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Spookies - VHS - Palace Premiere Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
Written by Jay Creepy   
Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Spookies on VHS from Palace Premiere on Severed Cinema

AKA: Duchy, Goblin, Die Killermonster, Renascidos, Twisted Souls.

Directed by: Eugenie Joseph, Thomas Doran, Brendan Faulkner
Written by: Joseph Burgund, Thomas Doran, Frank Farel, Brendan Faulkner
Produced by: Thomas Doren, Michael Lee, Frank farel, Brendan Faulkner, Eugenie Joseph
Cinematography by: Robert Chappell, Ken Kelsh
Editing by: Eugenie Joseph
Music by: Diana B
Special Effects by: Gabriel Bartalos, Jennifer Aspinall, John Dods, Vincent Guastini, Ken Brilliant, Ken Walker, Al Magliochetti, Larry Revene
Cast: Felix Ward, Maria Pechukas, Peter Dain, Lisa Friede, Peter Lasillo Jr, Kim Merill, Al Magliochetti.
Year: 1986
Country: USA/Netherlands
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1h 22min

Distributor: Palace Premiere

“Come on, it's spooky as hell inside!”

Exploring the local video tape rental stores in my area back in the mid to late eighties, guaranteed you'd have a good few large golden box Palace releases with some cool as hell artwork on them.  From John Woo's "The Killer ," to "Evil Dead II"; "Trick Or Treat," or "Hunter's Blood," they stood out along with others like Medusa for giving you quality releases.

The trailer for this movie was splattered on a good few Palace tapes and certainly knew how to catch your eye.  It ran like an effects reel, I mean it was a latex gem after a latex gem.  Freaky mutations, zombies, fat looking zombie blokes walking around with pickaxes, a deflating head... after every few effects or so, on the old Palace trailer, the title would be spoken like “Spookies – ies – ies – ies.”  I imagined something like the old god demon from the end of "The Gate" partying with Dr. Pretorius out of "From Beyond," and a demonic Bobby Bresse from "Mausoleum" dancing.

As soon as it hit the video shelves, my mother rented it and we watched it.  Me, aged around twelve or thirteen had a very different opinion to the thirty-eight-year-old writing this review.  Old me just couldn't understand how a trailer could lie.  New me has read up on the history of the film and finds himself appreciating the work a lot more.  It's not a masterpiece, but as I carry on with the review I hope I can bring over the fun and the entertainment value "Spookies" holds.

The main bad guy is a sorcerer called Kreon, who to everyone watching will probably look and act like a late night horror host.  He spends the first part of the movie chatting to a coffin which contains his long lost lover who poisoned herself years ago.  However, he promises they'll be together again soon thanks to an assortment of “foolish” victims.  His voice weirdly sounds like the guiding voice out of UK endurance game show "The Cube."

Kreon's servant is a badly made up wereboy in a golden waistcoat who gets too much screen time sneaking down staircases and listening at doors.  We first meet him watching a teenage boy called Billy who is wandering around a graveyard which surrounds Kreon's old mansion.  It's his birthday and his parents have forgotten.  Billy talks a moment with some random bearded dude sat in a tree in the dark, then walks off.  Meanwhile, the bearded fellow is killed by the wereboy.  We briefly see two cars full of typical party seeking victims driving up to the mansion.

Kreon has opened the coffin and is still chatting away whilst his joke shop white face make-up is being sweated off his face. “I am a slave to your beauty,” etcetera.

What a surprise, there's a joker in the car called Rich who has a quality t-shirt with his face on it and a puppet.  Oh my god, the stupid four note soundtrack never ends!  Twelve minutes in and it feels like the bloody thing hasn't changed at all!

Billy ventures into the mansion and finds a birthday spread for him in the dining room with a present, plus a creepy crying doll and a bad editing cut as the candles on the cake light themselves.  We then see what looks like a left over dwarf from the "Phantasm" series sneaking around holding a knife and a goofy green painted face.  Billy opens his present, which contains horror host Kreon's head.  “Happy birthday, Billy! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Welcome, fools,” says Kreon as the party crew arrive at the doors looking for thrills.  Of course, he's hidden somewhere deep in the mansion. 

Come on, Meegan, it's spooky as hell inside.” chirps a girl with wide eighties hair.  Turns out to be  a poverty row party, they all unhappily drink.  Duke who looks like he should be in an Italian post apocalypse flick, drinks too much and gets angry, Carol is miserable, as is Adrienne.  In the meantime they discover an ancient looking occult object.  A random moment had us laughing as Duke smashes a door open, we cut to Rich and his puppet pointing whilst Rich shakes his head. Ooooh, Duke is a naughty boy isn't he?  Through the door is a rotten corpse which Duke believes is a fake.  In its arms is an Ouija board which goes with the occult object they found.  Of course it's the eighties, it's a horror film, and they wanna party, so they have to have a go on it.  As they ask questions, Kreon answers from deep in his home, mainly spelling out their doom.

Carol suddenly undergoes possession and changes into an "Evil Dead" demon which speaks in Kreon's voice.  Running out, Lewis is swallowed by the ground, whilst wereboy leers into the camera lens.  They all run back in and are trapped within due to some pretty awesome zombies approaching from the cemetery.  From then on the film is like a video game with monsters hidden all over in different rooms, in the basement, everywhere.  There's an Asian woman who slowly and quite brilliantly transforms into a huge spider.  There's small troll creatures, some octopus sort of two legged thing which blasts out electric hoops and has stop motion tentacles.  Then of course there's the Muck Men.  They are, like I said before, fat zombie geezas armed with pickaxes and are cool.  However, someone in the editing department decided they had to fart a lot.  Why have they put in farting noises?  It's only funny for about five seconds!  Plus wine kills them easily.  Really?  What?  Oh come on!

Throughout, Kreon and his lover Isabelle argue about setting her free. “Why won't you let this end?” she asks at one point.  Indeed, why does wereboy have so much wandering scenes?  Why does Kreon talk so much?  Why does his lover escape and wander a lot?  The big question is, why do the above characters never share a scene in person with the dying party people and incredible special effects?

The reason is, that what we are watching is a jigsaw puzzle made up of two different films.  One was called "Twisted Souls" and the other called
"Spookies" "Spookies." actually only exists as a title since the former film was abandoned years earlier due to falling outs with the producers and financial backers.  All the makers were left with was around forty minutes of party goers, Muck Men, a living grim reaper statue, the spider woman, and all the decent and quite superb latex slinging effects.  The large effects team had members who have films like "Street Trash," "The Toxic Avenger," "Congo," "Interview With the Vampire," "Nightbeast," "Poltergeist 3," "The Deadly Spawn" and many more on their CVs.

In 1985 they hired Eugenie Joseph, who appears to be a hack and cheap director, to try and put a story around it, shooting extra scenes to fill out the time.  He's been more of a producer over the years really, mainly of TV series.  I suppose I'm being mean, Eugenie didn't have much to work with: a micro budget, bad actors, and cheap effects.  The script for Twisted Souls was bad enough, but it's corny mind-jelly for the "Spookies" wraparound story (written by an ex-producer of "Sesame Street"!!!!)  Even if "Twisted Souls" had been completed, I don't think it would have been any good, but the central performance goes to the special effects team.  However, Kreon's tale runs like a soap opera as he tries to convince his love not to leave him and basically sits in his room.

Due to the history of the production, most of the final conflicts make no sense whatsoever, as party goers are left knowing what to do against the terror they face without any explanation as to how they gained the knowledge, and when they do it, it makes no difference because their story has no real climax.

The last ten or so minutes are taken by horror host's beloved Isabelle, running, hiding, being attacked forever by very uninspired zombies ( a world away from the walking dead earlier in the film) and that annoying wereboy.  Anyone who watches this without any knowledge of its background will be left bewildered and at the least very entertained.

"Spookies" is fun to view and isn't boring.  Vipco has released the film twice on DVD, both versions are very bare bones affairs and taken from a VHS source.  My review is taken from the late 80's VHS rental tape which adds to the feel of it due to the grey shadows, etcetera.  USA cable channels have shown the film a good few times but other than Vipco, no one else has given "Spookies" a DVD release.  It's worth tracking down if you're like us -- big fans of eighties monster movies and just enjoy it for what it is.

Spookies VHS screenshot from Palace Premiere on Severed Cinema

Spookies VHS screenshot from Palace Premiere on Severed Cinema

Spookies VHS screenshot from Palace Premiere on Severed Cinema

Spookies VHS screenshot from Palace Premiere on Severed Cinema

Spookies VHS screenshot from Palace Premiere on Severed Cinema

Spookies VHS screenshot from Palace Premiere on Severed Cinema

Spookies VHS screenshot from Palace Premiere on Severed Cinema

Spookies VHS screenshot from Palace Premiere on Severed Cinema

Spookies VHS screenshot from Palace Premiere on Severed Cinema

Spookies VHS screenshot from Palace Premiere on Severed Cinema

Spookies VHS screenshot from Palace Premiere on Severed Cinema

Spookies VHS screenshot from Palace Premiere on Severed Cinema

Spookies VHS screenshot from Palace Premiere on Severed Cinema

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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