Director: Janet Greek
Andra Lindley/Mrs White
Unscrupulous lawyer Jeff Mills (Daly) takes on more than he can bang when he saves and some hottie from getting pimp slapped by some really ugly dude. He takes her under his sheet and then discovers that she’s on the run from a coven of Satanists who want her heart shaped ass back in the fold at all cost. Have a blast!
You will regret this for as long as you live. – Real ugly dude
SPELLBINDER was a fav of mine in the 80’s and being that the genre didn’t knock on movie theater doors last week, I gave it another whirl. And yup, it still held up like a pair of silicone tangies perking out for air today. I gotta say this though, good luck in finding this sucker on DVD within the USA
(I own the VHS). Word has it that Kelly Preston’s wife John Travolta bought all of the US rights to this one to keep it on the down-low (probably because it deals with Satanism and they’re Scientologists). It is available on Aussie DVD though (Region 4) and I saw it today on YouTube, it keeps coming and going but it’s there now.
SPELLBINDER came out strong right off the bat, opening with a hook that all men can relate to and then building off it gradually, jacking up the surrealistic jive, whacky characters and chase sequences along the way. Its mystery had me guessing for the most part as well which is always a plus. I love it when a movie keeps me on my toes and this one did
the whole way through. Although gore-less 99.9% of the time the moments of random suspense hit the spot and so did the
novel scary imagery. Wait till you see that bit with all those faces pressing against the outside of a window, going at it so hard that they made the window bend outwards…CREE and PY! And
looking at the film again, it’s easy to see how this was the one that made me fall in pure, untamed lust with Kelly Preston
at the time. The gal was BEAUTY incarnated here (even with that puffy hair) and she hit the sexy, vulnerable and weirdo
notes perfectly. A very good role for her and she aced it! I can’t see anybody else doing it better!
Then there was the subject matter at hand punching in hard. For reasons that only my shrink and his shrink knows for sure, Satanism inclined movies always frighten and fascinate me more than the norm. Is it because Cults folks like this truly exist? Or that this dark religion has
been slumming around for ages? Not sure to be honest. All I know is that it just does it for me within the horror genre big time.
No further insight needed. Add to all that occult loving a handful of groovy set
pieces (love that car elevating in the air bit), an even pace that kept me on the line, a MUCHO
messed up scene with Andra Lindley (Mrs White) going no holds barred buck nuts and an ending that yes, ripped off a well known 70’s Brit flick, but that still uppercut me straight on and sent me to the mat and you get a cool little chiller that’s worth a gander. NOTE: Am I the only one that’s totally fascinated with the “4” shaped pendant that Miranda wears? I want one! Not to wear or anything, I just want one, step off, am in no mood ; )
On the slip-up side of the banana, the film was a low budget party and it showed at times in terms of the look and the production values. The visuals screamed TV Movie of the week now and again hence taking away from it. And where were the gore, sex and violence in this Zoo? Out for a stroll? An affair of this ilk should be on top of its goodies in my opinion; here it felt like they were holding back for unknown reasons. Dumb moves to serve the plot were in the house too.
For example; any dude that nails a stranger and then lets her STAY in his pad while he goes to work the next day is just ASKING for it. COME ON MAN! Think dammit! THINK! Granted, nothing too critical, but it needed to be said. Finally, the flick lagged a tad during its middle section; thankfully it didn’t take long for Plot Point #2 to kick in and the macabre shenanigans to start rolling again.
All in all SPELLBINDER parallels that clichéd expression that I never heard anybody use verbally: it was a jewel in the rough. It’s a little known, little seen supernatural jamboree, that although flawed, still wound up being a tight ride and then some. Seek it, acquire it, watch it and then wonder why it never got a wider release. Let’s see if ya fall for this one’s charm like I did!
There was ONE bit of true gore here and I won’t give it away cause it went down during the finale. Flick was dryer than Bea Arthur sunbathing other than that.
Tim Daly (Jeff Mills) came off as a tad too dense for me to root for him 100%. Not sure if it was Daly’s show or the script. He had the pretty boy/nice guy shit down pat though. Kelly Preston (Miranda Reed) WAS this movie. Gorgeous, endearing and sometimes just plain bizarre (in a good way), she was ideal casting for this role. Rick Rossovich (Derek Clayton) played the hunky best friend that probably gets all the pussy – that’s it. He got the job done. Andra Lindley (Mrs White) will always be knows as Ms. Roper from Three’s Company to me, but her show stealing INSANE scene in this almost made forget her famous role.
T & A
Kelly Preston showed us her Prestons and when she wasn’t doing that, she was playing the “hard nips through blouse” game. Hey…GREAT GAME! The ladies get Daly shirtless… I know, the world is a not affair place, what can ya do.
Janet Greek did an adequate job. I’m not surprised that she only did TV after that cause that’s the vibe this movie had; TV Movie of the Week. With that stabbed, she pulled off a couple of tension charged scenes, aced some scares out her sleeve and delivered the whole in a clipped paced manner.
We get a very 80’s yet still efficient score by none other than Basil Poledouris who’s famous for his Conan The Barbarian and Robocop scores.
SPELLBINDER was by non means a masterpiece but it came through as an engaging, fairly sexy, often daunting and totally entertaining Hocus Pocus treat! Now that I think of it, the story here was genius in its simplicity. Guy meets girl, girl is being hunted by evil coven, let the games and chases begin! Why didn't I think of that? The flick also sported some decent actors with so hot it should be a crime Kelly Preston owning the movie like that! No, you don’t get it… LIKE THAT! I personally couldn’t take my eyes or my Jeans off her throughout my watch. Sure the visual style was at times too basic, the exploitation goodies MIA and stupidity dropped by for a visit now and again but on the whole I love this movie for all that it succeeded in doing and straight up, rip-off or not, that ending always sends chills down my spine and out my ass. If you can find it, see it!
Look out for Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa in small role.
The script was written by Tracy Tormé, the son of famous singer Mel Tormé.
Rick Rossovich also played in Top Gun and Navy Seal.
Preston and Travolta's son, Jett died from a seizure on January 2, 2009 in The Bahamas while he and his family was on vacation.