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Directed by Kevin Tenney
Produced by Gerald Geoffray
Written by Kevin Tenney
Music by Dennis Michael Tenney
Cinematography Roy H. Wagner
Edited by Daniel Duncan
Stephen J. Waller
Distributed by Paragon Arts International
Cinema Group
Release dates
  • December 31, 1986 (1986-12-31)
Running time
98 min.
Country United States[1]
Language English
Budget $2,000,000 (est.)
Box office $7,369,373[2]

Witchboard is a 1986 American supernatural horror film written and directed by Kevin S. Tenney, and starring Tawny Kitaen and Stephen Nichols. The film focuses on a female college student who is harassed and later possessed by an evil spirit after communicating with it through a friend's Ouija board.

The film had a limited release in December 1986 and received a wide release in March 1987.[3] Although critical reception is mostly mixed, the film has gathered a cult following years since its released. Two unrelated sequels, Witchboard 2: The Devil's Doorway and Witchboard III: The Possession, were respectfully released in 1993 and 1995.


One night at a party, Brandon Sinclair brings out his ouija board and attempts to contact David, the spirit of a dead ten-year-old boy with whom he has communicated numerous times. The spirit responds, but Brandon's nemesis Jim insults David, making the spirit angry and provoking him to slash the tires of Brandon's car.

The next day, Jim's live-in girlfriend Linda sees Brandon's ouija board (which Brandon left behind from the previous night) and tries to contact David. It is revealed that the spirit is actually a ghost of a deceased murderer named Carlos Malfeitor acting under the guise of David. This malicious spirit initially starts being nice and helpful to her, informing Linda where her lost diamond engagement ring is. Meanwhile, at the construction site where Jim is working, his Lloyd is killed from fallen sheetrock by the murderous spirit. After Jim is questioned by Lieutenant Dewhurst at At Lloyd's funeral, she again contacts Malfeitor (still believing to be David) about the accident, and the spirit lies that he did not cause it.

Soon, Linda begins to fall under progressive entrapment, in which the spirit changes and starts to terrorize the user, rendering the person weak and easy to possess. Brandon brings over a psychic medium named Sarah "Zarabeth" Crawford to contact David, and if necessary to exorcise him from the building. The spirit puts up little resistance and leaves, but after leaving, Zarabeth is suspicious and wants to research the occurrence. Not long after getting home, she is attacked and killed by Malfeitor; her throat is slashed before being thrown out of a window and impaled onto a spike. The next morning, Brandon is shocked to hear about Zarabeth's death on the newscast, and immediately suspects the spirit David murdered her. After Brandon leaves for more information, Linda is unconscious by Malfeitor and she is sent to a hospital after Jim contacts an ambulance. During this time, Brandon and Jim conduct research on David, and later initially accuse the spirit of terrorizing Linda. They use the Ouija board and discover that Malfeitor is frightening Linda instead. Malfeitor then attacks; he renders Jim unconscious with fallen barrels and kills Brandon with a carpenter's hatchet. Upon the discovery of Brandon's body in the water, Jim is grieved over his friend's loss.

Released from the hospital, Linda uses the board but gets no response. After taking a shower, she is then attacked and possessed by Malfeitor. The next morning, Jim returns and discovers the apartment in disarray, before she is attacked by a possessed Linda wearing men's formal clothing and wielding a fire axe. During the fight, Lt. Dewhurst enters the apartment and falsely accuses Jim of the attack before he knocked unconscious from Linda with a fire poker. With Jim armed with Dewhurst's revolver, the possessed Linda claims that he is the "portal" and taunts him ton committing suicide. Suddenly, Jim tricks her and shoots the Ouija board many times right before he is pushed out of a window by the entity and lands on a car.

After the events, a normalized Linda and a survived Jim resume their lives back to normal and are seen marrying each other at a church. As a girl and the apartment landlady clean up the apartment, they both find the wrecked Ouija board and questions if it stills works before throwing into a box with the planchette. The camera then zooms to the word "yes" on the board before the planchette points to it by itself and the film fades to black.


  • Todd Allen as James "Jim" Morar
  • Tawny Kitaen as Linda Brewster
  • Stephen Nichols as Brandon Sinclair
  • Kathleen Wilhoite as Sarah "Zarabeth" Crawford
  • Burke Byrnes as Lt. Dewhurst
  • James W. Quinn as Lloyd
  • Rose Marie as Mrs. Moses
  • Judy Tatum as Dr. Gelineau
  • Gloria Hayes as Wanda
  • J.P. Luebsen as Carlos Malfeitor
  • Susan Nickerson as Chris
  • Ryan Carroll as Roger
  • Kenny Rhodes as Mike
  • Clare Bristol as Anchor woman


Witchboard was filmed during 1985 in Big Bear Valley, San Bernardino National Forest, California with an estimated budget of $2,000,000.[4] The film is dedicated to Christopher J. Tenney, a family member of the director Kevin Tenney who died during filming in 1985.


Witchboard had a 15 screen limited release on December 31, 1986 with the film bringing in $95,435 that weekend. The film had a full U.S. release on March 13, 1987 bringing in $2,582,408 that weekend.[5] The film's final box office gross was $7,369,373.[6]

The film was released on DVD in the United States by Anchor Bay Entertainment in 2004.[7] This version is currently out of print. Recently on February 4, 2014, the film was released on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack from Shout Factory (as Scream Factory)

The film is exclusively available on ITunes.


Currently, Rotten Tomatoes reports that 50% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on 12 reviews.[8]


The film has spawned two sequels, Witchboard 2: The Devil's Doorway, released in 1993, and Witchboard III: The Possession, which had no relationship at all, released in 1995.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Witchboard". American Film Institute. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Witchboard (1986)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  3. ^ CARYN JAMES (March 15, 1987). "LOVE TRIANGLE IN 'WITCHBOARD'". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ Witchboard at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ Witchboard at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ "Witchboard". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  7. ^ "Witchboard". dvdempire.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  8. ^ "Witchboard (1986)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 20, 2016. 

External links[edit]