BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
When the dude recording the sound for your movie fucks up and every sound, squeak, dialogue, and fart has to be created in post-production, it’s probably best to inject a healthy dose of camp, camp, and more camp into it.
Kevin Tenney, the writer and director of Night of the Demons, invites Horror Hounds into yet another house with a lot of supernatural activity occurring inside. This time, though, it’s being haunted by its former owner, the evil magician Avery Lauder (J.P. Luebsen), and it will require a team of investigators – including three police officers (???) – in order to rid it of the evil that possesses it.
Cheesy and basic, the paranormal neighborhood watch at the center of this movie – a film that didn’t exist a week before it was written – are frightfully naïve about damn near everything…including the interesting house at the center of the movie.
Witchtrap is as bad as it sounds. Full of incredibly bad actors that have memorized some pretty shitty dialogue, the b-movie operates best when viewed merely as camp. These guys and dolls can’t even make sarcasm sound natural. Wooden. Wooden. Wooden. And it becomes so hilarious off-putting that you want to continue watching just to see how bad it gets.
And it gets really, really bad. The premise suggests that this evil dude’s ghost is so intense that he’s responsible for the deaths that still happen within the house. The team of investigators – all there merely to serve the needs of the genre as victims – feel the need to have police protection. But no officer of the law can protect faces from being completely melted off (and, yeah, that happens).
Starring James Quinn as a wise-cracking officer of the law annoyed by his assignment to protect the team of investigators alongside his partner, Judy Tatum as the most boring paranormal investigator to ever be pinned down on paper, and Linnea Quigley as our disrobing female who is killed in the shower by the shower, Witchtrap is best enjoyed with a case of beer.
The good in the movie – and this is what will appeal to a lot of genre fans – are the kills themselves. As hilarious as it sounds to hear that a woman is killed by a shower, the sequence – in which the shower head is thrust into the young lady’s neck – is pretty severe and, for first time viewers, unexpected. There’s another scene in which one of the investigators head explodes, which is also a loaded moment as he leaves his wife covered in bloody goo.
But, when the spectral enemy is as ridiculous as Luebsen in a long black cloak tiptoeing in and out of rooms toward camcorders and then back out as he realizes he’s being recorded, viewers shouldn’t really expect a serious attempt at horror. Sure, there’s gore and the standard satanic trope to help push viewers to the edge of their own good taste, but all is for naught once the house’s bizarre caretaker, Elvin (Hal Havins), is introduced and becomes the focal point for every detective’s gun.
Witchtrap is a puzzling movie. IF this were a comedy, it wouldn’t work. Since this is played straight and not for merely laughs, it succeeds … as parody which was never its intention. It’s the details in Witchtrap that saves it from itself.
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 92 mins
Director: Kevin Tenney
Writer: Kevin Tenney
Cast: James W. Quinn, Kathleen Bailey, Judy Tatum
Tagline: This Time, It's Not a Game.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I resent your mother for taking drugs when she was pregnant."
Theatrical Distributor: Cinema Plus
Release Date: September 7, 1989
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: March 28, 2017
Synopsis: Parapsychologists try to make an inn haunted by an evil witch's ghost safe for guests.
Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray - March 28, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A
Being released uncut for the first time ever, Vinegar Syndrome presents Witchtrap on 1080p from a new 2K scan of the original 35mm interpositive. The results are immediate and absolutely perfect. There’s a nice grain structure that the transfer preserves and the colors are well balanced and natural. The house at the center of the haunting is detail-rich and camera-ready. Shadows plunge and are well defined and even the nighttime graveyard scenes pop with crisp details. The remastering adds a little more detail to some of the clothing and the backgrounds. Black levels are strong, making some of the night kill scenes an absolute triumph of shades and thick lines. The aspect ration is 1.85:1 and the sound is a good DTS-HD 2 channel stereo track.
Featuring writer/director Kevin Tenney, producer Dan Duncan, cinematographer Tom Jewett, and actor Hal Havins, the commentary is both fun and informative.
Vinegar Syndrome presents the Blu/DVD combo with a lot of nice supplemental items. There are a multitude of NEW interviews from the cast and the crew which are filled with fun information and little known facts. And, yes, they all discuss the fuck-up with the sound and how that changed certain things about the movie. One of Tenney’s short films are included, complete with an alternate ending. Fans will notice some familiar faces starring in it. There are also 12 photos from the marketing of the movie, a video trailer, and a reversible sleeve with new art included.
- Kevin Tenney Interview (23 min)
- Linnea Quigley Interview (13 min)
- Tom Jewett Interview (15 min)
- Tassilo Baur Interview (17 min)
- Judy Yonemoto Audio Interview (8 min)
- Dennis Michael Tenney Audio Interview (13 min)
- Book of Joe Short Film (23 min)
- Book of Joe Alternate Ending (4 min)
- Production/Promotional Still Gallery
- Video Trailer