Director(s) – Genie Joseph (Mind Benders, Pheromone), Thomas Doran (Mothers of Mercy, Is This the End of Doublespeak?), and Brendan Faulkner (Killer Dead)
Starring – Felix Ward, Maria Pechukas (Carmilla, Night of the Cat), and Dan Scott (Adam-12, Screen Two)
Release Date – 1986
Rating – 3/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Tagline – “A night of unrelenting terror”
After a few days at work I decided to take a three day weekend and binge some movies and relax. The amount of customers walking into our store that pretend like this is not a serious situation for everyone staggers and creates an extremely stressful work environment. While I was home for three days I tossed on a little Vinegar Syndrome double feature before moving on to a few other films.
The first film on the chopping block is the 1986 horror comedy Spookies. This is a movie I had bought several year prior at a con only to get home and discover that it was a boot and the boot didn’t work. When Vin Syn’s blu release is the first time I had ever seen the film. Thanks Vin Syn for sending this one my way.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a group of people that stops by a home near a cemetery to party but soon find themselves in mortal danger. What they don’t know is that the home is owned by an evil man and his “children” who plan on using the group to resurrect his dead wife. **Spoiler Alert**
I never heard good things about this one aside from how awesome the practical effects was. I was always curious about it and my love for cheesy 80s horror flicks always made me interested in the film. I couldn’t wait to watch it and when I had the time I tossed it in.
The acting in this one is super cheesy and not in a good way at times. I’ve seen some cheesy horror flicks from the 80s with some oddball casts and characters but Spookies may take the cake. The characters are very out there and unforgettable but there was several occasions the viewer just feels awkward watching the cast stammer through their dialogue. I don’t know the director situation with the film but the performances feel as if they were lacking direction.
The story for this one is beautifully 80s but lacks something to pull it all together. The evil man sacrificing the group to bring back his love while various creatures wreak havoc. It was a promising idea but it feels incomplete and the romance angle around the dead beauty and the evil conjurer is extremely awkward and out of place. These inconsistencies makes this one fall short of greatness.
Finally, the creatures and practical effects are great. Honestly, most of the film flows like a highlight reel of top not make-up effects, prosthetics, and practical effects. We don’t get the blood and gore that I thought we would but the creatures, undead, and the effects are fucking top notch. Very memorable and highly enjoyable. Overall, Spookies is a movie that has a lot going for it but is unable to put them all together into a movie that I will revisit several times. The blu looks great from Vin Syn and looks perfect in any collection but I don’t see myself watching this again anytime soon. Check it out now.
Region Free Blu-ray (2-disc set)
Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original camera negative
“Twisted Tale – The Unmaking of Spookies” – a feature-length making-of documentary, including a commentary track with documentary co-directors Michael Gingold & Glen Baisley and extensive deleted scenes
“VIPCO – The Untold Story” – a feature-length documentary on the notorious UK home video label, including extended interview footage with Michael Lee (founder of VIPCO) and a trailer
2015 Alamo Drafthouse screening introductions with Spookies director Thomas Doran and co-writer/producer Frank M. Farel
Q&A from a 2015 Hudson Horror Show screening with actor Peter Iasillo, actor Anthony Valbiro and production assistant Tom Sciacca
Archival locations featurette with actor Peter Iasillo
Pinreel outtakes and bloopers
Behind the scenes still gallery
Reversible cover artwork with new artwork by Gary Pullin
English SDH subtitles