Your Tour Guide Through Cinema Trash (and Treasures)

Dec 10, 2018

Spine (1986)

A very rare VHS - much sought after among collectors.  It's going for a couple hundred dollars on ebay at the moment; so, let's see what all the hubbub is about...

Spine is an SOV (Shot On Video) horror flick released by a company that put out porn and bondage titles... which is surprising because (spoiler alert) there's basically no nudity in this film.  In fact, Spine is a pretty boring piece of garbage... but VHS collecting isn't about quality film-making, it's about nostalgia, owning a time capsule, having a piece of the past.  That's what this site is about as well.  So, let's press "play" and have a look...

Louise (Abby Sved) is a nurse just returned home from a hard days work.

Outside her door lurks a serial killer.

 The killer knocks, Louise answers and is subsequently tied up and murdered.  Again, this is where you'd expect to find some nudity and gore, but it has neither.

Down at the police station,  Leo (John Howard) and other detectives discuss the case.  This is just beyond boring.

One of the detectives flirts with the dispatcher, Bobby (Donna Sayles), providing us with a look at an '86 cubicle.

Carrie, our main character, is a nurse at the same hospital Louise worked out.  She's played by Janus Blythe... which is super surprising to me.  She's not an A-List celeb by any means, but she's way above a shot-on-video slasher made for $20K.

Janus Blythe played a main character, Ruby, in The Hills Have Eyes.  She was on a lot of television including Barnaby Jones, Baretta, and The McLean Stevenson Show.  She also appeared in the movies Eaten Alive, The Incredible Melting Man, CB Hustlers and The Centerfold Girls.

Carrie asks Lori (Marie Dowling), a newly hired nurse, to take some papers to the file room.

Actress Marie Dowling is pretty hot, and she is the only one in this film to even provide a modicum of nudity.  This is Dowling's only IMDb credit.

 In the file room, Lori is tied up and gagged by the killer.

Blink and you'll miss the only trace of nudity in this film.  

Carrie is interviewed by Leo and Lawrence at her place.

Carrie receives a call from an old friend, Leah, who just got a nurse's position at the hospital (presumably they're already filling Lori's slot?).

Carrie is happy for her, but considering that her colleagues Louise and Lori have just been brutally murdered, she's not so sure it's a good thing.

Lise Romanoff plays Leah.  This is her only acting credit, but she has been immensely successful in Hollywood as a Distributing Executive, Producer and Sales Agent.  She's the Managing Director / CEO of Vision Films, Inc.

Leah comes to live with Carrie.

 Leah takes a shower.  The camera is very careful not to show any naughty parts.  WTF?

Carrie goes out for a jog.  When she returns she finds that the garage door is ajar.

The killer is waiting for her inside the garage.  He ties her up and taunts her with a knife.

 The killer carries Carrie into the house where he also has Leah tied up in the kitchen.

The killer is Lawrence Ashton (R. Eric Huxley)  - which is confusing as nearly every character's name in this film begins with "L": Leo, Lawrence, Lori, Louise, Leah... what the hell?  Lawrence reveals that he has mommy issues; her name was "Linda".

 Leo is hot on the case doing some high-tech cyber detective research.

By typing in just a few fields (Linda, nurse, strangle, backbone, knife) eventually leads him directly to the killer.  I love how they so over-estimated the power of computers back in the eighties.

Also note the "backbone" search term.  Evidently, Lawrence removes the ladies' backbones after he kills them (hence the film title).  As stated, this film has basically no gore, so we never see even a hint of this.

 Lawrence takes Leah back to the bedroom.

Ladies and gentlemen, the CEO of Vision Films, Inc.  I think it's safe to say that Lise Romanoff would love to see this particular VHS vanish from the face of the earth.

 Leah manages to squirm her way to the telephone.

Unfortunately, she's caught before she can call for help.

 Lawrence proceeds to rape Carrie.

Jeez.  The last half of this movie seems like a bondage film... a rated PG bondage film.  I just don't understand.

Lawrence kills Carrie; Leah screams in horror.... then is woken up by Carrie.  It was all a dream.  Are you fucking kidding me?

But then the real Lawrence breaks into the garage and is killed by Detective Leo.  Did Leah have a premonition?  I don't get it.  The film ends with text explaining what subsequently occurred as if we cared.  THE END

Literally nothing is good about this movie: the sound sucks, the soundtrack is abysmal, the story is garbage, there's no gore, no nudity, nothing original, poorly shot, and not even enjoyable in a campy, Ed Wood Jr. kind of way.

That all being said, there's just something nice about watching a rare, shot on video horror flick.  You really get put in that time period, and can experience a very unique niche in movie history.  I was bored throughout, constantly tempted to press "fast forward" - yet, I'm glad to have watched it.  Go figure.

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