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Friday, July 13, 2018

Ghostkeeper (1981)





Going to end up the Slasher marathon with this oddity that I had never seen before grabbing a copy for the marathon. It is another Canadian production that slipped by me in the days of VHS. Was that because I just missed it or because it was terrible? Only one way to know for sure.

Jenny, Marty, and Chrissy are out in the middle of nowhere snowmobiling. After a brief stop at a local store where they are told to be careful of the mountain, they head off again. Being irresponsible characters in a horror flick they drive down a road that is clearly marked no trespassing. There they find and get stuck in a spooky old hotel. At first, they think they are alone, but soon find an old woman who is the caretaker. She mentions her son is also around and then the group settle in for the night. You just know bad stuff is going to happen. The old woman and her son are keeping a secret. A big secret that is locked in the basement. One that has a taste for human flesh!

This is an odd movie that has some good things going for it and some not so good things. I’m a sucker for the low budget slasher movies that were made in Canada with the help of government funding so Ghostkeeper interested me. In many ways it has that familiar vibe that you only seem to get from Canadian horror flicks from the eighties, but it is also missing something. Let me start off with the positives.

The movie is very spooky. The setting of the big hotel in the middle of nowhere that is rundown is used to good effect. There is something creepy about a place that should be full of people but isn’t. The sound echoes and the shadows are used to hide what might be harmless things or might not be. The filmmakers linger on these and when the movie is at its best is when our characters are wandering around in the dark. Some of the dialogue is good. This is mostly at the beginning of the movie when they are establishing the characters. While working on this review I read that the filmmakers ran out of money and much of the back half was adlibbed by the cast. Sadly, this is pretty obvious and gives Ghostkeeper an uneven feel.

I did love the spooky atmosphere. 
The adlibbing also I think contributed to the things I didn’t like about the movie. After enjoying the characters being established and the location setup I expected the story to take off, but it never does. The plot just meanders around doing nothing until you get a couple deaths and a twist ending. There is an extended portion that drags on without advancing the story at all. I was also disappointed that they set Ghostkeeper up to be about a wendigo. This is a cannibalistic spirit that has been cursed and runs around eating human flesh. Only we get little to no gore. Worse than that is that the old lady’s son is the one running around killing people. That is why I consider this a Slasher and not a creature feature. The monster in the basement is locked in and never leaves. The wendigo never does anything. Basically, the creature is neutered by the plot and that sucks.

In the end I don’t think that I can recommend Ghostkeeper. It isn’t horrible but feels unfinished and probably would put some less dedicated viewers to sleep. The movie really is quite slow at times. I’m a completest at heart so I’m glad that I checked it out. Like I stated above I do love these odd Canadian horror flicks so for that reason alone I stuck with it. Never need to see it again.



© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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