Franchise Fuckery: Witchboard (1986)

“Spirits are lousy spellers and they like to lie.”  So are the reviewers at IMDB who give this movie an ungodly 5.7 star out of 10.  I don’t think we were watching the same movie.  This thing is a solid 3 at the best.  But for some reason there is something about this shitty movie that keeps me coming back.  Is it the song “Bump in the Night”?  Is it Tawny Kitaen?  I don’t know.  There are a hundred songs from the 80’s that sound like the song and Tawny’s talents are more amply displayed in the gem GWENDOLINE. 

You know you are in for a treat when a movie opens at a party and the first discussion overheard is an ontological discussion of the existence of the world.  It is followed quickly by the well-heeled white collar guests against the under-dressed blue collar folk.  Its a bit much for a movie based on the Ouija board.  We learn from a stuffed suit that its name comes from the French and German words for ‘yes’.  “Oui” and “ja” thus Ouija.  What the fuck ever…it’s been around since the dawn of recorded history…what the fuck ever…it works best with clean a clean spirited man and woman…uh huh.  Now that we got the board basics covered we can move on.

The poor blue collar folks piss off the spirit named David.  David is 10 years old and is particularly attached to Brandon’s Ouija board.  Tawny is frigging pissed that her man Jim pissed off the 10 year old spirit and now that ghost is mad at Brandon.  There is a long grudge and animosity between Brandon and Jim.  Jim’s folks were drunks and Brandon’s were rich.  Well guess what caused the beef–that’s right Tawny Fucking Kitaen.

Every time Tawny uses the board–and she uses it a fucking lot because she is needy and co-dependent–David comes around and causes mayhem while being a little bit helpful.  For instance he kills Jim’s friend Lloyd by dropping a ton of drywall on him on the job site but helps her find her lost diamond ring.  Some changes also come over Tawny.  Like swearing and orgasmic morning sickness.  Don’t ask me about that because I don’t fucking get it.  She wakes up looks like the cat that came all over the canary, or the canary that the cat came all over, and then runs to yark.  

Some unnecessary melodrama and awkward exposition ensue.

To add to the odd meandering and forced plot.  Lt. Dewhurst of the local PD comes to Lloyd’s funeral.  He hints none too subtly that Jim killed Lloyd and that he was sure it was murder.  Tawny stares at the detective as he retreats to the car and says she thinks it is murder too.  What?  Why the fuck does Nancy Drew think this is the case?  Well she suspects David.  Wait…what the fuck?  She then goes back to the board and asks David if he did it.  Huh.  Then she screams at Jim and says what we all think at this point in the movie “I don’t know what’s going on.  I think I’m going crazy.”  Cue the Whitesnake music video like dream sequence–smoky haze, billowy translucent dress wrapping around the slightly sweaty Tawny Fucking Kitaen as the wind blows through her red hair.  

In case you haven’t seen it coming  from a mile away…Brandon goes to Jim at the exposition job site.  Linda has been possessed by Linda.  One of the key indicators is her dirty, dirty mouth.  Guess what. She’s also pregnant.  Brandon immediately knows that the baby is David.  Think back 20 minutes and they made a big point that the spirits can choose their new parents.  Turns out David is an evil Portuguese man named Carlos Malfeitor–a mass murderer.  

You’ll cheer when she gets offed too!

Well I was cheering for the evil Portuguese man to do something to off the worst, and I mean worst, psychic in 80’s horror.  I don’t know how long that list is but it doesn’t matter because she is at the bottom of it.  Well she finds out who “David” really is in an Encyclopedia Britannica or some such shit and he shows up and beats her with an axe.  (In my best Mel Gibson impersonation Hurrrayyyy!) Even better she plummets out of her bedroom window and impales herself on her blade like sundial.

The goofy looking fucker Malfeitor. 

Well at this point the many plot threads have become ridiculously intertwined.  Remember the cop.  Well he liked oranges and was working the angle that Jim was the killer all along.  Malfeitor who has made Linda look hot as fuck in a David Bowie suit with some rocking hair then tells Jim he is actually the portal.  In order to save her he must kill himself.  He figures out the board is the portal.  How can he destroy the board?  Should he burn it?  Maybe cut it up?  Nah, he shoots it six times as Linda/Malfeitor scream and lunge at him.  Then begins the shittiest fall effect captured on film.  I mean really they could have used a fucking dummy and made it look more real.  Well the end pusses out and Jim lives and then he and Linda are married…see above…what the fuck ever.  When the landlady and her granddaughter clean up the thrashed apartment they find the Ouija board.  The granddaughter asks if it still works as she throws it away and guess the fuck what?  The pointer thingy that was explained at the fucking beginning points to “yes”.  Woohoo this fucker spawned at least three sequels that I know of!

Did I mention Tawny Kitaen is in this?

Tawny Fucking Kitaen.  That’s all there is to it.  She isn’t thrashing around on David Coverdale’s car this time but boy she still is smoking hot.  We get to see some full frontal shower shots going on so there is at least that.

And if you don’t remember the video maybe this will jog your memory.


In the end I am torn by WITCHBOARD.  It has its moments.  Few granted, but as far as cheesy 80’s horror flicks go this one always seems to come up in any discussion.  I don’t have any idea why.  It is kind of boring, it’s definitely slow.  The plot is impenetrable and the characters are vapid at best and alienating at worst.  For some reason it still sticks.  I guess if nothing else it should be watched as a sheer artifact of 80’s horror if you will.  It’s not as enjoyable as most of the films that came out but it does bear many of the hallmarks.

It’ll disappoint but you should check it out anyway.

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