31 Spooky Movies in October: 2012 Edition, Part 6
18. Teen Witch (Dorian Walker, 1989)
Okay, so maybe I’m stretching what qualifies as a “spooky” movie here, but it’s got a witch in it so gimme a break. The story is about a teen girl who finds out she’s a witch and casts a spell to make herself the most popular girl in school. That’s pretty much it.
This movie is so famously bizarre that I’m kind of at a loss. I honestly don’t even know who this movie could have been made for. It’s so dumb it would only appeal to small children, yet it contains some fairly harsh swearing, a raunchy joke or two, and I what I think might be a sex scene (?). It’s a highschool movie that no highschooler would ever, EVER want to watch non-ironically. You should also be aware that this movie has musical numbers. I think it’s a musical, but sometimes the crappy songs are more like stand-ins for the real pop songs that other teen movies would license. But then people start kind of half-assedly dancing. And there is rapping, on three different occasions.
Every character in this movie is just slightly… wrong. The little brother is supposed to be a stereotypical “weird” little brother, but he’s a grotesque. He is obsessed with eating to a fetishistic degree, his facial mannerisms are filled with grimaces, wild-eyed stares, and drooly lisps, and he apparently has access to a hotel bellboy uniform (??). There’s a scene where his parents wonder if he’s on drugs that’s supposed to be comic, but it’s not. In fact, it’s the only plausible explanation for his behavior, unless he’s just fucking crazy.
There’s also a scene where the Teen Witch (I don’t remember her name and don’t care to look it up), not aware of her powers yet, wishes that her similarly bizarro date would leave her alone, causing him to disappear. Exactly where he goes is never explained. What are we supposed to make of this? It’s presented like a joke, but the only conclusion we can draw is that our heroine has either murdered her date or somehow erased him from existence, a proposition that is truly horrifying to think about.
Things happen without rhyme or reason. There’s a big subplot about the Teen Witch wanting the lead part in the school play. She uses magic (I think?) to get it, but then we never see the play, hear about how it went, or anything; the issue is simply dropped.
The fashion is also painfully late 80s, out of date even at the time of the film’s release, but let’s be honest here: nobody ever dressed like the “cool” Teen Witch except in Cindy Lauper music videos. Nobody ever thought that sweaty, mulletted sax players were cool. The movie feels like Komar and Melamid’s Most Wanted Teen Movie, an amalgam of familiar elements that combine to make something freakish and somehow unwholesome.
A few key scenes:
- A popular boy cheats on his girlfriend with the Teen Witch during a romantic idyll in a festering abandoned crack-house.
- The Teen Witch hilariously puts her mean English teacher on the sexual predator list by magically forcing him to strip in class.
- A sex ed class ends with the students, overtaken by some ape-like primaeval fever, rhythmically pounding their desks and chanting “CON-DOM CON-DOM” with Satanic intensity.
Another fun fact: director Dorian Walker’s previous teen “comedy,” Making the Grade, introduced the world to the streetwise Brooklynite bad-boy Dice, played by professional idiot Andrew Clay, who would use the character as his springboard to stand-up fame and act as a constant reminder that the universe is unfair. Mercifully, Teen Witch euthanized Walker’s career before she/he (?) could force any more abominations on the world.
This movie really is shit on every aesthetic, artistic, and ideological level. As such, it’s kinda funny.
SCORE: 1 Dick Sargent cameo out of 10
ALTERNATE SCORE: 10 cans of hairspray out of 10