“Death Spa” was released in 1990 and immediately relegated to video store shelves. Over time the film developed a small but loyal fan base, mainly due to the cover art. The film has been recently undergoing a small renaissance with a newly released Blu-ray version in 2014.
While the film is certainly not heavy in plot, it is heavy in a 1980s look and feel with spandex throughout. The setting of a gym during this time period truly encapsulates a bygone era.
The film follows gym owner, Michael, as a series of bizarre deaths begin to occur at his high tech gym, Starbody Health Spa. The gym features cutting edge equipment with everything in the gym being handled by a computer.
This computer is solely controlled by Michael’s brother-in-law, David. Michael’s wife committed suicide earlier by dousing herself in gasoline and lighting herself on fire. David holds Michael responsible for her death.
Somehow the gym computers begin to act up and cause customers to be killed in a series of strange events. Michael blames David, but David always seems to have an alibi.
The plot for “Death Spa” is thin at best with not much room for any surprise ending. However, it does have some surprisingly fun kills that many horror fans will appreciate.
Characters die in strange happenings such as lat press putting too much weight on and causing a patron to begin getting ripped in half, hand in blender, killer fish to jugular and the odd head explosion plus many more.
While the violence is certainly present on screen it is nothing too outlandish or disturbing. The film, while trying to take itself seriously, seems to never quite pick up enough believability to cause any tension.
“Death Spa” is most certainly a forgotten film from the tail end of the slasher craze. The kills are fun and the setting is also enjoyable, this will not be a film ever described as classic by any means.
However, if you are prone to watch b-movies with friends, you may have found a new favorite. While being totally forgettable there is something endearing about this film that causes repeat viewing. After all there aren’t too many movies about killer gyms
Final Verdict: “Death Spa” is a laughable attempt at a slasher film with an outlandish plot and low budget. However, it is still extremely enjoyable to watch even if just for the sheer 1980s nostalgia on full display. This is a film that is best enjoyed with friends who appreciate the cult side of cinema. “Death Spa” is a long forgotten gem in ’80s horror.