Produced by Hammer and written by Nigel Kneale, who created Quatermass, The Witches tells of Gwen Mayfield (Joan Fontaine), a teacher working in Africa who has a breakdown when a curse is put on her by a witch doctor.
She returns to England to teach in a sleepy village school but then discovers that the rural community is caught in the grip of a voodoo cult.
There is an interesting development halfway through when Gwen is trapped in a nursing home which claims she has been in a coma for a year, but it all goes off the rails when you see the hybrid voodoo-witchcraft ceremony at the end, which is inappropriately hilarious.
Former Hollywood star Fontaine reprises her “frightened lady” turn – first seen in Rebecca – as the cursed schoolmistress. It was to signal her career’s end and Joan never made another film, although she did show up on television every once in a while.
Released overseas as The Devil’s Own.