GHOST STORY (1981) Reviews and overview

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Ghost story

‘The time has come to tell the tale.’
Ghost Story is a 1981 American supernatural horror film directed by John Irvin based on the 1979 novel of the same name by Peter Straub.

The movie stars Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., John Houseman and, in a dual role, Craig Wasson (Schizoid).


On November 24, 2015, Ghost Story was released in the US on Blu-ray by Scream Factory.



When his brother David dies on the eve of his wedding, Don travels back to his hometown in New England for the funeral services. He meets his grieving father Edward Charles Wanderley, who has a weekly meeting with his old friends Ricky Hawthorne, Dr John Jaffrey and Sears James to tell tales of horror, and together they form The Chowder Society.


When Edward and John die in mysterious circumstances, Don sees the picture of Eva Galli from the 20s and he joins Rick and Sears to tell a ghost story about his romance with Alma Mobley.

Ghost Story 2


” … Ghost Story, perhaps aware that if characters talk too much they disperse the tension, adopts a very economical story-telling approach. Dialogue comes in short, straightforward sentences. Background is provided without being allowed to distract from the main event. The characters are established with quick, subtle strokes.” Chicago Sun-Times


“This film makes me angry. Not just frustrated. No, sir, I’m talking Katy-bar-the-door angry. At a time when cinematic horror was on the verge of a decade-long slide into slasher city, Ghost Story had the opportunity to salvage intelligent, psychological horror. But then it was released and… good lord, the horror.” DVD Verdict

“Don’t get me wrong – Ghost Story is well made and looks lovely, but it plays out more like a horror film for people who don’t actually like horror films – the kind of thing you’re pretty much safe showing to your granny or your maiden aunt on a Sunday evening (just distract her during the willy dance of death bit…” House of Mortal Cinema


Ghost Story DVD

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Cast and characters:
Fred Astaire … Ricky Hawthorne
Melvyn Douglas … John Jaffrey
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. … Edward Wanderley
John Houseman … Sears James
Craig Wasson … Don / David
Patricia Neal … Stella
Alice Krige … Alma / Eva
Jacqueline Brookes … Milly
Miguel Fernandes … Gregory Bate
Lance Holcomb … Fenny Bate
Mark Chamberlin … Young John Jaffrey
Tim Choate … Young Ricky Hawthorne
Kurt Johnson … Young Edward Wanderley
Ken Olin … Young Sears James
Brad Sullivan … Sheriff Hardesty
Michael O’Neill … Churchill
Guy Boyd … Omar Norris
Robert Burr … Principal
Helena Carroll … Mrs. Meredith
Robin Curtis … Rea Dedham
Breon Gorman … Nettie Dedham

Filming locations:
Woodstock, Vermont, Saratoga Springs, New York and Stetson University in Deland, Florida.

Technical details:
1 hour 50 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.33: 1 (original ratio, open matte)

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