Mr. Smith’s Drive-In: Ghostkeeper (1981) | Culture & Leisure

It’s a beautiful winter night at the drive-in, and my dog ​​Callie and I have curated the perfect movie for a freezing February night: 1981’s cold, scary, dark, spooky “Ghostkeeper,” which is about as good as wintery horror gets.

Well, at least two-thirds are. “Ghostkeeper” was new to me until we got snowed in here at the drive-in and I started digging into winter horror movies that weren’t called “The Thing.” I came across “Ghostkeeper,” and when you give your movie a tagline like, “Who’s next to become the guardian of the beast that lives on human flesh?”, I’m absolutely going to watch it.

For two acts, I couldn’t understand how this movie didn’t have a huge following. “Ghostkeeper” is the old story of three friends who find themselves stranded at a ski resort on New Year’s Eve. There’s Marty, his girlfriend with a family history of mental illness, Jenny, and Chrissy, the third wheel who makes the mistake of saying, “How can mountains be dangerous? They are so beautiful.” They assume the station is abandoned – that is, until they come across an old lady living in the kitchen. And she may not be alone (which you probably gleaned from the title).

My old neighborhood had a video store with a section dedicated to unique and quirky movies, the store was called Singular Sensations. For the first hour of running this movie, I thought of it as one of those singular sensations. Just when I was really excited to give you a strong Neighbor recommendation, “Ghostkeeper” comes crashing down. And with apparently good reasons.

“Ghostkeeper” earns a lot of goodwill from the atmosphere alone. It wastes no time giving you goosebumps simply by having the characters wander the halls of a huge haunted house deep in nature, similar to the previous year’s “The Shining.” The score builds on that sense of menace, though you might recognize some of it in “Prom Night” – composer Paul Zaza was obviously a big proponent of recycling, as he uses bits from the “Prom Night” score. ” here. All the actors give very good performances, especially Georgie Collins as a hidden woman in the resort who seems a little too cool with strangers letting each other in. It’s almost enough to save the film from itself.

But a terribly difficult obstacle to overcome is the budget. In my research to uncover the significance of the incomprehensible borderline third act, I discovered that apparently halfway through filming, the production was running out of money. Instead of scrapping what they had, Jim Makichuk decided to scrap the part of the script that hadn’t been shot yet and make up the rest as he went. This would explain not only why basically nothing is resolved in the end, but also why I still don’t know if the titular ghost was actually a ghost, or a monster, or just some guy hiding in the basement of the station .

Callie mostly slept during this one, so I’ll give her three and a half stars. That might sound high, but consider treating “Ghostkeeper” like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, much like its director did, and create your own satisfying ending. I have my end in mind, but I bet I’d like yours, neighbor.

Comments are closed.