Director/Screenplay/Producer/Music Supervisor – Dale Resteghini, Photography – Dale Resteghini & Martin Ahlgren, Music – Robert Douglas Gay, Patrick ‘L.G.’ Harvey & Tony Prendatt, Co-Score – Terence Dudley. Production Company – Raging Nation Films & Records/M-Gal Productions.
Stacii Jae Johnson (Dee Dee Washington), Eminem (Himself), Dale Resteghini (Wil), Steve Grillo (Muzzle), William Harbour (Shaggy), Amy Dorris (Rave Girl), Mia Tyler (Mia), Sherrita Duran (Miss Josephine), Vanilla Ice (Himself), Pras (Himself), Elijah Rhoades (The Big Z), Tony Prendatt (Lazarus), David Scott Klein (Mr Krump), Namakula the Goddess (Isabel Consado), Mobb Deep (Himself), Rah Digga (Herself), Ja Rule (Himself), Rock (Himself)
An evil, hideously ugly creature that has been nicknamed the Hip Hop Witch is attacking rappers and hip-hop artists on the streets of New York City. Dee Dee Washington gets a job at a tabloid magazine as a lowly assistant to the self-important Miss Josephine. Dee Dee suggests the idea of a story about the Hip Hop Witch but Miss Josephine dismisses it. When she is passed over for a promotion, Dee Dee decides to investigate the Hip Hop Witch story herself. Meanwhile, five kids from Framingham, Massachusetts, hear about the $10 million reward being posted for the Hip Hop Witch and set out to New York City to prove that the Hip Hop Witch doesn’t exist and that it is record producer The Big Z killing his own artists in order to promote music sales.
The no-budget, shot-on-video success of The Blair Witch Project (1999) was an enormous hit when it came out. The surprise about the phenomenon was not that it produced copies but that films attempting to copy Blair Witch remained relatively few while being vastly outnumbered by parodies. The parodies so far include:– The Bare Wench Project (1999) and sequels, The Blair Bitch Project (1999), The Blair Witch Rejects (1999), The Erotic Witch Project (1999), Scary Movie (2000), The Bare Hick Project (2000), The Tony Blair Witch Project (2000) and The Blair Witch Mountain Project (2002), while The Bogus Witch Project (2000) is an entire anthology of short Blair Witch parodies.
Da Hip Hop Witch has the barely amusing idea of setting a Blair Witch spoof inside the world of hip-hop/rap. Filmmaker Dale Resteghini has directed a number of music videos for rap artists, as well as several independently produced low-budget films such as the racial drama Colorz of Rage (1999), the slasher film Urban Massacre (2002), The System Within (2006) set in the world of fashion, and produced the reality tv horror Survive This (2005).
Da Hip Hop Witch feels as though Dale Resteghini has gone out with a video camera and interviewed various rap artists and gotten them to come up with something completely off the cuff about the Hip Hop Witch. This is the sum conception of Da Hip Hop Witch. The idea might have been vaguely amusing as a five-minute skit on a tv comedy show but dragged out to the length of a film it is excruciating. Most of the rappers – and there are quite a number interviewed throughout – appear strung out on one or another substance and ramble on in a totally disconnected and incoherent way – “The Hip Hop Witch sucked my dick … She’s got big titties … She’s scary. When you see her – RUN!!!.” To expect that there might be any consistency between their descriptions of the witch would probably be too much to ask in such a film. It would probably be even less to ask for any kind of rationale or explanation as to why the witch is attacking rappers as opposed to any other segment of the population.
The most well-known of the rappers is of course Eminem. Eminem was a complete unknown at the time the film was shot and subsequently climbed to superstardom, whereupon Da Hip Hop Witch was promptly released worldwide featuring his face on the cover and promoting him as the star, even though his appearance maybe constitutes only around 10 minutes of footage. (For some peculiar reason, the scenes where he appears drinking and smoking have all had the labels on the alcohol and the cigarettes digitised out). Eminem is the only one of the artists who gets into the deadpan spirit of the exercise and rambles on in a peculiar way where he keeps repeating everything he says twice and tells an amusing anecdote about the Witch sticking her finger up his ass. (His peculiar fascination with and continuing to return to this act does kind of make one wonder exactly what this guy’s personal sexual peccadilloes are). On the other hand, the other most famous rapper present, Vanilla Ice, tries to get into the same spirit of telling a deadpan tall tale but fails badly.
There are two incredibly lame running subplots – one involving Stacii Jae Johnston and her getting a job with a tabloid magazine and receiving grief from a bitchy boss (which in any real world setting would have surely had Stacii fired for her attitude) and then deciding to investigate the Hip Hop Witch story on her own; and one involving five white twentysomethings from Massachusetts who come to New York City to blackmail a music producer about killing the rappers. To actually refer to either strand of story as having a plot would be overly generous. The kids are more than clearly not taking any of it seriously – at one point, one of them tries to use one of his dreadlocks as a plumb bob to locate the witch, which should probably give you an idea about how lame the film is.
Watching some 80 minutes of scenes with strung-out rappers rambling on about the Hip Hop Witch and barely able to keep their faces straight, not to mention being interspersed with a series of almost entirely plotless dramatic scenes that are shot with a technical competence that is down around the level of a home movie, makes Da Hip Hop Witch a near unwatchable film. The rapper scenes are excruciating. I have read a number of comments where people have called Da Hip Hop Witch one of the worst films ever made; I found it fairly near to being. Indeed, it took several attempts upon my part to watch the whole of Da Hip Hop Witch – even as such I could only do it in ten minute bursts before my brain began to hurt and would have given up a good deal sooner were it not for professional dedication.
(Winner in this site’s Worst Films of 2000 list).