Dean Teaster's GHOST TOWN "The Movie", is a unique "Eastern" Western. It is N.C. native Dean Teaster's tribute to his father Robert Doyle Teaster and "Ghost Town In The Sky" theme park. The...
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Dean Teaster's GHOST TOWN "The Movie", is a unique "Eastern" Western. It is N.C. native Dean Teaster's tribute to his father Robert Doyle Teaster and "Ghost Town In The Sky" theme park. The theme park was a large piece of the childhood happiness for Dean's family and many families since its opening in 1961. This story combines actual family facts of the Teaster family fictionalized into a story that encompasses the best elements of the staged gunfights performed by the Legendary "Ghost Town Gunfighters" throughout the years at the park. Many of the original actors have returned for roles in the film. Former "Ghost Town Gunfighters" Robert Bradley once known as "The Apache Kid," Herbert Cowboy Coward "GrandPappy," and Harry Valentine "The Golden Voice of Ghost Town" play pivotal roles in the film as does Alaska Presley who was one of the original park founders. Dean Teaster reprises the role of "Digger" made famous by his father. This movie was created to offset many of the "Hillbilly"...Written by
By DJ Perry, Screenwriter "Ghost Town the movie"
First of all let me tell you I teach several film classes at a prominent university. One of those classes involves an emphasis on western archetypes in American film. So naturally I'm always interested in any new western that comes out. Ghost Town peaked my interest as it appeared to be a throwback to the classic western. Being as it is and independent film, obviously shot on a lower budget, it is not without it's faults, but unfortunately the major problems are not related to limited funds. The first thing you notice is that it is titled Dean Teaster's Ghost Town. This begs the question: Who is Dean Teaster? According to IMDb this is the first movie he has ever directed, and he did not direct it alone. If you are going to put your name on the title like this, you should actually be somebody. In other words it should be a selling point, not just an ego boost. Once I go into the movie I was pleasantly surprised at how it was shot. The angles, composition, and camera movement were all quite reminiscent of westerns of the 40's and 50's. As another commentator noted, I picked out several instances of whole scenes that were obviously influenced by pictures like High Noon and The Searchers. Bill McKinney, the perennial western bad guy for the last 50 years turned in a very good performance. Herbert Coward, DJ Perry, and Rance Howard all turned in credible performances that added to the classic atmosphere of the movie. The one major problem that Ghost Town had, and judging by previous comments I am not alone in this, was the lack of coherent storyline. It was, at times, difficult to follow the plot. There were so many times when the scenes were apparently pieced together with little regard for the story. The most glaring aspect of this was the constant cutting back to an image of the "dead Suzie Teaster." After several viewings and a close perusal of the credits it became clear that Suzie Teaster was played by Tammy Stephens Teaster. Yes, the main characters have the same last name as the director (who also plays Digger?) And this actress is somehow related to him as well. Confused? Nepotism in film is nothing new. Minor roles are often filled with wives, uncles, sisters and brothers. The problem here lies in the lack of restraint. Judicious use of minor characters is essential for a smooth flowing story. Unfortunately "Suzie Teaster", who does not have much of a full blooded Native Amercan look as much as a a Florida tan, appears way to often, and at inopportune times, which further muddies and confuses the plot.
Ghost Town has all the essentials for a good solid western. A better eye for editing, concentrating on the story, could make this into something very good. As it stands right now, it appears that one of the director's has an ego problem that spoiled what could have been a true classic.
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