Spookies (1986)

Spookies was originally supposed to be a very different movie called Twisted Souls, a film that comes off as much more of an Evil Dead wannabe. Unfortunately once filming wrapped, the financial backer developed creative differences with everyone involved and hired a new producer, who in turn brought in a new editor/director, new camera crew, new special effects guy, new actors, so on and so forth. Once they finished, they had only 40 minutes of the original film and had to go back and create new material to fill the void. The result? Spookies, a movie so disjointed that it almost detracts from the number of monsters it showcases.


Seriously, Spookies has evil fiends, monsters, critters, and things that go bump in the night in spades. It’s worth watching just for the ridiculous number of creature designs, because frankly you won’t want to watch this for the film itself, which suffers heavily from the back and forth between two different creative teams. The new plot is that the teenagers are being sacrificed by a sorcerer who is trying to resurrect his long dead wife…only she doesn’t really love him. The movie fumbles over itself quite a bit, and the plot comes off as way too convoluted as it tries to bounce between up to seven different groups or individuals at different times. It’s not that the second team didn’t try, and in a few places the effort to mix what are almost two films together actually works out well, such as the cat man who keeps holding the doors shut so the screaming teenagers can’t escape. But at other times there is forced dubbing with lines written to try and appear like what the characters were saying, as well as quick cuts to things that appear obscured or just off camera to give the idea that the object or creature was really there, and these just don’t work. The evil sorcerer makes allusions to a chess game, but there’s also a demonic Ouija board, and an Evil Dead-style deadite controlling it, but now under the command of the sorcerer somehow. And for some reason, the mud men now fart a lot. Of all the things in the movie that had to be redone by the second crew, why did the mud men need to fart suddenly? What was so unacceptable about the mud men that fart noises made them seem like an improvement?

If you ever watch Spookies, keep in mind that the group of teenagers were filmed in one production with their friends serving as directors and screenwriters, while the old sorcerer, his Winona Ryder-lookalike bride, the cat lady, the little kid, and the zombies were all part of the other production team, which was filmed mainly by porn makers. Not that their past work experience detracted from the film, it’s just a fun fact. Another fun fact: one of the zombies is played by the first guy that the replacement director, Genie Joseph, ever kissed.

See it for the monsters. Stay because you’re trapped in the house with no escape. Die because, well, that’s pretty much what happens to everyone trapped in that house.

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