'Death Spa' (1988): Movie Review

Death Spa Movie Review
by Chris Wright, MoreHorror.com

It’s getting warmer out and you may just feel like checking in to a gym. What better place to start than “Death Spa”! A late 80's horror movie is loaded in amusement and high levels of gore. I would recommend the uncensored version since the gore is over the top for the gore hounds out there. It has a 4.9 on IMDB and it’s not as bad as you may think it is.

I found this movie on VHS from Gorgon, which is fairly rare. If you see the creepy Medusa head come on the screen, you got yourself a Gorgon VHS! Gorgon is better known for their exploitative series “Faces of Death.” Also an alternate title that some foreign distributors have used is “Witch Bitch.”

The story is basically a man named Michael (William Bumiller) owns his own health gym spa. After a while, terrible deaths start to occur slowly throughout the gym. This isn't your ordinary gym and spa. This spa is technologically advanced with his co-partner David (Merritt Butrick). That’s not all that is going on in this spa. Michael’s deceased wife somehow possesses the spa through witchcraft. To make matters more complicated, Michael’s co-owner David is the deceased one’s brother.

Michael and David both have tension about how Catherine (the deceased wife and David’s sister) death came about. Catherine (Shari Shattuck) committed suicide by burning herself up in a wheelchair. This may sound like a weird summer flick but it’s strangely pretty entertaining.

As the deaths start to occur in the spa, Michael hires detectives to try to solve these mysteries. The mysteries just continue to puzzle the owners and the detectives despite deaths occurring with the investigations going on. The gore is pretty solid. One scene that sticks out is a guy sitting doing a bench press type machine and his arms break literally! You can hear the bones crack and pull back since the “possessed” machine forced him to do the exercise incorrectly.

There is a scene of graphic gore of a girl being stuck in a steam room and the spa turning the heat on as high as it could possibly go. There are many more creative graphic scenes throughout this movie.

It all boils down to the witchcraft of deceased Catherine. She has possessed her brother David and along with the gym malfunctioning, the deaths added up! Catherine’s goal all along was to re-unite with her husband Michael in the spirit world. Catherine is determined to do so that she locks Michael’s current girlfriend Laura (Brenda Bakke) into a tanning bed to wait for her impending demise. Eventually, Michael breaks Catherine’s hold on the place and she goes up in flames and melts (literally) on screen.

All of this chaos was going on during a Mardi Gras event inside the gym so the carnage was intense. One girl gets her hand torn off with a blender and an actual frozen fish kills one guy! The movie ends basically with Catherine destroyed apart talking and ends on that note.

This movie is far from perfect. I would give it 4 out of 5 for sheer entertainment. The negatives are that it gets tedious some in the middle of the movie. The acting is overall sub par and cheesy. There are times of obvious filler to make the film longer. The film itself is vintage 80's with the hair, the aerobics and the music. This movie is for amusement factor only. I recommend for a watch.

“Death Spa” (1988)

Directed By: Michael Fishca

Written By: James Bartruff & Mitch Paradise

Starring: William Bumiller (Michael Evans), Brenda Bakke (Laura Danvers), Merritt Butrick (David Avery), Shari Shattuck (Catherine)

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