Monstervision's Joe Bob Looks At

The Wraith (1986)

(From Joe Bob's Ultimate B Movie Guide)

Science-fiction-car-crash-revenge-ghost-comedy with a strong cable following, starring a black Turbo Interceptor with a Chrysler 2.2 liter 4-cylinder, tube frame, Coswroth 16-valve head and twin turbos. This vehicle can flat ACT. Nick Cassavetes plays a goonhead gang leader in a small Arizona town, and his idea of true love is to kill anybody that looks at his girlfriend. He also carves up his hands with a switchblade to prove what a "genetic misfire" he is. Charlie Sheen is a ghost who comes back to Earth in a spacesuit so he can challenge Nick's gang to drag races and blow their cars to smithereens and then laser guys like Griffin O'Neal into the ozone. But Randy Quaid is slinking around, trying to act like a sheriff, and he knows that none of this would have happened if it weren't for the bimbo Sherilyn Fenn, who went to the Valerie Bertinelli School of the Performing Arts to learn how to apply her stunt mascara.
Both guys are going for Sherilyn's groceries, which is why one of em has to DIE.
Six dead bodies.
Twelve dead cars, including a Corvette, two Trans-Ams, a Cuda, and a Daytona.
Eight motor vehicle chases, with nine crashes, three explosions, one cliff roll, one street roll, two fireball mushrooms, and one five-car crash with a car-carrying truck.
Auto Body Shop Fu.
Gratuitous Randy Quaid paper-doll construction.
With Clint Howard ("You lose the race, you lose your car--understand?!")
and David Sherrill as Skank the razorhead, who chugs transmission fluid and does a great Sean Penn impression.  I give it 3 stars
2000 Joe Bob Briggs. All Rights Reserved. Not an AOL Time-Warner Company in this lifetime.

For this and other movie reviews by the artist formerly known as the host of MonsterVision, go to
Joe Bob Briggs.com


"The Wraith" is scheduled for MonsterVision on 1-17-98, followed by Galaxis:
Weekly World MonsterVision ... Week of January 12, 1998
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THE HOT-RODDIN' GHOST AVENGER
Who is that mysterious guy in the back spacesuit driving that Dodge Turbo Interceptor? Why it's Charlie Sheen and he's playing crash and burn games with a sadistic gang of car thieves lead by Nick Cassavetes. Expect lots of auto carnage in this back-from-the-dead revenge thriller filmed in the Arizona desert and featuring the metal sounds of Billy Idol, Ozzy Osbourne, and others.

The mainstream critics weren't too fond of this strange hybrid of hot rod melodrama and supernatural thriller but here's a few quotes just for laughs: Michael Wilmington of The Los Angeles Times said "The Wraith is a real stinker of a movie, lacking even a spark plug of originality. In it, previously good actors deliver ridiculous performances: Like Charlie Sheen, who has to stand around looking mythic, and Randy Quaid, who seems to have phoned in his performance from the Broderick Crawford grunt-and-glower school for surly TV cops." Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote: "The greatest suspense in "The Wraith"....is generated by the problem of how the writer-director, Mike Marvin, will work a word like "wraith" into the dialogue. It wouldn't be common parlance under the best of circumstances, let alone in a teen-age action film filled with car races. But one character finally does say "wraith," and his buddy looks puzzled. "A wraith, man, a ghost," says the first speaker. Then he gives an example of how to use it in a phrase: "The wraith killed Oggie." His friend looks grateful for the lesson."

Despite what the critics had to say, The Wraith has plenty to recommend it, like hair-raising stunts (an eight man camera crew was badly injured when their truck crashed during a chase sequence on Mount Lemmon near Tucson), lively dialogue that includes memorable expressions like "maggot pie" and "crater heads" and a memorable opening sequence by special effects wizard Peter Kuran.

And now for those drive-in totals, courtesy of MonsterVision host, Joe Bob Briggs:
"Six dead bodies.
Twelve dead cars, including a Corvette, two Trans-Ams, a Cuda, and a Daytona.
Eight motor vehicle chases, with nine crashes, three explosions, one cliff roll, one street roll, two fireball mushrooms, and one five-car crash with a car-carrying truck.
Auto Body Shop Fu.
Three stars. Check it out."
The Wraith (1986)
Saturday, January 17 at 11:00 p.m.
Rating: TV-14-V.
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WHO'S THAT IN THE POWERBRA ARMOR?
As a refugee from the Planet Centaria, Galaxis (Brigitte Nielsen) arrives on Earth and makes an immediate impression with her powerbra armor plated outfit and blonde buzz cut. She's on a quest for a powerful crystal that can save her planet from extinction and pity the fools that get in her way. Look for director Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead) in a cameo role in this direct to video gem.

And here's Joe Bob Briggs with the drive-in totals:
"Fifty-four dead bodies. Two exploding spaceships. Exploding van, with fireball. Exploding helicopter. Exploding factory. Three battle scenes. Gut-ripping. One motor vehicle chase. Character actor burned to a crisp. Fireball-flinging. Head-scalding. Face-ripping. Four gunbattles. Blue-flame electrocution. Eyeballs on fire. Gratuitous Pai Gow Poker. Kung Fu. Bimbo Fu. Laser Fu. And, of course, Brigitte Fu. Two and a half stars."
Galaxis (1995)
Sunday, January 18 at 1:15 a.m.
Rating: TV-PG-V


"When the world comes to an end, I should like to be in Cincinnati, as it is always 20 years behind the times"
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemmons)

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