Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 20th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1989
Director: Kevin Tenney
Writer: Kevin Tenney
Cast: James W. Quinn, Kathleen Bailey, Judy Tatum, Rob Zapple, Jack W. Thompson, Clyde Talley II, Hal Havins, Linnea Quigley, J.P. Luebsen
BluRay released: March 28th, 2017
Approximate running time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $32.98
If ever there was a film that was overshadow by the film’s which preceded it. Then that film would be Witchtrap, a film which often has been mislabeled as a sequel to Witchboard. And to try to avoid this, When Witchtrap was first released on VHS is had this disclaimer, “This Motion Picture is not a sequel to Witchboard.” Another way in which Witchtrap has often been eclipsed by what is arguably Kevin Tenney’s most acclaimed film Night of the Demons.
Though this film features all the ingredients that one would expect from a Horror film. There is a familiarity when it comes to the premise which is bound to give most viewers Dé·jà vu. Fortunately, the end result is something that stands well on its own. Also, outside of a few lulls, which occurring in the film’s opening act. The narrative does a good job keeping things moving forward.
Visually this is one area where this film often excels. With its strongest moments being its gory set pieces. Which include, a character who falls out of a second story window, a shower head that impales a character’s throat and a character who head explodes. Another strength of this film is its special effectives which are all well executed and free of any CGI.
During production, all of the on-location sound had to be crapped and then rerecorded in post-production. When watching the film this most definitely is noticeable and affects the performances. With that being said, the performances are all greatly aided by the cast enthusiasm. Also for the majority of the cast this was their first and only feature film or it was their first major role in a feature film. With this film’s most notable cast member being Linnea Quigley (Nightmare Sisters, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers) in the role of Ginger Kowolski, a camerawoman who videotapes the parapsychologists supernatural encounters.
Witchtrap comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release was newly scanned and restored in 2k from 35mm Interpositive. And when compared to previous home video releases this transfer is vastly superior in every way.
This release comes with one audio, a DTS-HD mix in stereo English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio in in excellent shape. Dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. The more ambient aspects of these mixes are well represented and range wise both sound robust when they need too.
Extras for this release include, reversible cover art, a production / promotional stills gallery, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 55 seconds), a short film also directed by Kevin Tenney titled Book of Joe (23 minutes 23 seconds), an alternate ending for Book of Joe (3 minutes 44 seconds), two audio interviews – SFX makeup artist Judy Yonemoto and composer Dennis Michael Tenney, four video interviews – screenwriter / director Kevin Tenney (23 minutes 36 seconds), actress Linnea Quigley (13 minutes 40 seconds), cinematographer Tom Jewett (15 minutes 9 seconds) and SFX supervisor Tassilo Baur (17 minutes 11 seconds).
It should be noted that the only known source for Book of Joe is a VHS source and the audio / video is in rough shape.
Topics discussed in the interview with Judy Yonemoto include, her first encounter of Kevin Tenny and how it led to her working on Witchtrap, her origins as a makeup effects artist and key FX moments from Witchtrap.
Topics discussed in the interview with Michael Tenney include, his origins as a film composer, his creative process as a composer and various other films that he worked on.
Topics discussed in the interview with Kevin Tenny include, the origins of Witchtrap, the cast, how the script was written in six days, cinematographer Tom Jewett and the look of the film, information about the locations, shooting a film on a very limited budget, cut made to the film for its theatrical release and other production related topics.
Topics discussed in the interview with Linnea Quigley include, her origins as an actress, Kevin Tenney, how she prefers spontaneity verse rehearsing, onset memories, why the films soundtrack had to rerecorded in post-production and her thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the interview with Tom Jewett include, his origins as a cinematographer, Kevin Tenney and how they first meet at film school, the difficulty balance art with the business side of the film industry, special effects, how the film was shot in eighteen days and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the interview with Tassilo Baur include, USC film school and how he got into creating FX effects, Kevin Tenney, how his work within the Horror genre has often been censored by the MPAA, Witchtrap and key FX moments and other Horror films that he worked on.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, the origins of Witchtrap, screenwriter Dale Gelineau, Brain Dead and their connection to Witchtrap, information about the locations, the cast & the crew, why the films soundtrack had to rerecorded in post-production, the visuals, the advantages of shooting the film in Fairfield, California verse Los Angeles, onset memories and other production related topics.
Also included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo. Overall Witchtrap gets a definitive release from Vinegar Syndrome, highly recommended.