Traumafession :: Drew B. On High Spirits

Hello Kindertrauma,

I was wondering if you could help me piece together today’s Traumafession – because I can’t really find much in the way of screen caps or video clips online. I think you’ll find that youtube has the entire movie up in several parts but nothing in the way of disembodied scenes.

Today I write to you of the 1988 comedy “High Spirits” starring Steve Guttenberg, Liam Neeson, Beverly D’Angelo, Daryl Hannah, Jennifer Tilly and the great Peter O’Toole. I believe Peter O’Toole to be one of the funniest movie men to come out of the 80s. The film “My Favorite Year” is as hilarious and quotable as “Caddyshack”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” or “The Blues Brothers.”

The movie is a fairly familiar haunted house story. O’Toole’s Mr. Plunkett is the owner of an old castle in Ireland. He’s decided to convert it into a bed & breakfast under the guise of being haunted in hopes to attract gullible tourists. However, once Plunkett and his staff start faking the phenomena – that’s when the spirits of his dead relatives return from the grave to terrorize him for his wickedness!

There are several scenes in this film that make me wonder if the writiers didn’t intend this to be a horror film before it was twisted and turned around by the studio into becoming a screwball comedy. Some things in here are really upsetting!

For example, several characters are chased by a pack of wild, ghostly nuns running down a hallway toward them! The nuns have black faces and glowing, red eyes (like the Jawas in “Star Wars”).

In another scene – the staff is putting on a play set on the seas. Soon the audience is assaulted by forceful gusts of wind, flung spume and blown spray. The play’s props become increasingly lifelike – ocean water, living birds, and worst of all – the very real tentacles of a terrible sea monster reach out into the crowd CAPTURING A YOUNG BOY AND PULLING HIM FROM HIS PARENTS AND INTO THE STAGE!

This movie – which all in all is a fairly decent comedy – ran on HBO a lot in the 1990s. I was able to commiserate with other kids on my block who had been exposed to the same horrors. I can’t help but wonder if this film helped contribute to my irrational fear of cephalopods….From Hell.

Drew B.

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Drew Bludd
Drew Bludd
10 years ago

Thanks for posing my stuff, TraumaParents!

10 years ago

A related story and new trauma….this morning I got behind every commuter’s kiss of death…a school bus. My headlights were reflecting off the big honkin’ mirror the drivers use to see through the bus. It looked like lots of little glowing eyes looking out of the bus at me, just like that nun still.

I remember High Spirits, HBO showed it every other movie back in the day.