What I’ve always loved about this movie are the two posters Empire Pictures created for it. Here they are presented clean without the title and credits. Very cool, don’t you think? I’ve always liked the skull one more, but it was the skeleton art I first saw in conjunction with the movie in Fangoria. Ghost Town was covered in issue 75 but it was an issue I never bought. Not because I didn’t want to, but simply because this was long before I got a subscription and I was at the mercy of my local bookstore, sometimes they wouldn’t get in an issue. I didn’t know of this issues existence until many years later. I learned of Ghost Town through the review done in issue 85, and whatever subsequent issues would mention it in passing.
Based on that skeleton poster I always had this preconceived notion of what I would be seeing in this movie, in that I assumed at some point a skeleton with a cowboy hat, boots, chaps and holster would show up. This was another late night recording I watched the following morning, but about thirty-minutes in when I started seeing actors playing the ghosts I tuned out. I have a general rule that if a movie about ghosts needs an actor(s) to portray the roaming dead then I’m not interested. For me it’s the supernatural phenomena that’s scares me the most, an actor playing a ghost just isn’t scary unless their made up to look scary. Good examples of what I mean in the phenomena department is The Haunting (1963), Legend Of Hell House (1973), The Uninvited (1944), and The Entity (1982). So, based on this, I’ve never see Ghost Town all the way through.
Thank God for the passage of time (first and last time you’ll ever hear me praise linear time) because it’s now 2015 and I’ve just come from seeing it. Yeah, not a bad flick and since I can envision myself putting this on again it will slide effortlessly into my DVD collection.
Back in the old west, Devlin (Jimmie F. Skaggs) was more than an ornery son of a bitch he was a downright killer. He and his gang were the scourge of this little town, and now that they’re all dead he’s still playing that role and even the dead townsfolk still don’t care for him one bit but have no say in the matter. He rules that town with an iron fist.
Enter Kate Barrett (Catherine Hickland) who’s racing down a desert highway because she just skipped out on her wedding and clearly doesn’t give a shit about the dude she left at the alter. Who knows, maybe, he was a douche and her skipping out was justified. At any rate her jubilation ain’t gonna last long. A dust storm kicks up and something ghostly, something that rides in on a house, snatches her up. Kate just so happens to look like a girl Devlin got screwed over by when he was alive and kicking.
The Sheriff played by Michael Alldredge radios one of his deputies, Langley (Franc Luz), to notify him she’s on the loose again, but when they finally catch up to her car it’s clear something weird has happened. Alldredge has got the best line as he replies to another deputy who asks if this could be an accident, “An accident is when a June bug flies up your ass and this isn’t even June.”
Alldredge charges Langley with tracking her down and he does, all he has to do is follow the horse tracks, but before he gets waylaid in Devlin’s ghost town he stumbles upon the centuries old shallow grave of that town’s sheriff and weird shit happens. The corpse takes hold of Langley stating he’s the one who’ll end ol’ Devlin’s reign. And you know what? That dead sheriff was right on the money.
Once Langley hits the ghost town he’s besieged by good and bad spirits who’re all still going about their business like they never died, but most of them know they’re dead and can’t get out because of Devlin. All the “ghosts” are played by actors. Laura Sheffer from Catacombs even appears in a small role as Etta, the daughter(?) of a black smith whom Devlin eventually kills. She’s killed too. Pitchforked, but not before Langley was able to shag her. Good job, Langley. Yeah, these spirits can be shagged, and killed, but not by modern weapons, you have to use an old western gun, or any kind of implement from the ghost town to make them really dead.
Skaggs’ Devilin sports some moderate “undead” FX. Like Catacombs this is not a gorefest. Sure there are some horrendous exit wounds and some slit throats but other than that the gore is not the eye candy here. I’m sure I probably wouldn’t have appreciated this when I first tried to watch it, but the shooting locations, the dilapidated ghost town itself is the biggest piece of eye candy, though I think they overdid it on the spider webs to represent the immense passage of time. At one point, I thought, is this a horror western or a giant spider flick?
Kane Hodder pops up in a scene; he was the movie’s stunt coordinator and some of the music cues were taken from Richard Band’s From Beyond score, which I easily recognized. Apparently there are cues from a few other Empire flicks too mixed in with the score.
This is a noteworthy release, people, for Ghost Town has never seen the light of day on DVD or blu-ray ever before, and actually it still hasn’t been released on DVD, Scream Factory (Shout! Factory horror/scifi sub-label) has only released it on blu-ray and that happened today!
The transfer was really good. I liked it a lot. As I said the biggest eye candy is the dilapidated ghost town itself and some of the long shots really pop.
There are no extras on this release not even a trailer. I wish they could have done some kind of special edition, this is the type of movie I would have liked a commentary on, but just to have it looking so good on blu kind of balances that out.
Note: the skull poster is the reverse cover art.