By YASMINA KETITA
Zombie fish, sexy asparagus, 80s aerobics, and an angry witch… what’s not to love? I’ve already had the pleasure of doing Death Spa for the podcast (Episode 17) and every time I watch this movie it somehow becomes even more absurd than the previous time I watched it. Death Spa goes by the title Witch Bitch in Europe but I agree that the title Death Spa is much more fitting because of all the DEATH! We have death by sauna, death by shower, death by chest press machine, death by acid pipes, we’ve got hand explosions, hand blending, face crushing, face melting, face bursting, mirrors exploding bodies, and an oozing eyeball! Death Spa also provides us with fabulous neon 80s spandex, awesome fluorescent lights that emit a From Beyond glow, wet porno tits, lawyers in cute shorts, Hilary Banks, a visible boom mic and even the wallpaper behind each machine is exuding with 80s patterns and colours. I simply just love this movie!
The Starbody Health Spa is not just any old gym where you get your workout then go back to your mundane lives wishing there was more to this sad existence. The Starbody Health Spa also supplies you with a bar, a merch stand, and a giant square shaped couch that’s kind of like a wrestling ring that would be perfect for an Eyes Wide Shut party. It’s also a sanctuary where really good-looking people go to socialize and party, make memories, and form relationships. Oh, and get murdered!
Michael, the main protagonist, who dreams a lot about his wife’s burning body and almost gets away with wearing a leather jacket with no shirt, is on a few missions. Forgetting his recently deceased wife, solve who’s behind the deaths, find out if ghosts are real, save his club, and take care of his girlfriend who is temporarily blinded by chlorine vapour. One of my favourite scenes is when he brings her home from the hospital and instead of consoling her after having a near death experience with let’s say a comfy bed or even a relaxing bath, decides to make her a romantic candle lit dinner. There’s nothing sexier than feeding asparagus to your girlfriend who is recovering from almost being dissolved like an alka seltzer while having giant pads on her eyes like she just had laser eye surgery who by the way naps in the most unusual manner ever!
Merrit Butrick, best known for playing the son of James T. Kirk, and whose final role was in Death Spa, plays a hacker named David and is Michael’s former brother-in-law. David runs the programs of the club and can control the machines from a “board room” where computers “run” the spa and “manage” the automatic functions and computer print outs. Now I will be honest, I’m not entirely sure why this is necessary for a gym and I’m still a bit confused on the whole operation of this control room business but, then again, I ain’t no expert.
None the less, this ludicrous concept is what makes me adore this film even more. It’s like old school science fiction movies and TV shows where scientists are to be taken seriously while doing crucial science business in rooms with walls covered with flashing lights, dials and buttons. It makes me also reminisce on another one of my favourites: Chopping Mall. But seriously why are there so many computers in the walls? My best guess is so the Witch Bitch has more ways to haunt her impending victims.
Not only are the LAPD on the case, we also have a paranormal investigator looking into the deaths as well. I don’t know about you but if I were a Ghostbuster, I would most definitely have skulls all over my office just so my clients can see the validity of my practice. Skulls mean serious business! Now if you’ve seen Death Spa, you’ve probably asked yourself how safe it is to have a Mardis Gras party at a gym that keeps having recurring deaths but don’t worry, they put plastic sheets over the machines so it’s all good, and we’d all still go for the sushi and for Ken Foree in his red, blue, and yellow uniform.
Killer Workout is another campy David A. Prior film with the ever so dashing Ted Prior (if you haven’t watched Deadly Prey please do) that also involves 80s fitness, murder, thongs, and ass kicking. A fun connection is the words Death Spa are spray painted on Rhonda’s Gym’s windows and you know what? Both movies are still exceptionally better than Perfect. Plus, an added bonus to Death Spa is it has one of my favourite rejection lines in a movie ever: “Besides, I’m Beta and you’re VHS!”