Witchboard is a 1986 American horror film written and directed by Kevin S. Tenney, and starring Tawny Kitaen and Stephen Nichols. The film focuses on a female college student who is harassed and later possessed by an evil spirit after communicating with it through a friend's Ouija board. The film was released in December 1986 in fifteen theaters, and received a wide release in March 1987.
Brandon Sinclair brings out his ouija board at a party and attempts to contact David, the spirit of a dead ten-year-old boy with whom he has communicated numerous times. The spirit responds, but Jim, formerly Brandon's best friend and now nemesis, insults David, making David angry and provoking David to slash the tires of Brandon's car.
The next day, Linda, Jim's live-in girlfriend, sees Brandon's ouija board (which Brandon left behind from the previous night) and tries to contact David. The spirit that appears is actually an evil being (Malfeitor) acting under the guise of David. This malicious spirit starts being nice and helpful, informing Linda where her lost diamond engagement ring is. Meanwhile, at the construction site where Jim is working, Jim's friend Lloyd is killed by the murderous spirit. Linda again contacts Malfeitor--whom she still believes to be David--and he lies, responding that he did not cause the accident. Linda begins to fall under "progressive entrapment", in which the spirit changes and starts to terrorize the user, making the person weak and easy to possess.
Brandon and Jim conduct research on David, and later accuse him of terrorizing Linda. They play with the Ouija board and discover that another spirit is frightening Linda. The same spirit then attacks and kills Brandon.
Released from the hospital, Linda plays with the board but gets no response. She then takes a shower, but gets attacked by Malfeitor. She initially escapes but soon is possessed by the evil entity. The next morning, Jim returns and discovers the apartment in disarray, with Linda wearing men's formal wear and holding an axe.
Just then, Dewhurst, the detective investigating the murders he suspects were perpetrated by Jim (but were actually committed by Malfeitor), enters the apartment. He accuses Jim of hurting Linda, but quickly discovers that he is wrong as he is immediately gets smacked on the face with a rod, rendering him unconscious and causing him to drop his gun. Jim picks up the gun and shoots the board many times right before Linda pushes him out the window.
The next scene is at the church at Jim and Linda's wedding. As a girl and the apartment landlady clean up the apartment, they both find the ouija board and the girl says, "Wonder if it still works?" The landlady then throws it into a box with the planchette. The camera then zooms to "yes" on the board as the planchette moves to it by itself.
Todd Allen as James "Jim" Morar,
Tawny Kitaen as Linda Brewster,
Stephen Nichols as Brandon Sinclair,
Kathleen Wilhoite as Sarah "Zarabeth" Crawford,
Burke Byrnes as Lt. Dewhurst,
James W. Quinn as Lloyd,
Rose Marie as Mrs. Moses,
Judy Tatum as Dr. Gelineau,
Gloria Hayes as Wanda,
J.P. Luebsen as Malfeitor,
Susan Nickerson as Chris,
Ryan Carroll as Roger,
Kenny Rhodes as Mike,
Clare Bristol as Anchor woman,
Witchboard was filmed in Big Bear Valley, San Bernardino National Forest, California with and estimated budget of $2,000,000.
Witchboard had a 15 screen limited release on December 31, 1986 with the film bringing in $95,435 that weekend. The film had a full U.S. release on March 13, 1987 bringing in $2,582,408 that weekend. The film's final box office gross was $7,369,373.
The film was released on DVD in the United States by Anchor Bay Entertainment in 2004. This version is currently out of print. Recently on February 4, 2014, the film was released on Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack from Shout Factory (as Scream Factory)
The film is exclusively available on ITunes.
The film has spawned two sequels, Witchboard 2: The Devil's Doorway, released in 1993, and Witchboard III: The Possession, which had no relationship at all, released in 1995.