HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
Bushido Blade, The
Jiu Jitsu
Blind
Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie
Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?
   
 
Newest Articles
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
   
 
  Spellbinder Under her spell
Year: 1988
Director: Janet Greek
Stars: Tim Daly, Kelly Preston, Rick Rossovich, Audra Lindley, Anthony Crivello, Diana Bellamy, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, James Watkins, Kyle T. Heffner, M.C. Gainey, Sally Kemp, Stefan Gierasch, Bob McCracken, Karen Elise Baldwin, Roderick Cook
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Out one night with his basketball buddies, successful lawyer Jeff Mills (Tim Daly) rescues the beautiful Miranda (Kelly Preston) from an apparently abusive boyfriend. He brings her back to his place where she miraculously heals his injuries and a steamy night ensues. Love blossoms between the hitherto luckless pair. Miranda quickly moves in with Jeff and wins over his lawyer friends, including the stalwart Derek (Rick Rossovich), with her amazing fortune-telling abilities although his protective secretary Grace (Diana Bellamy) proves more suspicious. Sure enough, Jeff finds himself stalked by beady-eyed strangers, hears creepy voices muttering on his answer-machine, and sees his car magically levitate into the air. He is then visited by the formidable Mrs. White (Audra Lindley) who cryptically croaks: “We want her back.” It transpires Miranda is a witch and on the run from a Satanic coven responsible for a string of murders across L.A. Now they want her for a human sacrifice.

Rumours persist the reason Spellbinder remains among the more obscure Eighties horror films is because star Kelly Preston and her famous husband John Travolta have suppressed its home video release, supposedly offended by seeming allusions drawn between witchcraft and Scientology. Whether there is any truth to the story or if it is simply symptomatic of a certain paranoid attitude towards Scientology, there is at least one instance where the film draws an explicit parallel when Miranda casually mentions the cult routinely claims a hefty percentage of members earnings and property. Otherwise any resemblance is either coincidental or simply too outlandish to work successfully as satire. For real Scientology-baiting check out the doomsday cult in Bless the Child (2000).

More or less Fatal Attraction (1987) with a witch, Spellbinder is nonetheless intriguingly low-key for an Eighties high concept piece. Forgoing the forced MTV flashiness that routinely punctures promising premises in films from this period, Janet Greek - a TV regular (Melrose Place, Babylon 5) whose other notable feature was the rape revenge thriller The Ladies Club (1986) - deftly develops the script’s central idea. Written by Tracy Tormé, who wrote the UFO drama Fire in the Sky (1993) and contributed scripts for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Sliders, and Carnivàle, the film is admittedly talky and slow and hindered by instances of sheer silliness such as Jeff’s impromptu battle with one karate kicking witch and a cheesy bit of foreshadowing when one survivalist client (M.C. Gainey) casually mentions he owns a reinforced bunker, in case, you know, Jeff ever has need of it. Crazy survivalist types were stock Eighties characters, later memorably spoofed in the marvellous Tremors (1990). Most films would have staged the bunker siege as a big f/x set-piece, but this evidently lacked the budget and repeatedly finds characters arriving at the aftermath of some show of supernatural strength.

However, at its best Spellbinder exudes a winningly subdued, almost Val Lewton-esque aura of supernatural unease, including sequences involving Jeff stalked through a bookstore by invisible muttering voices or confronted by a ghastly row of ghoulish faces pressed against his living room window. It also does a fine job maintaining the ambiguity of whether Miranda is femme fatale or damsel in distress, neatly turning a number of Eighties erotic thriller clichés (as well as the plastic presence of Rick Rossovitch) on their head. Tim Daly essays a more compelling yuppie in peril than was the norm and Kelly Preston makes an exceptionally alluring witch. Preston never quite became a big league star, but her charismatic performances throughout these early roles earned her a devoted fan following and she arguably remains a compelling screen presence to this day. Fans will no doubt delight in her steamy love scenes and her naked dance in a diaphanous gown - sort of The Wicker Man meets Stevie Nicks.

Click here for the trailer

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2621 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: