A demonic gunslinger intimidates an entire town of trapped spirits in this Western

Westerns and horror have occasionally mixed in cinema, popping up throughout the years. Ghost Town is one such movie from 1988. Directed by Richard Governor, a modern-day sheriff stumbles across a ghost town that exists as purgatory for some trapped souls from the Old West. The undead townspeople are kept in check by a monstrous gunslinger. The touch of horror adds an entertaining wrinkle to the mostly straightforward Western adventure. It’s a story you might have come across on The Outer Limits or The Twilight Zone.

Langley (Franc Luz) is a sheriff’s deputy looking for a missing woman, Kate (Catherine Hickland of Witchery fame). After a strange run-in with a shooter on a black horse that looks like he stepped out of the Old West, Langley’s car breaks down. Wandering around in an isolated stretch of road, Langley comes across the ruins of an abandoned Western town. The spooky town is filled with the ghosts of people that lived there over 100 years ago, kept there by a malevolent spirit. Langley has seemingly stepped into an alternate dimension.

The villain in Ghost Town goes by the name of Devlin (Jimmie F. Skaggs), a demonically possessed outlaw. A hideous, undead gunslinger that runs the town by fear and intimidation, Devlin has apparently taken a liking to Kate. Langley meets the undead townspeople, including a fetching young woman named Etta (Laura Schaefer). They plead with him to end Devlin’s reign of terror and free their trapped spirits. Langley even has the time to strike a short romance with Etta.

It is over before getting tedious and comes to a satisfying conclusion.

The film does not feel overly padded at its relatively brief 84 minutes. It is over before getting tedious and comes to a satisfying conclusion. There is nothing wrong with Luz (The Nest, When Harry Met Sally) as the heroic Langley, though the character is a bit dull. Ghost Town becomes more entertaining when Devlin and the townspeople are given more attention in the second and third acts. Devlin is a hammy bad guy but that schtick works within the context of Ghost Town.

Ghost Town is an enjoyable but not strikingly original Western horror tale. It’s definitely a movie made for genre fans, though it remains a solidly constructed movie even today.

Movie ★★★★☆

To be fair, his employer doesn't offer dental @ 37:14

Scream Factory has licensed the 1988 horror film from MGM in what appears to be a shockingly fresh HD transfer. The 84-minute main feature is encoded in AVC on a BD-25. The AVC video encode averages a respectable 23.46 Mbps, which handles the light grain structure without much problem. The 1080P video is presented in the film’s intended 1.78:1 aspect ratio. A touch of compression fuzz is the only noticeable artifact, visible only for a shot or two

Normally these licensed horror releases derive from very questionable masters or poor film elements. Ghost Town arrives on Blu-ray in a sharp presentation with vivid definition and very fine detail. The HD transfer almost certainly derives from a high-grade 2K film transfer of recent vintage. The film’s cinematography is beautifully shot for a catalog property. The strong clarity contains perfect color saturation and a very pleasing contrast.

The video retains a strong level of high-frequency content. It has been left unfiltered, displaying a high degree of fine detail without ringing. The film elements are in brilliant condition with negligible damage, nearly flawless.

Rarely do catalog horror properties turn out this crisp and clean on Blu-ray. Scream Factory serves up one of their finest transfers for Ghost Town’s Blu-ray. This is a videophile effort on par with the better releases from Arrow Video. Only the film’s age is preventing a perfect score.

Video ★★★★☆

Ghost Town was recorded in Ultra Stereo and we get that audio in a decent 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack. This is a big stereo mix with a lot of panning, possibly too much. The recording’s fidelity is pristine, both music and dialogue sound superb. The mix is all over the place in terms of imaging. I would have preferred a tighter sound-stage with more focus. The Foley sounds are very loud, so expect to keep the volume in check. Ghost Town sounds fairly good for an older horror movie.

Optional English SDH subtitles display in a white font.

Audio ★★★☆☆

No special features have been included. Scream Factory has included a reversible cover with different artwork.

Extras ☆☆☆☆☆

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For more information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.


Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.

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