Pros: effective story with valid frights, and a juicy twist in the end; funny one-liners
Cons: the beginning is very b-movie; acting is unnatural in spots; some predictability
“Uhh...I think I just turned gay”
In Queen Creek, Arizona, the family of Minister Joseph Masterson was murdered inside their home on the night of October 10th, 1982. The murder was carried out by Mary Beth, the wife of Joseph Masterson. Police investigations officially state the murders are unsolved, due mainly to the suicide note left by Mary Beth claiming this to be true.
Almost twenty years later to the day, nephew of Minister Joseph, Seth Masterson decided to hire a paranormal expert to investigate whether this house was haunted. There have been reports from the maid who dusts once a month at the Masterson house, as well as a gardener of ghost sitings. He offered Carter Simms $5000 to investigate the house and report her findings either way. Unbeknownst to Carter, she was to be accompanied by a videographer named Colin Green, a journalist name Yvette Sandoval and an overseer from the church where Minister Joseph used to work, her name is Mary Young Mortenson. Her position here was to make sure that the good name of the church or the good Masterson name were not speciously misrepresented by the heathen ghost hunter.
Carter Simms arrived in Arizona and went into the home on October 17th, 2002. She used her paranormal electronic measuring devices as well as Colin’s handheld and stationary cameras in order to find proof of any paranormal activity. Even on the first night, they found some evidence to support a haunting. In one room, the temperature was unexplainably 20 degrees cooler and there were chairs moving by themselves. The next day they reviewed their audio and video recordings which led to further evidence of ghosts occupying this residence.
Somehow, they still needed proof to gather. This turned into a murder investigation of Mary Beth Masterson as the ghastly pieces of evidence kept piling on. Very creepy happenings were experienced by all three of the professional guests, and there seemed to be something almost as creepy about the church girl Mary Young. We know what happens to Carter Simms from the movie title, but how and why will Carter Simms lose her life in this haunted house? Find out when you watch Death of a Ghost Hunter.
Going into this film, I imagined it to be almost a waste of time. A low-budgeted indie that will fall short to impress and worse than this, fail to scare me. About ten minutes into the movie, I was smug with confirmation. The brainless incidental music contrasted with Patti Tindall’s (the actress who plays the lead – Carter Simms) voice over narration had the smack of amateur as far as the audio was concerned as well as the presentation. Yet, as the cast fully assembled into the haunted house, it began coming together. Sure, there was still the sound of stupid music (provided by the writer Mike Marsh) that constantly played in the background, but even this started making sense as the film progressed. The music is a blatant rip-off of the slightly more effective soundtrack of 1978’s Halloween, which the music was coincidentally penned by film writer John Carpenter.
As far as ripping off other films, it’s pretty blatant as far as having connections to movies like Amityville Horror, and it even goes so far as deliberately quoting Poltergeist, The Exorcist and Blair Witch Project. The independent, low-budget aspect of the film certainly recalls Blair Witch, but they still managed to offer up some effective special effects. The ghostly beings may raise the hair on your arms in the same way it had done to mine. Despite the title there was also a bit of unpredictability, and the film also exudes an aura of danger within the house and the history of the murders.
This being said, there was some trouble with the writing. Not with the story mostly, but with the mundane conversations between the four characters. The very liberal-minded writers Mike Marsh and Sean Tretta made every Christian character in the film a villain. Mary Young is the typical Hollywood-invented, closed-minded Christian individual with tendencies toward overt bigotry toward anyone who isn’t Christian or Caucasian. She even comments about the neighborhood going downhill as there were more blacks moving into the area. Please, Louise! I expect a little more open-mindedness from my independent films, I mean come on, this isn’t a Stephen King flick for goodness sakes! Then again, the mindset of the country at the time of release in 2007 was very anti-Bush who in some ways epitomizes these characteristics. Had this been a bit different if it were released today when the country is waking up to what progressivism really is, remains to be seen.
For a low budget movie, I’m guessing that most of the monies went into a couple of nude scenes from at least three actresses. Lindsay Page, April Hinojosa, and Sarah Lawton each practically bared all for the film. This film was not rated, I guess because it went straight to video, and aside from the nudity there is plenty of profanity throughout the movie. Saving some money may have went into casting music director/script writer Mike Marsh in the role of videographer Colin Green. Mike Marsh had some really funny one-liners much in the way Hud had in Cloverfield (who was also videographer by the way) which was released about a year later.
The ending was what sealed the deal for me. Not only was I scared, but now the film actually gave me chills. An imaginative twist was placed at the end which surprised me at least, and effected me in a truly creepy way. So despite the spotty acting, the usual characterization assassinations, and the shoddy music, this film does what it promises, it scares you – the viewer. Take a chance and check this out, my guess is that you’re probably going to like it – if you’re a horror movie fan that is.
Death of a Ghost Hunter
Directed by: Sean Tretta (The Great American Snuff Film, The Death Factory Blood Letting)
Written by: Sean Tretta & Mike Marsh (The Great American Snuff Film, The Death Factory Blood Letting),
Starring: Patti Tindall (The 11th Aggression, The Graves, Cloud 9) Davina Joy (The 11th Aggression, The Devil’s Playhouse, R.E.M.) Mark Marsh (The Great American Snuff Film), April Hinojosa (The Great American Snuff Film) Lindsay Page (debut)
Length: 107 minutes
Rated: NR (strong language, nudity, frightening images, violence, drug use)
Rating: 4 stars