Under the rubric of proper stelography, I shouldn't start a review with a synopsis. I say, fuck the system! Sometimes, the only way to prepare your readers for gilt-edge criticism is to supply them with a sturdy, perdurable foundation. Please excuse me while I foundate this mutha. Siblings Tom and Jackie are picked as two of seven lucky youths who get to breeze into an Italian castle alongside a pop minstrel. In a hilarious helix of wordplay, the illustrious starlet happens to be Cassandra Castle. Get it? FUCKING GET IT??? The opening credits scroll over one of her music videos, and I must admit, "Passion and Crime" is a dandy ditty. No wonder it's a hit on RockTV.
Oh, that's our film's copyright-free version of MTV. The whole of the affair is hosted by Rex, a VJ who turns out to be shockingly easy to bribe. Remember when every teenager wanted to be a VJ? As if. The posh, profligate leave of absence isn't the prize itself. Once the guests are settled in clover, they engage in a scavenger hunt of sorts. A check for a million bucks is hidden somewhere in the vast expanse of the alcazar. Oopsy-daisy. It appears that the term "alcazar" refers to a mansion occupied by the Moorish kings of Spain. Tell me that you'll accept my insincere apology. Let's go with "chateau" instead. Happy now? In any event, the wafer-thin characters are dispatched by a (mostly) unseen...magician? Occultist? Sorceror? It's never made clear.
This is what I do know; the craven villain is portrayed by Adam Ant. If you're a fan of the Ant-man, don't get too excited. He materializes on-screen during the tart, churlish finale. As for the rest of Spellcaster, he pulls a disappearing act. All told, his Diablo is a lousy bad guy. Fitting, seeing as how this is a lousy b-movie. It was shot in 1987, the same year that Empire Pictures was beginning to crumble. Charles Band sold the withering company in 1988, and Spellcaster was shelved until 1992. It wasn't given a chance to flourish, but that's no excuse for director Rafal Zielinski to piece the action together with the moxie of a shingles-flecked paleolith. The next time you argue with your grandmother, be sure to call her a shingles-flecked paleolith. That blue-haired cunt.
The script had potential, man. It was co-scribed by Dennis Paoli, the badass who wrote Re-Animator, From Beyond, Body Snatchers ('93) and Castle Freak among others. The seeds are there, but they fail to germinate. I couldn't stand the people involved. At a certain point, the leads are forgotten and nearly become supporting hambones. I did appreciate the fact that they are brother and sister. Spellcaster spares us a strained love connection. What else falls in the "pro" column? John Carl Buechler's radical creature effects. He provides musty zombies, a pig transformation (don't ask) and a demonic chair lion (seriously, don't ask). I enjoyed the hell out of the offbeat death sequences. I wish that Buechler had directed this baby.
Alas, the running time in between the carnage is flat and boring. Spellcaster doesn't adequately milk the cheesy pop/rock angle, nor does it exploit its archetypal slut. You see, we have a French whore on our hands, but she neglects to strip down to her birthday suit. Unforgivable. But hey, if this sounds like your kind of fluff, go ahead and rent it. It's not on DVD, so you'll need a time machine to take this waggery home from the video store. Robert Z'Dar says, "I chin-fucked Adam Ant backstage at an arena show. It was last week at a Justin Bieber concert. What can we say? Our kids adore The Biebz. And we don't blame them! What a polite, well-rounded young man. He signed my chin. After I fucked him with it."
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:53 PM