During the commentary track for Night of the Demons, director Kevin Tenney was talking about this movie, the first horror movie of his career. He made an interesting analogy between the two movies. Tenney said that Witchboard was a movie that a fan could see once and like, but never really have to see it again. He then said that Night of the Demons was like a roller coaster, where fans watched it and then immediately wanted to get back on the ride and watch it again.
He is right.
Night of the Demons was a huge cult favorite with amazing special effects and gore and was a lot of fun. However, Witchboard was better in every other way. The acting in Witchboard blew away the acting in Night of the Demons and the story was actually a lot smarter. It just doesn’t have the “fun factor” that Night of the Demons possessed in spades.
In Witchboard, Brandon (Stephen Nichols) comes to a party that is being held by his childhood best friend Jim (Todd Allen) and Linda (Tawny Kitaen). Brandon brought a Ouija board to the party with him and he played it with Linda, as the two of them talked to a young dead boy that Brandon had spoken to before. Things go wrong, spirits get mad and Brandon’s tires end up flat.
Well, Linda was stupid and started playing with the board by herself, despite Brandon telling her it was dangerous. Well, it turns out the spirit was not the young boy but instead a demon that was using the board as a conduit to cause damage. When people start to die, Brandon realizes what is going on and he teams with Jim to try to stop it.
There is also a subplot that involves the fact that Brandon and Jim are not friends anymore because both men dated Linda and Brandon feels Jim stole her from him.
Now, just because this movie is not as crazy fun as Night of the Demons does not mean there is no gore. There was some big fun gore in this movie, but the entire story remained more realistic for this type of horror movie. The effects were decent outside of one shot of a man being thrown through a window which looked fake even though they actually shot the man falling through the window. It is proof that just because you really do something, it doesn’t mean it will look good.
Overall, the acting was good, the story was solid and it was a nice 80s horror movie. However, Tenney was right, there is no reason to really watch this movie more than once.
While there is no reason to watch the movie more than once, the special features on this Blu-ray really make it worth watching. There are two audio commentary tracks, a feature length documentary and some extra interviews.
Just like on Night of the Demons, both commentary tracks are great. The first is with director Kevin Tenney and actors Stephen Nichols, Kathleen Wilhoite and James Quinn. It was interesting to hear Nichols say that he had just started Days of Our Lives when he was cast in the movie. Then Days wanted to sign him to a contract but he turned it down to be in the movie. Then, when the movie was successful, he got a lot more money from Days when he finally did sign the contract.
The second commentary track was with Tenney, exec producer Walter Josten and producer Jeff Geoffray. One of the interesting items from this includes Tenney saying that this movie was the same as Night of the Demons in the fact that they had to change the original title to keep from getting sued. The original name was Ouija, but they couldn’t secure insurance if they used the name Ouija.
The documentary was great and included talks with everyone involved, including Tenney and all three of the main actors in the movie as well as a few of the supporting cast. When everyone is involved, it really makes these fun to watch. The separate interviews on the Blu-ray were straight from the documentary, although they are extended takes.
Overall, this was a fantastically loaded Blu-ray, which is what you would expect from Scream Factory.