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.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Spookies (1986)

...aka: Goblin
...aka: Twisted Souls

Directed by:
Thomas Doran
Brendan Faulkner
Eugenie Joseph

TWISTED SOULS was filmed in upstate New York in 1984 by Faulkner and Doran and was about finished with post-production by early 1985 when the film was seized from the filmmakers by executive producer Michael Lee. After some legal wrangling, Lee hired a new director (Ms. Joseph) to scrap about half of the original footage, shoot brand new stuff and then cobble it all together in the editing room. The result (which is about a 50/50 split of footage from both shoots) is basically a cluttered and confusing monster movie hodgepodge, but there are still plenty of fun moments that manage to shine through for fans of 80s horror.
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Young runaway Billy (Alec Nemser), who's upset his parents forgot his birthday, ends up making his way to a large country mansion at about the same time two car loads full of friends show up looking for a place to party. All end up trapped inside and face myriad monster terrors, which are all controlled by a creepy zombie-like man named Kreon (Felix Ward). Kreon wants to resurrect his perfectly preserved wife Isabelle (Maria Pechukas) and needs to kill off the home's new visitors to do so. At least that's what I made of the newly structure plot. What's left is a mixed bag of special effects that are sometimes hokey, but usually excellent, and they're the primary reason to check this one out. Included are tons of zombies, a clawed cat boy, a green-faced zombie kid with oversized plastic teeth, a witch dummy prop, an EVIL DEAD-like demon, flatulent "muck men" monsters that are dissolved by wine, little GHOULIES-like critters, a giant lizard like thingy with electric tentacles, a hulking Grim Reaper and a truly excellent spider monster. The effects from the older version (which were created by Gabe Bartalos, Jennifer Aspinal, Vincent J. Guastini and others) are superior to the stuff we see in the newer footage.
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For the record, the scenes of the kid runaway, Kreon and Isabelle, the graveyard zombies, the cat boy, the green zombie kid and the witch puppet were all shot by Joseph, while the rest is from the original shoot. Some of the people involved with this one (Faulkner, Doran, some of the actors) were also involved with IGOR AND THE LUNATICS (1985).

★★

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