Movie Friday: Witchboard

Happy Hallowe’en, everyone. Well yes, technically Hallowe’en is Monday, but it’s Movie Friday! I can’t rob you of some seriously spoooooky content!

When I was a kid, my sister and I rented one of the corniest horror B movies I’ve ever seen. It has it all – terrible acting, cheesy special effects, a stupid plot, and to top it all off, the lamest twist ending of all time. That movie, dear readers, was called Witchboard:

Warning: This might make you laugh, so maybe don’t watch it at work.

Sadly, the video montage above doesn’t give you what I think is this movie’s most excellent moment. The protagonist, Linda, is becoming more and more connected to a murderous Conquistador ghost through the Ouija board that she foolishly used by herself. In a dream sequence, she wanders through a dream realm until suddenly, there is Malfador! In a stroke, he chops her head off with an axe. I’d describe the rest of the scene to you, but you should just skip to 1:59 of this movie:

Man, that’s some scary shit!

There is a skeptical point to be made here though. The whole premise of the movie is that you’re not supposed to use the Ouija board alone, or you’ll get possessed. Of course the actual reason is because Ouija boards, like ghosts and psychics and other ‘supernatural’ things, require at least two people to work: one to run the scam, and one to give away their money. Using the Ouija board alone would, unless you’re particularly prone to delusion, simply result in you sitting in the dark alone, feeling ripped off. Much like I felt at the end of this movie.

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  1. Kate from Iowa says

    That movie was probably the one that got me to actually watch horror movies as a kid, that and um…hm, I’m not sure what the other one was. But it was so stupid I can clearly remember thinking “this crap is what I’ve been afraid to watch?”

    Oh man…now I wonder if there’ll be a terrible movie marathon on somewhere this halloween night…

  2. Nentuaby says

    Ouija doesn’t need anybody at the table to be “in on the joke.” The operating principle of the thing is that multiple people pulling “neutrally” on the thing while trying to feel where the little puck doohickey “wants” to go give each other accidental feedback. The reason you’re never supposed to use the Ouija board alone is that nothing’ll happen…

  3. jamessweet says

    Was going to make this same point. Read up on the “ideomotor effect”.

    Turns out a lot of folks who think they can make dowsing rods and such work are not consciously trying to be conmen. (con-people?) If you set up the right kind of unstable system, where extremely subtle hand movements can have visible effects, and then provide visual feedback, then it turns out you create the sensation where it seems you are making an object point at something simply by thinking about the target. Of course you are moving your hand to do it, but not consciously. The conscious sensation is that you have kept your hand completely still.

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