"Hey, look at that giant mansion in the middle of nowhere that somebody may or may not be living in that has a cemetery for a front yard. Let's go inside through the front doors and party." If you are riding around pointlessly through the countryside and one of your friends says that, be sure you punch him (or her) in the head because it is exactly that kind of logic that gets a group of twenty somethings (more like thirty somethings by the look of them) dead in the movie SPOOKIES.
I am not sure if there really is a plot to SPOOKIES. What I understand is that there is this old man wizard (played by Mr. Burns?) that has a line down the middle of his forehead that pulses up and down when he does magic type stuff. He probably does it sometimes just to be gross too but that is none of my buisness. The wizard's name is Kreon (pronounced crayon?) and he has a dead wife that he wants to resurrect from the dead. The only way he can do that is by capturing peoples' souls who die in his mansion. Along comes some "friends" that decide to stay in the seemingly abandoned house where they end up getting trapped inside. Surrounded by zombies from the outside our twenty somethings decide to split up and roam the house pointlessly allowing themselves to be killed off one by one by the mansion's strange assortment of creatures. Apparently the wizard wants them killed off in a creative fashion for his amusement. The wife however wakes up early for some reason and doesn't like being brought back so she herself tries to escape her evil wizard husband. At least that is what I think is going on in this mid-to-late eighties creature feature.
I saw this movie back in the early nineties when I was really young on the USA NETWORK one Saturday morning after all the good cartoons were over. I had a hard time trying to find any information on this movie. I did try finding it on IMDB but apparently I was typing in "THE CREEPIES" even though I knew the correct word was "SPOOKIES". I am what you would call an idiot. Thankfully I found a copy of it and I was finally able to watch it to see if it was any good. I didn't think I would but I ended up really liking this FX heavy B-movie production. Sure the acting sucks and things don't make much sense but there is a tremendous amount of effort put into this movie. The FX are not too bad and are kind of fun. The monsters themselves range from simple gremlin hand puppets to larger people size monsters. There is one monster that shoots this tentacle around this lady's throat electrocuting her and melting face. I think it was absorbing her or something gross. It was really cool though. Then the "funny" guy of the group who apparently likes bringing his hand puppet around to pick up chicks follows this woman around who turns into a giant spider that sucks his body dry in an instant. The FX can be a little silly too. At one point there is this flying ghost banshee thing that is waving it's arms all crazy and if you pause the movie just right you can see one of the puppeteers hands holding one of the arms. Good times. The banshee thing looks like a Halloween decoration you can get at SPENCERS. I think they did a good job with the monsters though. I was impressed. The Grim Reaper makes an appearance too. Did you know that if you throw the Grim Reaper off a one story ledge it will explode? Its true.
SPOOKIES is an effectively shot film. A lot of the shots particularly of the mansion with the cemetery for a front yard are extremely memorable. The moment when the "funny" guy meets the Spider Lady she is mostly concealed in shadow allowing only her eyes to be visible. It is an eerie moment because you know the spider is leading the fly into a trap. You know something bad is about to go down and you are not quite sure that you want to see it. The spider transformation was actually pretty good too. SPOOKIES is a spooky film despite its short comings. I am not for sure but I think the makers of this film built a bigger movie around an unfinished short film called TWISTED SOULS. At least that is what I gathered from IMDB. The movie has three directors credited two of which are credited for TWISTED. You can barely tell that this is two movies combined into one. The movie has a weird atmosphere to it. It is an American production but it feels and looks more like an Italian horror movie. It is hard for me too explain. There is a dream like quality to SPOOKIES. Its a colorful film with strange visuals broken by bickering characters that don't seem to be friends at all. It is a weird combination. It all works though in a cheesy, fun but spooky way. Just watch it for yourselves and see if you agree.
You know what movie SPOOKIES reminds me of most? CABIN IN THE WOODS. Its basically the same premise. A bunch of kids are killed off by an assortment of different monsters for the amusement of some supernatural guy. I wonder if this film was an inspiration for Joss Whedon. Its possible. If you like horror movies and you want to see something that is fun, imaginative and pretty stupid I highly recommend this film. I know that this is one of those movies that has a lot to forgive but I think that is another reason why the film is so good. Cheesy is good sometimes. The only thing I will complain about is that constantly through the film seemingly every other shot is on this blue Nightcrawler looking werewolf Igor looking dude with a hooked hand. He runs around ensuring that no one escapes by locking doors behind people when they are trying to runaway from the monsters. There are way too many shots of this guy running around spying on everybody. It gets kind of annoying. But everything else I am going to over look. I had a fun time watching this film remembering all the moments I saw back when I was a kid. Back then this movie scared me. Man, was I a wuss.