Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ghost Ship (1952)

Director: Vernon Sewell

Starring: Hazel Court, Dermot Walsh, Hugh Burden, John Robinson, Jos Ambler, Joan Carol

More info: IMDb

Tagline: On a voyage of terror ... a dead man speaks solve the secret of the Ghost Ship.

Plot: A luxury ship is haunted by the ghosts of a crew that had disappeared off the ship years before.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

It's funny how this film feels like one from the early thirties rather than '52. It's a horror flick with very little horror and lots of gayity and silliness. When the manager of the dock tells the tale of the ship's history, it's a good story that gives you all sorts of possibilities for spookiness. Once the new owners of the new haunted ship, "The Cyclops", fix it up and make their maiden cocktails and cigarettes voyage, things start getting weird but, because this flick is what it is, it's never creepy and there's an air of lightness to it. That is until Guy sees a ghost. Then it gets cool if only a little.

He and his wife call in an expert in the paranormal who gives them a bunch of mumbo jumbo about how it's possible some people can smell ghosts or hear them while others can't. He busts out some tuning forks to demonstrate a lesson on wave lengths. That was a pretty neat scene until he likens the sound waves from a tuning fork to the invisible waves that come from spirits. Skeptics will have a field day laughing their asses off at his attempt to link the two.

Anyway, he calls in a medium who passes out in a trance while we get to see in flashback how the ghost came to be. This part was really super cool seeing what brought the original owner of the boat to kill his wife and her lover/his best friend. That was pretty badass. Then we're back to present time and then the killer shows up dead on the deck. Mystery solved and now Guy and Margaret can sail through life happily ever after.

The ending is pretty abrupt and happy which isn't terribly surprising considering that was the tone for most of the picture except for the aforementioned tale of the ship's troubled past and the flashback to the murders. It's a wasted opportunity to deliver a good ghost story instead of a half-assed attempt at a genre mash that didn't work at all.

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