Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Witchboard III: The Possession (1995)

Reviewed By: Billy

Part 3’s are always a precarious spot in the life of a horror franchise. Sometimes, as in the case of Halloween, filmmakers decide to forget everything that came before and start over (generally falling flat on their faces). Sometimes, as in the case of Nightmare on Elm Street, they decide to go back to basics, bringing back original cast members and hoping to completely erase any memory of the second installment. And sometimes, as in the case of Friday the 13th, they decide to keep the same old formula but up the ante with some crazy gimmick like 3-D, hoping flying eyeballs and yo-yo's will attract new fans and keep the old ones happy.

It’s hard to say where Witchboard III: The Possession falls. The Witchboard movies were never a cohesive group in the first place; the first one featured Tawny Kitaen and her unbelievable red hair leading the way in a fight against the big square of cardboard, while Witchboard 2: The Devil’s Doorway brought in Ami Dolenz, looking terrified to be in front of a camera and dealing with a spirit so stupid it can’t spell “fireplace.” Neither of the movies have anything to do with each other, other than the fact that writer-director Kevin Tenney was in charge. But both are wonderful; the sheer fact that the “villain” is a board game available at your local Toys-R-Us is enough to make us Tower Farmers happy, and the female leads in each one don’t hurt, either.

Well, along comes Part 3, which is again written by Kevin Tenney and again has no connection to the other movies (Kevin must get bored with his characters easily.) This one keeps the basic idea of possession-by-cardboard, but this time around it’s Brian, an out-of-work commodities broker, who falls under its spell. Let me spend a moment on Brian here; first of all the character is one lucky man; he’s lost his car, home, and job after a blown commodities deal, and yet his wife Julie keeps telling him that “money doesn’t matter” – taking the supportive spouse thing to a whole new level. Brian is played by David Nerman, an actor who looks like he was made to star in his own USA Network Original Series…you know, on the order of “Highlander” or something:

Anyway, Brian and Julie (played by the amazingly-named Locky Lambert) are forced to move into some inner-city apartment building due to his sudden unemployment. The building’s landlord is named Francis Redmond…and from that name alone, we can pretty much assume he’s evil. Of course, he is; Frances is under the spell of some sort of fertility demon and gets Brian hooked on the Ouija board, which starts helping him out with commodities trading.

Now, let me just stop for a moment and give the movie some props. FINALLY someone in these movies is using the Ouija board for something useful. I mean, if you found an Ouija board that actually worked, wouldn’t you try to use it to get rich quick? I sure as hell would. Anyway, once Brian is hooked, the demon doesn’t need Francis Redmond anymore, and so the old guy takes a swandive off his balcony.

Well, you know what’s coming next; in a remarkably un-classy move, Brian steals the board from the dead guy’s place (why not just make a quick stop at K-B Toys?), and starts using it for his insider trading. Unfortunately one of the deals goes bad, and it’s up to the board to murder a nutcase investor in a wonderful scene during which the guy’s dead butterfly collection comes alive and attacks him. Even better, in the next scene, a TV reporter says police suspect it was a “gangland slaying.” Gangland slaying? When’s the last time you heard of a gang that killed its victims by covering them with dead butterflies? Is their gang leader Martha Stewart?

This would rate as the movie’s most ridiculous moment...if not for what happens next. Brian decides to get rid of the Ouija board, only to end up somehow flying through it and becoming trapped in another dimension. Now, the Brian’s true spirit can only be seen in mirrors, while the demon has apparently possessed Brian’s body and is out to get women pregnant and spawn his evil.

Now, friends, I realize that everything I just wrote sounds like a joke. But it’s not. Brian flies through the board. Here’s the proof:

And again, from here on out Brian will be possessed and try to get women pregnant. This means we get lots of awesome scenes where Brian (with a new slicked-back ‘do that makes him look even more like a “Highlander” character) seduces Julie and even tries to have a threesome with her best friend. The threesome scene is extremely sleazy and staged just like a sequence from “Passion Cove”:

Unfortunately, Julie stops the ménage before it can go too far, becoming a blubbering idiot and sobbing about how her “feelings are hurt” for the rest of the movie. God, what is with this woman? First she doesn’t seem to care that her husband lost everything they own, and now instead of getting angry that he’s pawing her best friend she just whimpers like a hungry cat? Man, what a loser.

Anyway, somehow this woman summons up the courage to fight back once she realizes that her husband’s body is possessed, and apparently the only way to fight the evil is to go through a horrendously convoluted list of tasks including removing a ring from Brian’s pinky finger, getting some of his blood on a spearhead and then stabbing the actual demon with the spearhead, making sure there’s blood contact or something. Jeez…that seems like a lot to go through considering that in the first Witchboard all they had to do was shoot the damn board with a handgun. When did the ring and spearhead become part of the process?

By the way, we finally get to see the demon, which looks kind of like something Ray Harryhausen might have done on a bad day:

Anyway, while nowhere near as good as the first two installments, for some reason I just can’t hate Witchoard III: The Possession. It could be trimmed by about forty minutes, and the look/feel is much more Wishmaster than Witchboard, but it’s still watchable enough that it’s not a complete waste of time. Besides, how can you hate a movie in which the main character is possessed by a demon that just wants to have sex all the time? Therefore, since it’s a part 3, I’ll give it…



  1. lol if it could be trimmed by 40m we definitely have a problem! I hate Witchboard, I find it to be a ridiculous bore and hate myself for owning it. I wish the chick would have shoved her face down the garbage disposal and turned it on..

  2. "...more WISHMASTER than WITCHBOARD..."

    And just what hell is wrong with that, young man? Hmm?! ;)

  3. Billy,

    I agree with you 100% on this one (I am sure that is shocking to everyone...). This is a three finger movie if there ever was one. I love the PASSION COVE reference. This movie is like a crazy episode of that show.

    J. Astro- when I was reading Billy's review, I knew you would say something about his WISHMASTER shot!


  4. Wow! After reading the entire review, with so many potential avenues I could have gone down in response to it, I came here to leave what I now discover to be the EXACT SAME COMMENT that J.Astro left. What are the odds of that happening? About Wishmaster of all things?

  5. This must be worth watching, just for the:

    "wonderful scene during which the guy’s dead butterfly collection comes alive and attacks him"



    And i second with Zac's comment!

    Billy and JM, my friends, I gave you an award/tag on my site. Check it out guys!

  7. Becky,
    Awesome! Thanks for the shout out!

    As for the rest of you...I ain't disrespecting "Wishmaster"...just saying this movie doesn't feel like the other "Witchboard" movies. "Witchboard" movies feature odd actresses using Ouija boards to waste time...not "Highlander"-looking guys being locked in mirrors.


  8. I personally like Highlander looking guys being locked im mirrors :D good post :D