85 min., 1986
Written by Joseph Burgund/Thomas Doran/Frank M. Farel/Brendan Faulkner
Directed by Eugenie Joseph/Thomas Doran/Brendan Faulkner
My rating: ★★
Not as bad as I’ve always been told.
* * *
I’m going to start this review a little bit differently. You see, my friends and I are constantly trying to outmatch each other by finding the worst horror movie ever made. I’ve seen a lot of crap so far but nothing that even comes close to Shallow Vapid Models Must Die, but there has been one movie that a few of my friends have been claiming as the worst of the worst. That movie is Spookies. I kept hearing that it’s two/three movies tossed together (one that was never finished) and while you are watching it just stops with one movie and another starts. Bad acting, bad effects and a horrible score rounds out why it’s supposedly so bad. So naturally I was very curious about this one, because with hearing just that little bit, it does sound incredibly bad. After watching the movie I did a lot of research about the movie (okay, I just went to Wikipedia; here’s the article) and found out the “real” story of the movie. It really is an interesting story of how Spookies came to be. Lastly before I get going, I had to watch a VHS transfer of the movie, because it has yet (as far as I can tell) to be released officially on DVD, and I have taken that into account while watching.
Our journey into the world of Spookies begins with a kid named Billy (Alec Nemser) who has run away from home because his parents have forgotten his thirteenth birthday. He meets a man (Pat Wesley Bryan) who talks to him for a bit, and then Billy leaves. Suddenly the man is killed by a creature in a gold vest (Dan Scott). While this is going on we meet a bunch of twenty-somethings (I think). They have just left a party and the guy leading the way, Duke (Nick Gionta), isn’t done partying and is looking for a place to have more fun. We jump back to Billy who finds an abandoned house that is surrounded by a bunch of graves. He goes in and finds a “surprise party” set up for him. He opens the big present and upon seeing what’s inside he runs away screaming. The gold vested creature chases him down and kills him. We jump back to the group who has just pulled up to the same house. They exit their cars and enter the house, while in there we learn their names and a bit about each one. There are nine so get ready I’ll try and do this in one breath, and here we go. We have Duke who is the asshole, tough guy, his girlfriend Linda (Joan Ellen Delaney) who doesn’t seem all that bright, Peter (Peter Dain), the oldest one of the group and the most rational, his woman Meegan (Kim Merrill) who is the shy girl that wants to have some fun, loner Rich (Peter Iasillo Jr.) who is the funny guy and he actually has a hand puppet named Mook that he has a very strange relationship with (don’t look too deep into that phrase). Sorry can’t do it in one breath, so next we have Carol (Lisa Friede) who seems to know more than she should, her man Lewis (Al Magliochetti) who we actually don’t learn that much about, lastly we have bitchy Adrienne (Charlotte Seeley) and her man Dave (Anthony Valbiro) who has really bad sinuses. While they are having their fun we also meet the owner of the house and what he’s up to. His name is Kreon (Felix Ward) and he has to kill numerous people to bring his dead wife, Isabelle (Maria Pechukas) back to life so they can live forever. Can anyone escape the house or is Kreon’s wife coming back to life?
The acting in the movie is actually okay. You have the shitty actors like Nick Gionta and Felix Ward. They both are way too hammy and full of themselves to even be able to make fun of them. Every time they are on screen you tend to want to yell at them and beg for them to die. On the other hand we have Charlotte Seeley, Anthony Valbiro and Peter Iasillo Jr. who are all just really fun to watch. Peter Iasillo Jr. and his puppet Mook are hilarious and he is having a really good time with his role. Right as his character is about to get really annoying they lose the puppet and he just becomes funny on his own. He’s probably my favorite character right after Charlotte Seeley. Now why do I like Charlotte as much as I do? Well maybe because I find her hot? No, that’s not the only reason, I also think that she pulls off the snobby/bitchy character without a hitch and she never really goes over the top with it. Another thing I really liked about her (and her character) is that she is also a tough woman. She gets attacked by some strange Ghoulie-looking things and she fights them off. She gets bitten a few times, but she continues to kick the shit out of them. Then she can switch to a sad woman who just wants her man back and all of her emotions are very natural. My favorite scene is when Adrienne and Dave run out of the house screaming and try to escape. It’s just really funny.
The big thing that surprised me was the effects. Don’t get me wrong, when they are terrible, they are really fucking terrible, but when they are good, they are really, really good. Some of the creature effects are really top-notch, like the creature that attacks Adrienne. It looks really cool, but at the same time it does make some of the other creatures look a lot worse, like the possessed Carol who just looks really silly. The other creatures that looked pretty good are the Mudmen, or as I like to call them, the Poopmen. I call them that because as they were walking they would always let out this farting sound and that really distracted from them looking good and just made them really silly. One of the really bad ones is the spider woman transformation. It just looks incredibly terrible, kinda like the zombies at the end of the movie. The zombies look like they just stepped from an incredibly bad locally made movie. So some effects are really great and some are just complete shit.
As a whole this movie was pretty bad, but nothing that is so bad that it deserves all the bashing. Yes the acting is terrible and we have two stories that have been mashed together in a very (mostly) unconvincing way, but I have seen so much worse than this one. The movie does have some good spots, like the effects (when they are good) and the play between Charlotte Seeley and Anthony Valbiro is just fun to watch. So in the end there are as many good things about this movie as there are terrible things and that’s why I actually did kinda enjoy this one. Just remember what you are getting into and just don’t expect movie gold.Have You Read...?