This is not a sequel to WITCHBOARD. It's written and directed by Kevin S. Tenney, the director of WITCHBOARD. In fact, on the VHS copy I purchased, there's a notice on the back declaring WITCHTRAP a non-sequel. It's also, included, no kidding, as a notice right before the title sequence for WITCHTRAP. I guess Tenney was threatened with a lawsuit? Was Witchboard that successful that he'd be hassled about his obvious sequel to it? Also, on the packaging is the tag-line, "This time, it's not a game." So, what was the "last" time? WITCHBOARD, maybe? Sequel, perhaps? Please see disclaimer. Anyway, I picked WITCHTRAP up, amongst other gems, at a local library sale for a whopping 50 cents. It was a rental from a now defunct video store called Top Video. Pretty beat up copy, and I usually prefer to stay away from rentals, but couldn't resist, plus it had Linnea Quigley in it. How bad could it be? Pretty bad, actually. The acting is quite awful. It helped that they drove around in vintage 1980s cars, wore Members Only jackets and sported the latest hairstyles. However, the people driving the cars, and sporting the funky clothes, couldn't cut it as performers. It's about the level of porn acting, maybe a little bit better and I suppose, the guy playing the detective, James Quinn, was okay, sometimes, but that's about it. Quigley, doesn't have much of a part and does what she's hired to do. She has a shower scene and she appears to be laughing when she gets killed. The premise of the film is fairly typical for this genre. A man named Devin Lauter inherits a mansion from his long deceased uncle, Avery Lauter. Avery, it seems was some kind of warlock or other, and died brutally in the home and, naturally, possesses the place and kills erstwhile inhabitants. That's why the nephew, Devin, hires a crack team of paranormal experts and some detectives, for security, to figure the place out. Of course, once they arrive things go horribly wrong. If only they had gone horribly wrong in any kind of an interesting way. The pacing is very slow and the gruesome deaths aren't very gruesome. Flying hatchets were never that scary to begin with, and WITCHTRAP proves that they still aren't. There is, however, a certain production value to WITCHTRAP. The pacing sucks but the editing and camera work is clearly professional. In fact, there were a couple of things I thought were kind of neat, here and there, like a scene where some hands come through a door. But, believe me, those moments were few and far between. And, by professional, I mean they had some money behind it, so it's watchable, unlike, say, a lot of the stuff from Full Moon video. I have to also say, that compared to a lot of direct to video digital cheapies I've seen in recent years, some of these ultra low budget filmmakers could learn a thing or two from WITCHTRAP. Unfortunately, that has more to do with how bad some current filmmakers are then any particular quality WITCHTRAP has. Again, there is some technical competence in the film but, unfortunately, not enough to redeem it. Almost twenty years on, it's a bit tricky to consider recommending WITCHTRAP. There's no arguing that it's a pretty bad film. It fails on some of the most fundamental levels consistently enough to irritate just about anyone interested in these types of films. The gratuitous nudity is pretty uninspired, as is the violence, and the poor acting exceeds camp into just plain awful. Still, if you're a connoisseur of 80s horror, if there is such a thing, you might be able to tolerate the bad film-making. Linnea Quigley is in it, after all and that helps. It also helps that it is so dated. If you grew up in this era, nostalgia might get you through. So, if you see it for 50 cents, or maybe a dollar, and need something to play in the background as you do other things, WITCHTRAP just might be up your alley. Otherwise, you're better off with almost anything else.
Action / Horror / Thriller
Action / Horror / Thriller
Parapsychologists try to make an inn haunted by an evil witch's ghost safe for guests.
April 8, 2020