Film & TV

Ghost Town (1988): Among the Best of 80’s Western Horror Films

In one of the best Western Horror films to come along, 1988’s Ghost Town opens as Deputy Langley (Franc Luz) picks up the trail of Kate (Catherine Hickland), a runaway bride. Soon, he finds out that she has been abducted by otherworldly forces. He ends up in strange territory, in a century old town that has been cursed for a long, long time. Langley, a fairly unflappable man who adjusts rather well to bizarre circumstances, realizes that he will have to be the one who frees this town of its curse. To do this, he will avenge the long ago sheriff, Harper (Blake Conway), by taking on psychotic, undead outlaw Devlin (Jimmie F. Skaggs) and his minions.
Western Horror FilmsIt’s the story of a modern day deputy who tracks a man on a black horse into the desert and steps into another time and another place. He literally stumbles into a ghost town, where the souls of all who dwell there are tortured by the man in black and his gang, who can only be killed by the weaponry of that era. While it’s not a masterpiece, “Ghost Town” is a weirdly charming and memorable collision of supernatural horror with the gritty Western; the result is an almost otherworldly atmosphere that is as dreamlike as it is dreary.
The film is visually striking and atmospheric, drenched in dust and boasting some eerie Western set pieces and a dreary, ominous desert backdrop. The film is surprisingly gore-free for the most part, and the score was well done (lifted from GHOULIES 2 due to the bankruptcy of it’s studio Empire Pictures)
The young and straight-shooting deputy Langley follows her trail and ends up in a forsaken and seemingly cursed ghost town in another era. The town’s dominated by an immortal and sadistic outlaw named Devlin, and he also kidnapped the young woman (for reasons still unknown to me) and keeps the cursed villagers under a siege of terror.
Overall, “Ghost Town” is a decent late-eighties film that blends the genres of Horror and Western well. Its odd atmosphere is its big strength, and there are some memorable scenes throughout, as well as playful and sinister performances from the cast. Definitely not a masterpiece by any means, but it’s one of the more unique late-eighties horror films.