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Ghost Story is a 1981 American horror film based on the book of the same name by Peter Straub. It is directed by John Irvin and it stars Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., John Houseman and Craig Wasson (in a dual role). It was the last film to feature Astaire, Fairbanks, and Douglas, and the first film to feature Michael O'Neill.


The plot is taken from the novel of the same name by Straub.

A group of elderly gentlemen in their New Englandmarker hometown have formed a group called "The Chowder Society". Together, they spend their evenings telling ghost stories to one another. However, they begin to experience an actual ghost who wants revenge. The members of the group start dying in mysterious ways, as does the son of one member, who falls to his death after seeing his new bride's face as she really is. His brother attempts to prevent any more deaths. As the story progresses, the audience learns more about the mysterious woman and her relationship with The Chowder Society members.


Award nomination

In 1982, the film was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film.


The film earned a respectable $23,371,905 at the US box office. It was the third highest grossing horror film of 1981 and the 34th highest grosser of the year.

Critical reception was mixed upon release. Roger Ebert gave it a positive review, praising the performances and considering it an improvement on Straub's novel. In The New York Times, Vincent Canby had the opposite view, also praising the performances but feeling that the movie oversimplified Straub's story and themes.


  1. 1981 Yearly Box Office Results

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