Thursday, August 27, 2015

Spookies (1986)

Released in 1986 as Spookies, this movie began as a feature named Twisted Souls.

In 1984 co-writers/directors Brendan Faulkner, Thomas Doran, and producer Frank M. Farel (who would next be an associate producer + actor in Street Trash) agreed to create a horror film for Michael Lee, a British film distributor, in which they followed his specific plot guidelines and then subsequently he would finance their next project. Twisted Souls was their first feature after doing some second unit directing as well as starting several horror films that were never finished.

After viewing a rough cut, that had not yet undergone post production work, Lee removed Faulkner and Doran from further involvement. He brought in Eugenie Joseph to edit some of the existing footage while also shooting a significant amount of additional footage without the original cast, but using the same location, the John Jay Estate.

Even for a low budget horror film, the results are truly mixed. According to an oral history (featured on the sadly now defunct film criticism website The Dissolve, which was also especially helpful in my writing this piece and can still be found here) with those involved with the project, much of my preferred portions of the film are elements from the original version. These include the farting mud men in the wine cellar, the spider woman, a grim reaper, little monsters, and a melting she-demon. Conversely, the newer footage is more of a laughable drag on the movie. According to The Dissolve article mentioned above, the "second director... inserted scenes of a Crypt Keeper-type sorcerer, a cat man, a half-dead bride, high schoolers dressed as zombies, and a little boy having a haunted birthday party." Also, for reasons that are never explained, the cat man has a pirate style hook for one of his arms.

Despite the low budget, many of the original special effects are worthwhile and a positive aspect of the film. The crew of young talent creating the effects included Jennifer Aspinall (she also created make-up/effects for The Toxic Avenger, Street Trash, Saturday Night Live, and MadTV), Gabe Bartalos (Leprechaun) and John Dods (known for his work on Return of the Aliens: The Deadly Spawn, Poltergeist III, Ghostbusters II, Death Becomes Her, The Santa Clause, and The X-Files) among others. 

the trailer

the feature

No comments:

Post a Comment