31 Days of Howl-oween: Day 16 – Ghost Story

16 Oct

As with many other films in this review of 31 Horror movies this season of Halloween, I never actually saw today’s film in its entirety.  I do remember as a young boy sitting in the living room of my aunt (who would let my brother and I watch movies that my mother would have killed her for) watching this film, but didn’t remember much beyond a scene near the end of the film involving a car, a deserted country road, and a ghost standing in the middle.

Through the years, I’d see the video sitting on the shelf of the local rental store, and would usually pass it over for the newest release.  I did intend on getting around to seeing it, but alas, that never happened.

Until now…

31 Days of Howl-oween

A Review of Films Filled with Frights

Day 16

Film #16

~ Ghost Story ~

Director:  John Irvin
Year:  1981
Cast: Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., John Houseman, Craig Wasson, Alice Krige
Language:  English
Country:  United States
Specs:  110 mins. / Color / OAR 1.85:1 / MPAA Rating: R

When Don’s (Wasson) brother (also Wasson) dies in a questionable fashion, he travels to his hometown to be with his father (Fairbanks).  Soon he uncovers a dark secret his father and his friends may hold, and realizes that it’s up to him to attempt to right what his fathers club of men did wrong.

What went wrong?  I wanted to like this film.  It features a stellar cast, all great Hollywood stars of their day (even a pre-Star Trek Borg Queen Alice Krige).  It has simply beautiful cinematography by Jack Cardiff along with marvelous period costumes and sets.  It even has a premise that is not entirely dull, but never truly clicked.  I sat through the entire film wondering just what was missing?

And that’s the thing.  I couldn’t put a finger on it.  The film is a slow and boring attempt at a revenge ghost story (a nude one at that.)  It never really rises above mediocrity.

The film isn’t horrible.  It isn’t even unwatchable.  Sadly, however, it’s not re-watchable either.  I’d read after the fact that the ghostly make-up was changed just prior to shooting, which truly is a shame.  The ghost effects as they stand are as average as the film itself, which surely didn’t help in the least.

The acting in the film, in case you were wondering, is top notch, which is why I was let down.  What a rare opportunity to see such accomplished and award winning talent give a horror film a shot.  Today, they mostly are filled with young newcomers who quickly fade back into oblivion.  Sadly, having a poorly executed abrupt ending only added to the dissatisfaction.

As I sat to write this review, I wondered…Maybe someone will attempt to remake this one?  After all, it’s one of the only horror films of the 80’s to not see a reboot/remake, right?  What a perfect opportunity to show us something we’ve never seen before, and take us places we’ve never been before.

Just don’t do it in 3D.

My Rating:  ** / D+

Available on Amazon: Ghost Story

or Amazon Video on Demand: Ghost Story VOD

To Be Continued…

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Posted by on October 16, 2010 in Movies


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