Sunday, June 12, 2016

Spookies (1986)

Most people, at least the ones I've come across, seem fascinated by the fact that this film started off as a project call "Twisted Souls," directed by two guys named Brendan Faulkner and Thomas Doran. But then, for some strange reason, it ended up becoming Spookies, directed and edited by a gal named Eugénie "Genie" Joseph. I, on the other hand, could careless about who directed what. Though, I will say this, with the exception the insane zombie-filled finale, all the stuff that Miss Joseph shot pales in comparison to what Faulkner and Doran shot. Anyway, the reason I could careless is because I was too busy basking in the odd mannerisms of Charlotte Alexandra's Adrienne. Okay, maybe her mannerisms weren't exactly odd, but they're definitely the best thing about this movie. Well, to be fair, I dug the creature effects by Gabe Bartalos (Frankenhooker and Brain Damage) and his make-up team as well. But let's get real. The only reason any sane person should watch this movie is because Charlotte Alexandra plays an ultra-stylish woman who chain smokes and battles reptilian snake demons with a breathless elan, and... (Hold up, does she smoke cigarettes and battle snake demons at the same time?) I'm not sure. But if she does, that would elevate my misguided love of this equally misguided movie even more.

Itching to gush about Charlotte Alexandra's performance after the film was over, I turned on my internet machine and set about typing a few words about her amazing performance. Not expecting to come across much when I inevitably checked Charlotte's filmography for more info, I nearly fell off my chair when I discovered that she appeared in two of my favourite Euro-art perv-placating-twaddle fun-time movies, Contes immoraux (Immoral Tales) and Une vraie jeune fille (A Real Young Girl). Mildly giddy, I tried to remember which "Immoral Tale," she appeared in. While she's the star of the former, I figured she played one of the dozens of naked virgins in the Elizabeth Báthory segment of the latter. Then I saw her name attached to Thérése Philosophe, a.k.a. the zucchini masturbation scene. Which is, like, the sexiest scene in the movie.

So, as you might expect, the fact that Spookies–that's right, SPOOKIES!!!–features the actress from Contes immoraux and Une vraie jeune fille blew my mind. Of course, this didn't make it a better movie... it's still a jumbled, nonsensical mess. It did, however, give me something to write about. And at the end of the day, that's what's most important: Me typing words on the internet about semi-obscure movies. (I think it's safe to declare Spookies fully-obscure.) Either way, Charlotte Alexandra (who is apparently English, not French) should have been this film's final girl.

Now, I'm not saying Charlotte Alexandra's Adrienne is killed by a... (Wait, if she's not the final girl, how does she not get killed?) Good point. Well, spoiler alert... Adrienne dies... quite horribly. That being said, she shouldn't have died.

It's true, this film is chock-full of stuff that is mega-lame. But the lamest thing has to be the total and utter bungling of Adrienne's subplot. I don't know what they were thinking, but the handling of Adrienne's final moments were beyond piss-poor. Sure, Gabe Bartalos' creature effects are fantastic. But the scene itself is anticlimactic. It gets even more so when you consider all the hard work Adrienne had put in in the previous scene. I mean, just thinking about it makes me angry.

If anyone deserves to be a final girl, it's Adrienne. Do any of the other characters do battle with a gaggle of reptilian snake demons and a large, slimy monster with tentacles? I don't think so.

Granted, the others experience adversity as well, but no-one faces it quite like the way Adrienne does. Seriously, I've never seen a horror character so poised while a mucus-laden reptile summoned from the depths of hell chomped on their neck like it was a t-bone steak.

Should I even bother to try to recap the film's plot? Or, I should say, plots. You see, there's this little kid named Billy (Alec Nemser), who runs away on his birthday. Winding up at large mansion surrounded by a graveyard, Billy is stalked and killed (as someone plucks away on what sounds like a Yamaha DX-7) by a creature who looks like Nightcrawler in a gold vest. It would seem that the Nightcrawler clone works for Kreon (Felix Ward), and every person his cat-like servant (Dan Scott) kills helps bring back Isabelle (Maria Pechukas), Kreon's dead wife.

In a comatose state as the film gets underway, Isabelle is about to get an injection of life, thanks to the arrival of two cars filled with victims. Of course, when Isabelle regains consciousness, she isn't too thrilled when she finds her husband from seventy years ago is trying to bring her back from the dead. It's not that she doesn't want to be alive again, it's just that I don't think she wants to spend eternity with this Kreon loser.

As the car load of victims is entering the house, the only thing that stands out about these people is Linda's cleavage and Duke's Duran Duran shirt (no, I don't mean a Duran Duran t-shirt, I mean, it looks like the kind of shirt a member of Duran Duran might wear circa their self-titled debut - I can totally see Roger or John Taylor wearing this shirt). What was I saying? Oh, yeah, there's nothing really to this group.

That all changes when I see Charlotte Alexandra. Her white blazer shimmering in the moonlight, Charlotte Alexandra's Adrienne has arrived just in time to save this film from being a total disaster.

Holy crap. It just dawned on me that there are nine people in the group who enter Kreon's house. How the hell am I going keep track of all these chuckleheads? Thankfully, Lewis Wilson (Al Magliochetti) is killed right away when he's eaten by the ground (oh, and the reason I know his full name is because a grave stone with his name on it magically emerges from the ground on the spot where he dies). But still, eight people is a lot to handle.

After messing around with a ouija board (they find it in a closet - the plancette is in a box on a nearby shelf), and after Carol (Lisa Friede) turns into a demon, the group split up. The aforementioned Duke (Nick Gionta) and Linda (Joan Ellen Delaney) go downstairs to fight shit monsters (that's right, monsters made out of fecal matter... who make farting noises when they walk), while Peter (Peter Dain) and Meegan (Kim Merrill) go upstairs to fight... I forget what they fight. Oh, the group's resident goofball, Rich (Peter Iasillo, Jr.) has a creepy run-in with Soo Paek's "Spider Woman."

And that just about covers everyone. Just kidding. Adrienne (Charlotte Alexandra) and her dumbass boyfriend Dave (Anthony Valbiro) decide to stay put. Which makes sense. I mean, Adrienne doesn't look like the type of woman who would be into poking around an old, dusty mansion. No, lounging in a leggy manner while holding a cigarette aloft is more her speed.

While Adrienne manages to pull this off for longer than I expected, the dark forces at play in this film eventually show themselves. And this, unfortunately, applies to Adrienne, whose lounging/smoking session is interrupted by a those reptilian snake demons I alluded to earlier.

When one of the reptilian snake demons bites Adrienne on the neck, I thought to myself: Well, that was fun while it lasted. But then something unexpected occurs. Adrienne begins to fight back. However, she does so in a manner that suited her character. More annoyed or inconvenienced than scared or horrified, Adrienne fights back the only way she knows how. The best way to describe Adrienne's demeanor as she fought off the reptilian snake demon would be, savage nonchalance.

Dispatching the reptilian snake demons with a "savage nonchalance" (yeah, baby), Adrienne stands up, straightens her skirt, and leaves the house alive and well. The end. Nah, that doesn't happen. Though, I kinda wish it did. Sadly, the movie continues on without her. Which, to be honest, makes no sense whatsoever. You could also apply the same logic regarding this review. I mean, without Adrienne, this review makes no sense. So, yeah, I just reviewed Spookies. Parts of you suck ass, parts of you don't... suck ass.


  1. I reviewed this in an issue of MONSTER! doesn't that dude look like Marc Summers from Double Dare or Freddy Cannon?

  2. I love this movie! Thx for the review. By the way, you got the audio right, the duo who composed the soundtrack used only a Yamaha DX and an emulator. Here's a link to the released material (most of them is pretty short but the end credit theme kicks ass + you can read the composers view on the whole mess on the record sleeve):