Welcome back to 80s Bits, the weekly column in which we explore the best and worst of the Decade of Shame. With guest writers, hidden gems and more, it’s truly, truly, truly outrageous.
The 1989 teenybopper fantasy romance Teen Witch proves that anything is possible by just being you. For most clumsy teenagers discovering this is never a straightforward journey, particularly when on your sweet sixteenth birthday you discover that you are a spellbound witch. So what would you do if you discovered that you had magical abilities? Fame…Fortune…Love?
Louise Miller (Robyn Lively, The Karate Kid III) is an awkward geeky gem who just can’t seem to break into the in crowd. Her thoughts are consumed by winning the heart of football captain Brad and dreams of being the most popular girl in school. Louise puts her newly found powers to good use by changing her bratty annoying brother into a dog, turning the cheerleaders into truth telling catty bitches and casting a voodoo doll striptease on her stuffy arrogant teacher in front of the class for revenge. Having mastered her spells Louise is now ready to transform her life to rock star status all simply by getting a piece of clothing, a record, a potion to sprinkle all over herself and spin around 13 time at 45 rpm counter clockwise. Then BAM she becomes the teen idol of the school.
Some of the film’s most memorable moments are the musical numbers where the film goes Glee 80s style. Pre-MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, we have three white rappers that prove white men can’t rap. These three douche-bags pop up rapping randomly throughout and hit a high point in the flick with the love rap-off “Top that!”. With slicked hair, vests, braces and Hawaiian jackets the boys put NKOTB to shame. Another hilarious breakout is captured during the cheerleader’s locker-room scene where they declare through song and dance that they “like boys”. To top off the musical vein, Louise models her mystical transformation on sassy singer superstar, Shana (Cindy Valentine), a possible lovechild of Taylor Dayne and Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles).
Some familiar appearances include Dick Sargent, best known as husband Darren in Bewitched. Here he plays conservative Frank Miller, father to Louise. Marcia Wallace who’s voice is recognisable as Edna Krabappel in The Simpsons, plays Ms. Malloy, a free spirited drama teacher who sees herself in the young teen witch and embraces her talents. Zelda Rubinstein (Poltergeist, Poltergeist II) plays witch, psychic and guide to the new apprentice spell caster. The lead male role of Brad Powell played by Dan Gauthier captures the jock role perfectly, being a better looking home brand Tom Cruise.
We’d normally put a trailer here, but for your collective enjoyment, here is the “Top That!” rap sequence: