Blu-Ray Review: Ghost Ship (Collector’s Edition)

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When Dark Castle Entertainment was originally set up by Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis, and Gilbert Adler, the plan was to remake the horror films of William Castle (The Tingler). Indeed their first two films adapted Castle’s House on Haunted Hill and Thirteen Ghosts to a cinema with more elaborate effects with R-rated scares. But for the third entry, Dark Castle decided to journey into original horror territory. They brought back director Steven Beck from Thirteen Ghosts to make another journey into a specter filled nightmare. Except instead of an elaborate and revolving glass house, he’d be looking for frights on the high seas in Ghost Ship.

While most horror films start out rather ominous, things are extra posh and suave as the passengers dance on the deck of the SS Antonia Graza. They can’t get enough of the orchestra and Francesca. All seems perfect for a luxury liner. Except then a serious mishap cuts through the night and the passengers. A young passenger Katie (Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events‘ Emily Browning witnesses it all. Forty years later, a crew of a salvage vessel explores the abandoned SS Antonia Graza that’s floating in the Bearing Sea. Why would they want such a nasty ship? Turns out it had been transporting a large amount of gold bars. The ship is now transporting a large amount of dead bodies and ghosts which the crew isn’t sure what to do with. Are they going to be millionaires or doomed to float on the sea like the doomed passengers.

Ghost Ship keeps you glued to the doomed cruise. The salvage crew is all star with the likes of Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects), Julianna Margulies (ER), Ron Eldard (Black Hawk Down), Isaiah Washington (Grey’s Anatomy) and Karl Urban (Star Trek). Although you might not notice Urban with his beard and ponytail. They crew more than make you believe they could get tangled up with passenger ghosts as they look for a clues as to what happened on the SS Antonia Graza that set it adrift.

The biggest mystery of the film is what happened to director Steve Beck. How could he have only directed two feature films: Thirteen Ghosts and Ghost Ship. Both films did well at the box office. How is he not making fresh scares this decade? Luckily you can get a hint if you go onto his LinkedIn profile. Turns out he decided to focus on making commercials including ones that air during the Super Bowl. At least with Ghost Ship, Beck went out with a bang at the end.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer lets you enjoy the rather gruesome body effects on the doomed luxury liner. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround. The ghastly effects can swirl around the room during the big dance floor effect. There’s secondary mix of DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo if you just have speakers up front on your TV. The movie is subtitled in English.

This Isn’t Real (6:37) is an Interview With Actor Isaiah Washington. He got into the film after Joel Silver saw him in True Crime. This interview was conducted during the pandemic so Washington films himself in his living room. He talks about sharks around the ships when they did the ocean shots.

Dark Castle At Sea (7:14) talks with Producer Gil Adler about where his production company was going in 2002. He talks about how they altered the original script instead of remaking another William Castle film. He speaks of how because they were keeping the budget tight, he figured out ways to shoot the film without taking it onto water for a majority of the film. They brought back Steve Beck after his great job on Thirteen Ghosts. He talks about what they had to do to prevent sharks from eating the stars.

Every Body On Board (6:29) catches up with Makeup Effects Supervisor Jason Baird. He was working on The Matrix sequels when he started work on Ghost Ship. He goes deep in explaining the big dancefloor effect. He enjoyed how so much of the movie used practical effects.

Audio Commentary With Director Steve Beck is newly recorded for this Blu-ray release. He talks about the film, his career and why he only made two feature films as a director.

Max On Set (15:06) is the vintage making of featurette about the film. Kind of weird referring to promotional material for a film from 2002 as vintage, but it has been 18 years. The cast and crew speak about making the scary movie.

Visual Effects Featurette (6:01) shows off the giant ship model in the studio and other miniatures at an effects studio in Australia. This is a vintage EPK element.

A Closer Look At The Gore (5:32) has the effects guys making lots of blood and guts on the set. There’s a lot of body parts in this film. I’m jealous of Tom Savini t-shirt one of them is wearing.

Designing The Ghost Ship (5:42) goes into showing off all the ways they faked the boat on land. Joel Silver praises the Australian effects studios they had hired to pull off the doomed ship.

Secrets Of The Antonia Graza (6:12) is a series of clips with the nightmare of what happened on board teased.

Mudvayne “Not Falling” Music Video (3:10) will remind you that there was a band called Mudvayne. It’s a rocker with clips from the film that have been messed with in post-production. There’s no Mudvayne on screen.

Theatrical Trailer (2:14) sets up the salvage operation on a boat that might have some issues.

Scream Factory present Ghost Ship: Collector’s Edition. Directed by: Steve Beck. Screenplay by: Mark Hanlon and John Pogue. Starring: Julianna Margulies, Ron Eldard, Desmond Harrington, Isaiah Washington & Gabriel Byrne. Rated: R. Running Time: 91 minutes. Released: September 22, 2020.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.