Main cast: Jon Finch (David), Patricia Quinn (Lucinda), Prunella Gee (Mary), and Ian McCulloch (Charles)
Director: Don Leaver
David and Mary are a couple dabbling in show business, which means, naturally, that they are not exactly happy. You see, Mary is a busy actress, constantly away at some movie set, while David is a music composer often staying behind in his studio at their big country house to compose and add score to movies. Some of them, like his latest assignment, feature Mary in various states of undress. This doesn’t help improve his paranoia that Mary is being unfaithful. Plus, he is drinking more and more these days.
Then one day, he finds a young woman, Lucinda, who is wearing only a cloak. She is terrified of modern amenities, it seems, and he locks her in a room, convinced that she’s a nutcase and he’s best call his doctor friend Charles to have a look at her. She vanishes, however, and soon, she starts to terrorize David. Is she a figment of his increasingly unstable mind, or is she really a witch from the 17th century that used magic to bring herself to the present time? Mary soon returns home to find an unstable husband who seems determined to either harm her or protect her, depending on his mood. Can she do anything about their unwanted guest?
Witching Time is interesting in that it focuses more on creating a mounting atmosphere of hysteria, paranoia, and claustrophobia. There is also a startling amount of female nudity here, considering that this episode was shown on TV back in those days. The nudity and the feverish pitch of fear also combine to give this episode a dark and disturbing kind of sensuality that complements the horror elements very well.
Unfortunately, the episode is actually quite predictable. It doesn’t deviate from the norm when it comes to such stories, and as a result, as much work is put into creating the tension and the atmosphere, I never actually feel scared even a little. Not when I see the twists coming from a mile away, sigh. I appreciate the work done here, but I don’t feel it, if I am making sense here. The cast, some of them such as Ian McCulloch and Jon Finch being no stranger to the horror genre, is on the whole watchable and competent, so it’s quite the shame that the episode simply simmers instead of boiling over when it comes to the creepy factor.