Spellbinder (1988)

Janet Greek is best known for her TV work and for directing the first Weird Al video, “Ricky.” This is one of her few theatrical films and it’s very much of the 1988 video store get five movies for five nights era, which is by no means a bad thing.

Los Angeles attorney Jeff Mills (Tim Daly, Wings) and his friend Derek Clayton (Rick Rossovich, Top Gun) rescue Miranda Reed (the gone before her time Kelly Preston) from an abusive boyfriend who spouts Satanic epithets before running into the night. So Jeff does what any of us would — he lets her move in and take over his life. The sex is, one expects when sleeping with a witch, astounding. But then, in the cold light of day, things start to be quite frightenging.

Along the way, there are appearances by Diana Bellamy (who knows something of video store rentals with credits like Critters 3My ChauffeurD.C. CabThe Nest and Stripped to Kill), Sally Kemp (The Glove), Audra “Mrs. Roper” Lindley, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (the Mortal Kombat movies) and Karen Baldwin, who along with her husband, Penguins owner Howard Baldwin, would make Pittsburgh’s second favorite movie, Sudden Death.

This movie was supposedly difficult to find for years, as the Church of Scientology kept it hidden due to Preston’s nude scenes — I call B.S. on that one, no one was keeping Mischief from anyone and that goes way further — and the fact that she plays a witch, a fact that I can more than see them being upset about.

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