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Review: WITCHBOARD 2: THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY (1993)

by Meredith Grau
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Best Bad Quote:
“Come on, Russel. It’s not every day you get the chance to FUCK a ghost!”
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Ghosts. They’re just like us. Minus their 3-dimensional handicap, of course. These poor, precious poltergeists somehow got lost on their way to the light. Why? I dunno. Perhaps, as psychic shaman Manfred Man prophesied, they were indeed “blinded” by it and were thus too “revved up” like deuces to enter. There’s no way of knowing. Unless you use a Ouija board, which when you break it down is essentially a dating device for the otherworld. But it’s no game. Sometimes you reel in a total psycho. As Witchboard 2 points out, the allure of the board is “communication.” Isn’t that what we’re all looking for? To escape our loneliness and isolation and connect with another being? Unfortunately, by using the “Witchboard” as a bridge to love and understanding, the membership toll may just be your soul! *Bad Movie Nite has no opinion either way on spirituality or the existence of ghosts. Or anything else for that matter. We just don’t care. 
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Now, I’m sure you have ALL indulged in the splendor of the original Witchboard. Who hasn’t participated in an occasional Tawny Kitaen retrospective? (For those devoted fans of the original, you’ll get a little wink at the end of the sequel as a “thank you” for your continued support of the franchise). Witchboard 2 builds upon the genius of the original by applying some more of those heavy-handed and fascinating, erotic nuances. In keeping with most sequels, this little dollop cuts down on character and focuses on tweaking formula (and nipples) by upping the ante by sexin’ you up. Color me haunted… To be clear: there is no sex. The movie is mostly about lead actress Ami Dolenz’s boobs. They’re large and in charge. Like Charles, but with less charisma. Papa Mickey must be proud.
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Paige (Dolenz) has just moved out of her estranged boyfriend Mitch’s (Timothy Gibbs) apartment and into her own. Mitch is a macho cop who doesn’t support her artistic dreams and wants her to go back to being a malleable simpleton who cooks him dinner and stuff. In contrast, Paige is trying to find out who she is by painting with all the colors of the wind.  As you can see, the themes of the movie are intensely feminist and forward-thinking. Anyboo, the lovers’ relationship hangs in the balance (of a banana hammock), while Paige talks in squeaky, over-emphasized and mannered “actor voice” and gets hit on by every Levi’d scalawag on the planet: “I’m not coming onto you; I’m a photographer.” Notice the pun. I’m certain that “coming” onto Paige is exactly what this SEXIST had in mind. Pig. It’s hard out there for a mortal girl…
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Fortunately, none of these interactions matter. Maybe they were supposed to, but that is something director/writer Kevin Tenney has to live with. Not you. “I release you…” Nay, it is the seductive spook Susan (Julie Michaels) who draws Paige’s attention during the latter’s adventure of self-discovery. After Paige finds the Witchboard, which naturally falls from the closet of her new loft in a slow-mo “whooooomp”– cardboard is the new name of Fear– she starts communing with her apartment’s deceased former tenant and builds up quite a friendship. Susan is supportive. She encourages Paige to “go for it” with her art and kick ass at work. She gives her confidence. She’s a real pal. Soon, Paige is reborn as a much more adventurous and assertive woman who does not cower into a corner but kicks aforementioned sexists in the balls. It’s almost like Paige is… becoming Susan.
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Ah, there’s the rub. You open yourself up to someone, and they try to totally absorb you and steal your independence. All ghouls, whether male or post mortem, are the same! One minute you’re having a conversation with someone you think you can trust, the next thing you know, you’re dressing slutty to please them and constantly being pestered to play with their “pointer.” They flatter you, tell you they need you, just to get in your pants. Literally. Possession, people– it’s abuse. (Your body; your choice). Soon, with the help of her fat “handy” man (Christopher Michael Moore), her landlord Elaine (Laraine Newman), and the latter’s geek brother Russel (John Gatins)– you know he’s a loser because he wears vests– Paige realizes that Susan is trying to get inside of her like everyone else. The lesbian implications are scintillating. But is it spiritual rape when you ask for it with your hooter-enhancing sweaters, nighties, and white T’s?
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Yeah. This movie is dumb, but it is ridiculous in a very entertaining way. Dolenz is hardly a “gifted actress,” except where it counts, but she is a likable girl. She’s not interesting, but if she were, the movie would not be as amusing. You would have to take it and her seriously, and who wants to do that? SNL alum Newman is also fairly entertaining– remind me to watch Problem Child 2 later– in her role as the oblivious hippie with a dog named “Doo.” I mean, it’s an embarrassment for her, but she handles her crappy lines with the scenery chewing of a pro. The men in the movie are pretty blah. They’re there. They say lines. Good for them. The comedy comes from everyone taking things too seriously, particularly when they have to say things like, “maybe you should go and find yourself some business, because right now, you’re in mine!” Poetry.
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I don’t recommend this film, but I don’t condemn it either. It’s there on YouTube if you’re bored and want to see what life is like in the afterlife. FYI- Susan’s soul tends to hover like a UFO when soaring around looking for “entry.” Maybe there is some kind of link there… Souls go to Heaven, Heaven is “up,” up there is outer space… Is Alf God? Hey, I’m not here to answer the big questions, but it’s worth considering.
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Rating:
3 out of 5 Boo-bies
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