Ghost Story (1981)


No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...


Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A simplification of Peter Straub's complicated, imaginative fantasy/horror novel, centring on a group of elderly men who tell each other ghost stories. But their tall tales hold more truth than it at first appears and a dark secret from their past is resurrected which puts their very lives at risk.

Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Horror
Directed By:
Written By: Lawrence D. Cohen, Larry Cohen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 10, 2000
Universal Pictures


as Ricky Hawthorne

as Dr. John Jaffrey

as Edward Wanderley

as Sears James

as Don/David Wanderley

as Alma/Eva

as Stella

as Gregory Bate

as Fenny Bate

as Young Jaffrey

as Young Hawthorne

as Young Wanderley

as Young James

as Sheriff

as Omar Norris

as Peterson

as Mrs. Meredith

as Rea Dedham

as Nettie Dedham

as Eva's Ghost

as Fenny Bate

as Eva's Ghost

as The Postman

as Florence

as Sears' Mother

as Helen Kayon

as Reverend Wilkinson

as Man in the Coffin

as Churchill

as Sears' Father

as Student Solt

as Ricky's Father

as Ricky's Mother

as The Coroner
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Critic Reviews for Ghost Story

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

creepy but muddled

February 26, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

The classic Hollywood stars lend distinction to this rather tepid spook show.

January 16, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Ghost Story

Ghost Story is an average horror yarn that had the potential of being something truly memorable. As it stands, there are some effective moments here and there, but overall the material is mostly flat with minimal chills to be had. I enjoyed the film as a mindless time waster, but I also felt that the filmmakers could have put a bit more effort into the film's script to really make it stand out among other ghost tales. Acting wise, there are some good performances, unfortunately there are no standout performances either. Genre fans may enjoy it, and there some good things about the film. However like I said, there should have been more effort put into delivering something truly horrifying. Ghost Story is mildly chilling, and it leaves a lot to be desired. Is the film worth seeing, you ask? Well, it is, if you want something in the vein of Amityville horror, where it's not too scary, and then this is a perfect film to watch. Ghost Story is one of those films that is perfect for newcomers of the horror genre as the horror content is quite soft, but suggests more that what is going on, on-screen. In that sense, it leaves the imagination run wild, and it that respect, the movie succeeds at being quite entertaining and overcoming its shortcomings. The film could have been reworked, but as a whole, it's mindless entertainment that will appeal to new fans of horror, but for the veteran, they notice its flaws very early. The plot on the other hand is quite good, but good have been perfected a bit more to really make Ghost Story a memorable horror classic. In the end, it's worth seeing, and if you can get past its imperfections, you might like it as a cheesy horror tale.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer


Great to see old vets Astaire, Houseman, Fairbanks, Douglas and Neal headlining a major film its just too bad that film isn't better.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer


And speaking of Fred Astaire . . . It's almost painful to see some stars grow old on screen. I can well understand Jamie Lee Curtis' statement about needing to set a date for retirement because she does not want to be a witness to herself growing old on film. Not that Astaire does not grow old gracefully -- by any means. It's just that his aging is more pronounced because of the added dimension of his great dancing ability. I could not imagine him, in this movie, breaking into a dance over the furniture during a meeting of the Chowder Society -- and that hurts. I loved this book when it first came out. The movie does bring together some aging heavyweights, and they acquit themselves like the acting legends that they are, given the limitations of age. But if you really want to have the pants scared off of you, you gotta read the book. It's right up there with The Shining for me.

Lanning : )

Super Reviewer

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