Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ghost Town (A SMF Review)

I'm heading out to see The Dark Knight Rises with my Dad this evening, but still warned to post something real quick on the blog, this is a review I wrote for the movie "Ghost Town" about a year ago before we even had a blog!

Back in the 80s my Family and I would spend the majority of each Summer in Wildwood, New Jersey. The days were spent on the Beach and the Nights on the BoardWalk. The BoardWalk was a fun place filled with Amusement Rides and Carney Games that were mostly fixed, but once a week we would visit my favorite place in all of WildWood . . . 
The Grocery Store!

The reason I liked to go grocery shopping had nothing to even to do with the food there, it was because there was a aisle in the super market filled with nothing but VHS Tapes for Rent! While my Parents were there getting Milk and Bread, I was transfixed on studying all the glorious Horror Movie Box covers. Some of the ones that really stood out to me were Nightmare on Elm 3: The Dream Warriors, The Toxic Avenger, and a movie called Ghost Town who's box featured a Badass Looking Skeleton wearing Cowboy Hat. Elm Street 3 and Toxie I seen many many many times over the years, but never got to Ghost Town and pretty much forgot about it until I saw it for sale from The VHS Preservation Society over the weekend at Monster Mania! For $5 how could I how could I resist? After sitting down and watching it for the first time last night, I figured I would write up a quick review for the SMF Facebook Page, here goes . . .

Ghost Town (1988; Director Richard Governor)
As the opening credits start rolling one thing immediately catches my eye and that is the fact this movie was produced by Charles Band. While that would make most Horror Fans groan, I happen to think Band made some of the better low budget horror fare that was made in the 80s and it kinda gives me an idea of what to expect from this film.

In the first five minutes of the film we are introduced to a hot blonde driving an expensive looking car down a isolated dirt road. Soon every Cliche in the book comes her way . . . The Road Detour because of fallen power wires, Getting a Flat Tire on a bumpy road. . . A Huge Gust of Wind that tosses her from the Car and carries Her away into thin air . . . Wait What? The Wind is very similar to Sam Raimi's Evil Dead and it works well here. The next character to appear is a small town Sheriff's Deputy named Langley . He's young, he listens to bad 80s generic Hair Metal, and looks a lot like Rick Grimes from the Walking Dead (more so in the comics then television series)

While shooting his gun in a makeshift target practicing area he setup he gets the call from the Sheriff to check on the blonde's car still left on the middle of the road. He checks out the damaged car, but then he too is not only attacked by the same "Sand Storm", but also a Phantom Cowboy wearing all black and riding a black horse.
Langley's car and radio go in flames after getting fired at by the man in black, he's then forced to go towards an unknown town for help and maybe find clues to what happen to the owner of the car. 

The pacing for this movie is extremely slow, I swear they shot the scene when he walks to the town in real time, cause it takes close to 15 minutes for him to get there and the whole scene is spliced with stock footage of spiders, birds, snakes, crows, and scorpions. Save for Bruce Glover who plays a Wise Blind Man named the "Dealer", most of the acting in this ranges from bland to horrible, and it was not shocking to see on IMDB that this was most of the actors/actress' only movie credit. There are some things that work in this movie besides Glover, the make up they use on the Phantom Cowboy villain looks pretty frightful, his acting was a little to one note for my taste, but he was a lot better then the two leads. Like any Wester you would expect to see some gunslinging and duels to the the death, and while they have a couple good scenes featuring that, they don't happen until the very end of the film, so in the mean time you're left with a lot of boring fluff. One person I do also want give some credit to is the set designer, the town by no means looked as good as say the HBO Show DeadWood, but I'm sure he had to work with little or next to no budget but he made everything look authentic enough. 

So yeah, If you want to see a good fun B/Horror Movie Western I'd say go with "The Quick And The Dead" or even the Sci-Fi Western that was also made by Charles Band's People named "Oblivion" . . . Ghost Town was by no means the worse film I seen, but it really wasn't much fun to watch either. Maybe I might have enjoyed it more if I saw it when I was younger or maybe I have built it up to much in my mind based off my love of Cover Art over the years but for now it's was just Mixed MEH from me sorry to say . . .

- Tom


  1. Dude I haven't seen this flick forever. It's one of the movies I got off of Pay-Per-View back in the day. I don't remember a damn thing about it.

    Enjoy DKR, my lady and I are about to go right now!

  2. I wanted to love this one, but it's complete shit!

    Can't wait for DKR! I avoided all spoilers some how up to this point too!

  3. I've been wanting to see this one for a while. The lack of DVD release has always made this difficult...

  4. I think I've had a minor childhood flashback. You like TDKR in the end?

  5. Very interesting, great review. Yeah I remember this cover growing up. I might pick it up next con is VHSP is there.

  6. I actually remember liking this when I was a kid, I have it on vhs but haven't watched it in years.

  7. For anyone looking for it VHSPS Still has it for sale on their website:

    As for D.K.R. I loved it, it was a long movie but never felt bored. Bane's voice was rather silly though!

  8. I actually liked it. Great juxtaposition to how menacing he was.