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Movie Reviews : 'Ghost Town' Hasn't That Kind of a Chance

November 16, 1988|CHRIS WILLMAN

"Ghost Town" (citywide) is likely to be greeted by plenty of Ghost Theaters in its brief theatrical run. What may be the world's first zombie western is spookily devoid of unexpected plot twists, basic frights or even a sense of its own internal supernatural logic. Eerie, that's what it is.

Far more eerie, anyhow, than the apparent time warp that swallows up an extremely unwitting Sheriff Iangley (Frank Luz) in the Arizona desert. Leaning over a dusty grave marker, he's suddenly grabbed by a skeletal figure, to which he responds--not by screaming or fleeing in terror--with an irritated "Leggo!"

The skeleton obliges, and soon, it's obvious that this sheriff isn't so much nonplussed as non-perceptive. Or brain-dead. Once he finds the title town, he keeps meeting up with barmaids and card dealers who disappear mid-conversation; he even makes love with a mysterious, pale femme who claims never to have seen a zipper before and to have been around in a previous century. All this and he still has the gall to ask the girl, post-coitus and pre-cigarette, "Wait a minute--if you were there, how can you be here?" Never a wise time to ask a woman her age.

Director Richard Governor and writer Duke Sandefur seem no more clued-in than their baffled hero as to the nature of the town's spooky denizens. In any case, it's up to the sheriff to quench the evil spirit of the Black Bart-like figure who keeps the town in limbo, thus freeing a host of souls "caught between heaven and hell."

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