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Ghost Story (1981) Poster

(1981)

Trivia

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Final theatrical feature film of veteran actors Melvyn Douglas, Fred Astaire, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr..
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The pipe organ used is the same organ that was used by Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera (1925).
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Young Ricky Hawthorne says, "I can't dance." Old Ricky Hawthorne is played by Fred Astaire. This line wasn't in the novel.
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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.
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Both Fred Astaire (who plays Ricky Hawthorne) and Melvyn Douglas (who plays Dr. John Jaffery) are mentioned in Peter Straub's source "Ghost Story" novel on which the movie is based.
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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.
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The big old spooky mansion was a matte painting designed by veteran Hollywood special effects whiz Albert Whitlock.
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Searching for someone qualified to score a story dealing with elderly people, the production team was reminded of Le chat (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."
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This is the first of two early 1980s horror movies that starred a quartet of veteran actors who were all film luminaries and screen legends. Ghost Story (1981) starred Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. whilst House of the Long Shadows (1983) starred Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and John Carradine.
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Publicity for this pictured declared that the film was in the tradition of Henry James and Edgar Allan Poe.
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Dick Smith designed and created a faceless apparition that never appeared in the final cut of the film. The apparition finally made an appearance in House on Haunted Hill (1999).
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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".
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The film was made and released about two years after its source novel of the same name by Peter Straub had been first published in 1979.
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The movie was filmed in Woodstock in Vermont and Saratoga Springs in New York State as well as at Stetson University in Deland, Florida.
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The picture was nominated for the Best Horror Film Saturn Award in 1982.
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Reportedly, actors Alice Krige and Craig Wasson were "were knocked out at the idea of sharing this thriller" with the four veteran Hollywood actors they would be working with.
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A stand-in was used as one of the Young David/Don twins, so that a family portrait could be taken.
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None of the film's four veteran Hollywood actors (Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) had ever worked together in a screen movie before. However, Fairbanks and Houseman both appeared in the earlier documentary Starring Katharine Hepburn (1981) whilst Astaire and Fairbanks both appeared in the later documentary George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (1984).
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Debut film of actors Robin Curtis and Michael O'Neill.
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Two actors played dual roles in the film. Actress Alice Krige played both Eva Galli and Alma Mobley whilst actor Craig Wasson portrayed both Don Wanderley and David Wanderley.
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Apparently, the film rights to Peter Straub's source novel were sold after it had been on the best seller list for five months.
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Second of two ghost story horror pictures that veteran actor Melvyn Douglas made in a two year period right at the end of his movie career. The first film was The Changeling (1980).
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Feature film debut of Ken Olin.
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Second of two ghost story horror pictures that veteran actor John Houseman made in a two year period. The first film had been John Carpenter's The Fog (1980).
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The film cast includes three Oscar winners: John Houseman, Melvyn Douglas and Patricia Neal; and one Oscar nominee: Fred Astaire.
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Actors Patricia Neal and Melvyn Douglas has both previously appeared in Hud (1963) around eighteen years earlier.
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Actress Alice Krige later went on to appear in another ghost story movie which was 2006's Silent Hill (2006).
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One of two suspense-horror movies that child actor Lance Holcomb appeared in during 1981 with the other film being Venom (1981).
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The length of time that the four old men had been harboring the secret was since the Spring of fifty years ago.
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An apparition of a woman with a gaping mouth but no eyes or nose was cut from the film
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The name of the private men's club was "The Chowder Society".
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The movie lists 4 Academy Award winners and one Oscar nominee. John Houseman, Melvyn Douglas, Patricia Neal and Fred Astaire.
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One of two 1981 movies starring Craig Wasson, the other film was Arthur Penn's Four Friends (1981).
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The movie starred two Douglases - Melvyn Douglas and Douglas Fairbanks Jr..
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In the film Douglas Fairbanks Jr. is the first of the four members of the Chowder Society to die. However, in real life, Fairbanks Jr. was the last of the four elderly men to pass away.
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The notion that the "ghost" was really an entity bent on destroying the town, part of Straub's book, was cut from the film to make it more of a standard ghost story
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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