People get so thin they disappear!
We've seen a lot of things here on The Enematic Cinematic and Death Spa is, well, one of them. Directed by Michael Fischa (who went on to direct one of my childhood favorite pieces of artful cinema 1989's My Mom's a Werewolf) and released in the time appropriate 1988, Death Spa doesn't bullshit. It's exactly what you would think it should be.
Michael Evans (William Bumiller), a young hip owner of a high tech popular health spa becomes plagued with nightmares of some lady in a wheel chair burning (don't you hate when dreams of your mom on fire ruins your day?). At the same time, his super hip spa becomes plagued with mysterious accidents involving loose diving boards, flying shower tiles and pointy objects impaling spa goers. Is it the super computer that controls the entire spa? Is it the ghost of the burning cripple? Does anyone get a refund?
|Ew, like gay! There are naked girls in this sauna!|
|Like, oh boy...|
First of all, there are a number of inappropriate/unnecessary things happening in this allegedly health spa. Evidenced by a numbered list below:
For some reason, the health bar serves coffee. Who the fuck either starts or ends a work out with a cup of coffee? I've done a Pilates class with gin in my water bottle before (I'm bending my back on a big ass ball, that shit hurts and requires relaxation!), but come on, coffee is the ultimate dehydrator. The last thing I want when I'm sweating and about to pass out is a hot cup of coffee. Health bar FAIL.
2. Mardi Gras Party
Throughout the film, the spa employees and members are all seriously jazzed about the upcoming costume Mardi Gras party happening at the HEALTH spa. There's even going to be free pizza and a keg. What kind of bullshit message is this? The short period of time I had a trainer, okay, it was just a free consultation that came with the beginning of a gym membership I never saw through (or fully paid off), Troy was a total dick about my drinking habits. Or at least feed me some urban legend about how beer increases belly fat. Boo Troy. Preach to someone who is actually motivated to lose weight, okay? Also, who the fuck was planning on staying up all night to clean up all this shit before the spa opened the next morning at 8:00 AM? Oh, yeah I forgot it was the 80's when coke solved all these problems I just stated.
3. Sex in the Sauna
Okay, GROSS! Do you know how many fucking butts and balls have been sweating and sticking to those seats?!? Do you want to catch jock itch in your vagina you dumb shits? I don't even go bare foot in the shower of a gym, let alone bare pussy in the fucking sauna!
Death Spa is riddled with specific 80's references and one-liners. At one point, Darla (who might be an employee?) begins flirting with some allegedly hunky spa goer named Robert whilst he works on his deltoids. She asks if he can bench more weight:
Robert: "Sure, when I'm trying to impress a girl."
Darla: "Why not impress me?"
Robert: "Because I'm Beta and you're VHS."
Oh shit, like total 80's BURN!!
|Feel the burn! Okay, too easy.|
In another scenario, two detectives show up to investigate all the dead people's deaths at the spa. After an employee is locked into the sauna and burned in the eyeballs by chlorine gas, the spa manager, Priscilla and owner, Michael try to explain.
Priscilla: "It was an accident."
Lt. Fletcher: "Yeah, but this accident nearly dissolved a girl like Alka-Seltzer."
I would do a "...what a relief it is" Alka-Seltzer bit here, but, it wouldn't be funny.
All and all, I found Death Spa to be pretty entertaining. Heads explode, hands are blended and even a cop is killed by a reanimated fish, but something I couldn't help but notice throughout the film is how similar it is to 1986's Killer Workout (aka Aerobicide). Check out a clip reel for Killer Workout below, also, watch out for a scene in which some person tags (that's graffiti for all you non-hipsters) a window with the phrases, "Aerobicide" and the much more telling, "Death Spa"! What kind of 80's health/horror irony B-movie (alleged) plagiarism is going on here?!?
If you haven't seen either movie and possibly plan to, don't read ahead because I am going to have to use some major spoilers in order to dissect each poo nugget properly. Although, to be honest, it's pretty obvious in each film who the killer is from the beginning so it's not giving too much away. Also, with cinematic turds such as these, the mystery also known as the general plot (or the thrills for the purpose of rhyme) is filler really to the heart of every B horror movie, the kills and spills! Also, shut the fuck up, quit whining and read on!
Death Spa VS Killer Workout
1. Heath Nut/Horror Victim Irony
Both of these films play off the irony of the health conscious and physically fit some how meeting untimely deaths by the very place or activities they sought to better their bodies. Also, playing off the new aerobics/health craze of the 1980's. Health spas and gyms already have shower scenes, chicks in spandex and sweaty cleavage so pretty much, this shit writes itself!
2. Not Enough People Killed By Gym Equipment
Something both of these movies lack is the use of the gym equipment itself to kill people. In Death Spa just one guy dies when a weight lifting machine tears him apart. Okay so I guess there is a deadly sauna and tanning bed situation, but I don't know. I still felt like there were some missed opportunities. Come on, there's treadmills and bicycles all over the place! I almost die on those things without the help of killer computers or dead ex-wife ghosts! In Killer Workout there are a few more gym equipment kills with the killer using hand weights to bash a head, but other than that it's a giant safety pin and a knife. What a waste.
|What you mean no? Can't you feel my boner?|
3. Douchebag Dude Bros
Thankfully, there are a plethora of agro-douchebag-dudes in tiny tank tops and half-shirts in both films. From clever quippy Robert in Death Spa to beefy Jimmy with Steve Perry haircut in Killer Workout, the options for date rapists are endless! Just be sure to take your pill on time ladies!
4. 80's, 80's, Like Totally 80's
Spandex! Synthesizers! Tights! Head bands! Non-supportive bras! No, I'm not talking about an American Apparel store, I'm talking about the 80's you guys! The 80's! Yeah, I'm kind of over it too.
5. Sweet Work Out Mix Theme Songs
Each of these films has their very own sweet 80's work out theme song. Killer Workout has Donna De Lory's "Only You Tonight" featured in the above clip reel. Death Spa has the the possibly named "Killer Groove" with lyrics like:
"...lock your windows, lock your doors, the killer groove is back for more - he's on patrol..."
I don't know if this song is really titled "Killer Groove." I didn't bother to write it down from the credits and I can't find the soundtrack on the internet, but it should be called that so I'm making the final call.
6. Cute Girls Get Totes, Like Killer Bummed When They Turn Into Burn Victims
|Having no nipples makes me want to wear wigs!|
Though the rip-offs are alleged, Killer Workout may win by default because it came out in 1986, two whole years of re-writes and re-dos before Death Spa in '88. Either way, Death Spa still remains to be a very watchable movie of the horror/health genre. I definitely recommend at least a single viewing, especially it if you like boobies and body explosions and hate skinny bitches.
Girls Michael (death spa owner) bones: 6
Shower Scenes: 2
People Killed With Gym Equipment: 1
Fat Funny Gym Goers: 1
Specific 80's References: 3
Possible Incestuous Sex: 2
Fake Outs: 3
Burnt People: 7
Ghost Makes Panther Noises: 5
Body Parts Explode: 2
Dead Wife Dreams: 5
Body Count: 15
Ghost Seductions: 2
Implied Pirate Rape: 1
Fish Kills: 1