torsdag 9 december 2010

Ghostkeeper (1981)

I am truly a sucker for all those cozy 80:s horrormovies that mainly were released independently. There is an enormous treasuretrove of movies that havent been released on dvd but manage to find their way onto the internet in rips from old vhstapes. Sometimes you discover real gems like Strangeness (Now on an excellent dvd) and the bigfoot goreclassic Night of the demon. Of course, sometimes it's the other way around. I will never get back those 90 minutes that I spent watching Iced for instance. How about Ghostkeeper? Well, something in between I suppose.

It starts really well with an onscreen text about the Windigo, a cannibalistic creature of old indian legend. Having read Ambrose Bierce superior short story about this creature, this truly got my hopes up. Even better when I realized that the movie is set in a snowy landscape. All movies set in a snowy landscape are good. Well, Except Iced. Anyway, we follow a group of three driving on snowmobiles as they discover an old house that seems abandoned. When one of the snowmobiles break down they decide to spend the night there, only to find that the place is inhabited by an old woman and her unseen son. During the night one of the girls dissapear, though we see her getting her throat cut (well, we dont actually see it. The print was so dark you really have to guess by the sounds) and then fed to a grunting creature in an igloo in the basement. Eh? So, when morning comes they cant find her and to make matters even worse, the functioning snowmobile has been sabotaged...

On there is an entry where the director states that the movie ran out of funds halfway, making the latter half of the movie fairly improvised, making up scenes as they went along. Believe me when I tell you that it shows. The first half of the movie works fine, setting up the plot and the atmosphere fairly well but then it just collapses into a collection of weird scenes. The thing is the igloo is almost forgotten entirely, characters start to behave in odd ways and even though the movie isnt more than about 80 minutes, the last half feels like two hours. It all leads up to a decent ending but it is so drawn out and predictable that you yawn through all of it. There is no gore or any nudity to liven things up and the characters are so weirdly written, behaving like assholes that you just want them to die. With a cast of exactly seven, it does take its time. Too bad about all of this because the movie had some potential. The setting is great, the direction isnt half bad and there is a simple but nicely atmospheric score to set the mood. The flaws unfortunately outweigh the positives so I wouldnt really recommend this unless you really have to see EVERY horrormovie made in the eighties. Go watch Boogens or Strangeness instead.

There is an excellent interview here with the director about how the financing fell through and why the movie isnt as good as it could've been

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