Ok, time to get back on the horse and fire up some languishing features here at THS. You can expect regular VHS posts on Fridays and also the continuation of the Horror Movie Guide log on Mondays going forward. Let's kick things off with a title that is a long time coming in Jon Irvin's go at gothic, 1981's Ghost Story.
Don (Craig Wasson) returns to his hometown for his twin brother's funeral and gets pulled into a mystery involving the elder statesmen of the village.
I gotta admit, this is totally not what I expected. I thought Ghost Story was going to be about moldy geriatrics sitting around a fire swapping stories - and to be fair, to a point, it is. The four old timers - who adorably call themselves The Chowder Society - do wax scary tales for a time, but then it goes off the chain in all kinds of fun ways. Before I knew it I'm seeing the face of a rotting corpse that I have a vague recollection of peeping on a Fangoria cover as well as some flying Wasson-peen. Okay, you have my attention.
There is a good collection of character actors here. Wasson no doubt carried this character's constant bewilderment with him into Body Double three years later and Douglas Fairbanks Jr and Melvyn Douglas match up well with John Houseman, who was already well versed at telling spooky stories from his stint in The Fog one year prior. I think the real heart of the picture of Fred Astaire as Ricky Hawthorne though. Alice Krige is great as the icy femme fatale and provides 100% more nudity than I was anticipating. This is not your mother's ghost story, folks.
In addition to the aforementioned, there are a few more gore gags that are pretty badass, especially that creep above that looks like something out of Creepshow. Oh, and also Moosehead sighting!
Man, they were really pushing their brand in the early eighties. Love to see it! Ghost Story feels like it is of two minds, as you have the fairly standard gothic haunt with a DePalma-like trashiness leaking through the cracks. I wager it's that mix that sets it apart from other haunting yarns of the time.