6.3/10
6,542
117 user 79 critic

Ghost Story (1981)

Two generations of men find themselves haunted by the presence of a spectral woman. When the son of one of the elderly men returns to his hometown after his brother's mysterious death, they attempt to unravel her story.

Director:

John Irvin

Writers:

Peter Straub (novel), Lawrence D. Cohen (screenplay)
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From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fred Astaire ... Ricky Hawthorne
Melvyn Douglas ... John Jaffrey
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Edward Wanderley
John Houseman ... Sears James
Craig Wasson ... Don / David
Patricia Neal ... Stella
Alice Krige ... Alma / Eva
Jacqueline Brookes Jacqueline Brookes ... Milly
Miguel Fernandes ... Gregory Bate
Lance Holcomb ... Fenny Bate
Mark Chamberlin Mark Chamberlin ... Young John Jaffrey
Tim Choate ... Young Ricky Hawthorne
Kurt Johnson ... Young Edward Wanderley
Ken Olin ... Young Sears James
Brad Sullivan ... Sheriff Hardesty
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Storyline

Four successful elderly gentlemen, members of the Chowder Society, share a gruesome, 50-year old secret. When one of Edward Wanderley's twin sons dies in a bizarre accident, the group begins to see a pattern of frightening events developing. Written by Jeanne Armintrout <jeannee@uwyo.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The time has come to tell the tale.

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cuento de fantasmas See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,105,729, 20 December 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$23,371,905
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The length of time that the four old men had been harboring the secret was since the Spring of fifty years ago. See more »

Goofs

When Ricky is having the car dragged up from the lake, it changes between day and night several times. See more »

Quotes

Gregory Bate: Imagine her waiting for you all these years. Imagine her sleeping under ice and snow... waiting.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Raising Cain (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweetheart of Sigma Chi
Written by F. Dudleigh Vernor and Byron D. Stokes
Performed by Guy Lombardo and The Royal Canadians (as His Royal Canadians)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A fun, spooky tale that showcases some classic film stars
22 September 2003 | by FilmOtakuSee all my reviews

I watched this film with a friend who described it as `one of the scariest movies he had ever seen.' I will agree with this assessment because the thrills are not cheap ones – they are genuine scares. Ghost Story stars Fred Astaire, John Houseman, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Melvyn Douglas as members of the `Chowder Society' a group that gathers around the fireplace to drink brandy and tell ghost stories. The problem lies in the fact that they also share a long-kept secret that is now coming back to haunt them.

While it was novel to see these great actors in action, particularly in a genre where they are not normally known, this film is great because it does not rely on gore or special effects to scare the pants off the viewer. The horrors come from lower scale thrill, like a spooky house, an eerie soundtrack and quick flashes of horrific images that are sudden and impactful enough to make your heart leap into your throat.

This is a small, fun movie that isn't without its faults; (you can see the `secret' coming from a mile away) but the buildup to the unveiling of this secret is pure fun.

--Shelly


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