The story centers around Mrs. Mitchell, a housewife caught in a mundane suburban life with an overbearing husband. Intrigued by the neighborhood practicing witch, Joan embarks on an odyssey to the dark side, where she herself becomes a witch.
Season of the Witch is filmed post women’s lib movement, yet the lead character Joan Mitchell–played by Jan White–feels trapped by her life. Her daughter is a typical teenager flitting about, in her own world. Her over-worked, workaholic husband is too consumed by his demanding career to pay attention to her.
The lead character Mrs. Mitchell and her best friend Shirley go to a neighbor woman’s house for a tarot card reading. While her friend Shirley; a boozy, middle-aged drinker in the midst of a mid-life crisis is being dealt her fortune, Mitchell spots a copy of the primer book “To Be a Witch” on the bookshelf. She begins reading the book, and instantly becomes hooked. She sets out to learn the art of witchcraft. Chaos evolves around her in the form of reoccurring nightmares of a Pagan man-beast, her daughter running away, and an affair with her daughter’s lover; the young and obnoxious sociology professor who likes to play mind games, and thinks her stories of witchcraft and “making things around her happen” is just a cop-out excuse for not dealing with the realities of her own life and getting older.
A cast of characters come into play to further showcase the suburban housewife monotony of the 1970’s, from the silly gossiping lady friends Mitchell plays cards with, to the assortment of goofy husbands at a cocktail party. This simple contrast works well in this early George Romero work, because it showcases Mitchell’s focus on the dark arts, and how easily she slipped into that mode. She even travels into the city while her daughter is missing, unfazed. She stops in a quaint antique shop to purchase all the witchery tools she can find; a chalice, herbs and an assortment of cool looking props that give the movie a truly authentic vibe.
What makes this movie interesting to watch, is the time period when it was filmed. Mitchell wears the fringes, the chunky rings, necklaces, the caped, hooded clothes of the 1970’s that adds to the witch vibe. The clothing is early 1970’s fashion that any woman back then might have worn, but it adds to the vintage horror feel of the film, especially Mitchell’s long, painted white fingernails and blue eye-makeup. The soundtrack to the movie is fitting, with Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” being played in the background when Mitchell goes shopping for her “witch supplies.” This film is a must see for classic horror buffs.