FLICKS GET KINDA CRAZY WITH A SPOOKY LITTLE TURD LIKE YOU

Posted on Jan 18, 2013 in All Reviews, Featured, Please Rewind: Revisiting My Youth, Surprisingly Good | 1 comment

tavernofterror.comYesterday I had a day off and a pile of old horror movies to sift through, when it dawned on me that I hadn’t done a Please, Rewind segment in a while. Horror fans that are my age (old) tend to dig nostalgia, and 80’s horror is what made me yearn to start a blog in the first place, so I thought doing a new rewind post would be a good way to kick off a whole new year of Tavern of Terror.

This particular pile of horror movies is a stack of never-been-released-on-DVD treasures I scored during VHSPS’s Black Friday sale. One of these gems was a movie I once owned on regular VHS. It was the year 2000 and all the video stores (remember them?) were jettisoning their VHS tapes to make room for DVDs, which had dominated the market. Former rentals were selling cheap, and when I saw a copy of the late eighties indie shocker Spookies sitting in the dusty bin I knew it was time to dig out some change from my pocket. I enjoyed revisiting that lost video boom turd, but then loaned it to some asshat who never gave it back. Obviously the friendship died and I never reclaimed my copy of Spookies. But now VHSPS has helped me with that tragedy.

Question: what happens when skilled special effects artists slap together a movie without skilled directors, writers or actors involved?

Answer: Spookies.

SPOOKIES (1986)

Having not seen this flick in some thirteen years, I was curious to see if I still enjoyed its terribleness. Mostly I just remembered the discount gremlin snake and the farting muck men. I popped it in and reveled in the sentimental value of its classic style titles: red letters on a black screen with a cheesy synth score and a zoom-in-on-a-skull-graphic Goonies rip-off. Ahhhhh.

We meet our motley crew of partygoers (teens?), including my favorite, Duke, who is like a Flea Market version of Danny Zuko. We also meet a young runaway named Billy and a creep who lives in a tree.

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But more importantly we meet the Spookies, a group of evil creatures pumped out of a scary mansion that apparently serves as a random monster generator. The Spookies include zombies, muck men (men made of muck with gas problems), a goblin boy, a cat man with a gold vest, an electro tentacle creature, a cackling wood-witch and of course an Asian spider woman — just to name a few. The leader of this group of diabolical Muppets is a decrepit magician, a sort of marauding ghoul who looks like the bastard ass-child of Dario Argento and The Tall Man. Basically he is harvesting souls to try to reanimate his corpse bride.

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Anyhow, runaway Billy indeed runs away through a graveyard and breaks into the mansion just to be unsurprised by a surprise party there. The Magician appears and that’s the last we see of Billy. The rest of the movie focuses on the partygoers who become lost, enter the mansion, and for some reason play with an ouija board, only to have everything we’ve seen in Evil Dead and Night of the Demons happen to them with lamer results. The main reason for the randomness is that Spookies is actually pieced together using footage from an unfinished film called Twisted Souls, which was never completed due to financial issues.

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And if there is one thing you’ll notice about this film besides the rather badass old school effects, it is the just plain bad old school editing. Even the most forgiving viewer will notice the hilariously awkward jumps.

The clunky Casio score and the thrown-together group of actors (who couldn’t look less likely to be with each other) are tolerable though because of the grand orgy of those old school effects. Throbbing tombs and graves stuffed with sparklers, all sorts of rubber ghouls, and grand dead body props. Classic stuff. And oh, stop motion animation, how I’ve missed you!

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You also learn a lot from this movie, even if you’re a genre veteran. For example, I learned that Grim Reapers explode when you push them off of a roof and that possessed girls conduct electricity.

But basically Spookies is another 80’s movie where a bunch of cliché jack-offs run through a haunted house, inexplicably incapable of escaping as they are chased by demons and the like. The only real story is the hard to follow relationship between the Magician and the Corpse Bride who is trying to ditch him, and their scenes together are downright rancid. There is no clear explanation why there are so many types of monsters here. There just are. Accept it.

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Eventually the Corpse Bride must escape zombie gang rape and we’re treated to some Halloween prop style horror, but mostly this film is bloodless, sexless and mindless… and yet somehow a lot of fun if you’re drunk, or just stupid, or both (like me). Just beware that the ending is senseless and leaves multiple loose ends drifting like unflushed turds.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Horrendous editing, bad acting and worse storytelling, Spookies barely even qualifies as a movie. But if you love rubber monsters sprayed wet to look more alive (and you should), then you need to hunt this one down. Fans of The Deadly Spawn and Ghoulies are bound to get a retro boner from this lil’ time capsule from the dusty horror shelf in the back of the Mom and Pop video vault.

  • RATING: 3.5 out of 5. An extra half point because they made the Muck Men fart so much.
  • CHICK OF THE LITTER: Well, there is Adrian, the chain-smoker with the swagger who talks like she’s Katherine Hepburn. Then there’s butterface Linda with her generous sweater meat. But that Corpse Bride is pretty bangin’. You can see why that crusty old Copperfield kept her alive for centuries or whatever the plot was supposed to be.

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BARTENDER’S NOTES

While watching this oldie I was sipping on a strong Carolina favorite from the small brewery Lone Rider.

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Sweet Josie is their powerful brown ale, tempting you with her 6.1% goodness. Her chocolate and malts mellow out her hop bitterness, making this beer a real treat if you can find her in your neck of the woods. Smoky and drinkable, wisely balancing the carbonation, this is one of my favorite browns to dip into, all year round.

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One Comment

  1. Spookies is a richly atmospheric 80’s rubber monster romp that sadly is primarily unknown,except to hardcore Horror/Gore buffs like myself.I own the now ancient VHS of Spookies, the atmosphere is genuinely creepy and the plethora of demons/monsters are wonderful, also, the one chick who becomes possessed Evil Dead style bears more than a little resemblance to Linda Blair.

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