Witchboard (Kevin Tenney, 1986)

posted in: Duane, Review | 0
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A woman becomes obsessed with a friend’s Ouija board after he leaves it behind during a party.
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COSDS-Witchboard00001More accurately, some slut’s pedantic ex-boyfriend tries to school everyone at a party when he busts out the Ouija Board that he just happened to bring with him (who does that?). When he is mocked for summoning David, the spirit of the 10 year old boy he always talks to, shit hits the fan in the form of his tire exploding on his fancy sports car. He exits stage left, leaving the board behind in a huff. Soon Linda (the ex-girlfriend and hostess of the party) (Tawny Kitaen; Bachelor Party) starts to use the board to contact David and ask him all manner of inane questions like would he like her to be his mom and if he knows who she is. Riveting stuff. It doesn’t take long before she is completely obsessed with the board, and starts using profanity (!) in addition to other things completely uncharacteristic of her. This tips off Brandon (the pedantic ex-boyfriend) (Stephen Nichols; Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless) and Laurie’s current beau Jim (Todd Allen; Pinocchio’s Revenge, Django Unchained) that something is horribly wrong. Together they try and figure out how to break her from the board’s evil grip before the spirit can possess her completely. There’s also some other bullshit about how the two guys used to be best friends and how Jim is way too cool to tell Linda he loves her. Like we give a flying fuck.
COSDS-Witchboard00006Kevin Tenney’s (Night of the Demons, Witchtrap) directorial debut Is a bit of a mishmash of so-bad-it’s-good and just plain terrible. On one hand the film does have an entertaining kitsch factor and is so deeply embroiled in the 80s that many will be able to wax nostalgic for a good 90 minutes or so, on the other hand one has to wonder what in holy fuck they were thinking when they slopped this whole mess together. Tenney must have been sniffing markers when he decided to cast Kitaen as the lead role; she’s an appalling actress, and should have kept on her career path as David Coverdale’s hood ornament. Equally as dreadful is Stephen Nichols as the stuck up ex who can’t help but look down his nose at everyone and show off how much he knows about the “spirit world” because he’s dicked around with a Ouija board once or twice (the scene where he instructs everyone at the party about how to correctly pronounce “Ouija” will make you laugh and want to choke the life out of him at the same time). This film is definitely evidence as to why Nichols has been relegated to Soap Opera Hell.
COSDS-Witchboard00018Not only are the performances abysmal, but the film insists on forcing the viewer to watch as these mouth-breathers use the Ouija board and it slowly spells out words to them as they read the letters aloud. Not only are you well aware of the word the fucking spirit is trying to convey halfway through it, but you get to sit there and grind your teeth as they insist on spelling the whole thing out at a snail’s pace. Furthermore, they make it a point that the spirits are bad spellers and every time word is misspelled the useless tits sit there and try to figure out what the fuck Casper is trying to say while you yell the answer at the screen. The atmosphere is pretty much nonexistent, as the film looks a lot like a movie of the week. Expect to be treated to many long looming shots of the Ouija board in various places in and around the house.
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Ouijasploitation aside, Witchboard isn’t a total loss. It’s really light on scares, but there are a couple alright kill sequences and the main baddie is pretty creepy and evil looking. Unfortunately you have to slog through an inordinate amount of idiocy and patronizing dialogue to get there. There’s not a single character  worth giving a shit about (in fact I wanted to kick every single one of them in the taint), and resultantly the murders aren’t quite vicious enough to be satisfying. Also worthy of mention is the inclusion of a full frontal shower scene courtesy of Ms. Kitaen to add that obligatory smattering of 80s gratuity into the mix.
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Witchboard might be something fun to throw in and mock with a few friends and some beers, but those expecting any sort of real scares should best look elsewhere.
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:
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Duane co-founded The Church of Splatter-Day Saints in 2005. When not immersed in film he's enjoying good whiskey, smoking meat in the backyard or thinking about sluts. He makes a damn fine habanero fire sauce.

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