Wicked Wednesday: Spellcaster (1988)

On paper, Spellcaster has to be the most 80s movie ever to be released in the 90s. (Unsurprisingly, the film started production in ’86.) A spellcasting demon named Diablo controls the lives of a group of young adults who arrive at an Italian castle to participate in a competition run by a MTV-style music channel. The woman from the “Take on Me” video plays an alcoholic pop star. DJ Richard Blade is also here. Adam Ant (yes) plays the demon.

That, of course, means it’s that 80s kind of wild that only could have been pulled off in that decade. What I’m trying to say is: this movie was made for me!

Down-on-their-luck siblings Tom and Jackie are struggling for money after the death of their parents. They enter in a lottery to win a spot in a TV competition. Not only does one of them earn a place, but they both earn spots. What a stroke of luck!

The kids arrive in Italy where their fellow competitors wait. It’s a selection of the greatest hits of stereotypes. The Italian is a sex pest. The French girl is a sex pest. The American is a sex–uh. I guess they all have something in common, which must be nice for them.

They’re informed by the VJ and face of the show, Rex (Blade), that the competition involves looking for a cheque for $1,000,000. Whoever finds it first gets to keep the money. The cheque is hidden somewhere in the vast castle, and the camera will be following them while they search. Additionally, the competition is sponsored by the successful popstar Casandra Castle.

That night, the competitors get a head start before the official “go”. One of them gets consumed by a demon chair, not to be seen again. Meanwhile, Rex and Cassandra strike a deal together. Cassandra suggests hiding the cheque on her person. No one will find it, meaning no one wins the money. The two agree to split the money after the competition ends.

But when the competition gets off to its official start, competitors start to get attacked. The cheque is blown off of Cassandra’s person and lands temptingly in front of various competitors, who meet their various, odd fates (including someone being turned into a pig!).

Our daring siblings remain the only two to not meet their demise. When Jackie finds a mysterious room with a crystal ball, she comes face-to-face with the castle owner and spellcaster himself Adam Ant Diablo! Will she succeed in defeating him and win the money?

Well, yes, because it’s the 80s.

This movie seems to exist only to provide fun facts:

  • The castle will look familiar to Full Moon fans. It’s another one filmed in his 12-century castle. It was also used in Castle Freak. Gotta love that Roger Corman spirit.
  • Cinematographer Sergio Salvati will be known to fans of Italian horror/gialli through his work with Lucio Fulci.
  • Actress and model Bunty Bailey appeared in not just one, but two a-ha music videos and one for Billy Idol.
  • Adam Ant was a gorgeous BABE, and I will always love him.

It definitely isn’t the most cheesy of movies. There could have been more story or cutting down of certain scenes. These things hinder it from being an out-an-out blast. But it’s so charming in its own weird way that it’s well worth checking out.

Have I mentioned Adama Ant yet? Let’s talk about him again. My friends and I were obsessed with him as kids. And this movie reminded me why. I mean…what a dreamboat. If he asked me to sell my soul to him, I would without a second’s hesitation! The biggest flaw of his film is that he doesn’t show up until the last 10 minutes. It would have been fun to see him playing with the people throughout the story. But perhaps the scenes/budget wasn’t there.

If you like these one-by-one fantasy slashers, Spellcaster has plenty of charisma to make it worth the watch. And if anything, you need to stick around for that ending just to see Adam.

Hubba hubba.

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