Okay. So the original is 80s cheesy goodness and it has Whitesnake’s be-otch in it. But honestly, with the level of “good” that Witchboard reaches, it could only get worse with sequels…especially since they were doomed to be products of the 90s.
WITCHBOARD 2: THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY (1993)
Kevin (S.) Tenney should have just sold the franchise instead of doing Witchboard 2: The Devil’s Doorway. Although in hindsight, it is a cool addition to his lineup of low-budget releases, which always keep me coming back for more: Night of the Demons, Witchtrap, The Cellar, Pinocchio’s Revenge, Brain Dead (love it), and Endangered Species.
The intro music makes me happy. It’s got that great late 80s/early 90s b-movie horror sound. Leading lady Ami Dolenz is from Pumpkinhead 2 and is also a Monkees spawn. Original Saturday Night Live alum Laraine Newman appears as her neighbor. The two leading men are cute. And the landlord is a hot, pervy ginge bear with curly hair, a mustache, and a plaid shirt.
That’s the good news.
Predictable story follows. Ami finds a Ouija board in her new apartment. She can’t resist and plays with it. She has a scary dream that became the cover of the DVD. The dirty bear landlord gets steam cleaned after being chased by a circular saw blade. Hardly anyone else dies. There’s a visit to an occult guy who warns her about the Ouija board. We are supposed to be captivated by the mystery of the dead spirit.
Ami doesn’t even get to give a stunning possession performance a la Tawny Kitaen. She becomes the witchboard spirit, so a different actress steps in and walks around like…a different actress.
And yet they made a third film. I don’t know why they didn’t just slap that one onto this Blu-ray and make it a little more worth the 20 bux.
WITCHBOARD III: THE POSESSION (1995)
To think that a year after this film, Scream would save the 90s horror legacy from being total shit. Witchboard III: The Possession was only written by Kevin Tenney. He let someone else direct it. Yet, as lame as it is, I like it better than Witchboard 2.
First of all, the main offender with the Ouija board is a guy this time—and he’s pretty hot. And he’s shirtless—a lot—with a tight bod and chest hair. And we get to see some butt. And he slicks his hair back all Highlander-like when he gets possessed.
The plot isn’t so bad either. He’s an out of work stockbroker. His landlord tells him to use a Ouija board for answers…and then jumps out a fricking window! Things get way 90s horror for a while (as in, crappy) with desperate “horror” moments, like flying knives and a dude being pinned to death by his own collection of pinned butterflies. Like, whatEVER. The main guy’s spirit gets stuck in a mirror, and the version of him walking around wants to impregnate his woman.
Despite clichés (and cheesy original ideas like the butterflies), the movie grabbed my attention when the dude started turning into this freaky demon. Now that’s what I’m talking about! That demon saves the movie for me. There’s also a pretty cool scene when a be-otch gets sliced in half because she’s flashing her boobs and won’t let him impregnate her.
But overall, the movie is a good example of what was wrong with 90s horror movies in general; they weren’t SCARY. It’s like every movie was just a drama with a horror motif. Atmosphere sucked, musical score sucked, tension and suspense were non-existent. In an effort to be considered “horror,” they’d toss in some kills and sex, which the 80s taught them were essential elements of horror flicks. But I give Witchboard III props for being the darkest installment of the franchise. And the final confrontation with the demon is pretty cool—except for the special effects of him being vanquished Oh…and the threat of a 4th installment, with the planchette popping out of a furnace and getting all up in the camera.