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Ghostkeeper (1981)

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  • Ghostkeeper (1981)

    Title Ghostkeeper
    Year 1981
    Rated R
    Released N/A
    Runtime 89 min
    Director Jim Makichuk
    Writer Jim Makichuk, Doug MacLeod
    Actors Riva Spier, Murray Ord, Sheri McFadden, Georgie Collins
    Plot A trio of friends on a snowmobiling trip in the Canadian rockies become lost after venturing up a trail during a snowstorm. They stumble upon a seemingly abandoned hotel lodge and decide to spend the night, unaware of the grave danger that they have put themselves in.
    Language English
    Country Canada
    Awards N/A
    Production N/A
    Website N/A
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    People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

  • #2
    That brief synopsis above explains the bulk of the movie. To take it a step further, the trio encounter a middle-aged woman, her son, and a deranged cannibal man-beast. Yet the grave danger also comes from within as the friends lose their minds. I watched the BD from Code Red, but the photos are from the DVD release a few years back.

    I've seen this movie described as The Shining meets Let's Scare Jessica to Death. That's somewhat accurate, but I feel it pulls more from 1963's The Haunting than either of those. Even the title, Ghostkeeper, is reminiscent of the double meaning. The Haunting refers to either possibly a ghost story or about the insane, someone that has lost their grip on reality. Ghostkeeper follows the same play on words. Much like Jessica, it also has a slow pace meant to unsettle the audience as the situation for the trio becomes stranger by the minute. The first half of the story relies heavily on atmosphere--the blinding snowstorm, the isolated lodge, and the darkened hallways twisting the interior of the hollow shell of what was once a place of merriment. Again, you could draw comparisons between the lodge and the mental stability of its inhabitants.

    But if a slow burn isn't enough, the film kicks into high gear as the middle-aged woman and her son start picking off the visitors to feed their hungry windigo beast. Honestly, I never realized it was supposed to be a creature the first time I saw this until the credits. Look at the above photo. It's a guy with some silly putty on his face although the DVD is much darker than the BD and hides this more. Maybe it's just some poor soul the crazed mother / son duo kidnapped years ago and fed human body parts to. That also brings up the question as to why, but that would entail understanding the insane. Perhaps people lose their minds as they're tasked with the job of feeding a supernatural entity. The movie does dabble in psychology, but it's limited as a tool similar to what's used in Friday the 13th Part 2 except there's zero foreshadowing. It just comes out of nowhere with no buildup.

    You'd be hard pressed to find a more unlikable lot as victims between the two women and the man. The leading lady, Jenny (Riva Spier from Pick-Up Summer and Rabid) is quiet, but the other two are snobby dip shits. Is that two words? The guy is condescending right out of the gate and has a constant smirk on his face as if he's laughing at the world around him. The second girl is almost just as bad, but at least she has a motive: to steal the man away from Jenny. There's a triangle of drama that leads you to expect Jenny to snap at any moment in the heat of passion or jealousy. After all, the boyfriend reasons that her mother was mentally ill so she'll probably snap also. That's something you tell a girl that knows you're screwing around behind her back while in the middle of nowhere in a creepy house with old women leaping out from doorways. Riva Spier is the standout as you can't tell if her slight smile and calm composure is masking a mental breakdown or something far more menacing.

    The boyfriend is such a bizarre character. He witnesses Jenny kill an assailant and then condemns her for it. Suddenly, the boyfriend loses his mind and rambles on for what feels like ten minutes while smearing engine oil over his face before walking off into the woods to likely freeze. It's as if a scene or two is missing because it is the most sudden shift in a character's demeanor I've seen in a long time.

    If you are intrigued by the word "cannibal" and "windigo", don't expect to see much of either. The windigo does about as much in that still shot as in the rest of his screen time. There are a couple of slasher-type kills, but nothing to get worked up about. The main draw is the location and a story about people rejecting reality and escaping from the world. How that ties into a flesh-eating "ghost" is anyone's guess. The exteriors are beautiful, but it's the interiors that an unsettling vibe. The hallways are barely lit and anything could pop up around the corner. There's even the traditional Canadian horror movie "close-up of an eyeball peeping from a door" shot. It's not of comparable quality to The Shining or The Haunting, but closer to Jessica with less confusion in a straightforward narrative while presenting several other genre elements you wouldn't think to see. It all wraps up in an intense climax that, when watched at 2 A.M. and you're sleep deprived or drunk, seems incredible and unpredictable. You watch it the following day after you've recovered only to realize it's more bizarre than mind-bending. Check it out when the mood is right.
    Last edited by Chex; 05-15-2018, 07:26 AM.
    People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."