Spookies – USA, 1986

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‘A night of unrelenting terror’

Spookies is a 1986 American horror film co-directed by Brendan Faulkner, Thomas Doran and Eugenie Joseph from a screenplay co-written with Frank Farel. The creature effects were created by Gabe Bartalos, Arnold Gargulio, Jennifer Aspinall and John Dods.

The film was originally a 1984 feature entitled Twisted Souls. The movie was being edited when creative and legal issues between the producers and the financial backer prevented final post production work from being carried out.

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In 1985, producer Michael Lee hired Eugenie Joseph to direct more footage which was pieced together with the footage from Twisted Souls, creating Spookies. Faulkner and Doran also worked on Igor and the Lunatics (1985).

Steadicam operator J. Michael Muro later directed Street Trash (1987) utilising a number of the Spookies crew members.

Plot:

A 13-year-old boy named Billy runs from home because his parents forgot his birthday. Making his way through woods, he encounters a drifter who is subsequently slashed to death. Billy stumbles on an old mansion where a room is decorated for birthday celebrations. Thinking it is a surprise by his parents, he opens a present to discover a severed head. Running away, he is attacked by the drifter’s killer, a werecat with a hook on one hand, and subsequently buried alive.

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Meanwhile, a group of friends decide to have a party in a seemingly deserted mansion. However, a sorcerer named Kreon resides there, keeping watch over his bride whom he has kept preserved for over seventy years.

Kreon possesses one of teenagers in the group, forcing her to use a Ouija board and summons a variety of monsters to pick off the group one by one. These include muck-men, small reptilian demons, giant spiders, an arachnid woman, an octopus-like creature with electric tentacles, a skeletal witch, a Grim Reaper statue, a vampiric boy in a monk’s habit, and a large group of zombies…

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Main cast:

Peter Dain, Peter Iasillo, Joan Ellen Delaney, Soo Paek, Nick Gionta, Anthony J Valbiro, Lisa Friede, Kim Merrill, Charlotte Alexandra, Al Magliochetti, Felix Ward, Alec Nemser, Maria Pechukas.

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Buy: Amazon.co.uk

Reviews:

Spookies doesn’t hold up well as a proper feature film for obvious reasons. It seems too much of a patched together creation solely based around what make-up effects the FX team could come up with. But what FX! A tour-de-force of 80s horror at its most grandiose and most sublime, Spookies is as entertaining as it is infuriating!” Andrew Smith, Popcorn Pictures

“The opener is harrowing, Fulci-esque and the night scenes are stunningly shot. The effects are not nearly as bad as they could be given the modest budget but there are corny lightning strikes and a plot that’s all over the map.” Really Awful Movies

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” …the entire movie is a series of visual setups, strung between the incongruous sorcerer gloating, party people screaming and dying, the purple werewolf holding doors closed with glee, and a bride loathing her predicament […] This movie is so goofy nonsensical you’ll love watching it while deriding the hell out of it.” Zombo’s Closet of Horror

“For 80 minutes long you will witness a monstrous SFX extravaganza while a group of clueless people is running around and being killed in a big mansion. Now, how does all this relate to our freeze-frame ending? To put it simple, in the same way all the previous events relate to each other in the film: It makes no sense!” Cult Reviews

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Buy: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

“The ‘kitchen sink’ approach should please undemanding fans.” John Stanley, Creature Features

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Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

Filming locations:

New York, New York, USA

Wikipedia | IMDb

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Categories: 1980s, spider, vampire, witches, zombie

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. I also re-watched this the other day via YouTube, the first time since I saw it on VHS back in the late 1980s. Whilst the special effects and creatures are truly impressive for such a low-budget production, the lack of a decent plot and any characters that you can care about unfortunately means that Spookies remains just an intriguing footnote in 80s horror. It’s a shame as it had definite potential and the illogical, almost surreal nature of events recall the best elements of Phantasm.

    Adrian @ Horrorpedia

    Like

  2. Nice blog post, I recently watched this and it was a total crowd pleaser. The Spookies has that perfect 80’s vibe to it with some pretty creative monster effects, a super solid cheezy gem of a movie.

    Like

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