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The working titles of the film were A Life for a Life and The Toy Factory. The title of the viewed print was The Witching, which was a re-edited, re-released version of the film produced by Premiere Productions, Ltd. and Associates Entertainment International and bearing a 1983 copyright statement in the end credits. The plot summary above is based on a viewing of the 1983 version, with supplemental information based on 1972 reviews and the Filmfacts summary.
The 1983 onscreen credits, which are the basis of the cast and crew listed above, provides cast and crew members for both 1972 and 1983 versions. Actors following cast member Terry Quinn May have appeared only in the 1983 version, which included scenes added to the 1972 version. The crew names listed above reflect the 1972 version, with the designated additions of crew members who appear to have worked only on the 1983 version; crew members listed in the section marked "Additional photography" appear to have worked only in the 1983 version. The offscreen crew credits listed above are people who worked on the 1972 version.
Although 1972 reviews reported that the story ended with the character "Lori Brandon" awakening from a nightmare predicting future events, the viewed print ended earlier, with her live burial. The film contained many brief flashbacks. An important point made in the film is that the term "necromancy" is defined as reviving the dead by exchanging a life for a life, but as noted in the San Francisco Chronicle review, the true definition of the term has to do with revealing future events through communication with the dead.
The film's production and release companies varied among pre-production, the 1972 release and the 1983 release. October 1970 through February 1971Hollywood Reporter production charts reported that the film was being produced by writer-producer-director Gordon and his Group III Productions. According to a November 1970 Hollywood Reporter news item, Gordon, who had recently formed Group III, had completed principal photography on The Toy Factory for under $1,000,000, with the financial backing of Valiant Productions and Premiere Investment Corp., Inc. According to a February 1972 Variety article, in February of the previous year, following completion of The Toy Factory, Caplan, president of Premiere, deemed the film unacceptable and assigned Zenith executive vice president Stone to revise and complete a new version. Stone made twenty minutes of changes to the film, which, according to the February 1972 Variety article, exceeded the budget by four hundred percent.
According to a July 1971 Daily Variety news item, Gordon and Valiant Productions brought suit against Premiere to re-gain creative control of the film. The same news item reported that a Superior Court judge gave Gordon twenty-one days to re-cut the picture to his original plan, and then return the film for release to Premiere, which was ordered to make no further changes. A September 1971 Hollywood Reporter article reported that in a second preliminary injunction Caplan was found in contempt of court for failing to fully comply with the prior injunction. In February 1972, a Variety article reported that the Superior Court ruled in favor of Premiere by giving it full control of worldwide distribution rights of the film, which was now titled Necromancy, through a deal with Cinerama Releasing Corp. for domestic release and Cavalcade Pictures for foreign distribution.
In August 1971, a Daily Variety article reported that Zenith had formed a music publishing and recording arm and had plans to record an album titled Emotion containing composer Fred Karger's film score, as well as a single of the film's theme song, "The Morning After," composed by Karger and lyricist Richard Quine. Although a March 1972 Daily Variety news item reported that the song would be sung in the film by Mike Clifford, it was not heard in the viewed print and no 1972 reviews mentioned the song.
According to Filmfacts and the Los Angeles Times review, portions of Necromancy were shot on location in Los Gatos, CA. Pamela Franklin and Harvey Jason, who portrayed "Lori Brandon" and "Dr. Jay," respectively, were married in 1971. A studio cast list names Ted Roberts as music editor, while October 1970 Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety news items name Don Roberts as a sound man. It is possible that the two names refer to the same person. Although the Box Office review, dated October 1972, listed a release date of August 1972 for Necromancy, it May not have been released until November 1972, which is the release date given by the Motion Picture Herald review. Several 1972 reviewers criticized the film for its choppy editing, and the Box Office review mentioned that the film was originally intended to be R-or X-rated. Although the 1972 Variety review did state that Franklin appeared partially in the nude, it also noted "trade rumors" that "too-spicy scenes" were ultimately omitted to earn the film a PG rating. In the 1983 version (The Witching), many other characters appeared in the nude and brief scenes of an orgiastic nature were included. According to an April 1972 Daily Variety news item, Necromancy opened the Tehran Film Festival on April 24, 1972.