Scream Factory continues its celebration of Kevin Tenney genre films with their Blu-ray release of Witchboard. I still remember my friends talking about this surprisingly good flick when it first came out in 1986. 28 years later, it still both holds up well and reminds viewers of the cheese served up in the greatest decade of horror.
Linda Brewster (Tawny Kitaen) is introduced to a centuries old tool of communication with the dead called a Ouija board. Although warned of the danger it holds, she begins summoning the spirit of a 10-year-old boy named David. She soon realizes that her dalliances with the dead were a mistake as the presence becomes stronger and violent. What sinister entity did Linda let loose in our world?
Witchboard is presented in 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1) and DTS-HD Audio Mono. Like most of the Blu-ray upgrades we get from this era, the movie looks and sounds better than it ever has. However, its digital transfer hasn't sucked all the "real" film feeling out of it. Its upgraded audio enhances every scream and dramatic crash of the musical score.
Loads of bonus material is included with Witchboard. New audio commentary is provided by Writer/Director Kevin Tenney and actors Stephen Nichols, Kathleen Wilhoite, and James Quinn. Additional commentary features Tenney, Executive Producer Walter Josten, and Producer Jeff Geoffray chatting about the film. There are also new interviews with Kevin Tenney, Tawny Kitaen, J.B. Luebsen, James Quinn, Walter Josten, Todd Allen, and others. A vintage "Making of Witchboard" featurette, theatrical trailer, TV spots, still gallery, and much more can be found.
Witchboard is rated R for violence, language, adult situations, and nudity. Everything you would expect from a 1980s horror film is what you're served here. Is the nudity necessary? Of course not, but sadly producers felt it was a needed item to sell genre films at the time.
Most religious folks will definitely give Witchboard a thumbs down, and with good reason. The movie doesn't really tell people not to play with Ouija boards. It warns that you shouldn't play with them alone. This can cause one to become obsessed and then possessed by the spirit attached to it. What people should take away from the film is that it's just not smart to try communicating with the dead or get involved with the occult or anything with the power to unleash a malevolent entity.
Witchboard is full of all the wonderful schlock you would expect from a horror film released in 1986. There are naïve characters doing incredibly dumb things and meeting horribly entertaining demises. Why would someone continue to communicate with a spirit that is growing constantly more violent and active? How many weird accidents have to happen around you before you realize something's not right? Also, was it really legal to smoke in the waiting room of a hospital in 1986? None of those questions are answered in the movie. However, there are some fun scares to be had in the journey to its climax.
Witchboard is available now on Blu-ray.