The Horror Honeys: No Pain, No Gain!

No Pain, No Gain!

A Supernatural Honey Review by Suzanne

Death Spa (1989)

Remember when it was cool to wear spandex and do aerobics? If not, you weren’t around in the 80s, to which I say, what a shame. The 80s were a time when everything was ridiculous and it was okay. Death Spa is definitely ridiculous and it’s more than OK. So maybe I’m showing my hand a little early here, but those of you who know me, know this was made for me.

Michael Evans is trying to pick up the pieces of his life after the tragic suicide of his wife. He has a new girlfriend, Laura, and has opened a state-of-the-art health spa. Strange accidents begin to occur to staff and members, beginning with Laura, which threaten the success of the spa. Is it sabotage or supernatural?!

The answer is both!

Michael’s attempted takedown begins with a little help from his friends, a slimy lawyer and a money hungry assistant. Unfortunately, Michael’s real enemy is family, namely his creepy brother-in-law, David, who blames him for his sister’s death. David not only controls the computer system in the spa, but he also has a direct line to the spirit of his dead sister.

Sigh. We miss the 80s. 
In the first five minutes of this film, essentially the opening credits, there is a full frontal attack of neon, spandex, cheesy 80s synth music, boobies, inappropriate fog, sports cars and a leather Members Only jacket. Oh yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

The first couple of “accidents” are a little boring. Chlorine vapors in a steam room and a loose bolt on a diving board. That’s human sabotage for you. Once the ghost is in the machine, things start getting messy and people die some horrible deaths. 

One of the first actual deaths comes at the mercy of the butterfly machine. Now, I’ve used this machine in a gym and, even though the arms reach behind your body for extension, there is no real way you can be ripped in half by it. Somehow, it happens here to a well deserving 80s gym douche in tiny shorts. Quite possibly, my favorite death scene is near the end of the film during the big Mardi Gras party. A frozen fish, looking like a developmentally disabled barracuda, comes to life and rips out a man’s throat. Gold, I tell you!

Um... none of that looks natural.
The reason behind the terror is never really explained. Michael’s wife, Catherine, was an unhappy woman who somehow ended up in a wheelchair, managed to wheel herself into a field with a container of gasoline and set herself on fire. I’m no genius, but I think there are easier ways to accomplish that goal, especially in a nightgown. 

Her twin brother, played creepily by Merritt Butrick, who you may remember from Square Pegs and a few Star Trek movies, hates Michael and blames him for Catherine’s death. He channels her mentally and also does a little cross-dressing for added flair.

Who hasn't dreamed of this moment while trying to workout around meatheads?

The effects, while utterly ridiculous, are all practical, save a few digital bolts of lightening. I respect that, even when a movie is terrible.  

Listen, this movie is a total hot mess, but I loved every minute of it. I laughed, I cried (from laughter), and it became a part of me. No, it didn't, but I enjoyed it enough to watch it again. It's got so much to offer i the way of bad acting, awkward love scenes, and dancercize! 


Supernatural Honey Rating: 3 pairs of bloody leg warmers out of 5
Subtle.