Witchboard (1986)

witchboard poster 1986 movie
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 4/10

Easy time filler

Lifeless horror movie

Movie Info

Movie Name: Witchboard

Studio: Paragon Arts International

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s): December 31, 1986

MPAA Rating: R

witchboard construction accident

It doesn’t pay to be friends with Jim…

Brandon Sinclair (Stephen Nichols) and Jim Morar (Todd Allen) used to be best friends until Jim began seeing Brandon’s ex-girlfriend Linda Brewster (Tawny Kitaen).  When Jim and Linda throw a party and Brandon is invited, Brandon demonstrates his belief in the supernatural by conjuring the spirit of a boy named David with his Ouija board.  Linda immediately seems to form a connection to David, but the connection becomes deadly as David seems to lash out at Jim and those around him.  Now, Brandon and Jim are in a race against time to save Linda from the spirits and a detective named Dewhurst (Burke Byrnes) suspects Jim could be the real killer.

Written and directed by Kevin Tenney, Witchboard is a supernatural horror thriller.  The movie was released to poor reviews but gained a cult audience.

I’m 99% sure I saw Witchboard sometime in the 1990s…but I remember nothing of it.  Supernatural “spirit” movies often aren’t high on my list of horror and those tied to séances and the ilk are my least favorite.  Witchboard has all the trappings of the typical 1980s supernatural horror film.

witchboard seance stephen nichols jp luebsen

Listen, lady…I’m going to spend years playing a guy with a patch in a soap opera and I think you are over the top

The 1970s were much more successful in regards to supernatural horror.  The movies were dark and terrifying.  The 1980s were being ruled by serial killers and a “return” to the supernatural doesn’t seem as scary (especially when the main characters are lame yuppie types who are in over their head).  The movie has a few obvious twists and turns in the story and weirdly ends up rather positive (with the very cliché…”but wait!!!” last shot).  That also drives me crazy in that there are too many murders and unexplained events that even an officer would be unable to “let slide” without any charges.

The cast is all quite weak.  Todd Allen is extremely bland as the lead while Days of Our Lives “Patch” Stephen Nichols plays the suave (I guess?) friend who brings a Ouija board to a party.  Tawny Kitaen is rather low key most the movie but has some fun near the end while Kathleen Wilhoite comes in guns blazing as the “kooky” psychic (who is too over-the-top for even an 1980s comedy).  Rose Marie has a small role as the building’s landlord and I actually thought she was going to end up doing more or have ties to the evil “Malfeitor” played by J.P. Luebsen.

witchboard gangster linda tawny kitaen

Oh no! The Ouija board turned my girlfriend in a 1920s gangster with an axe!!!

The movie is pretty cheesy in its looks, deaths, and special effects.  The best that can be said for Witchboard is that it goes to Big Bear which is a nice lake in California.  If Witchboard was made today, the deaths would probably fall along the lines of Final Destination and be more extreme Rube Goldberg machine kind of deaths (which could have livened up the story).

Witchboard isn’t very good, but it also isn’t very long or require much investment.  It tries to have some twists near the end that fall flat, and I wish that if the substance of the movie wasn’t going to be there that they had at least filled it with some good jumps.  Witchboard was followed by an unrelated sequel Witchboard 2 in 1993.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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