WitchTrap (1989)

AKA The Presence

Director: Kevin S. Tenney.
Starring. James. W. Quinn. Kathleen Bailey, Linnea Quigley. USA. 1h 20m.

Sometimes films are just so freaking bad they turn out to actually be really enjoyable, this just might be one of the best of this rare category.

I believe that in the beginning there was a brilliant idea to make some kind of creepy occult based gory horror with a wise cracking team of police officers to play skeptic against an advanced paranormal team who have to team up to fight some kind of grand occultist, but that concept seemed to be hazed by whatever happened during production of this chaotic horror..

Jumping straight into the fun, with an over the top and comical opening, where a frightened, paranoid man hurls himself from a 2nd floor window in fear after encountering the malevolent spirit which haunts his lavish mansion. But from this dodgy opening and until it’s silly antic ending, I don’t think a shred of research was done into the paranormal at all, but at least the film has some boobage. I find it quite amusing that the 80’s staple of horror was some form of nakedness…if you ever turned up at a friends house half way through a movie, you’d know it’s a horror after the first flash of tit, why this ended by the mid nineties I’ll never know..

The heir of the fortune behind the spooky Inn, is haunted by a twisted occultist and hires a team of paranormal investigators to enter the domain to use their new fan dangled ghost catcher to ensure his guests future safety. The tiny device is underplayed but it has nothing on the Ghosbusters Proton Pack so probably best they didn’t try to explain the mechanics!

As someone has recently been killed, the team needs protection, police protection! Because the cops always sort out demonic possessions and haunted houses?? So a tough seasoned sergeant sends in his best but most annoying agent Tony Vincente (Quinn) and his lady lovin’ partner Levi Jackson (Talley). The cop pair are similar to the dirty pair from Samurai Cop but with the “white guy” being an indie version of Charlie Sheen. This guy will not stop cracking cheap one liners, which is fun at first but he’s the only person who doesn’t delivers his lines like hes’s just woken up from a crack coma, but this could have something to do with all the dialogue and sound effects having to be re recorded in post production and there was a massive mix up when shooting..

From the first few minutes in the house their psychic companion, Whitney (Bailey) begins spazzing out, and she does this a lot throughout the movie, someone on par with the Simpsons in Japan every time the entity begins to manifest in some way, it’s really wacky and gets a bit tedious but remains funny AF as it happens every few minutes by the end of the movie her dramatic overacting is matched by a lot of the cast whenever something goes bump in the night, and each witchy moment is met by a witty come back from Officer Vincente *ta boom tis* and Officer Jackson then lusts after Linnea Quigley some more, and this gets rinsed and repeated a lot. There is some character development, but it’s mainly everyone just amping up their character to the limit, Vincente just cracks more jokes as the chip on his shoulder gets bigger and he starts throwing big punches as the death toll rises as the team are picked off one by one.

Because of all the comedy overacting, poorly delivered lines and poor gory kills, it’s hard to see this as a solid horror movie, but if done right it really could have been terrifying, there are possessed cars, killer showers, and psychically controlled bullets but everything is handled with an adolescent hand. We, horror fans, all love a great shower scene but this one is over so quick, Norman Bates would still be sharpening his knife and the boars from Evilspeak would be still licking their chops, but in Witchtrap most of the death scenes are wham bam thank you ma’am.

With a host of cinema sins this film is still so much fun to watch, but probably only if crackpot bad movies are your thing, it’s hard to pinpoint why it’s so infectious but like Spookies it floats around as one of those so bad so good horrors that can’t take serious but you can kick back and enjoy the ridiculous fun, that clearly states that it is NOT a sequel to Witchboard, even though it tries to be 😦

Rating 5/10

RGhostbusters (1984), Spookies (1986), Witchboard (1986)
L – 8 Films from 1989 Still Worth Talking about Vol 1.
Vs – Witchboard vs Witchtrap

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