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COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: 'Witchboard' Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Review

Updated: 08/19/2014 10:59 AM
Created: 02/10/2014 3:20 PM KSTP.com
By: Aaron Chalich

Back when I was in grade school, I was at a friend’s birthday party, and they brought out an Ouija board.  I had never seen one before and had no idea what it was.  My friend explained that you could talk to ghosts with it and that we should all try it.

Two people had to place the Ouija board on their lap, and then they both had to place their hands on an oval shaped piece called the “planchette.”  There are numbers and letters on the board and as you ask questions the spirits are supposed to move the planchette and spell out the answers.

Everyone at the birthday party tried it, and I don’t think it really worked as well as it was supposed to.  It seemed like one of the two people were pushing it and were trying to scare the other people watching.  However, it was still fun, and everyone enjoyed it.

Why am I telling you this?

This past weekend I got the chance to watch a review copy of Shout Factory/Scream Factory’s “Witchboard” Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack, and it brought back a bunch of memories of my experience with an Ouija board.

“Witchboard” is such a great horror film and is very creepy.  I had seen it many years ago, and it still is creepy.

“Witchboard” was released in 1986 and was written and directed by Kevin Tenney.  It stars Todd Allen, Tawny Kitaen, and Stephen Nichols.

I got the opportunity to interview Kevin Tenney this month.

I really think the story is great and very original.  The feel of the film is creepy, and you don’t really know what’s going to happen next which makes even more chilling.

“Witchboard” is about a woman (Tawny Kitaen) who starts to become possessed by a demon that was summoned through an Ouija board.  A bunch of people are at a party and Brandon (Stephen Nichols) who is sitting with some of his friends decides to bring out an Ouija board and they start talking to a spirit named David.  Brandon and his ex-girlfriend Linda (Tawny Kitaen) are the ones talking to David. 

Then, Linda’s boyfriend James (Todd Allen) makes fun of the spirit and makes it mad. The board flies off their laps, and the tires on Brandon’s car pop.  You learn that spirits lie, and they will do anything to try and possess someone so you should never play with an Ouija board alone.  Linda eventually wants to talk to David again and uses the board by herself.  She slowly starts to become obsessed with the Ouija board and also become possessed by an evil spirit.  Lots of strange things start happening, and James really starts to believe that Linda is possessed, so Brandon and James try to figure out how to get rid of the demon before it takes complete control over Linda.

I mentioned earlier that I really liked the story because it was original.  After all of these years, “Witchboard” still holds up as a great horror film in my opinion.

The quality of the film is outstanding.  It looks amazing and is crystal clear.  You know how when you go back and watch a movie on VHS (yes, I still do this) or on regular DVD.  It looks old and also feels old because the picture isn’t that clear.  Shout factory/Scream Factory really did one heck of a job restoring “Witchboard.”  I know you will be just as impressed as I was.

“Witchboard” is jammed packed with special and bonus features that will keep you entertained for hours.  There are tons of new interviews and never-before-seen footage that is awesome.  The special features include:
 - New Audio Commentary with writer/director Kevin Tenney and actors Stephen Nichols, Kathleen Wilhoite and James Quinn
 - Audio Commentary with writer/director Kevin Tenney, Executive Producer Walter Josten and Producer Jeff Geoffray
 - New interviews with Kevin Tenney, Tawny Kitaen, J.P. Luebsen, James Quinn, Walter Josten, Todd Allen and more
 - Vintage Making of WITCHBOARD
 - Theatrical Trailer
 - Still Gallery
 - And more…

I really enjoyed Shout Factory/Scream Factory’s “Witchboard” Blu-ray/DVD combo pack a lot.  The movies looks amazing, and the story is very original.  This is a very creepy movie that will keep you on edge the whole time you are watching it.  The bonus content is awesome and will keep horror fans entertained for hours.  I would highly recommend that you pick up “Witchboard” because it is a must have for any horror fan.

“Witchboard” is rated R

Follow Scream Factory on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Aaron Chalich is a KSTP.com entertainment columnist.


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