By Richard Winters
My Rating: 3 out of 10
4-Word Review: Teen possessed by ghost.
Mark (Matthew Boston) is the 15-year-old son of Ruth (Caroline Howe) who is a researcher that specializes in astral projection. She goes out one day to an abandoned cave and brings home the decayed corpse of an ancient Indian Medicine Man and attempts to speak to the ghostly spirit that she feels is still inside it. Mark catches her talking to it when he comes home early from school and this sight spooks him enough that he runs away. When he eventually does return he begins to behave erratically and his concerned grandmother (Ann Nelson) sends him to a psychiatrist (Rita Crafts) who tries to get to the bottom of the matter.
This film, while not very good, is unique in several ways in that it’s one of the few horror movies that could be watched by the entire family. The mild frights are in the supernatural vein that may spook a child, who I believe was the intended audience, slightly, but won’t traumatize. This is also a rare horror film that features no blood, no gore, no nudity or swearing, and no psychos, or monsters. It also has virtually all of the scenes taking place outside in the bright sunlight versus doing them in the dark of night like with most scary movies. This marks as well the film debut of Ann Nelson, an elderly actress who went on to play a lot of old lady roles in TV-shows and movies during the 80’s and here as a hyper-anxious, deeply religious grandma is entertaining and helps give the film a few more points.
Reviewers on IMDb all seem to remember one specific scene that stands-out that stood out to them, which is the moment where boulders roll across the flat desert terrain by a invisible force, which is indeed a cool visual. However, I didn’t like the way they would conveniently bounce-up and avoid the camper that the old couple are driving in versus having one of the boulders come directly towards the camera and crash into the windshield, which would’ve been effectively dramatic.
Other scare segments don’t work as well. The scene where the camper begins driving itself goes on too long and isn’t as intense as it could’ve been as it’s done on a deserted highway and would’ve been more exciting had we seen the vehicle going into oncoming traffic. Cutting back-and-forth to the grandma getting bounced around on the interior walls as it drives crazily elicits unintended laughs instead of tension.
It’s also confusing as to who the main character is supposed to be. It starts out with the kid, who’s likable enough, but then he goes away for a long period and we get stuck exclusively with the elderly couple in a flashback bit and then it segues to the mother and in-between there’s extended scenes, with voice-over, of the psychiatrist as she researches the case. The kid, who I liked best, finally comes back near the end, but it’s not enough to save it and the way it gets structured here makes it seem like 4 different stories that get awkwardly merged instead of having one protagonist throughout.
The ending peters-out with a fizzle giving the viewer no climactic pay-off at all. The title is also goofy as I didn’t think ghosts walked, but instead floated.
My Rating: 3 out of 10
Released: September 25, 1977
Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes
Director: James T. Flocker
Studio: James Flocker Enterprises
Available: VHS, DVD-R (dvdlady.com)