Blu-ray Review: 101 Films Gives Cult Horror SPOOKIES A Phenomenal Release Package


Film: 2 out of 5 stars Blu-ray: 5 out of 5 stars

Spookies is a horror film which has attained cult status over the years for all the wrong reasons. After arguments with producer and funder Michael Lee, writer/directors Brendan Faulkner and Thomas Doran and co-writer and producer Frank M. Farel were fired from the film during production and replaced by Eugenie Joseph. When the cast refused to return for additional photography in solidarity with the original filmmakers, Joseph subsequently shot new scenes with different plot threads and edited them into the existing footage. The result was largely incoherent film, which makes little sense but it does  admittedly have a certain amount of charm. 

Spookies sees a group of travellers stranded in the middle of nowhere. They seek refuge for the night in a vacant and rundown mansion and in their infinite wisdom decide to play around with a ouija board. As you imagine, this results in the awakening of evil spirits an all sorts of Spookies.

It’s highly likely that Spookies would have been a solid – and rather effective horror if Brendan Faulkner and Thomas Doran hadn’t been given their marching orders during production. However, the resulting reshoots, which shoe-horn in additional plots with no connection to the original footage means that the whole things makes very little sense. It’s not all bad – some of the practical special effects are very good and the musical score by James Calabrese and Kenneth Higgins is actually rather good.

Perfect late night fodder, Spookies is best watched with a rowdy group with buckets of popcorn and litres of beer. 

Special Features

101 Films has given Spookies an absolutely  brilliant blu-ray release. The package would have been good if it has just featured the commentary from FrightFest’s Paul McEvoy and filmmaker Sean Hogan, but they didn’t stop there. Twisted Tale – The Unmaking of Spookies is a thoroughly engrossing look at the troubled making of Spookies (which was originally called Twisted Tale). It’s a great documentary and potentially more entertaining than the actual film. However, 101 Films didn’t stop there.

Spookies also features 2015 Alamo Drafthouse screening introductions with director Thomas Doran and co-writer/producer Frank M. Farel an archival featurette, outtakes, bloopers, stills gallery and a trailer. But that’s not all – this release also comes with VIPCO: The Untold Story,  2 1/2 hour documentary on the UK film distributor VIPCO and its founder and Spookies producer Michael Lee. 

This is a phenomenal blu-ray package which is essential for anyone with even a passing curiosity for Spookies or the video nasty era.