Six parapsychologists investigate a reputed haunted mansion and are set upon by three flesh-eating succubus ladies under the control of the sinister warlock owner bent on finding a mysterious amulet to give himself more power.
Terry M. West
Clark Beasley Jr.
According to legend, a group of women escaped from Atlantis just before the destruction of the continent. They took refuge on a mysterious island, and founded a kingdom. Men who dared ... See full summary »
Mysterious unseen men in black (angels?) collect the souls of the recently dead. When four teenagers "die" in a car wreck, one of these beings ("The Man") is sent to retrieve their souls. However, the teens are disembodied and realize their predicament. They flee. The movie revolves around them being picked off one by one, The Man's infatuation with one of the teenagers (who was apparently his lover in a past life), and the efforts of the teens to reunite their souls with their hospitalized bodies. Written by
Since many people in emergency situations can't talk, 911 operators don't hang up if there is no answer on the other end. The operator stays on the line to trace the call, dispatch emergency vehicles, and await any possible changes. See more »
I directed this movie -- strange experience, strange range of reactions.
I'm Michael Rissi and I directed this picture. I was fresh out of USC film school and was brought on to direct SOULTAKER after the first director was fired when I was 23 years old. Well, making this movie was both an interesting experience and rather gut-wrenching, to be perfectly honest.
I counted something like 3 or 4 catastrophes per day while we were making the movie - from raging thunderstorms with electrical blackouts to a picture car that WOULD NOT START (that's the one that crashes in the movie) to a guy who climbed up into a huge tree while we were shooting at the "SummerFest" location who would not come down, but instead yelled obscenities for HOURS to disrupt us until a fire engine crew showed up and tried in vain for several more hours to get him down and take him away. Whole days during the production were lost for reasons like this. It was truly crazy.
As you can imagine, I have read reviews of SOULTAKER with a mixture of curious interest, dread, and some puzzlement. You certainly take your jabs in this business whether you like it or not and though I was hardly more than a kid when I directed this movie, it has taken on a life of its own.
Ironically, SOULTAKER actually won the BEST VIDEO of the YEAR award in 1991from the famed ACADEMY OF SCIENCE FICTION FANTASY AND HORROR headed by its founder Dr. Donald Reed. I have a Saturn Award sitting on my mantel to prove it. All the official Video Guides gave the movie 2 1/2 out of 4 stars (this was BEFORE the producers sold the rights to MST3K to make fun of it.) MST3K then edited the movie for their own ends, and ever since the movie's ratings have naturally plummeted.
To backtrack, the SCI FI CHANNEL originally presented SOULTAKER as one of its Planetary Premieres in its original form, UNCUT except for commercial breaks, for many years.
After purchasing the rights to mess with it, the folks at MST3K cut the heck out of it (almost a third of the movie) so that it honestly had no chance of making any sense whatsoever and "Re-Presented" it strictly for laughs.
Since SOULTAKER had done very well in its initial release, with very positive reviews in "Daily Variety" and several other major trade publications, you might imagine how perplexed I was initially when I found out they completely hacked up this movie to shreds and then lambasted it on MST3K.
Poor Vivian Schilling was the subject of most of the show's most vicious and acerbic barbs and having worked with her I can tell you that running her down with a series of cheap shots really was unfair. Cheap shots will get cheap laughs. But I doubt anyone reading this would want someone to do it to them.
Frankly, I think the cinematography and staging in the picture hold up fairly well, and practically everyone (apparently including the MST3K folks) knew I had only so much to work with, so they left me alone for the most part. But it's still kind of a bummer to make a low budget movie and see your best stuff hacked up or removed. It's like being a green comedian, being handed some ordinary jokes, going out on stage and getting hit in the face with tomatoes while someone offstage turns the mic down during the punch lines.
Basically, my job as director on this picture, at least as I saw it, most especially throughout all of obstacles which seemed to plague it from the outset, was to FINISH it as best as I was humanly able, while simultaneously infusing it with as much mood, atmosphere and yes, bits of silly humor as I possibly could along the way.
If you've seen SOULTAKER on MST3K, you may have gotten some good laughs, but you really haven't seen the movie. Of course, ripping on movies and movie people has become part of pop culture today.
Some of you might legitimately DISLIKE the picture, the original version I mean. Fair enough. But the fact is, audiences like members of the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror certainly went for it and people like that were the target audience. I autographed quite a few "Soultaker" movie posters at showings like that one, along with the actors. Now I'm told they are collector's items. Strange biz.
The MST3K treatment could make comedies out of many genre movies. A movie like THE SHINING is a good example. But Warner Bros. isn't likely to allow it.
SOULTAKER was made on such a small budget, the sound man (who was one of the only veteran techs on the crew) kept telling me it would be a miracle if we managed to finish the movie. If we had used millions of dollars instead of hundreds and made something like "Battlefield Earth" or "Howard the Duck"...
On the bright side, "Soultaker" made a significant profit, and in the end, for all filmmakers, that's what your job is -- to try to make sure the investors come out on top. At least we did that -- long before it was sliced and diced and served up for breakfast.
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