Ghost Stories: Graveyard Thriller (1986)

Directed by Lynn Silver [Other horror films: N/A]

I first heard about this over ten years ago from a VHS-collecting friend of mine, and it’s from him that I also heard last about this. That may be written poorly, but my point is that Ghost Stories: Graveyard Thriller is quite obscure, and after finally seeing it, it’s not difficult to see why.

If you’re familiar with An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe, then you’ll understand what this straight-to-video movie was going for. If you’re not, here’s a little background: An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe was a 50-minute movie in which Vincent Price recited four stories written by Edgar Allan Poe. They weren’t normal anthology stories – it was purely spoken word. And because Vincent Price was reciting them, it’s a nifty experience.

This movie was going for the same thing – we have a host (Bob Jenkins) who is walking around the Tuesday Hill Boneyard (classy cemetery name) and introducing extended family members (cousins, a brother-in-law, that type of thing), each of whom have a story to tell. They tell their story – occasionally with props (such as a coffin, a bolt, or a severed hand) – and it’s onto the next tale.

Overall, the whole thing lasts 56 minutes or so, and while perhaps the most low-budget thing I’ve seen in my life, I can’t say I wasn’t occasionally entertained. Only two of the five stories are really worth it, but it’s more the whole of the product than the individual pieces, and this was just fascinating.

Though it’s not listed anywhere in the credits, I believe this was filmed in South Carolina. Not only was South Carolina mentioned at least three times throughout the film, but also the production company is named Alamance Entertainment – Alamance is one of the counties of South Carolina. That goes a long way to explain some of these accents, some of which are quite southern, and adds a little spice to the recited stories.

Of the five stories (‘Where Have You Been Billy Boy, Billy Boy,’ ‘Mr. Fox,’ ‘Buried Alive,’ ‘Hunting Werewolves for Uncle Albert,’ and ‘Reunion’), the only two that I’d recommend based on content would be ‘Where Have You Been Billy Boy, Bill Boy’ and ‘Mr. Fox.’ ‘Mr. Fox’ is narrated by one Laura Kay, and while she’s not great, the story itself is sort of fun. ‘Where Have You Been Billy Boy, Billy Boy’ is nicely narrated by Ralph Lucas (who also wrote the story), and the story is perhaps the best written, what with an asylum, disfigured patients, and rats who sexually assault women.

‘Buried Alive’ isn’t the most original nor most interesting tale, but it does possess a deeply amusing aura, as it’s narrated by one Sandra McLees (who in fact not only wrote ‘Buried Alive,’ but also wrote ‘Mr. Fox’). McLees is a Southern woman through-and-through, and her dramatic recital of this story is just great (“Oh God, they’re gunna bury me alive!!”). It’s what men refer to when they speak of the ‘higher arts.’

‘Hunting Werewolves for Uncle Albert,’ which is actually a story told by our host Bob Jenkins, is just too silly to really get into. It has some okay portions (such as Uncle Albert telling the host that if he were a jaybird, “it’d fly backerds” [my attempted phonetic pronunciation of how this guy pronounces ‘backwards’]), but it also has Frankenstein’s monster chewing tobacco with the main character, and just has a terrible ending.

Somewhat related, the final story, being ‘Reunion’ recited by Maria Hayden, was occasionally funny, but mostly a generic yarn about witchcraft.

I probably enjoy this more than I should, but that doesn’t mean I’m fooling myself into thinking it’s a good movie. No doubt it’s interesting, and were it a play, it might go over well, but despite some good recitals (Sandra McLees and Ralph Lucas) and an animated, occasionally-amusing host (Bob Jenkins), this really isn’t a movie I think would appeal to many.

Because I love cheap, SOV horror films, I knew I had to see it, and I’m happy I did. Even more, it wasn’t near as dull as I thought it’d be. Despite all of that, though, it’s definitely not a good movie, and more a curiosity than anything else.


Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

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