Witchtrap is one of those kindertrauma movies that I saw one scene from, and it haunted me for years. I tried for about two decades to hunt it down after watching part of it in the early ‘90s when I was a kid, and finally after searching the internet for “neck shower death” over and over I finally found it again. I came very close to submitting a Name That Trauma article about it in the early 2010s but thanks to fans of ‘80s Horror like me, I was finally able to stumble across a video clip of the big traumatizing scene that had me thinking about a killer shower for almost my entire youth.
The bit starts with Linnea Quigley heading into the bathroom after a couple of paranormal researchers find a pentagram etched into the wall of a dark basement. Very Legend od Hellhouse, very Poltergeist. Linnea’s character Ginger is the tech head. She’s been connecting monitors to cameras that can pick up ghost activity all day, and now she’s taking a break to get cleaned up after work.
Ominous music builds as she gets in the shower and then we see another member of the team getting dressed in a bedroom. A grimacing face flashes on the screen and our character Whitney falls on the bed in a psychic fit as the soundtrack kicks into high gear. Downstairs the monitors pick up a ghostly figure and then we cut back to Whitney writhing in pain as she’s being affected by the presence while the sharp music sue re-intensifies.
Back in the shower the water stops and Linnea’s Ginger aggravated says, “I don’t fucking believe this!” as she checks the problem. She stares and shakes her head and then it happens. The shower faucet shoots straight at her neck and we hear a crunch. Closeup to Linnea’s shocked face and then it pulls back fast covered in blood as she recoils and slumps to the shower floor with her throat torn out.
Seeing this got me kicked out of the living room. My aunt had no idea this was going to happen and eight-year-old me was just sitting there watching a movie completely clueless. I thought about this death scene for years and years before finding out that it was from the movie Witchtrap that had almost entirely fallen into obscurity before being re-released recently.
It’s interesting looking back because I know now that the version I watched on HBO in the early ‘90s was cut for gore, but the scene stayed vivid in my memory. Watching the uncut version now I see that the impact of the shower head was bloodier and you see the wound up close more than the edited version. The first time I watched it was enough, and it sent me down a path of searching in video stores and online for ears before I eventually saw it again.
I’m actually glad I went on that journey of rediscovery because since I first saw it, I’ve watched a ton of other supernatural horror films that make me appreciate it even more. Witchtrap is a lot of fun and if you like ‘80s cop thrillers and ghost stories, check it out.