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Alan L. Stewart
Bill Shaw, Jim Peters, Ricky Long
Writing Credits:
Clay McBride, James J. Desmarais

An outlaw gang hanged by a posse in the late 1880s comes back from the grave to terrorize the descendants of the posse's leader.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English LPCM 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 85 min.
Price: $29.95
Release Date: 2/15/2022

• Audio Commentary with Director of Photography Thomas L. Callaway and Writer James Desmarais
• “Bringing Out the Ghosts” Featurette
• “Low Budget Films” Featurette
• Photo Galleries
• Trailers


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Ghostriders [Blu-Ray] (1987)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 14, 2022)

With 1987’s Ghostriders, we get a mix of Western and horror. Back in 1886, violent outlaw Frank Clements (Mike Ammons) dies via the hangman’s noose.

However, Frank doesn’t go quietly. As he expires, he declares a curse against local preacher Reverend Thaddeus Sutton (Bill Shaw) and his descendants.

A century later, a phantom Frank and his ghostly gang return from the dead to enact their vengeance. Along with his pals, Reverend Sutton’s great-grandson Hampton (Jim Peters) needs to find a way to stop these supernatural criminals.

Nothing about that premise screams “classic horror flick”. However, nothing about the concept dooms the film to failure.

Indeed, the idea of undead outlaws who maraud the present seems reasonably promising. Really, it shouldn’t take much creativity or competence to make this tale a fun supernatural romp.

Unfortunately, we find little talent among cast and crew. Ghostriders becomes an amateurish experience that lacks anything to make it feel like a professional endeavor.

If you look at those involved with Ghostriders, you will fail to find a single person who made a real name in films. Actually, director Alan L. Stewart did editorial work for Disney flicks like Planes, but he only got one more shot as director via 1989’s similarly forgotten Ghetto Blaster.

Some of the other crew/cast members got work in Hollywood as well, but it seems unlikely that viewers will recognize the names of anyone involved. By the law of averages, shouldn’t at least one semi-famous person have emerged from the film?

Given the cinematic product in front of me, I can’t find any reason to believe that those who worked on Ghostriders got screwed out of successful careers. This movie turns into a dull, sub-mediocre mess.

Although the plot synopsis implies a fair amount of action and supernatural intrigue, Ghostriders wastes enormous amounts of time on pointless interpersonal subplots. Much of the movie’s first half does little more than delineate a potential romance between Hampton and much younger hottie Pam (Cari Powell), with some jealousy from spurned lover Cory (Ricky Long) thrown in for potential sparks.

With an emphasis on “potential”, as this love triangle fails to muster even the most basic drama. This aspect of the plot plays out in a bland, forgettable manner that never feels like anything more than a drab excuse to fill space.

Given that Ghostriders comes with a brief 85-minute running time, it really shouldn’t come with any padding. Unfortunately, those involved apparently couldn’t think of anything more interesting than a stale romantic theme, so we find little of interest through the film’s first half.

Does Ghostriders kick to life once Frank and his ghostly compatriots return to wreak havoc. No – while these scenes becomes marginally more compelling than the dullness of the initial half, they never remotely live up to their potential.

We simply find no excitement or real thrills here. The movie fails to present the threat posed by Frank and company as particularly terrifying or intimidating, so we wind up with a mix of bland action scenes that pack zero punch.

Honestly, everything about Ghostriders leaves the impression some dude rounded up friends and shot it over a long weekend. Amateurish and simply boring, this becomes an utterly forgettable tale.

The Disc Grades: Picture D+/ Audio D+/ Bonus C+

Ghostriders appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I don’t want to say the film looked terrible, but it did.

Sharpness looked mediocre at best and often worse. Delineation never felt better than passable, and most of the film looked oddly soft and mushy.

I noticed no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes appeared absent. Grain looked blocky and seemed to veer more toward digital noise than actual grain.

Sporadic print flaws appeared via specks and marks. Though these didn’t become dominant, they created more than a few distractions.

Despite the movie’s natural palette, colors appeared bland and dull. The tones never stood out as positive in any way, as they lacked vivacity.

Blacks appeared inky and flat, while shadows seemed murky and dense. This was a persistently unappealing presentation.

Don’t expect any better from the film’s poor PCM monaural soundtrack, as it seemed awful even when I graded on a curve based on the film’s age and origins. Though intelligible, speech tended to sound brittle and edgy, with a weird distant feel.

Music lacked range and boasted virtually no low-end. The score and songs appeared shrill and rough.

The same went for effects, which became distorted and also without any dynamics. The mix suffered from hiss, clicks and pops. Even by the standards of low-budget 1987 material, this was a problematic track.

A few extras appear here, and we find an audio commentary from director of photography Thomas L. Callaway and writer James Desmarais. Along with moderator Steve Latshaw, both sit together for a running, screen-specific discussion of story/characters, cast and performances, effects and photography, sets and locations, and related domains.

Expect a wholly meh commentary here. While we learn a decent amount about the production, nothing especially memorable appears.

In addition, the track loses steam as it goes, and we find way too much self-congratulation along the way. This turns into a passable but not very good commentary.

A new program called Bringing Out the Ghosts runs 22 minutes, 50 seconds and involves Desmarais and Callaway as they discuss a mix of production topics. We also get some brief circa 1986 comments from director Alan Stewart and actors Cari Powell, Ricky Long and Jim Peters as well as a bit of behind the scenes footage.

Given that we already get a full commentary with Desmarais and Callaway, another piece that revolves around those two feels redundant. The footage from the shoot adds some value and they manage a few new insights, but don’t expect much fresh material.

A vintage piece called Low Budget Films goes for 12 minutes, five seconds. It included Ghostriders as part of a program that covered inexpensive movies shot in Texas, and it features some notes from Stewart.

This looks like a more serious examination of low budget filmmaking than one would expect from local Texas TV, and this segment works surprisingly well. No, it’s not terribly informative, but given that I expected a glossy puff piece, it’s better than anticipated.

In addition to both original and reissue trailers, we locate twp Photo Gallery. It breaks into “Movie Stills” (12 images) and “Behind the Scenes” (12). Both are decent but too brief to add much.

As a mix of horror and Western, Ghostriders sounds fun on the surface. Unfortunately, the movie suffers from poor execution and becomes a slow, boring road to nowhere. The Blu-ray boasts weak picture and audio along with a mix of bonus materials. Don’t expect a lost gem from this lousy movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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