And, as has been the case for the last couple of years, nothing good coming out of the theaters. Now, to be fair, I have not seen Oujia, but it’s not looking like it’s worth the trek out of town. Fortunately, this ground has been thoroughly covered before…many times. And luckily we have options to check out from the comfort of our inner sanctums.
THE BEER: Witches’ Brew Golden Ale ; Brouwerij Van Steenberge
Ales from this brewery and I have met before, but I frankly didn’t want to introduce another one into this blog too quickly. Because seriously, it’s too easy. But given that we’re pairing it with two SEPARATE movies called Witchboard, it seemed apropos. These ales aren’t really to style as far as I’m concerned, though this puppy had a literal gold color. The Witches’ Brew had a pleasant lightness that almost reminded me of a summery farmhouse ale, which as long as there isn’t a bacterial flaw, is always a good thing in my book.
THE (FIRST) MOVIE: Witchboard ; 1986
Directed by: Kevin Tenney
Oh my god. The feathered hair in this movie for both males and females alone makes the viewing worth it. You know, other that the fact that it is a classic.
The general gist of this movie is the same one that your mama has been telling you since you were a teenager. Don’t play with Oujia boards or you’ll be possessed and/or haunted by evil spirits. Boom.
Sooooo, we open at a party hosted by Linda (played by Tawny Kitaen) and her boyfriend, Jim (played by Todd Allen). Linda invites her ex-boyfriend, Brandon (played by Stephen Nichols), to the party, but he is too snooty for the mostly construction-worker crowd. Propelled by social anxiety, Brandon decides to showboat a little with his Ouija board that he keeps out in his car, and doesn’t really do himself any favors when he brags about how often he uses it and how he’s become besties with the ghost of a 10 year old boy.
Anyway. So Brandon ends up leaving in a huff and forgets his Oujia board. So of course, like Eve with the apple, the poor susceptible lady is manipulated by a spirit in the Ouijia board. Who, you know, ends up not being a sweet ten year old boy. And goes and kills a lot of people. But in a fun way!
So if you wanna see construction accidents, a Medium who doesn’t know whether she’s a punk or a hippie, homo-eroticism, and a hysterical pregnancy, you have come to the right place. Cinema. Gold.
THE (SECOND) MOVIE: Witchboard – Bunshinsaba; 2004
Directed by: Ahn Byeong-ki
So this is the movie that I accidentally got first when I thought I was getting the American version. But it ended up being kind of fun so I thought I’d throw it in here!
Bunshinsaba (which is what I’ll call this film to avoid confusion) is less about the Oujia board and more about the aftermath of the spell-casting. AND THE EVIL IT HATH WROUGHT. Yoo-jin, who recently moved to a small town, is bullied mercilessly by girls at her school. So naturally, she and three other girls make their own witchboard out of paper and pens and call on the spirit of a girl who was said to have died years earlier.
They probably thought this would work out well for them, but…we all know where this is going.
So obviously, people start dying by putting plastic bags over their own heads and setting themselves on fire. Because you’ve got to find creative ways to revive this vengeful-female-spirit story over and over again. Yoo-Jin is the protagonist, but several other major characters come into play including two teachers: Mr. Han, who is a self-appointed protector of Yoo-Jin, and Eun-Joo, the new art teacher from Seoul. Weird stuff starts happening with Eun-Joo as well, and she seems to be possessed just as much as Yoo-Jin is, for reasons that eventually kinda make sense.
But I know what you really are waiting to hear. Is there a creepy girl with long black hair who moves her head in weird directions? Of course there is.
Is there a horrifying past trauma where a female outcast was murdered or driven to suicide by the now-contrite parents of the current crime victims? Uhhhh…yup.
Is there a telekinetic blind girl who only appears in flashbacks? Duh.
Is it pretty much the typical Asian ghost story? You got it mister/sister, but the great thing about vengeful Asian ghosts is they always have an effed-up and interesting backstory.