Spine (1986) (DVD Review)
Directed By: John Howard and Justin Simmonds
Starring: R. Eric Huxley, Janus Blythe, Lise Romanoff
Rated: UR/Region: O/1:33/Number of disc: 1
Available from Substance
R. Eric Huxley stars in the most gut-wrenching movie of all time. A serial killer is stalking nurses all over the city. There is no pattern except in the brutal way in which he kills his suspects. The police have no clues and are frustrated in their attacks to stop him. The pressure mounts with each murder. After savagely killing two more nurses, the killer alters his pattern and breaks into a house where two nurses live. He imprisons them and slowly reasons behind his insanity are revealed. Their only hope for survival is to find a way to escape. The bloodbath which ensues is shocking and sadistic!
Spine, like many other shot on video movies of the time, seems to have built a rep over the recent years by those VHS loving hipsters! I can actually see the influence of this movie in a few newer movies, but it doesn’t change the fact that regardless of how expensive an original VHS of this movie goes for on eBay now days, it still isn’t that good! Sure, it has it perks. It’s bearded killer is actually interesting, especially with his sunglasses. It seems like a white trash giallo in a lot of ways based on the style of the killer really. There is a slow-moving plot, but there is some red stuff here and there as well. All the blood on-screen during on scene even leads to a pretty cool looking visuals at one point that I’d tip my horror loving hat to. That still doesn’t change the fact that it is a bit of a chore getting to that point and some of you might not be able to stay seated until the darn thing finally decided to get interesting. Which, believe it or not, it sort of does before the ending, then it gets a bit awful again. It just starts off perhaps too bad to shove this one over on the good side of line between a bad movie and a good bad movie.
If you’ve watched shot on video horror films from the old days, then you know what to expect as far as the shortcomings of this film, which aren’t to be blamed on it due to the fact that with shot on video it couldn’t be helped. The cast is what it is. I don’t think anyone here was too offensive in the bad area and at the same time nobody outside the killer really sticks out in a good way. The ending, which I’ve sorta mentioned above, sucks. I mean if you list all the things you could possibly hate about the ending of a horror movie, this one has every one of those bad things. I won’t spoil it, but sometimes if everything else is a rocky road, you can still save some face at the end. This one doesn’t get that job done and that really is too bad for Spine overall. It might be a fun one to watch with a group who just wants something bad to try to watch, but if you are alone and looking for quality, then I’m afraid you’ve popped in the wrong disc here. Regardless of if it is VHS, a Substance released DVD, or a newly issued Massacre Video release. Not much you can do to improve this one outside of remaking it.