Autodidact: self-taught


Ghost Story the Film – A Review

by V. L. Craven

Ghost Story Film Poster

After finishing Peter Straub’s masterful Ghost Story I decided to watch the 1981 film version.

On paper, it has promise. It stars Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (it’s their final film), as well as Alice Krige (who would go on to play Christabella in Silent Hill). But the Wikipedia page (which is full of spoilers) says: ‘The plot is taken from the novel of the same name by Straub, but greatly changes and simplifies it.’ Which just about sums it up.

Without reading the book, one of the main character’s breakdowns–which is moved straight to the beginning for maximum confusion–makes zero sense.

The film starts slowly (fair dues, so does the book)–and then picks up for a bit before a very unsatisfying ending if you’ve read the book and a predictable one if you’ve seen many horror films.

Then there are the make up special effects, which happen with regularity in the film and wouldn’t have occurred in the book at all. Film is a visual medium, but, good grief.

I watched the film with my husband, who had not read the book, and he didn’t understand who or what Gregory and Fenny Bate were.

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