Netflix Sunday Time Dumps: The Wraith

Netflix Sunday Time Dumps

Netflix can be a treasure trove of sometimes solid, sometimes humorously bad movies or TV shows — and this is especially true for science fiction content. With Netflix Sunday Time Dumps, I’m making it my duty to shine a light on whatever unique content I stumble across in my Netflix wanderings.

Last week we powered through Travelers; this week we go a bit deeper down the rabbit hole of schlock with 1986’s The Wraith.

The Wraith 1986

If you’ve done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to fear…

How I stumbled upon this gem is a bit of a mystery, fueled mostly by chance and perhaps forces from the afterlife. But hot damn, is this a dandy.

The Wraith stars the young, strapping up-and-comers Charlie Sheen and Sherilyn Fenn, with Nick Cassavetes, Randy Quaid, and Clint Howard for good measure. This is a boy-meets-girl romance for the ages.

The Wraith 1986

The basic premise is that a mysterious dude shows up in Brook, Arizona on a dirt bike and asks a girl for directions. She falls in love with him but has to shoo him away when her psychotic boyfriend shows up along with an affinity for car racing and non-threatening switch blades. Of course he poo poos on their love parade. Then a bunch of homicidal racing occurs, and romance wins the day. It’s all pretty fucking insane and laughable, but that’s wherein lies the charm.

It is never fully clear if this is a Mad Max-esque post-apocalypse world or just a small town in which everyone is bizarrely comfortable with the level of control that the bad-guy hot-rodder exudes over Laura Palmer. Because aside from Quiad’s loose campaign to uphold the rule of law, no one seems to bat an eye when he kicks the shit out of anyone that talks or even looks at her, the girl which both his steely eyes and minuscule blade swear he wouldn’t be able to live without.

Plus, there seems to be a conspicuous lack of parents in this town, but I digress.

The Wraith 1986

A badass, suped-up,mysterious, futuristic Interceptor shows up driven by a king-shit spaceman from Fuck You Mountain. It starts challenging motherfuckers to races only to trick them into colliding with it and blowing the shit out of themselves. The car always magically reconstitutes itself before driving off to claim another victim. See, the bad guys are known raceheads that force unsuspecting normies to put pink slips on the line or risk bodily harm. So this “Wraith,” if you will, is doling out just desserts.

Pretty much everything in The Wraith is questionable by today’s standards — but to be fair, it was probably questionable back then too. One scene has the two star-crossed lovers paddling along a crick on inflatable rafts while trying to feign romance, and it’s hilariously awkward and incredibly unsexy. But that’s what makes The Wraith such a gem: at the end of the day, someone definitely tried to hit some sort of mark with a unique vision.

The opening shot of The Wraith, with the titular character looking all mysterious and badass, floodlights behind him casting an aural glow of otherworldly supernatural badassedness, speaks volumes of what to expect for the next hour and a half. But it’s so stupidly radical and woefully misguided that it’s kind of awesome.

You can check out the trailer for The Wraith below:


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1 year ago

why did i miss this in 1986 ? looks cool

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