Of the four actors who played the young versions of the veteran main characters, three died before reaching the age of 60: Kurt Johnson (Young Edward Wanderley) died of AIDS on February 12, 1986 at the age of 33, Tim Choate (Young Ricky Hawthorne) was killed in a motorcycle accident on September 24, 2004 at the age of 49 and Mark Chamberlin was killed in a bicycle accident on March 22, 2011 at the age of 55. As of 2016, Ken Olin is the only surviving member of the group.
Interiors were constructed inside the abandoned Union Station, the former New York Central Railroad's passenger train station on Broadway in Albany, NY and included a two story set. The murder or death scene was filmed on the second floor of that set. Scenes were filmed in sequence and the two story set was significantly aged after the death scene so that it later appeared as the derelict house. After the movie, the old station was refurbished and restored to its former grandeur and served as office space for Fleet Bank and now Bank of America.
Searching for someone qualified to score a story dealing with elderly people, the production team was reminded of The Cat (1971), a French film about a bitter old couple spending time arguing. That's how Philippe Sarde was hired and why some of the main theme of that precise film is repeatedly used in the score of "Ghost Story."
Apparently, horror author Stephen King once described Peter Straub's source "Ghost Story" book as being "probably the best of the supernatural novels" since "The Other", "The Exorcist", and "Rosemary's Baby".
When the film debuted there was a great deal of buzz as it brought Astaire, Douglas, and Fairbanks out of semi-retirement. This was the very last film to be made by the three Hollywood legends and, paired with Houseman, whose career had been brought back from oblivion by The Paper Chase (1973) some eight years earlier, their prestige and gravitas made Ghost Story stood apart from other horror films of the day. A major reason for the participation of these three, not only to come out of retirement but to make a horror movie (the first for all three actors), was the success achieved by Laurence Olivier in Dracula (1979), which was also Olivier's first and only horror film. Until this point, mid-century horror films had been formulaic and even campy. Dracula and Ghost Story, along with The Exorcist (1973), The Shining (1980) and The Omen (1976) (which featured the Hollywood giant Gregory Peck ) legitimized horror films and gave the genre a whole new life.
The word "awesome" is uttered vividly in one scene, a word which was relatively disused up to that time. It would immediately thereafter become the most established "buzzword" of 1980s casual speech, variably enduring to the present. The word's reignition in the English lexicon has been tacitly attributed to its use in the film.