusing solely on the aesthetics, namely the costume design. The film’s colorful costumes are set against a vivid set design, adding a whole different level of enchantment to Elaine’s spells and potions. We are so used to seeing witches either portrayed as ugly (Hocus Pocus), or incredibly beautiful (but solely wearing head-to-toe black, like in American Horror Story: Coven.) Elaine’s sartorial style is the opposite of the typical cinematic witch — a psychedelic, mystical rainbow. She’s Morticia Addams meets Mary Quant. [more]

 

CINEMATIC INVESTIGATIONS INTERVIEW
Falling for The Love Witch, an interview with Anna Biller

Back in January at International Film Festival Rotterdam, among the hundreds of films screening, a path emerged that lead led this writer to films concerned with womanhood. Unlike any other film at IFFR however, was Anna Biller’s gloriously technicolour The Love Witch (2016). Building on the themes of female and male power and sexuality, explored in her previous feature Viva (2007) and her short films, Three Examples of Myself as a Queen (1994), The Hypnotist (2001), and A Visit from the Incubus (2001), Biller has created with The Love Witch, the ultimate evocation of the absurdity of gender inequality, realised in a perfectly rendered, beautiful film world. [more]

 

SHOCKING NEWS INTERVIEW
Interview with Barend de Voogd

INTERVIEW | What other filmmaker would spend six months hand-hooking a rug? "You can’t buy a pentagram rug in a store," laughs Anna Biller. You really need a pentagram rug, however, if your new film is called THE LOVE WITCH. You only see the rug for a few seconds in the movie, but this type of dedication is not unusual for the American filmmaker. The delicious theatrically performed Technicolor film looks exquisite. "I tried to be a little more toned-down this time," Biller said during her interview with Shocking News, "but I've still been working on it for nearly seven years. It took a whole year just to make the renaissance costumes. Sometimes it’s too much, a little out of proportion, but I want everything to be fully realized. I am a fetishist, a cinephile." [more]
Original Dutch Review

 

RUE MORGUE INTERVIEW
Sinister Seven: ANNA BILLER casts a spell on men in THE LOVE WITCH

The Season of the Witch has arrived. For horror fans who live in the States, there is no real need to saturate their senses in the sights and sounds of horror movies to experience the sensation of terror. All one needs to do is observe the political climate, and that should render the expression “season of the witch” appropriate. This is a brash and insensitive period of history, and perhaps it is a supernatural reaction to this atmosphere that has stirred the pot and conjured a couple of highly unique witch films. The first of these is Robert Eggers' The VVitch: A New England Folk Tale, which has already been widely recognized as a great film; and the second is Anna Biller’s latest visually stunning offering, THE LOVE WITCH. [more]