October, a spooky time for us spooky people, filled with ghosts, goblins, monsters and witches! Remember the days when Toys “R” Us sold Ouija boards which everyone busted out at those awesome sleepovers where there was always that one kid who moved the planchette and scared everyone to death? I certainly do, and whenever I’m feeling the need to bring those days back, I pop in my Nightmare VHS and await the Gatekeeper’s demands!
I’ve always had a sentimental love for Witchboard ever since that day I rented it in high school. In fact, it has become an October viewing ritual amongst many others. Witchboard came out in 1986 and was directed by Kevin S. Tenney who also directed another greatly celebrated 80’s Halloween flick, Night of the Demons.
Witchboard revolves around couple Jim (Todd Allen) and his wife Linda (Tawny Kitaen), who become haunted by a ghost from a Ouija board supplied by Brandon, who used to be Jim’s best friend and also once dated Linda… oooh love triangle drama! Linda becomes obsessed with using the Ouija to communicate with the spirit of a little boy named David. She begins to display unusual behaviour the more she uses it and, of course, deaths ensue causing Jim and Brandon to put their old tensions aside to investigate and exorcise the spirit. However, a more sinister evil is at hand by the name of Malfeitor… truly spooky stuff!
My adoration for the 80’s encompasses the many aspects of this fabulous decade: the movies, the music and, of course, the fashion. The attire and big hair bring me joy… and Tawny Kitaen is no stranger to this category. Most know her from her superb dancing and gymnastic skills on top of cars in the Whitesnake video “Here I Go Again” – she was married to David Coverdale for a hot second and also appeared in three more of their music videos. Both she and Louise Robey were mega babes with outrageous red locks and I absolutely adore these beautiful creatures and am eternally jealous of their big hair!
I must give a huge shout out to James W. Quinn who plays Lloyd because he undoubtedly has the best lines in Witchboard despite his short screen time, delivering phrases like “oh then you’d haunt me and come back and flatten my tires and stuff!” He had a habit of showing up in most of Tenney’s films and if you look closely you can spot him in Night of the Demons. Zarabeth is another favourite character in Witchboard played by Kathleen Wilhoite who many of you know from the almighty Roadhouse. She plays a medium hired by Jim and Brandon to hold a séance in an attempt to get rid of David’s spirit and her clothes and psychic one liners are lovable.
Witchboard spawned two official and one unofficial sequel. Witchboard 2, also directed by Kevin S. Tenney, came out in 1993 and stars Ami Dolenz, notable from Ticks and Pumpkinhead 2 (P.S. I only just found out this year that her dad is Micky Dolenz from The Monkees). I really enjoy W2; it’s not as good as the first but it’s 90’s cheese in the best way and includes a lot of sighing, you’ll see. Witchboard 3 on the other hand… yikes! I mean you should probably watch it just for the awful CGI but don’t make it high on your watch list. Then there’s Witchtrap, also directed by Kevin S. Tenney, which came out in 1989. It was marketed very strongly as NOT A SEQUEL TO WITCHBOARD in bold letters before the movie begins and on the back of the VHS. However, it shares connections with Witchboard like the return of three actors and the main plot that revolves around Malfeitor who is back haunting an inn. I guess technically it’s a spin-off but it’s quite humorous how hard they pushed that it’s not a sequel to the public, perhaps Malfeitor had a clause in his contract! It’s definitely worth a watch for you B-movie lovers as it’s got Linnea Quigley, terrible acting and the fastest head explosion caught on film!
Witchboard is a must watch for October if you’re looking for a higher budget 80’s horror film to watch this Halloween season. So dust off your Ouija board, conjure up some spirits and rock out to some Whitesnake but beware, as the game ends, the terror begins!