Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Witchboard - Ouija Worries

D:Kevin S. Tenney
W: Kevin S. Tenney
S: Todd Allen, Tawny Kitaen, Stephen Nichols  

Rated R - Approx 98 Min
Paragon Arts International

 - Never play it alone
 - This game could be fatal. Don't play it alone.
 - Pray for survival till dawn

Alternate Titles
Ghost Killer - Brazil
Maelstrom/Bewitched Circle - Finland
Play Magic & Death -  Greece
Demonic Game - Hungary
Spellbound Board - Russia

"Oh man, multiple sadness!"

I've had Witchboard in my collection for quite sometime but I've never watched it before.  As a matter of fact, I actually saw one of it's sequels (Witchboard III) way back in the day when it was making it's run on cable, but I somehow never got around to watching the original.  It was not until I started listening to Rob "Flack" O'Hara's excellent Multiple Sadness podcast, which is a podcast devoted to bad movies.  The show takes it's name direct from this movie.  The line is uttered by Lloyd after his friend's tire is flattened by a supernatural presence.  It's such a perfectly odd thing to say and it apparently resonated and stuck with Rob and his friend, who then would continue to quote the line to each other and ultimately ended up as the title of a b-movie podcast!  Rob, you can mail the advert check direct to me.  ;-)

 As you may have surmised, this is a film about the dangers of using a Ouija Board.  Jim and Linda throw a party for their friends at their apartment.  Among the invitees is Brandon, who is not only Linda's former boyfriend, but also used to be Jim's best friend when they were kids.  You can tell that the tensions are running a bit high with these fellas.  Brandon has brought along his Ouija board and with a little coaxing from Linda agrees to give the group a demonstration.  He contacts a familiar spirit that he's talked before named David....the spirit of a ten year old boy who drowned.  Jim isn't buying any of the hokum and is openly mocking Brandon and David.  The spirit becomes agitated, the board flies up off of his lap.  There is a loud bang outside.  That's when our boy Lloyd looks outside and says "Oh man, multiple sadness" and notices that Brandon's tire is blown out.  

Linda borrows Brandon's Ouija board and against his advice starts to use the board by herself.  She begins talking with David and they strike up a friendship.  They talk about the possibility of David reincarnating into her unborn child (which David declines because he does not like Jim) and the little ghost tyke even helps her find her lost diamond ring, which fell in the bathroom sink drain.

It's right around this time that Jim and Lloyd are taking a break at their job on a construction site.  Jim has misplaced his hammer...which is actually a hatchet.  But apparently that is the standard issue at that construction company.  Weird.  He and Lloyd have a nice lunch and just as they're about to go back to work, a bunch of sheetrock that was on the second floor of the house frame falls on Lloyd, killing him.  Bummer.  

Linda is becoming more and more obsessed with the Ouija board and Brandon is concerned, which causes even more friction between him and Jim.  Brandon starts asking if Linda's been displaying any strange symptons...which he calls Progressive Entrapment.  In short....if she is being targeted by a spirit she will have mood swings, get nauseous, etc.....which are also signs of pregnancy....and Linda believes she is pregnant.  

Brandon brings a medium to the apartment to try and rid the couple of the malevolent spirit.  At first, the session appears to be a success, but things quickly go from bad to worse when Linda is hospitalized after a ghost attack.  The boys put aside their differences and head up north to investigate the circumstances of David's death and it is there that they begin to mend their friendship.  It is also there that they discover the truth behind the evil entity that has been plaguing Linda.

I enjoyed the film quite a bit.  It was rather reserved for an 80's horror flick.  There are no real ghost effects to speak of, save for some objects moving by themselves and doors slamming by themselves.  I found that at once refreshing and also disappointing.  I was expecting some monster/ghost effects for the big reveal.  I mean, c'mon, it's 1986!  Let's get a dude in a rubber suit or something and shine some neon purple and green lights on him and call it a ghost!  Nope.  Not at all!  

The acting is exactly what you would expect from a mid 80's horror flick.  Wonky dialog and questionable line delivery add up to a pretty damn good time.  You need look no further than the "multiple sadness" line.  Ah, Lloyd...you left us much too soon.  Really, they should have kept Lloyd around longer.  I can only imagine what magical nuggets of wisdom may have spewed forth from his mouth had he only NOT laid down on the job.  DAMNIT LLOYD!

There's a few gore gags in here....Lloyd gets a pile of sheet rock dropped on him and subsequently bleeds out of most of his orifices.  Another character gets an axe to the head.......etc.

There is a brief scene of Linda in the shower and we get to see pretty much all of her.

Well, there's a malevolent ghost, but like I said there's no monstrous form to the ghost.  We do get to see the corporeal form of the ghost briefly.

This film got me thinking.  I've got an open mind.  My grandmother had a psychic gift (so says my mother...I never met my grandmother) and was quite impressive from what I hear....and I've had my own paranormal experiences.  One thing that always gets me though is the amount of people who have Ouija board stories.  It seems that everyone and their uncle has some personal horror story to relate about Ouija boards.  The thing is......I don't buy it.  "Don't use those...they're SO dangerous!  You can lose your soul!  You can summon The Devil!"  Blah blah blah.  Nope.  First off, I've tried.  Extensively.  I guess I'm no susceptible to the ideomotor response, which is primarily how Ouija boards work.  The leading Ouija boards are made by Hasbro and Parker Brothers.  I'm sorry, but you're not going to get your soul sucked out by a toy that you bought in Aisle 13 of Toys 'R' Us.

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