*** Spoilers ***
I'm not going to spend a long time on this one. For me the high point was that it had Udo Kier in it! A very young Mr Kier, but the intensity is still there.
If you think Witchfinder General with gore and tits and you've pretty much summed this one up.
The movie basically centers around the torturing and murder of what seems any attractive young person, both male and female (but mostly female) who is suspected to be a witch. These acts are ordered by an evil Lord Cumberland, all under the guise of religion and god. We also have one of the most horrid men I've ever set eyes on - Albino, who concocts acts these poor women are supposed to have carried out (all untrue) just so he can brand them as witches and rape and torture them.
Udo plays a very young apprentice/pupil Count Christian Von Meruh. He is the supposed 'good guy'... well as good as you're going to get in this movie. Kier inevitably falls in love with one of the accused young women and starts to question the practices and what is going on.
What follows is what you would expect from this sort of movie. Tortures depicted include: Flogging, water torture, stabbing with skewers, chair of torture, the rack, thumb screws, burning at the stake and a tongue being ripped out. There are also rapes depicted.
Reviews I've read of this movie seem to rate it quite highly and feel that it is much more than an exploitation movie. True, there is more to it than that. It does depict the individuals responsible as horrible creatures and does point the finger very squarely at religion, so I suppose there is a moral message of sorts, but I just didn't enjoy this movie.
I didn't like how it 'felt'. To me, the way it was shot, the lingering on the suffering and the unnecessary nudity in places, which added nothing to the scenes or story, just felt a bit exploitative in the wrong kind of way to me. Maybe it was just how I saw it. Maybe I was in 'one of those moods', but the movie just didn't sit well with me. I felt like I was watching torture scenes which were filmed with the intention of being arousing. It certainly felt like the director had purely a male audience in mind when he put this together.
Aside from all of this, it was hideously overacted and hammy in several places. I just found myself feeling impatient and irritated by it.
I think this is just one of those movies that was a matter of personal taste for me. I'm more than willing to accept a lot of people may enjoy this movie, I am just not one of them.
Won't tag this as 'avoid' down to purely my own personal taste, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it.