Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Split Personality of TWISTED SOULS and SPOOKIES (Review)


The production of Spookies is a really interesting story. In 1984 filmmakers and buddies Brendan Faulkner and Thomas Doran were approached by British movie producer Michael Lee who made a deal with the guys; make a conventional horror movie for me and I will bankroll your pet project. To my knowledge that project never got made, probably due to the fact that Faulkner and Doran were fired from what was then called Twisted Souls.

Lee then hired Eugenie Joseph to finish the film, which would eventually be called Spookies. Oddly, Joseph's continuation invoiced a different storyline and actors. Faulkner and Doran shot footage of young people going to an abandoned mansion and encountering a shit-ton of monsters. Joseph's had a little boy running away from home and having a creepy birthday party, and an old wizard who lives in the aforementioned mansion who kills people to keep his beloved wife from dying.

DVD COVER (FRONT)
Both visions had a cavalcade of crazy monsters and lots of practical make-up and special effects, but that was about all they had in common. Yet somehow the story kind of came together in a head-scratching, dreamlike, seemingly accidental kind of way. The little boy's birthday party never makes sense in context, so don't even try, just go with it. But the old wizard who needs to kill people for his wife? Conveniently, the people who happen into the mansion and start getting picked off one-by-one by cool ass creatures (that he controls *winkwink*) fit that narrative.

Spookies is a lot of fun, no matter how it was made. It's like Ed Wood, Sam Raimi and Lucio Fulci all got together to make a creepy house/monster movie. The monsters are the stars of the show; lots of zombies, a scaly ghoulie, a Ouija demon, farting muck men (you read that right), a spider lady, a tentacled thingie with an electrical charge, the Grim Reaper, a demon with a glowing brain and much more. I was really surprised how awesome the special effects looked. The tone of the movie is all over the road due to the splicing together of the two different footages. One is pretty "serious" and creepy and the other is campy and funny, but it all works.

DVD COVER (BACK)
Now, to this DVD... Spookies has never had a DVD or blu-ray release here in the United States. As far as I know, the only DVD available, though out of print, is the region 2 Vipco disk. As of this article, there are also no plans for a DVD or blu-ray release either, which is a shame. But my buddy James from Vagrancy Films in Quebec messaged to ask if I was interested in checking out his friend's release that features a "new HD interpositive 2k scan". Of course I was! The only problem is that I don't have any info on the company or the DVD other than what's on the box.

The company is called "Intercontinental Film and Video" and they are out of Quebec, that's really all I know. Apparently the guy runs a brick and mortar video store and somehow got his hands on the source material? I don't even know if this is a licensed release but I do know that it's a pressed disk and not a DVD-R. So, there you go. The A/V quality is pretty good. There are small bits of snaps and pops here and there and the picture isn't very sharp but that probably has more to do with the actual cinematography than the transfer. You can see a difference in quality between the two directors' footage as well.

At this point you might be asking yourself, "Wow, I how I can get a copy?!" And my answer would be, "I have no fucking idea!" Seriously though, I think that the only place you may be able to get a copy right now is Eyesore Cinema (LINK), you can probably contact him directly on the Facebook page or Twitter for a copy. I also know that Diabolik (LINK) was inquiring about how they could get some copies to sell but nothing announced or up as of yet. This movie is badass enough to go through the extra steps to get a copy. There is no telling if it will ever get a release from a bigger company, so this may be your only chance. Get it while you can!

DVD SCREENCAPS (click to enlarge)










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