Thursday, June 3, 2010

Witchboard: There's Nothing Strange About Taking Your WEE-JA Board To a Party, Because It's a Board Game. Duh.

Ouija boards were always something that creeped me out. I'm pretty sure it has to do with the specific picture that was on it.
Seeing that little black floating face was enough to prevent me from ever taking the Ouija board seriously--therefore preventing any close contact with real spirits. I don't want little heads floating where I can't see them! Of course let's get serious, no one ever contacted ghosts. It was always our own hands pushing the damn thing. I know this because one time at a sleepover...we promised not to move it ourselves and you won't believe it but...IT DIDN'T MOVE! Bam. Proof.

Regardless of this startling truth, the history of the Ouija board is pretty interesting. From people claiming to have been possessed---to cases of 5 or more people suffering serious mental illnesses because of the board, even to crazed murderers who claimed they were possessed by the spirits they talked to--the Ouija board gets around. So much so, that Tawny Kitaen felt compelled to star in a movie about it's very existence!

Welcome to the land of, "Damn straight I bring my Ouija board to every cool party I go to!"
What is the deal with that? Brandon has a lot going for him.
A hot car, luscious locks, piercing eyes and yet he feels the need to tote around an Ouija board and proudly proclaim that he uses it on a regular basis to talk to the same 10 year old ghost? During this embarrassing demonstration, Linda is introduced to the spirit of David. Jim, Linda's boyfriend and Brandon's one time friend turned arch nemesis--ends up insulting David. David is so mad at Jim, that he slashes Brandon's tires! Yes you read that right. I've come to realize that little in this movie makes sense, which is why it is an instant classic. Anyways, Brandon leaves his witchboard there and Linda becomes entranced, short lived I'm afraid, once "David" stabs the carpet and knocks over a bottle of ketchup.
Unfortunately, poor Linda has already opened up a portal and the connection between her and "David" (Spoiler, it might not be David) grows stronger. Is it too late for Linda and her grossly long fingernails? Will Brandon and Jim reunite as friends and lovers once more?

So really though, what's not to love about Witchboard? It's like an 80s and much better version of Paranormal Activity. Jim is like Micah only I liked him! Linda is like Katie only I like her! See? Exactly the same only better. One interesting thing about Witchboard however is that verges on this strange line of being a slasher. It at times use an interesting point of view shot, and even involves a detective. Plus, the overall idea of a spirit reaching out and physically killing seemingly uninvolved people is a little hard to imagine. It certainly raises an interesting point and perhaps an even more interesting red herring. The deaths here are good--but there is also the art of solving a mystery involved. How did David really die? And if that's not David who can it possibly be. I'm not a genius but I think it might be this guy.

Which FYI is the best short dream sequence imaginable.

Sure there are ridiculous moments of questions and suspicions. Try this plot hole on for size; Brandon tells Jim that using an Ouija board by yourself is dangerous and that's why Linda is possessed. But ummm doesn't Jim curl up with a glass of wine every night and talk to David by himself? I think so. Also, things happen awfully fast. Linda doesn't really show any true signs of possession and suddenly there she is at the end wearing a bad 80s suit and hat?
Since when does being possessed mean that the demon can dress you the way he wants?

One thing I did come to like however was the relationship between Jim and Brandon. Their little impromptu Ouija session by the lake was so charming--and although short lived, I'm glad that they reconciled while they could.
It really meant a lot to me.

Overall, Witchboard is a surprisingly solid piece of film from the best year in the world--1986. While it has it's problems, it still manages to captivate the viewer and even provide some moments of fear. I can only imagine what my feelings toward Ouija boards would have been had I seen this movie growing up. On a sidenote--what was up with that Psychic?
I don't remember psychics being 80s punk rock/ John Lennon wannabe losers. Oooh yes it's the 80s. Still though, nothing beats seeing this beastie in the film's final frames.


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Anonymous said...

I'm convinced that Brandon was a closet pedophile and used the Ouija as a means to satiate his child lust without acting out in real life.

The ridiculous climax and falling out of the window sequence was the best part of the film.

Franco Macabro said...

I wanted that villain to appear a bit more, since he looks so menacing in that dream sequence. The sequel to this one Witchboard 2 had a bigger budget and better effects, I liked it a bit more than this one. But this one is still a fun watch, silly in that way that only horror movies from the 80s can be, but thats what I love about em!

Matt-suzaka said...

Yeah, what nitin said up there is spot on and right to the point. Couldn't have said it better myself.

So Witchboard is a childhood favorite of mine and it does hold up very well for what one would assume would be a cheesy 80's horror movie.

A few things: Best scene is when "shades" (as I call him) gets the worst splinter ever when he gets rocked by all that plywood.

The psychic looks like Corey Haim.

Ouija board at parties = mad pussy.

And Tawny was tight banging back in the day! What happened?

Andre Dumas said...

nitin-- Ummm thanks.

PoT- True story! That makes so much really is creepy how attached to David he is. Someone needs to do one of those recut trailers to make this movie look like a Lifetime movie.

Film Connoisseur- I have heard similar things about Witchboard 2 and will surely be checking it out. I agree that the real demon should have made more appearances, but I guess they just really needed Tawny to look hot more than they needed a really menacing bad guy?

Matt- Corey Haim?!! TOO SOON

Richard of DM said...

I've always loved Witchboard. It's one of those off kilter movies that is actually quite original and fun. Oh and there's camp. When Linda is furiously brushing her hair and bitching out her man. Classic. Great review.