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SYFY WIRE Chosen One of The Day

Chosen One of the Day: The Death Spa from Death Spa

By Rebecca Pahle
death spa

First there was "Death Ship." Then there was Death Bed. (You know. "The Bed That Eats People".) And finally, the culmination of this extremely official trilogy: 1989's Death Spa. Directed by Michael Fischa, this horror film combines two things we here at Fangrrls love: '80s gym wear and so-bad-they're-good posters.

death spa poster

Despite what this poster would have you believe, Death Spa does not actually feature a skull woman in an extremely non-supportive gym leotard getting in her reps on the workout bike while a bodybuilder burns to death behind her—possibly due to the friction caused by the rubbing together of his multitude of abs.

But don't fret: there is death and a spa in this Death Spa. The spa in question is owned by Mike (William Bumiller), whose late wife Catherine (Shari Shattuck) comes back to haunt the joint. But Catherine's haunting doesn't just consist of flickering lights and mysterious noises. Oh, no. In the spirit of the vaunted, spectacular Gremlins 2: The New Batch, the spa in Death Spa is actually a smart spa, run by an automated computer system that Catherine's able to control to her own murderous ends.

At one point, Catherine kills some poor gym rat schmuck by crushing him to death in an automated weight machine. Even then, Michael refuses to switch the gym to "manual," because choosing their own weight settings is what squares do. Have you seen the excessively high leg openings on his customer's bodysuits? These are '80s preps, and don't you forget it. In true "everyone character is doing coke between scenes" fashion, Death Spa culminates in a wild costume party... at a gym, where there's no shortage of equipment that might conceivably dangerous to the, oh, say, incredibly drunk.

At  the Death Spa, the real death is the health code violations.