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Ghost Story [Import]
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Upon its release in 1981, John Irvin's version of Peter Straub's bestselling horror novel was deemed one of the worst adaptations that the genre had ever produced. Now it's available on DVD, and for the first time in widescreen presentation, and not much has changed. It's still a nearly unwatchable dud. Fred Astaire, John Houseman, Melvyn Douglas, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. play old friends, members of the self-created Chowder Society, who get together and tell ghost tales. The scariest story of all, however, is the one they never speak to each other. Fifty years ago, the four men accidentally killed a young woman, and now she's back (with much less meat on her bones) and seeking vengeance. Sound chilling? Well, in Straub's hands it was, and the novel remains the author's finest achievement. Irvin, however, distills Staub's rich characterizations, gradual tension, and creepy atmosphere, and replaces them with aging golden oldies (only Houseman appears to be having any fun) hamming it up and hokey special-effect shots of a rotting corpse. The film moves about as quickly as its ancient cast could during a relay race. The whole thing has arthritis. --Dave McCoy
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Based on Peter Straub's novel (which I have never read), "Ghost Story" stars several famous, accomplished actors, Fred Astaire (devoid of his dancing shoes), John Houseman, Douglas Fairbranks Jr and a new comer, the beautiful Alice Krige. Overall, the performances are good by the ensemble cast but the real star, in my opinion, is Krige as Eva/Alma, the ruthless ghost who has risen from her frozen surroundings to get her revenge. Aside from being possibly the most attractive killer cadaver ever screened, her performance really stands out. She is seductive, cold and calculating and her voice, along with that accent, makes her rather unpleasant character kind of irresistible. She was indeed perfectly cast and it looks like she had a great time playing the elusive ghost tormenting the cowardly men of The Chowder Society. She also has some of the best dialogue in the film and delivers each line with a mixture of seduction and malice - "Dance with me you little toad", "I think I'll take a bite out of you", "I thought you'd be dying to see me", "I will take you places you have never been, I will show you things you have never seen and I will see the life run out of you".
The cinematography is also excellent here and the overall look and feel of the film is effective and at times, chilling. We get some beautiful, eerie shots of the sleepy, quaint village covered in ice and blankets of snow adding much needed tension and fear, a frozen lake, a dark crumbling house with leaking, crumbling walls and colourful period costumes.Read more ›
The four elderly, distinguished gentlemen who make up the The Chowder Society have been trading ghost tales and scary stories for decades. For fifty years, however, not a one of them has ever even thought about mentioning the most disturbing story of all, one that they all secretly share. Eva was her name, a saucy little newcomer who had all four of their college-age hearts pitter-pattering as they stumbled over one another pitching woo in her general direction. It's weird enough for four best friends to all be wooing the same girl at the same time, but the director manages to make it even stranger and more confusing. Two of the guys constantly giggle like schoolgirls, none of them seem to have a clue about the essential nature of man-woman communications, and they all combine to make one of the film's most climactic scenes little more than pedestrian in terms of their emotional reactions.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I always liked this movie on DVD, but now on blu ray I love it! The details are amazing and not washed out. Great acting by John Houseman and Fred Astaire, along with Alice Krige. Read morePublished 22 days ago by MJL Evans
This film was a great adaptation of book, which I highly recommend too.Published 7 months ago by Lorraine
This may be an old movie.....but it's still as scary as it was back in the '80's!! SO glad I got it!! ALL star cast and SO well done!! "To the Chowder-Society!!"Published 9 months ago by Chrissie
I remember going to the show and seeing this movie. I liked it. I thought it was a good movie.Published on Aug. 24 2013 by DeGraaf
First, let me say that Straub's novel is one of the finest ghost stories ever written. It's terrifying, too, as good ghost stories should be. Read morePublished on July 2 2004 by Cherry Red's
When I first saw GHOST STORY on its initial release, I found it to be an entertaining, if not faithful, adaptation of Peter Straub's frightening novel. Read morePublished on June 6 2004 by Michael Butts
Universal plans to re-release Ghost Story on September 7, 2004
just in time for Halloween. Most likely this re-release won't have any extras, although we can always hope. Read more
This is the way you film a very poor adaptation of a well writen and very scary novel.
Here's the problem: Only a very small piece of the storyline from the book made it to... Read more