First released in 1981, Ghost Story is based on the 1979 bestselling novel of the same name by Peter Straub (Dark Dreamers) and directed by John Irvin (Hamburger Hill, Raw Deal).
Set in a small New England town, it tells the story of four lifelong friends who call themselves the “Chowder Society” and who gather every now and again to tell each other ghost stories (to join you must regale the others with a suitably good story of your own).
The four friends, now successful elderly gentlemen, are Ricky Hawthorne (Fred Astaire – Funny Face, Easter Parade), Dr. John Jaffrey (Melvyn Douglas – Being There, Hud), Edward Charles Wanderley (Douglas Fairbanks Jr. – Destination Milan) and Sears James (John Houseman – The Paper Chase).
Their cosy little existence is about to be rocked however, with the sudden death of one of Edward’s twin sons, David (Craig Wasson – Malcolm X) in a fall from a building. His other son, Don (Wasson) arrives to a less than warm welcome from Edward, who soon finds himself stricken with grief, wandering out into the snow and also falling to his death.
As the remaining three friends begin to suffer from nightmares, Don requests membership of the group and they exchange stories of a mysterious woman (Alice Krige – Silent Hill, Star Trek: First Contact), who seems to tie them all together against the odds. They begin to realise that the dark secrets of their past may have come back to haunt them.
This was a highly acclaimed film upon it’s original release, not least because it was the final film to feature Astaire, Fairbanks and Douglas and a finer epitaph would be hard to find.
The film itself still looks great and is just as scary even now. The special effects are pretty gruesome and send shivers down your spine, as does the story, which is pretty unexpected (unless of course you’ve read the book, although there were some changes made).
The only place it falls down is with the scenes which feature back projection and those which are very dark, as these have not benefitted from the conversion to Blu-ray. However, this is a great film and with it’s plentiful special features will grace any horror fan’s collection.
Ghost Story is available to order online now and will be released 07th Dec 2015.