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Ghostkeeper (1981) - Blu-ray Review

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Ghostkeeper (1981) - Blu-ray Review

4 beers“Do you live here?  Is this your place?”  Those are the two questions quickly asked to the old woman who surprises three travelers who, after being stranded by a snow storm, have broken into an old hotel in the middle of nowhere.  They assumed it was vacant.  They were wrong.  Dead wrong.  The response to their questions is chilling.  “I ask the questions, girlie,” says the old woman.  It is barely audible and comes across more like a growl in director Jim Makichuk’s Ghostkeeper. 

And the night only gets worse from there.  Gulp.

Doors creak.  Shadows move.  Footsteps are heard and, soon enough, the three refugees of the blinding blizzard raging outside the hotel find their own numbers down to two.  And one might be staying there permanently.  While we can easily guess who it will be, the plot is aided by some solid performances from its cast.  Code Red, using a newly minted HD transfer from the only surviving vault elements, presents Ghostkeeper on Blu-ray for the very first time.   

This independent Canadian horror film is quite effective.  As the money for the production tapered out before the movie was halfway done, there’s a lot of budgetary limitations to overlook and yet the film is a tense expression of terror as a trio of snowmobile enthusiasts – Jenny (Riva Spier), Marty (Murray Ord), and Chrissy (Sheri McFadden) – get more than they bargained for in their trip to the Rocky Mountains.  And it comes in the form of the Ghostkeeper (Georgie Collins in a very creepy role), who smokes like a chimney, tells tales about her son, and has a big, bad secret hanging out in the freezer.

Happy New Year, Marty.  You’re pretty much fucked.  Except, you literally aren’t.  You see Marty finds himself attracted to both females he's crashing the hotel with.  One girl he's in a relationship with and the other is just a tease that tells tales of seducing her middle school teacher.  All to only get Marty in the mood to tackle both girls under the sheets.  It doesn’t happen, though.  And so Marty sleeps alone.

The Deer Lodge Hotel is a big place and, as Chrissy goes missing in the morning, the remaining members of the trek have to figure out a way to push on.  Except they can’t get the snowmobiles to turn over.  They are stuck there, where time itself runs foul of normalcy, and have no real means of survival as they face yet another looming night of creepy whispers, hot tempers, and chainsaws that never run out of fuel.

Collins nails her performance as the mysterious old lady at the center of this snowbound thriller.  Her scenes are deliciously tense and so bizarre that they easily become centerpieces of this low-rent yarn.  From drugged tea to bloody axes, Ghostkeeper is a haunted tale about the care of the cannibal giant.  It is the blood-soaked passing of the torch as one woman discovers the truth this family will do damn near anything to protect.  And her response is most chilling.   

Like the fine wine the stranded trio sip when they believe they are alone after first entering the hotel, Ghostkeeper and its narrative have aged especially well.

Ghostkeeper (1981) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
89 mins
: Jim Makichuk
Jim Makichuk
Riva Spier, Murray Ord, Sheri McFadden
: Horror
Their ancestors spoke of the evil being that lived in the mountains. Too late they heeded their warning...
Memorable Movie Quote: "How can the mountains be dangerous, they're so beautiful."
Theatrical Distributor:
American Cinema Marketing
Official Site:
Release Date:
No U.S. theatrical release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 17, 2017
Synopsis: A trio of friends on a snowmobiling trip in the Canadian Rockies become lost after venturing up a trail during a snowstorm. They stumble upon a seemingly abandoned hotel lodge and decide to spend the night, unaware of the grave danger that they have put themselves in. Who, or what, is the Ghostkeeper, and will anyone survive the night? Shot in the rugged location of Lake Louise, Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, the film's stark, icy photography, low-key style, and slow-burn sense of dread all add up to a uniquely creepy experience in an old snowbound lodge.

Ghostkeeper (1981) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Ronin Flix
Available on Blu-ray
- August 18, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: None
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Code Red, using a newly minted HD transfer from the only surviving vault elements, presents Ghostkeeper on Blu-ray for the very first time with 1.85:1 aspect ratio.  The results are fairly stellar for the low budget picture; however, there are some instances where the natural light of the shoot – especially in the hotel with limited light sources – causes a drop in the visual details.  The snowbound shoot – it was filmed in Alberta, Canada – makes for an interesting backdrop for a horror film.  The color correction is quite nice and the image has been stabilized making this release one to own.  It is solely available through Ronin Flix.  Of special note is the DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtrack which adds to the atmosphere of the shoot with an expressively tonal set of music =cues.  .



  •  There’s an informative and fun commentary track featuring the film’s director (Makichuk), the two lead actors (Spier and Ord) and is moderated by Jeff McKay.

Special Features:

There’s a newly included opening that you can watch as part of the supplemental items.  It’s unnecessary but successful in ramping up the kill ratio and the suspense of the picture and, for VHS purists, a welcome inclusion.  Also featured is an interview with Collins and cinematographer John Holbrook.  Trailers round out the collection. 

  • Interview with DP John Holbrook (6 min)
  • Interview with Georgie Collins (13 min)
  • Pre-Credit Sequence
  • Trailers

Ghostkeeper (1981) - Blu-ray Review

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