The Film (4/5)
Kevin Tenney is one of the unsung heroes of late 1980's horror films. He directed two films that can easily be considered classics by many fans of the genre 1986's Witchboard and 1988's Night of the Demons (a personal favorite). Witchboard went on to be sequelized by its producers, but Tenney wanting to go back to the material decided to make a film with a similar tone 1989's Witchtrap.
Witchtrap follows Devon Lauder (played by Kevin Tenney himself) a man who inherited a haunted mansion (the only kind worth owning). He wants to start a business involving the house, but can't as long as it drives the people who dwell in it are driven to death and madness. To this end he hires a group of parapsychologist to stay in the house along with some security guards he has hired. Of course things do not go well for the group as they begin to research the haunting.
I will confess that I had not even heard about Witchtrap before this Vinegar Syndrome release, which is absolutely mad, as I had loved both Night of the Demons and Witchboard. Watching Witchtrap I was completely blown away. This film is absolutely up there with the prior 2 films, and actually even exceed Witchboard in my personal estimation.
The film opens up with a tremendous scene of scares and shocks, and though the opening act kind of lulls as the plot is being set up, the last 2/3's of the film is full of plenty of gore, shocks, and overall weirdness to please fans of 80’s horror. There are some issues with the audio that were caused by on-set recording issues, and some early pacing issues, but aside from that Witchtrap is horror gold. The performances are average for the genre, with Linnea Quigley being the true standout amongst the cast.
Vinegar Syndrome presents Witchtrap in a splendid 1:85:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer preserving the film's OAR. Everything here looks amazing, detail is excellent, colors are stable and well reproduced, and blacks are inky and deep.
Audio is presented with a DTS-HD MA 1.0 track in English Everything from dialogue to score here is audible, and I had no issues with the track.
Vinegar Syndrome really stacked this release. We get a commentary with Kevin Tenney, there is also multiple on screen interviews with the cast and crew including Tenney, Lineea Quigley and more. There are a pair of audio interviews, a short film by Kevin Tenney, and an alternate ending for that film. There is a video trailer and a still gallery rounding off this epic set.
Witchtrap is a real hidden treasure of 80's horror made by one of the directors whose work is some of the best in the genre. The A/V side of the disc is outstanding, and the extras are phenomenal. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.