19th Nov2021

‘The Wraith’ Blu-ray Review (Vestron Video)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Charlie Sheen, Randy Quaid, CLint Howard, SHerilyn Fenn, Nick Cassavetes, David Sherrill, Jamie Bozian | Written and Directed by Mike Marvin

Eighties movies have a certain charm, and while they can be hit or miss, even when they are classed as “bad” they can actually be quite good. The Wraith is one of those movies that some may call bad, but actually has all the charm to make it a hidden treasure of the 80s.

When a mysterious car takes to the roads of a small town in Arizona it appears that they are targeting a local gang of violent road-racing motor heads. Is this a victim from their past returned to get revenge, or have they just bitten off more than they can chew?

Just looking at the cast of The Wraith should catch interest for a lot of people, not only fans of the 80s, but fans of cult movies as a whole. Charlie Sheen appears as a main character who seems oddly missing for a lot of the film, Sherilyn Fenn plays the love interest, Randy Quaid is the local sheriff and Clint Howard even makes an appearance as one of the gang members.

The car The Wraith uses is arguably one of the stars of the movie, a Dodge M4S, which for the time was said to be a technical wonder. The fact that the car was estimated to cost $1.1 million and could go almost 200mph shows it is special. Not surprisingly though the real car was only used for minimal scenes, when others created that were less expensive and had less powerful engines. The effect that is required from the car is achieved though and it has a feeling of a futuristic style death machine ready to take out it’s enemies.

One of the things that I liked about the movie was the fact that the gang who The Wraith takes on aren’t just a bunch of unlikeable people. Sure, Nick Cassavetes plays the part of the head of the gang well and manages to make him intimidating, but for the most part his group are memorable and a little dorky. This includes Clint Howard’s Rughead, and Skank (David Sherrill) and Gutterboy (Jamie Bozian). Skank and Gutterboy even appear on a commentary track for the film revealing many memories about it’s production.

When it comes to special features, there are two commentaries including the one already mentioned above. There are plenty of interviews about the movie and an isolated score track with an interview with co-composer J. Peter Robinson.

For fans of rock music in the 80s the soundtrack for this movie is fairly packed. It helps to keep the pace of the film fast, which goes with the theme of racing. The racing and crash scenes also have a feel of movies like Mad Max 2 and other motor head movies from the 80s, though I’d not put it on the Mad Max level. For a fun 80s sci-fi revenge thriller though, it definitely hits all the right spots.

If you are looking for a fun film from the past that can be classed as something of a hidden gem then The Wraith is a very good example of one. Full of fast car races, plenty of crashes, actual likeable characters and a good soundtrack it’s a fun movie that is worthy of watching, even if you’ve seen it in the past.

****½  4.5/5

The Wraith is available on Blu-ray now.
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Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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