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Spookies may not be a good movie from a traditional standpoint, but it is a creepy and atmospheric 80s chiller with a variety of prosthetic creatures and gore to keep us entertained. The film tells of an evil sorcerer (Felix Ward) who lives in a spooky old house in the middle of a cemetery. He lures in and murders innocent victims to keep his reluctant bride young and pretty with black magic. A runaway boy and a group of party goers become lost and find themselves in the sorcerer’s layer and soon, one by one, he sends them to their dooms via his legion of demons and creatures. Will anyone escape alive?
This flick is written and directed by three people, Brendan Faulkner, Thomas Doran and Genie Joseph, with ‘additional material’ by Frank M. Farel. As such, it is a bit of a mess with some very choppy editing and a tone that sways back and forth between serious and a bit silly (farting zombies, anyone?). This is most likely due to production issues which had director Genie Joseph coming in to add additional material after the film was initially finished. Regardless, the acting across the boards is terrible and it’s remarkable the film is as effective as it is…and it is still a spooky little flick. Despite the hodgepodge scene structuring and awful dialogue and acting, the film is still quite atmospheric and taken individually, certain scenes are quite chilling, such as the demise of the runaway boy. There is a whole bevy of creatures, demons and zombies that populate the film and are very well rendered by New Jersey’s own Vincent Gaustini and the rest of the SPFX make-up crew. The creepy atmosphere and cinematography, by Robert Chappell and Ken Kelsch, the spooky score, by James Calabrese and Kenneth Higgins, along with the abundant and well-rendered creatures and gore, help make this flick an entertaining curiosity. Despite the shortcomings on the filmmakers’ and actors’ part in delivering a better structured and acted story…or more cohesively adding the new material…it still works somewhat. The flick does have spooky charm, if nothing else.
So, despite the bad acting, weak direction and hatchet editing job, Spookies overcomes it’s production woes to still be a fairly effective little horror. The look of the film oozes atmosphere and it is a creepy flick with it’s array of creatures and gore FX which are very well carried out. It’s not a great movie by any stretch, but does overcome some heavy flaws and post production changes to still give one some chills and thrills…and there are definitely some unintentional laughs, too! Worth a look especially if you like horror from this era and haven’t seen it.
Rated 3 (out of 4) various Spookies.