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John’s Old School Horror Corner: Spellbinder (1988)

February 18, 2013

MY CALL:  Beyond stupid–this is the king of random witch movies.  Basically, this is a Lifetime Network movie about witches and a cult-y coven with a low budget and some of the worst “magic” effects ever.  Just see it if you want to see Kelly Preston’s boobs.  WHAT TO WATCH INSTEADThe Skeleton Key (2005), The Kiss (1988), Warlock (1989).

After bitch-slapping his ho, and then pulling a knife and threatening some prophecy on his ho’s saviors, Jeff brings home a strange woman who has no address and a strange affinity for cats.  To show her gratitude for saving her from her pimptastic, ponytailed assailant, she reads his palm and offers to “heal” him of his lower back injury (which he got from a pick-up game of street hoops with the boys) as she leads him to the bedroom.

Miranda (Kelly Preston; Battlefield Earth, From Dusk ’til Dawn, Christine) and Jeff are getting comfortable together playing house.  She reads his friends’ palms at a party and pulls shit out of the oven without oven mitts.  Only Jeff’s secretary seems to think that things are moving surprisingly fast and conveniently in his relationship with Miranda.

Then cue the random… Aldys, the guy who was bitch-slapping Miranda in scene one, is some sort of witch-y cult leader.  He magically lights some guy’s head on fire and levitates a car to demonstrate that nothing will keep him from getting Miranda back.  Later some old woman shows up and demands Miranda’s return, too.  Then Jeff hears the voices of evil spirits.  It’s all super-hokey, but the movie clearly takes itself quite seriously as efforts to reclaim Miranda escalate…and so escalates the randomness as well as told by the following pictures…
Jeff’s car is randomly ignited by angry witches.
Jeff hides Miranda in a bunker with ‘nam shocked veteran.
Jeff kills a black belt teenage girl.
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa plays a cop.

The finale takes Jeff to a beach venue with sloppy, vandalism-like graffiti reading “666” and “Satan Rules.”  This hardly sets the mood.  Around a bonfire a bunch of hooded folks chant around a restrained and about to be sacrificed Miranda.  Nope–I’m still not buying this nonsense.  Then there was the twist.  Ugh!  Let’s just say it involves betrayal, a nearly-naked dancing chick and a papier mache mask.

This flick received disturbingly high reviews on Amazon (4.1/5 stars), with everyone talking about the great suspense and how scary it was including comments like “the scariest…” or “the most suspenseful movie I’ve ever seen.”  Hell of a statement.  I’m guessing these reviewers are all from the Lifetime Network fan club.

Don’t see this movie.  The only justification would be if seeing Kelly Preston naked is on your bucket list.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2016 6:33 am

    This movie wasn’t perfect but I did have some fun with it. And Kelly Preston was stunning.

  2. rdfranciswriter permalink
    October 3, 2020 3:47 pm

    The one review I remember for this . . . forget which review tome it was . . . “somebody forgot to tell the filmmakers about The Wicker Man.”

    Like the person above said: It’s not perfect, but a fun TV movie time waster.


  1. John’s Horror Corner [INDEX] | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Horror Corner: The Lords of Salem (2013), the softer side of Rob Zombie | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. John’s Horror Corner: Night Angel (1990), the pleasantly gory tale of the evil succubus Lilith. | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Horror Corner: Cherry Tree (2015), a bad but watchable witch movie featuring cool effects and perhaps too many centipedes. | Movies, Films & Flix
  5. John’s Horror Corner: Blair Witch (2016), discussing a divisive franchise whose third installment offered nothing new except LOUD NOISES and a videogame monster. | Movies, Films & Flix
  6. John’s Horror Corner: The Night Feeder (1988), an incredibly obscure film featuring a brain-eating mutant monster baby. | Movies, Films & Flix
  7. John’s Horror Corner: Necromancer (1988), just sleazy B-movie trash. | Movies, Films & Flix
  8. John’s Horror Corner: Suspiria (1977), Dario Argento’s Italian witch movie about an enchanted ballet academy. | Movies, Films & Flix
  9. Bad Movie Tuesday: Witchcraft II: The Temptress (1989), just boring, boobs and bloodless. | Movies, Films & Flix
  10. John’s Horror Corner: Tales from the Crypt Season 1 (1989), a wonderful horror anthology series that keeps it light. | Movies, Films & Flix

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