Horror Movie Review: The Soultangler (1987)

A slice of 80’s senselessness that is memorable for so many reasons, The Soultangler comes from writers John Bishow and Lance Laurie, and was directed by Pat Bishow.

Dr. Anton Lupesky (Pierre Devaux) is brilliant but he is also insane. He has developed a drug that allows him to inhabit corpses, effectively reanimating them. It will make him immortal, sort of, provided their eyes are intact. No eyes, no reanimation, for reasons that make absolutely no sense. Which is par for the course throughout this movie. Nothing makes sense but it is an outrageous and bloody delight regardless.

Dr. Lupesky’s experiments saw him expelled from the Whitewood Institute by Dr. Janet Simpson (Ginny Dunlevy). That didn’t stop his work and, alongside his assistant Jessica (Louise Millmann), who is madly in love with him, and his body-collecting henchmen Carl (Bob Cederberg), he has perfected the drug, sort of.

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Dr. Simpson wants to stop Dr. Lupesky’s dangerous work, a local reporter (Jamie Kinser) wants to find out the link between the doctor and her late father, and her boyfriend and roommate also end up involved. Will anyone be able to stop Dr. Lupesky or will he simply live on in the corpses of his victims?

There are two versions of The Soultangler, and depending on which one you watch, your opinion on it will vary. There is a 90-minute version that has a ton of padding and slows the movie down to a crawl, at times. However, this version does add much more ‘meat to the bones’ of the story, the characters, and the genius/madness of Dr. Lupesky. However, it’s the version that many will find themselves bored by. Bad actors given way to much time to badly act.

Then there is the 62-minute director’s cut, which cuts out most of the aforementioned padding and focuses on the blood, violence, and gore. A much more watchable cut, but be under no illusions, neither version is good by conventional standards.

What The Soultangler offers is splatter, an egregious amount of trippy, low-budget, and practical splatter. The final third of this movie is exceptionally enjoyable if you’re a fan of blood and guts. Especially as there’s a lot of imagination used when it comes to effects and designs. Cheap looking but incredibly impressive regardless.

It’s this stuff that makes The Soultangler so special, well, that and the overall fever-dream sense that embodies the entire experience. It’s not a good movie, but it is a hidden 80’s gem that gore-fans have to see.




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  • Carl Fisher

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The Soultangler (1987)
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