Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1980s Wraith, The (1986)

Wraith, The (1986)

This dumb PG-13 teen/science-fiction/action movie featured Nick Cassavetes as Packard Walsh, a sadistic psycho in a cartoonish punk/geek gang of Arizona car thieves, with names like Skank, Gutterboy and Craterhead.

After Walsh stabs nice-guy teenager Jamie Hankins (Christopher Bradley) to death, the mysterious Jake Kesey (Charlie Sheen) arrives – an extremely cool dude in a black spacesuit who drives a black Dodge Turbo Interceptor that can disappear.

Jake befriends Jamie’s girlfriend Keri Johnson (Sherilyn Fenn), takes Jamie’s sweet brother Billy (Matthew Barry) under his wing and manages what Sheriff Loomis (Randy Quaid) can not – the methodical elimination of Packard’s criminal gang.

Quaid was probably cast because he’s 6′ 5″ and is one of the only actors who could seem threatening to Cassavetes (who is 6′ 6″).

Elsewhere, “Rughead” (Clint Howard) has an Eraserhead haircut and explains the movie’s title (it means a vengeful ghost) and “Oggie” (Griffin O’Neal) gets to say lines like “I’ll rip your head off and piss down your throat!”.

You know right away that this is strictly a teen-appeal project because the characters call each other “dude” or “bro” and keep saying “no problem” and “far out.” Every once in a while you also get to hear part of a rock song by Billy Idol, Ozzy Osbourne, Robert Palmer and others.

If we could hear the songs in their entirety and as they were intended, instead of in the background, they might actually make the endless scenes of car races, car crashes, and explosions in the desert seem more exciting.

An assistant cameraman called Bruce Ingram died during the making of the film when an overloaded camera car overturned during the filming of a car chase scene near Tuscon.

Jake Kesey/The Wraith
Charlie Sheen
Packard Walsh
Nick Cassavetes
Keri Johnson
Sherilyn Fenn
Sheriff Loomis
Randy Quaid
Billy Hankins
Matthew Barry
David Sherrill
Jamie Bozian
Clint Howard
Griffin O’Neal
Chris Nash
Peder Melhuse
Jeffrey Sudzin
Michael Hungerford
George in Daytona
Steven Eckholdt
Girl in Daytona
Elizabeth Cox
Richard Alexander
Jamie Hankins
Christopher Bradley

Mike Marvin