Jack’s Bad Movies – The Wraith (1986)

IMDB’s description:

A mysterious figure suddenly appears to challenge a gang of motorhead thugs.

When cars can travel through space.

The alien from the Abyss has escaped the ocean and is terrorizing small town Arizona. Or at least that is what I think as two balls of light fly around the desert. Oh, they collided and made a car, so I guess they are transformers. Transformers and an astronaut (Wraith).

Now we cut to a man and woman driving when they suddenly are stopped by thugs and rapists (I assume grabby hands is a rapist). The ring leader wants to race for the guy’s car, and the guy doesn’t seem to have a choice. Totally unfair that the leader forcing this race gets to wear a helmet, he obviously knows racing can be dangerous. The bad guy randomly runs the poor schmuck off the road, and suddenly the race is over as he declares “the car is ours, nice and legal.” I guess they have never heard of coercion. The guy and girl are then left in the desert to walk back to wherever. At least they didn’t actually rape her.

And it’s Charlie Sheen. He rolls up on a dirt bike and asks a girl who just left her house for directions. “I’m Keri Johnson, I take rides from strangers on motorcycles.” Is what she must say in her mind, because she immediately decides to get a ride from him. Oh wait, the legally confused ring leader shows up and Keri jumps to get in his car. Keri doesn’t seem to like her jerk boyfriend though. We interrupt this movie for women putting on tanning oil… Jake (Charlie Sheen) is brand new in town, but immediately goes to the popular swimming spot to sun bathe. For a guy who rides a dirt bike with his shirt open, he doesn’t have much of a tan. A kid named Billy joins him and tells him his brother was murdered and the body never found. To this Charlie Sheen says “I’m sorry man I had no idea.” Less emotion has never been put into a consoling remark. This brother used to date Keri. I wonder if Packard murdered his brother (not really though, because it is obvious).

In a wreck my chest has its own protection.

Well I guess that solves the mystery of if Packard killed that dude’s brother, since they just showed us a flashback of him brutally killing him with the help of his thugs. Why didn’t Keri go to the police with her eye witness testimony of the murder?

Packard talks to his goons and tells them to keep a lookout for Charile Sheen. Meanwhile Sheen is suddenly down in the water with Keri. Where the crap did he get a raft? He must be pretty stupid to have just heard the guys brother was killed for moving in on his girl and then to immediately try to move in on her.

This movie does not try to hide what it is, with the camera man zooming in on a woman’s chest as she servers burgers at what must be the only food place in town. Billy is the man behind the counter and Keri is a server. Billy offers Keri a ride home, and she accepts, because Keri is trying super hard to get people killed because she has zero loyalty to Packard, the man who kills her love interests. Wait is Keri the girl from the first couple that lost that dude his car? I don’t remember, but I’m going to assume she is either an unwitting accomplice to the misery of this town, or she is setting all these guys up to fail / die. Why don’t any of these people go to the police? Just as Billy is giving Keri a ride home, Packard and gang show up and Packard basically says he needs to kill any man who even looks at Keri. Except he is distracted when he sees a sleek black car roll by. They follow the car into the desert.

The car is called the Interceptor, and it showed up to race. Or else it just decided to park in the middle of the road. One of the thugs offers to race him, somehow convinced he can beat this super car. We’ll call him Oggie, because that is the name his character is given. And more of this movie is thankfully wasted on mindless racing on old Arizona highways. Oggie’s death couldn’t have come sooner (actually the movie could have opened with it) as he is tricked into driving off a ledge and exploding. Based on the movie description from Netflix, I think there is a 100% chance that this alien guy is the dude Packard and crew killed.

How they believe their dumpy car can beat that sleek Interceptor is a mystery.

Oggie died a terrible flaming death, but when the cops view the body, it is unmarred except the eyes are gone. I have a hard time taking Sheriff “Cousin Eddie” (Randy Quaid) seriously, who is on the scene to investigate the death. This is the answer to my question early about why no one goes to the police. No one would trust Randy Quaid in a position of authority.

Back at the chop shop, Packard and his gang are…doing something. Chopping? Now alien dude shows up and it is immediately revealed he is Billy’s brother. He has a standard pump shotgun with some stuff on it to make it look futuristic. And he proceeds to shoot up all the cars. I don’t know why he doesn’t just kill Packard and everyone else. He ruins their new engine and other stuff then disappears.

Next morning, two of the thugs are at an airfield. These two idiots work repairing airplanes by day and run a chop shop by night? Sheriff Cousin Eddie comes to give them the shakedown. It comes across as pretty sad. Then the Sheriff goes for a burger and litters his pickles on the ground. So I’m going to say he is a crooked cop. Packard and his gang show up and Packard gets a note from the alien to go to Lookout Mountain Road, which he yells to everyone in the vicinity (including Sheriff Cousin Eddie).

Another race. If the Wraith had just killed all these guys at the chop shop, he could have saved us an hour of slowly killing each one in a race. At the end of the race the cops have cornered the Interceptor, but it just blasts through them with no damage to itself and then disappears.

And Billy is once again moving in on Keri, probably because he wants to be killed. Though he smartly takes off without her saying “I’d like to live to see my next birthday anyways.” Remember that Charlie Sheen is in this movie? I had forgotten, because he had been completely absent since the river. But he randomly shows up to give Keri a ride home, and Skank (yes that is a character’s name) and the other idiot find him and chase him. They load a shotgun and somehow shoot their own car. Someone who is obviously not Charlie Sheen and the girl view the destruction of the car and then speed off (AKA bad stunt doubles).

Everyone wants a chance to move in on Keri and get murdered by Packard.

I’ll say this for Charlie Sheen, he talked to this girl twice and now he’s already making out with her. Which is obviously certain death for him. They talk for what feels like my entire life, and he kisses her goodbye. Would you believe Packard is there seeing this whole thing? Packard’s eyes convey sadness and betrayal, perhaps the only acting to appear in this movie. Packard begins to follow him, and then Charlie Sheen disappears in a poof of light. Confirming what I already suspected, that he and the Wraith are one and the same.

Packard picks up the two idiots and then is run off the road in the cemetery by the Interceptor. Incredibly, it takes him forever to see the grave stone with his name on it, even though it is directly in front of him and the Wraith is standing beside it. Anyways, Packard takes off, is making out with a topless girl who is not Keri and then Sheriff Cousin Eddie shows up to take him downtown. Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen and Keri are at the river again. Ah, the scars on his back are from when Packard killed him. And of course they have sex. If this were a horror movie it would mean one or both of them should die, but we aren’t that lucky.

Back at the police station, the fuzz is trying to put pressure on Packard’s gang, which is still incredibly four people strong. Charlie takes Keri home. And the suddenly Packard and the gang are back at the chop shop and Packard is in a good mood and says he has to go do something. The gang is falling apart. Rughead (Clint Howard) decides to leave and then Skank and Gutterboy (the two idiots) are killed in an explosion by the Interceptor. Why couldn’t he have killed everyone this quickly? Rughead comes clean with the cops and admits that Jamie was killed by Packard and his gang.

Sheriff Cousin Eddie questions Billy about the death of his brother, getting information he should have had at the time of Jamie’s death (Jamie was the brother), if he were a real cop. Keri is trying to figure out how to break up with Packard, but she doesn’t. Packard all but admits to killing Billy’s brother when he says “Get out of my face before you wind up dead like your brother” to Billy. Then he promptly beats Billy to the ground. All this in front of a group of like twenty witnesses. I’m sure in five or six years Sheriff Cousin Eddie will finally get their statements.

Anyways, Packard kidnaps Keri, he is about to cut her up because she says she won’t go with him when the Interceptor shows up to race. The cops are also in pursuit. Racing racing racing, and then as usual the Interceptor leads the other guy (in this case Packard) to his death. This whole movie, every time someone dies, this weird piece of metal disappears. Not sure of the significance of that.

Now the Interceptor shows up and reveals the Wraith is Charlie Sheen, and admits to Keri at being Jamie. He embraces her and then immediately leaves to go see Billy. Why couldn’t he go see Billy first? We’ll never know. He gives Billy the Interceptor, the same car wanted by the police. That will be a concern to Billy in a few years when they finally start asking questions. Billy goes out to see the car and somehow makes the connection that Jake (Charlie Sheen) is Jamie. Charlie Sheen rolls up to Keri’s on his dirt bike, and Keri decides to run away with him. Sheriff Cousin Eddie just lets them leave, I guess. Also I guess Jamie is still alive then and will live happily ever after with Keri? His revenge is done, shouldn’t he go back to being dead? I suppose the moral of the story is, if you love someone and you get killed by a gang of idiots, you may get to come back looking like a different person, kill said gang members, and get the girl you were with and live the rest of your life somewhere else? Maybe.


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