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Film / Death Spa

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Death Spa (known in Europe as Witch Bitch) is a 1989 American horror film directed by Michael Fischa and starring William Bumiller, Brenda Bakke, Merritt Butrick, Ken Foree, Karyn Parsons, and Vanessa Bell Calloway.

The new fitness club in town has everything a health nut could ever want: a variety of workout machines, classes taught by friendly (and frisky) instructors, and a state-of-the-art computer control system for maximum client comfort. Unfortunately it is also possessed by the evil spirit of the owner's dead wife, and before long every dumbbell, leg press, and rowing machine becomes a deadly weapon for her to enact bloody vengeance on the club's beautiful members.


  • Amoral Attorney: Michael's attorney Tom is secretly conspiring with the spa manager Priscilla to drive Starbody out of business so its competitors can buy it up at a bargain price.
  • Big Eater: Lt. Fletcher is eating or drinking in every scene he is in.
  • Bound and Gagged: Catherine captures Laura and leaves her bound and gagged on a tanning bed to cook.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: David has taken to dressing as his dead sister Catherine, although not entirely voluntarily.
  • Cutting the Knot: Trying to get back into the computer room after the club catches fire, Michael tells Sgt. Stone that Catherine has used the computer to lock everything down. Stone replies "Fuck all this computer shit!", draws her gun, and proceeds to Shoot Out the Lock.
  • Demonic Possession: Catherine's spirit is able to possess her twin brother David's body and transform it into a physical duplicate of her own.
  • Discreet Dining Disposal: Priscilla hands Lt. Fletcher a cup of carob coffee. He takes one sip, then waits till Priscilla proceeds him through the door and pours it into a rubbish bin.
  • Erotic Eating: In a scene that seems to have wandered in from another movie, Michael feeds his new (and temporarily blind) girlfriend asparagus spears.
  • Fingore: Catherine causes Dr. Moray gun to explode when he is holding it, destroying his hand. Later, she causes a blender to go berserk and destroy Rhonda's hand.
  • Ghostly Goals: Catherine's spirit is attempt to drive her former husband Michael to suicide so her joins her in death.
  • Haunted Technology: Catherine's ghost possesses the computer that controls every function of the Starbody Health Spa.
  • Homicide Machines: Catherine's ghost causes multiple pieces of gym equipment to go haywire: Laura is nearly killed by a Sauna of Death; the showers go berserk; a client is killed by a resistance trainer; Rhonda loses a hand to a blender; etc.
  • Mugged for Disguise: David/Catherine kills Jeffery and steals his pirate costume to infiltrate the Mardi Gras party and kidnap Laura.
  • Raising the Steaks: Catherine locks Lt. Fletcher in the club's cold room and then reanimates the eels being stored in there for sushi. One of them rips his throat out.
  • Sauna of Death: The first victim is Laura, who is taking a sauna when the door is locked, the steam is cranked up, and chlorine gas is pumped into the sauna along with the steam. Later Catherine attempts to roast her alive on a tanning bed.
  • Self-Immolation: Michael's wife committed suicide by dousing herself in gasoline and setting herself alight: an act that repeats itself in Michael's nightmares.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Trying to get back into the computer room after the club catches fire, Michael tells Sgt. Stone that Catherine has used the computer to lock everything down. Stone replies "Fuck all this computer shit!", draws her gun, and shoots the lock out.
  • Shower Scene: Multiple women are showering in the female change rooms, sensuously soaping and sponging themselves, when the water pressure and temperature goes wild, and tiles start flying off the walls, cutting several of them.
  • Signs of Disrepair: The film opens with this trope. The neon sign on Michael's health club reads 'STARBODY HEALTH SPA'. Lightning strikes and several of the letters burn out, leaving the sign reading 'D EA TH SPA'.
  • Skeleton Key Card: Arriving at David's house, the two cops obligingly turn their backs while Michael jimmies the lock with a credit card
  • Super Window Jump: Michael jumps through the locked glass doors of the tanning parlor. Shattered glass goes flying everywhere but he is unharmed.
  • Temporary Blindness: Laura is temporarily blinded when the chlorine pumped into the Sauna of Death burns her eyes, and spends most of the film with her eyes bandaged. This leads to her being unaware of things like David stalking through the house, or Marci's body being stuffed into her locker. She regains her sight just in time for the climax.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: Arrogant and patronizing computer genius David reluctantly hands his computer logs to the police and tells Sgt. Stone "I'll need those back, miss". Stone just looks at him and corrects him "Sergeant".
  • Trapped In a Tanning Bed: In the climax of the film, Laura is tied to a tanning bed bathed in pink light. Catherine lets Michael know that she is working on her tan:
    One click of the Button and she’s fried chicken.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Vengeful ghost Catherine causes Amoral Attorney Tom's head to explode while he is in the sauna.