Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Witchboard (1986)

Directed by:
Kevin S. Tenney

An above average offering about the dangers of innocently playing with OUIJA boards. Gorgeous redhead Tawny Kitaen (around her Whitesnake music video days i.e. before she became weird and annoying on reality TV) stars as Linda, who is fascinated with the board after a friend brings one to aparty. She contacts the ghost of a helpful little boy who helps her find her missing ring in a sink drain, but the spirit of former mass murderer Malfeitor (imposing J.P. Leubsen) isn't about to pass up the chance to return to life, and takes over. When Linda's defenses break down, Malfeitor uses her to strike at her friends (key well placed OMEN-style death sequences here) and eventually plans to possess her; mind body and soul. Todd Allen stars as her smart ass boyfriend, who needs to grow up himself in order to save her. The death scenes involve a stack of falling sheet rock, falling out of a second story window onto a sundial and a hatchet to the head. Well, a hatchet is stuck in the top of someone's head, but when the dead body is found, the bloody gash is on the wrong side... and on his cheek. Oops.

Although too routine in spots, a little too elementary when it comes to character arcs and with semi-annoying lead characters, this benefits from a likable supporting cast (particularly future soap star Stephen Nichols as Linda's wealthy former boyfriend and Kathleen Wilhoite as an eccentric clairvoyant who believes in "psychic humor"), a well-developed plotline and several good jolts. It's much better than most other occult/supernatural movies from the 80s. Two official sequels followed (one in 1992 and one in 1995); both of which were also directed by Tenney and above average. His next were the great NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (1987) and the awful (but hilarious) occult-themed WITCHTRAP. Dennis Michael Tenney (brother of the director) did the excellent music score. The cast includes Burke Byrnes as a magician detective, James W. Quinn as Allen's co-worker, Rose Marie as a neighbor and Judy Tatum as a doctor.

Score: 6.5 out of 10

1 comment:

Andre said...

Do you know where I can find the subs for this movie in Spanish or Portuguese? I didn't find on popular subtitles sites.

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