101 Films continue their quest to lift the lid on 80s horror with Spookies, given the lavish two-disc treatment here.

Truth be told this is a weird one, as judging the film on its own merits it is no great shakes and sort-of hard to recommend, but the bonus content – and the story behind the film – more than make up for it.

Essentially Spookies is two films spliced together – we have the original footage, filmed as Twisted Souls, which sees a mismatched group of ‘partygoers’ inexplicably end up at a mansion in a cemetery, home to a strange, withering old guy who uses psychic skills (and an Ouija board) to cause havoc (and raise the dead) in a bid to somehow restore his long-dead wife back to life.

Evidently unhappy with what they were seeing, the investors ditched the project, then brought in a fresh cast and crew to film completely new story angles, edit the whole thing together and retitle it as Spookies for release.

If the whole thing sounds bizarre, well that’s because it really, really is. Spookies is absolutely dripping with 80s straight-to-video horror vibes, from crass dialogue to woeful acting to gloopy, ridiculous practical effects. Plot strands come and go, characters pop up that add nothing to the plot and the less said about some poor chap who resembles a rejected prototype for the Cats stage musical the better.

But – and this is a very big but – if you take it for what it is, and roll with the stupidity, Spookies is still fun – and fairly whizzes by.

BONUS FEATURES

Entering to save the day, and nudge the disc from two stars to three and a half, come the 101 team with a packed selection of extras.

For starters there is a fun commentary from Frightfest’s Paul McEvoy, along with director Sean Hogan, who break the film down and fill in a lot of Spookies’ turbulent history.

There’s also a locations featurette with a member of the cast, some brief intros from when the film played the Alamo Drafthouse, outtakes and a trailer.

Even better, we then get a whole extra disc, which includes two documentaries – the first a ‘making of’ which sees many of the original cast and crew letting rip over what happened to the film. The second is the ‘VIPCO story’, a fascinating look at the notorious label, added here as VIPCO head honcho Michael Lee was the aforementioned investor on Spookies.

Overall Spookies is by no means an essential purchase, but as something a bit different that gives a real peek behind the curtain of low-budget filmmaking it is certainly worth a look.

Blu-ray Review: Spookies
3.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle