Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Ghosts That Still Walk (1977) James T. Flocker

Little known, this one. Slow hot breath of folk weirdness, murmuring breath of America's past less travelled. A shame but expected, given the lack of sex or gore, the crawling pace and sketchy plotting. But Ghosts That Still Walk is a fairly worthy little piece for oddball archaeologists, brewing up new age Christianity and American Indian mysticism into something as compelling as it is static and stodgy. Writer/director James T. Flocker could never be accused of dynamism, but he has a vision here and carries it out in admirably unencumbered fashion. The plot sees a family tormented by obscure occurrence as a result of unwise delvings, and a handy hypnotist unravelling the mystery. Most of the events are retold in flashback in the hypnotists chair and either take place in the desert or a suburban household, the cast is small and there's no real world context. The consequence is a film taking place in a small befuddling bubble and a drawing claustrophobia of single intent, untainted diversion from the normal. 

Now to be fair, at over 90 minutes this is certainly too long. There actually isn't much in the way of filler, but scenes and shots meander in excessive length, there's too much leisure here. Also the structure means that the films key set piece is the first of them, and so things rather dip after the half-way point. But said set piece is pretty groovy and unusual (evil rolling stones assault a motor home!) and it goes on for a more than satisfactory time so that's a plus. And what comes after, including the arching explanation is pretty weird as well. And doesn't entirely make sense, which is a bonus. The cast is about what one expects, i.e. nondescript. Matthew Boston plays a sickly cutesy young teen that it's hard not to wish ill upon, Ann Nelson pulls off a likeable kooky old lady schtick, and Rita Crafts is pleasant viewing as the helpful hypnotist, easy on the eye if not an especially good actress. The others do their jobs pretty well also, everyone seems appropriately committed. I reckon the film would have definitely benefited from fleeter pace and more intensity, but it works well enough in its way, its interesting and relatively unusual and should appeal to fans of same. Gets my seal of approval then, but definitely an acquired taste. 

No comments:

Post a Comment