Every time October rolls around, fans of Halloween are eager to find new spooky movies to get them in the holiday spirit. There are a few go-to’s that will always stand the test of time, and of course, every year finds new spooky releases. Sometimes though, the best route for finding a new-to-you holiday classic involves looking to the past.
The 1980s are a prime decade for very cheesy and over-the-top horror. Something about these classics like Sleepaway Camp or The Blob makes them great for October watching. Even though on surface-level they’re bad movies and very stupid and very silly, they’re so much fun. And they feature those really spooky but fun elements that most people seek for a Halloween celebration, as opposed to really serious or disturbing horror movies.
So those who are maybe a little bored with their typical Halloween watches and are craving something different, look no further than Spookies from 1986. The plot is a little all over the place, but it essentially revolves around both a young boy and a group of young people who stumble upon an old, abandoned, spooky mansion. Unfortunately, they end up trapped there, with a ton of spooky shenanigans going on, as a warlock behind the scenes tries to kill them for the sake of keeping his wife alive. This movie is such a little gem with all of the elements of a great Halloween-time watch and it deserves so much more attention.
As the storyline of Spookies progresses, many things unfold. It’s all wild and very chaotic, which just really adds to the fun. Some parts feel slightly like a ripoff of The Evil Dead, but overall it’s a very unique movie. The group comes upon this house which they mistakenly think is abandoned and they end up using a Ouija board, which unleashes a whole horde of monsters on them. This element of the plot might seem reminiscent of The Cabin In The Woods, and in a way it is, but Spookies is very much a completely different kind of movie.
Part of the charm here is the character line-up. The characters themselves as well as their relationships with each other, are bizarre and hilarious. Some of them are teenagers, though they don’t really look it, and some of them are middle-aged. As far as audiences know this isn’t a family dynamic, but everyone here is friends. Obviously, it’s not necessarily normal for teenage couples to be friends with older adults. Is this ever explained? Absolutely not. And within that dynamic, there are some really odd characters that make this film unique and silly. For example, one of the members of the group is a man named Rich who talks to a hand puppet.
Besides the human characters, the monsters are a standout aspect of the movie. Most of the special effects are really well done, and that makes it okay to love this movie. A lot of the other elements of the movie are really silly and dumb, but the monsters and the makeup are nice to look at so it’s not a total waste. The situations that the monsters appear in and what they do to the characters are both still of course very silly and very random. Special effects looking nice doesn’t make up for a lot of the plot here being, to be blunt, very dumb. The combination however of silliness but still okay to look at, can make the movie feel oddly comforting. And that’s exactly what happens with Spookies.
Anyone planning to watch Spookies should go in as relatively blind as possible in terms of the events of the movie and the little funny things that happen. It’s just better that way because this is the kind of film that just happens to you. So much is going on non-stop for the whole film, there isn’t really time to process or think about it until after it’s over. Some people hate those kinds of movies because they don’t offer much room to breathe, but they can often be the most fun. And in this case, especially, the chaos isn’t anxiety-inducing or intense. It’s just funny.
Spookies will probably never reach the epic Halloween classic status of films like Hocus Pocus, Halloween, or Trick ‘r Treat. However, those movies have been staples for decades and people are often looking for something new and fresh to add to their lineup. With streaming services taking over, so many movies from all over the world are now available to so many people. Services like Shudder are even strictly horror-based, making even more Halloween movies available to the masses. Because of that, movies like Spookies can be given the chance to shine, which is very justly deserved.