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Ghost Town (Blu-ray Review)

Ghost-TownThe good. The bad. The Satanic. Scream Factory proudly presents the Empire Pictures classic Ghost Town on July 28, 2015 in its Blu-ray debut.   A dusty ghost town, seemingly abandoned, holds the lives of its original inhabitants in an animated netherworld for 100 years.  Starring Franc Luz (The Nest, When Harry Met Sally), Jimmie F. Skaggs (Oblivion, Puppetmaster), Catherine Hickland (Witchery) and Bruce Glover (Diamonds Are Forever, Chinatown, Walking Tall), Ghost Town is an unnerving, white-knuckle walk into the wild, undead west.

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Film 

When a modern-day sheriff’s deputy is lured to a desolate, spooky ghost town in search of a missing woman, he comes face-to-face with a malevolent spirit from the town’s past. The spell of death and suffering over the undead townspeople must end to set them free from eternal pain. The horrors of a possessed outlaw, in a time-suspended dimension are only the setting for a frightening battle for the mind, nerves and flesh.

Ghost Town is a neat little idea that sorta seems like its primed for a TV movie or mini series than a feature film.  Or at least the aesthetic of the film made me feel that, despite have terrific special effects.  This is, of course, a Charles Band film from the 80s we are talking about, so I came to expect the lower run when I saw it.  I’m not against his films (I love quite a bit of them, honestly, mostly the Stuart Gordon collaborations), but I also have seen enough that I know what I’m getting into before it starts.

What I found about Ghost Town that was interesting, is that they really did an awesome job with the “ghost/supernatural western” stuff that why they even bothered with dragging in someone from the modern day is beyond me.  Our main character and his plot are kind of lame and I was very interested in the characters and events going on in the title friendly “Ghost Town” more than anything.  They should have just made a blood-soaked, ghoul-filled Old West movie and dropped the modern day tie in.

Making this worth the dive and showing the money is the make-up and effects in the film.  The monsters, ghosts and the like look really cool, and the older effects hold up quite nicely and look good and gross.  Also awesome, are the shoot outs in the movie.  Why a bullet hits somebody, it hurts and it makes a nice bloody impact or explosion.  Its super cool to see the over the top, bloody western here, making a lot of those classic ones you grew up on (If you’re were my generation or before most likely) look like child’s play.

I know I haven’t really gone over plot or characters much here.  As far as actors, soap opera star Catherine Hickland (Who was also in my recently reviewed Scream Factory movie Witchery) is a flat out fox.  I checked her IMDB and she appears to still have it going.  And, Crispin Glover’s dad, Bruce (Of Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint fame to us Bond fans) is a bit of a hoot in a small role.  But, the real entertainment here is all the cowboys, the shoot outs and the effects.  The film is really short too, making details and exploitative features worth the while and able to carry it to solid enjoyment of a lower average film.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  Ghost Town features a solid presentation that impresses at frequent times.  Its not the “blow your mind” image, but its the best its going to look.  Scuffs, and patterns on surfaces and fabrics really do show through good enough.  Detail is pretty nominal throughout.

Depth:  Average.  Movements are nice and cinematic with background images as clear as the source focus allows.

Black Levels:  Blacks are decent.  Minor detail hidden in darkly lit scenes, fabrics and surfaces.

Color Reproduction:  Colors aren’t very poppy and bright, but more old west browns and the like.  When the film does show color, its done quite well and natural.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones look mostly natural with a hint of warm.  Details on close ups are swell, and the monster’s flesh looks ghoulishly detailed.

Noise/Artifacts:  This is a rather clean print featuring some grain and very minor specs.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  This mix does the trick.  There’s a good distinction of sound effects sounding loose and free from one another.  Its not going to light your living room ablaze, but its more than enough to service the film.

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clear and clean.

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Extras 

Ghost Town contains no bonus material.  The cover insert is reversible, featuring an alternate poster design.

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Summary 

This is a decent little schlock horror-western from the Charles Band group.  Its certainly miles above their late 90s to present output of horror films.  The effects are quite good and hold up in this new Blu-ray release.  The video and audio are enough to give you the best presentation the film has ever had.  On this rare occasion, there are no extras (Not even a trailer) provided from Scream Factory, but I’m sure its with good reason.  If you’re a fan of the film or Scream Factory collector, I think you’ll dig this for reasons I found to appreciate it.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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