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Viewed back-to-back, the movies seemed to be having a conversation about the way times change and the ways not everyone changes with them.The two are, in many respects, markedly different films.Romero’s second horror film, made after Night Of The Living Dead, Season Of The Witch looks significantly less impressive than its predecessor.
Both film and novel portray how some of the changes of the ’60s, a decade filled with radical breaks with tradition, evolved and adapted as they moved from campuses and big cities to the suburbs. The new ideas proved viable, at least in the short term, even as some of those who adopted them become collateral damage.
Attending a spouse-swapping key party, Ice Storm’s Joan Allen throws herself into a casual dalliance with a neighbor with the abandon seemingly demanded by the times, receiving only frustration, tears, and some of the least-erotic post-coital commentary ever put to film: “That was awful.” Around the same time The Ice Storm hit theaters, Anchor Bay Entertainment, a company that used to be in the business of unearthing and restoring classic, half-remembered, and little-seen cult films, released the 1972 George Romero film Season Of The Witch to the home-video market.
If you want to know what a time and place really looked like, look to its low-budget movies.
Where projects like The Ice Storm and Mad Men reproduce the past, often brilliantly, through meticulous reconstruction, films like Season Of The Witch usually have to take what they can get by shooting on locations that remain much as the filmmakers found them.
For starters, The Ice Storm features no witches, unless I’m missing something buried deep in the subtext.