Truly Twisted Souls – Spookies (1986)

Spookies is one of those films that end up throwing all that they can at the audience in the hopes that any flaws present will be overlooked by the amount of sheer insanity on the screen. In this particular case, it works and does so quite well. Originally shot a couple years previous, it was shelved for a while until another director was brought on board to add even more scenes of craziness and if there was one major fault, it was that it ended up being overlong. The plot, which was already a little thin, was stretched out even further by the additional scenes and while entertaining as a whole, a half hour could have been cut from the film and it still would have been a decent picture.

The main story concerns a sorcerer who is trying to keep his wife alive by sacrificing all those who come to his mansion while she wants nothing to do with him. As such, when a kid shows up and then a load of people looking to party, one has to know that they are not going to make it out of this house alive. Surprisingly, while there is usually at least one survivor, the person who turns the tables on the old wizard is not what was expected, after which, the movie reverts to formula and ends on a cliché.

Putting the story aside and all the hammy acting, the movie is a visual feast for the eyes, especially for those that enjoy their monsters. Filled with various demons, ghouls, zombies, a fairly revolting spider-creature and even a boy who is a werecat, there is no shortage of eye-candy for the audience. The special effects for the most part, are fantastic and call to mind all the best that horror has to offer. What the film might have lacked in other areas, watching literal nightmares come to life through the vivid imaginations of the writers, the directors and the special effects people was nothing short of stupendous. If only the story had been a little stronger and the actors a little better, the movie might have been considered a true classic of the genre instead of the hack-job that it eventually ended up being, compelling or otherwise.

Originally called Twisted Souls and directed by Brendan Faulkner and Thomas Doran before it was transformed into the movie called Spookies, it still managed to work and it was still highly enjoyable, but one has to wonder what the original film might have looked like had it ever been completed. Lost to time or not, Spookies is all that is left and is worth a look for those willing to venture into the visceral world it presents.

3 out of 5

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