Blu-ray Review: Scared Stiff (1987)

April 6, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

In the late 1800’s, a shit heel of a slaver named George Masterson (David Ramsey) is cursed by the poor souls he bought and sold…flash forward to the late 1980’s, and a Psychiatrist named David (Andrew Stevens) and his pop singer gal pal (and former patient), Kate (Mary Page Keller) move into that doomed a-holes house…what could go wrong? The answer of course is every fucking thing.

Heralded by an abundance of natures most terrifying creations, pigeons…wait, fucking pigeons?!! Anyway, a few bad dreams and visions, some outre discoveries in the abode (read: centuries old corpses and a strange talisman), and yes, pigeons, lead to a voodoo monster terrorizing our heroes six ways to Sunday!

While a bit of a slow burn in the actual horror department, Scared Stiff never became tedious for your’s cruelly (and the third act pay-off is an absolutely fantastic display of gooey, monster-packed practical effects wizardry and well worth the wait). The ages old mystery, coupled with an engaging cast (Jackie Davis as the affable Detective Whitcomb was a real standout for me, but Stevens and Keller make for fine leads, and Ramsey chews the appropriate amount of scenery as the arcane antagonist), and some fun spookshow imagery was more than enough to carry the picture. Adding to the entertainment value, we also get the visual comfort food of giant home computers (with groovy demonic graphics), ’80’s fashions, and one of the shittiest faux music videos (and accompanying earworm) ever committed to film!

As for extras on this Arrow Video Blu-ray release, we kick things off with a brand new “making of” documentary featuring interviews with Director Richard Friedman, Producer Dan Bacaner, Film Historian Robert Ehlinger, Actors Andrew Stevens and Joshua Segal, Special Effects Supervisor Tyler Smith, and Special Effects Assistants Jerry Macaluso and Barry Anderson. This is an amazingly informative glimpse into the film’s production, and the perfect accompaniment to the feature film! Next we get an interview with Composer Billy Barber, along with an image gallery and the film’s theatrical trailer. Last up is an audio commentary courtesy of Friedman, Bacaner, and Ehlinger. This is a fun and energetic journey through the film’s production, and is deserving of a listen!

With a unique premise full of voodoo, magic, and monsters…and a jaw dropping FX packed finale; Scared Stiff is a solid time in the ol’ horror biz, and worth slappin’ your eerie eyeballs upon!

 

 

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