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Spookies (1986) October 9th, 2020

Spookies is delightfully bad. It’s one of those movies that’s fun to laugh at, not with. As I understand it, Spookies has a devoted following like Troll 2 or Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. Like those two titans-of- trash, Spookies is a successful attempt to make a genre classic… just not the genre it wanted.

The legend of Spookies is extensively documented on Vinegar Syndrome’s superb Blu-Ray release. I don’t have time to explain the story in its entirety so let me sum up. The original production of Spookies produced a film its financiers hated and wanted reshot. When the crew heard this news they quit in protest over an already contentious production. Stuck with what they viewed as half a movie, the producers hired another crew for extensive reshoots and eventually cut together a complete film that looks and feels like a two movies stitched together. Like Frankenstein or The Justice League.

Spookies wants to be an old-dark-house-movie, a group of young people (one of them inexplicably much older than the others) crash at an abandoned haunted house in the middle of nowhere. A series of bizarre and seemingly unrelated events occur. They find and activate a knockoff ouija board, a guy with a ventriloquist hand-puppet is exsanguinated by a spider-woman, a preteen boy has a birthday party by himself… it’s all over the place.

It’s not all bad tho, there is a scene in a wine cellar where earthborn muckmen attack a young couple looking for a dark place to snog. It seems like a routine scene until the muckmen start… farting? There’s no other way to describe it and there’s never any explanation for the toots but there’s no doubt they’re gaseous in origin. Presumably the muckmen are made of human waste despite looking like they’re made entirely of dry dirt. They’re supposed to look like soil not soiled.

One of the surprisingly great aspects of Spookies is the poster/cover art. Richard Corben is an amazing graphic artist with an extensive influence and wide breadth of work ranging from comic book properties like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hellboy and The Incredible Hulk. I was shocked and delighted to see his instantly recognizable style on the Spookies Blu-Ray slipcover. Richard Corben passed away earlier this month. The best way to appreciate an artist is to pay them and experience their work. If you’re so inclined to appreciate an incredible artist, please go out and buy his work.

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