Studio: Kino Lorber Studio Classics
Mar 08, 2017 Web Exclusive
Teenage wallflower Louise Miller (Robyn Lively) pines from afar for her beloved football team captain, Brad. Of course, this hunky beefcake wouldn’t pay an unpopular girl the time of day without some sort of supernatural intervention, which is why it’s so fortunate when our heroine learns she’s the reincarnation of a long-deceased witch, and will inherit great magical powers on her sixteenth birthday. What else is a girl to do, then, than get revenge on a tyrannical teacher, undergo a magic makeover, and do everything she can to make the high school quarterback of her dreams fall in love with her?
Unless you were one of those people who grew up watching it air on cable over and over again, Teen Witch probably isn’t going to register much of a blip on your interest meter. (Ultimately, it doesn’t quite have the charm of, say, Teen Wolf, or even the second-tier teen comedies from the John Hughes canon.) If you’re one of the many who do love it – and there are many, if the frequent midnight screenings are any indication – it’s probably because you made a connection with it growing up, or adore its highly-concentrated camp and potent ‘80s kitsch. (It sometimes feels like someone mixed the opening credits of Are You Afraid of the Dark with a commercial for one of the Girl Talk board games, and then stretched it out to 90 minutes.) For newcomers, Teen Witch is at its best when it’s gone totally off the rails, as it does during an infamous, out-of-nowhere rap battle scene, or when a girls’ locker room breaks out into a sudden, improvised song and dance routine. (Curiously enough, there wasn’t any magic trickery involved in the latter scene.) The movie also features Zelda Rubenstein, the creepy-voiced medium from the Poltergeist movies, as Louise’s magical mentor, and it’s impossible not to smile when she's on screen. The movie may not necessarily enchant any new followers into its cult, but if you’re up for something breezy and cheezy, then Teen Witch will deliver.
They practically overboard with the number of interviews included on this Blu-ray, but that’s one of the reasons why cult movie fans rejoice for labels like Kino Lorber Studio Classics, who specialize in superbly-curated editions of films which might otherwise languish in obscurity. Everyone involved – stars Lively, Dan Gauthier, Lisa Fuller, and Mandy Ingber, plus the songwriters – seem very aware of how silly a film they made, but they love it for much the same reasons its fans do. (It’s fun listening to them get embarrassed when asked about specific scenes.) The cast stuck around to record a full-length commentary, too, which paired with the film’s high-grade HD video quality makes this an easily recommended trip down memory lane for those who’ve loved the movie since they were kids.
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