SPINE (1986) Reviews and overview

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‘He is looking for Linda… and that could be anybody!’

Spine is a 1986 American shot-on-video slasher horror feature film written and directed by John Howard (The Serpent Warriors) and Justin Simmonds. The movie stars R. Eric Huxley, Janus Blythe (The Hills Have Eyes) and Lise Romanoff.


A madman stalks and kills nurses. In his fevered mind, he believes his victims to be a woman from his past named Linda. Police struggle to apprehend him before he can murder again…


“Add on the amateur camerawork (shaky, out of focus, hand-held stuff) and Spine delivers in ways not possibly imagined. We never get anything as gory as the box promises but we do get a lot of heart and an ending that really goes for the gusto.” Richard Mogg, Analog Nightmares

“The police and their detective work aren’t exactly fascinating since it largely consists of sitting around, talking, and typing search terms into a bare, green-text-on-black-screen computer display […] There’s something compelling about the unsteady, voyeuristic camera work, the grimy synthesized score, and the whole dangerously sick and seedy sensibility of Spine, however, that artistically lifts it somewhat above the snuff sludge aesthetic from which it springs.” Apolitical Home Viewing

…Spine seems to transcend general shoddiness and creates its own level of putridity. There is rampant overacting; one scene early on wherein a cop searches an apartment complex sees him doing the cliche “swing your gun around the corner before double-checking” bit, but in a hilariously over-exaggerated manner.” Camera Viscera

Spine isn’t inept, but it doesn’t live up to its potential in being anything more than a fairly amateurish poke at the slasher genre with a cast of unknowns or associates from the directors’ “tie-up” films, although the casting of horror actress Blyth (The Hills Have Eyes Part II) was a genuine coup, giving the little film some marquee value.” KQEK.com

“When the killer does strike on screen, the carnage is non-graphic and again, no real “as it happens” gore is on showcase. If only this movie about a guy tearing out spines would have shown…never mind. Where Spine compensates is with a truckload of horrible dialogue with some real gems in there. The killer is a source of numerous memorable lines, all delivered in lifeless, deadpan fashion. Coochie coo, right?” Marc Fusion

Cast and characters:

  • R. Eric Huxley … Lawrence Ashton
  • Janus Blythe … Carrie Lonegan – SpineThe Hills Have Eyes Part IIThe Hills Have Eyes; Eaten Alive; Drive In Massacre; Phantom of the Paradise; The Centerfold Girls
  • Lise Romanoff … Leah Petralla
  • John Howard … Leo Meadows (as Antoine Herzog)
  • Abby Sved … Louise Morton
  • Marie Dowling … Lori Anderson
  • James Simonds … Police Captain
  • Bill Eberwein … Chuck Roast
  • Carl Elliot … Sam Joffrey
  • Larry Nielson … Charlie Saunders
  • Brenda Brandon … Computer Technician
  • Donna Sayles … Bobbie Jones
  • Kathy Rose … First Victim
  • Dan Watson … Man in Office
  • Terry Simonds … At Police Headquarters

Filming locations:

Calabasas, Encino and Los Angeles, California

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