Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
This is another instalment of my FAN HORROR MOVIE PICK OF THE WEEK on my Moviejunkies Cont’d Facebook page. Today we will be checking out Spookies from 1986.
Plot: A sorcerer tries to sacrifice a group of people inside his house with the intention of using their vitality to keep his wife alive.
Review: This is not a good movie. Let’s just get that out of the way. It is however, one of those films that are so crazy, so confusing (in terms of the execution, not so much the stories) and so poorly acted, you can’t help but enjoy it on the “so-bad-it’s-good” scale of things.
I just had to look up the history behind the making of Spookies, to figure out what exactly directors Genie Joseph and Thomas Doran were trying to do. Some say it was comprised of bits of two separate productions that were edited together. I found another commentator who claims to know some of the folks involved with the making of the movie. They said Spookies is comprised of the original Twisted Souls (finished save for some post production work), and new footage added months later (which was NOT from an unfinished, separate film at all, but was footage shot to add into Twisted Souls).
Whatever the case, Spookies has three different storylines. First we have a boy named Billy whose family and friends have forgotten his 13th birthday. He inexplicably decides to hang out in the woods alone and stumbles upon an abandoned mansion with a surprise birthday party waiting inside. The second follows a group of teenagers (this being the 80s they range from early 20s to late 30s) who get lost driving and end up at the same mansion (which is in good condition but they call it old and abandoned) and decide to party there. Thirdly, we have a dude in terrible makeup who’s either a knockoff vampire or some kind of sorcerer, who apparently owns the house and is trying to raise his undead (?) bride. None of these characters and plots connect in any coherent way, a byproduct of the messy production I guess.
I’m not sure how to even rate this movie. On one hand, it’s a terrible film with some cool practical effects and some very original looking creature designs, that range from the memorable (The Grim Reaper/The Spider Woman) to the ridiculous (Farting Zombies). Honestly, the practical effects are the best aspects of this crazy movie, which isn’t surprising considering the talents involved were special effects artists like Jennifer Aspinall (Westworld TV series, Madtv) and Gabriel Bartalos (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, From Beyond, the Leprechaun series) Bartalos was only sixteen years-old at the time (very impressive indeed).
The musical score was also a highlight of the film for me. It was the 80s so there were a lot of cool synth beats in the background, my personal favourite being the theme used as the bride ran through the graveyard. Sadly the same can’t be said for the rest of this muddled mess of a film.
I can see why it’s gained a sort of cult classic following, as there are moments that bring to mind much better films like The Evil Dead, Demons and even Phantasm. But to call this a “good” movie is a stretch, and the only way I would recommend watching it is with a group of like-minded friends and a case or three of your favourite brewskies. That way you can all get drunk and laugh your asses off at the Z-grade horror movie known as Spookies. Bad movies are always better with friends!
Sommer’s Score: 5 out of 10
Shout out to this week’s Horror Fan Pick of the Week winner, Matthew Bailey for once again finding a horror movie I had never seen. This was just the kind of pick I expected from Matt, as among our little group of Trini reviewers, he’s the one with the knowledge of all these types of weird and whacky movies! To recommend a horror movie for me to review you can like and follow my page on Facebook Moviejunkies Cont’d.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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