#31DaysOfHorror: Witchboard (1986)

witchboardA woman  finds an interest in her friend Brandon’s Ouija Board when he brings it by her party.

It feels good to be back in October for my third annual #31DaysOfHorror. Each day I check out a horror movie that I’ve never seen, from any year but 2016, and share my reviews with you!

This little gem comes from the bygone era of 1986. Starring Todd Allen, Tawny Kitaen, Stephen Nichols, Kathleen Wilhoite, and Burke Burnes, I had really hoped this would be a fun romp full of cheesy 80’s gore. Now, this isn’t to say that the movie is bad, it’s actually a pretty watchable little movie. It’s not particularly scary, and sadly it doesn’t offer up much in the way of deeply interesting story.

The script relies really heavily on exposition, which deflates a lot of the spookier parts of the film. So much time is spent with characters simply explaining things to each other and, by extension, to the audience, that it feels more like a story someone wrote rather than a film script. Everything just feels clunky and silly.

witchboard-1

With that said, I found myself enjoying the cheeseball nature of it, it really does feel like a movie from the mid/late 80’s (which it is). The actors all look like exactly what you picture when you think of that time in film, and it treads close to being one of those bad movies that still manages to be entertaining. I really wish there was more to say about this, it’s just not a particularly good movie. Threads throughout the plot are picked up and dropped, and it almost feels rushed. It came from a time when movies weren’t much more than 90 minutes, especially horror, and it could have done with some more time to expand on the story.

One of the more bizarre moments comes at the end, and this almost makes it worth watching. In the final confrontation, Kitaen’s character is now possessed and wearing a hilarious hat, while her helpless boyfriend tries to save her. This final battle features two of the funniest special effects that I’ve ever seen, even for the time, one being when he shoots a flying Ouija board, and the other when he falls out a window. That scene would have been much more worth getting to, had the rest of the movie been as goofy and fun, but it just isn’t.

Witchboard does seem like an earnest attempt to make a horror movie, but the writing really does it no favours. Writer and Director Kevin Tenney did go on to make another movie I’ve been told I should watch, Night of the Demons, as well as Pinocchio’s revenge, so it’s unclear to me at this point if his writing improves or not. At the end of the day, this one is funny enough, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of scares, or in the way of being “so bad it’s good”, and sadly falls into that murky place in between that makes it a bit of a lousy experience.

Not the best way to start of a series like this, but what can you do.

MY RATING: **

 

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