Wicked Wednesday: Mirror, Mirror (1990)


Mirror, Mirror was written by the Cascone sisters who wrote the middle-grade horror series Deadtime Stories (I don’t know, this series passed me by – I was only five at their publication). It stars one J.F. Sebastian, Lily Munster, Mother Firefly and a slew of actors destined for two-episode story arcs on soap operas and police shows.

Every bit of this film drips late 1980’s, early 90’s style à la Heathers (though not as fun) and shows like Tales from the Crypt (though again, not as fun). It has some rich moments, but ultimately shakes and struggles its way to the final act.

Megan (Rainbow Harvest) moves from LA to a cruddy little town with her mother Susan (Karen Black) after the death of Megan’s father. Susan is a lovely woman, if a bit dim and a little unobservant. Megan is a goth with an ambivalent attitude.

The two have, of course, landed themselves in the most square town you could dream up where the students say things like, “Gimme a break: punk it OUT.” And the locals describe the local others as “total loons” without a hint of irony.

Lydia Deetz Megan is mercilessly bullied by Charleen, the queen bitch of the school who is running for student body president. Only sweet Nikki pities and befriends the new girl.

But despite making friends with a genuinely kind girl, Megan isn’t happy in her new abode. She and her mother moved into the Weatherworth house, where a load of antiques were cleared out for the estate, including a journal and an old mirror. Emelin (Yvonne De Carlo) is the town antiques dealer, who finds interest in the journal of the late Weatherworth girl, who never left the house after her sister died decades before.

Emelin also discovers that mirror were used by witches during the Salem Witch Trials to bring demons over to our own world. Only a black cloth could stop the mirror’s powers.

Clueless to the powers she’s slowly gaining, Megan carries on with her life while a series of horrible accidents happen around her. First one of her mom’s new dogs is found dead, then the man from the pet cemetery is harassed by flies during dinner once Megan gets wind that her mom is interested in him.

Though the accidents quickly become more sinister. Charleen gets a bloody nose like Niagara after laughing at Megan during school lunch, then their teacher nearly dies after singling out the goth girl during a test for no apparent reason other than he’s a jerk with asthma who likes to watch the world burn.

Eventually, the vote for student body president draws near and Charleen throws a big bash to thwart Nikki’s chances of winning. But it’s this night that Megan chooses to really give herself over to the demon in the mirror. She arrives at the party as a glam goth version of Robyn Lively in Teen Witch. She quickly steals the heart of Charleen’s boyfriend, whom she thinks genuinely likes her. But even a girl with a demon on her side doesn’t stand a chance winning a battle when big boobs are involved.

When Megan realises that the boy isn’t really all that interested in her, she demands the mirror bring him to her. The confused boy arrives at her house and when he tries to leave, she makes the mirror kill him. Though Charleen’s doesn’t miss him for long once she’s killed with steam in the gym showers.

Killing off Charleen so early is one of the movie’s biggest faults. Once she’s gone, Megan clearly becomes the antagonist and Nikki the hero, which is sort of confusing and doesn’t really lend itself to making us feel any sort of pity for Megan. I mean once her mom is killed off while she’s locked in her room, I kind of don’t care what happens to the selfish teen.

The entire movie really, really begins to drag (as if it didn’t already drag at certain points. Really one can only handle so much ‘gazing into the mirror’ scenes.). There is no happy ending here, only dull confusion and shots of “THANK GOD IT IS FINALLY OVER.”

Mirror, Mirror plays out like an extra long, grown up episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? There’s just enough interest and plot to let this be an hour long. Padding it out to an hour 44 is nearly unbearable, which is a shame because there are some great things going on.

Actress Charlie Spradling is fantastic as Charleen and Harvest really does give her best Winona Ryder impression. It’s just a shame the whole thing collapses in on itself with cliches and a well-travelled plotline.

February is Women in Horror Month. I’ll be celebrating with horror movies directed and written by women, like Mirror, Mirror.

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