So last night I had either the pleasure, or displeasure (I’m not entirely certain due to the quantity of marijuana and beer I consumed) of watching the 1989 horror film commonly known as Death Spa, or as it’s less commonly known, Witch Bitch. Yes, you read that right. Although I’d love to reflect on the reasoning for the name change, I’m quite certain it doesn’t matter. That being said, after deciding to take the plunge and watch a movie that takes on death by tanning bed, I was fully expecting the title Death Spa to play over the credits. I can only tell you how delighted I was when the title, Witch Bitch, appeared on screen.
After receiving confirmation that this was indeed the right film, what followed was a delirious descent into the horrors of a haunted Spa, where seemingly every mechanical contraption was out to get our fine cast of fitness nuts. Blenders juiced, saunas steamed, and tanning beds irradiated victims down to frothing pools of bio waste. What surprised me most about Death Spa was its commitment to these extended scenes of gore. I recall a particularly brutal moment (and recall is the right term, as I’m writing this post six-pack memory loss) where a woman was slowly steamed to Cronenburgian levels of nasty. After this seriously dank shit occurred, I was impressed once again by the five-minute scene that followed—or at least it seamed that long given my own temporal impairment—where a bartender’s hand is hewn to a pulpy mess in a blender. That scene was long, I mean really long. Endless long. I remember thinking, My God is this still happening? And amazingly no one at the Spa party noticed.
And that brings me to another point I’d like to make about Death Spa: nothing happens like it would in real life. An entire room full of people are completely unaware of five minutes of screaming while a woman’s arm is being juiced, spraying torrents of fake blood all over the damn room. She literally winds up lying in a pool of her own blood and no one bats an eye. Wait, what party is this? What purpose does it serve the plot? I have no fucking clue, because nothing in this movie makes a goddamned shred of sense.
Which brings us to the Witch Bitch herself, a beautiful young lass who may or may not be a cross-dressing man—I’m not sure—who may or may not be a ghost, who is poltergeisting the fuck out of this state of the art spa upstart. Why does she do it? What on earth does she have against health and fitness? Or this man-witch simply prejudiced against beautiful, naked young ladies caring for their bodies—of which there are many. Oh yes, Death Spa delivers on the nudity. But this is beside the point. I believe there is some dark ’80s era capitalism at work here. The owner of the outfit keeps the place open despite its obscene drop in membership. He also drives a white Porsche and can’t parallel park for shit. It’s possible I saw him snorting coke, but it's equally possible that those images were inserted into my head last night as I slept by some intergalactic dream ray. It’s also possible that the Witch Bitch represents a rebellion against capitalism, of course, this could just be my four years of conceptual arts education talking.
A frozen freezer fish biting a guy's neck is both unconventional and inspired.
Kill scenes worth noting:
That scene where the lady is steamed alive: totally rude.
While hitting the peck deck, one poor meathead has his abdomen ripped open, when clearly the leveraged forces being applied would've at worst dislocated his shoulder.
In another sultry scene of mayhem, a party goer has their upper torso blown off by an exploding mirror, presumably by either faulty plumbing, or a class 5 free roaming vapour. Hard to tell.
And finally, a detective has his throat ripped open by a reanimated frozen fish. Excelsior!
Final rating for Death Spa:
3 beers + 1.5 joints (for a total of 4.5 intoxication points) = I win!!