1989 - 87m.
If you have ever wanted to see a spear of asparagus being used as a phallic symbol in a 9 1/2 Weeks inspired scene between a gym owner and a woman who has temporary blindness, this is the movie for you! This is just one of the many zany moments in this flick that is far from being traditionally good but is also far from being dull. We get cheesy 80s music, garish workout clothes, ridiculous death scenes, plot points that make no sense but are fun to pick apart, boobs, bush, weird dance moments, and Ken Foree in multiple silly costumes that Peter from Dawn of the Dead would be ashamed of. If I have not sold you on the fact that this is a perfect flick to watch with friends on a bad movie night, then I am not doing my job.
William Bumiller stars as Michael, the asparagus-wielding owner of the Starbody Health Spa who has recently lost his wife to self immolation but doesn't seem to be having too much trouble getting over her aside from some weird dreams featuring a charred wheelchair. He also has a hot girlfriend named Laura (Brenda Bakke), a horseplay-filled relationship with his buddy Marvin (Ken Foree), and a number of sexy 80s girls who come on to him. His health club is hopping but strange things are beginning to happen such as a very sweaty Laura being burned by chlorine vapour in the sauna, women being attacked in the shower by the tiles, someone melting when the fire sprinkler sprays acid, a guy being ripped apart by a weight machine, etc. Michael suspects his ex-wife's twin brother who is in charge of the computer system that runs the club but there may be another explanation that is based on supernatural phenomenon. None of these things stop Michael (or his clients) from carrying on business as usual and everything builds up to the finale where the club holds a masquerade party and things really get out of control.
There is not a lot in this movie that makes much sense but it sure is fun to watch. I can't even tell you who the killer (cross-dresser, ghost, Norman Bates?) is or what the hell happened in the final act but it doesn't even matter. You are not watching a flick like this to come away with a message but rather you are wanting to see some ridiculous dialogue, naked babes, a confused paranormal investigator, and cheesy effects. This flick delivers all of these items and more. Your expectations should be low for this being an effective horror flick but with the right combination of good company and some pizza and beer, you will not be disappointed with what Death Spa has to offer. Someone gets killed by a reanimated frozen fish... what's not to love?!
For a movie that not many people know about, there are a number of recognizable faces for genre fans. Ken Foree was one of the stars of the original Dawn of the Dead. Brenda Bakke was in a number of movies during the video store boom but I know her best as Cordelia in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight. One of the spa staff members, Darla, was played by Chelsea Field who took on more serious roles in Dust Devil and Prison. Before she was a cop investigating the Death Spa, Rosalind Cash was being awesome in The Omega Man and some other great 70s flicks like Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde. There are a few others as well including Tane McClure, Frank McCarthy, Merritt Butrick, Karyn Parsons, and Shari Shattuck. All in all, this is a fun flick that you will dig is you appreciate things like Zombi 3, Savage Weekend, and Maximum Overdrive. Just make sure you are going in with the right frame of mind. (Josh Pasnak, 10/18/16)
Directed By: Michael Fischa.
Written By: James Bartruff, Mitch Paradise.
Starring: William Bumiller, Brenda Bakke, Merritt Butrick, Robert Lipton.
aka: Witch Bitch.