Before Sharknado there was Ghostquake, also known as Haunted High if you caught it on the SyFy channel where it premiered. I was lucky enough to get this DVD in the mail to review, and while I’d heard nothing about it, and went in thinking it was going to be awful, it blew my expectations out of the water.
After an earthquake hits a private school somewhere in New England, the ghost of a previous headmaster shows up and starts slaughtering the faculty and students one by one. Thankfully, the janitor is a demon hunter! The characters are completely one dimensional and just human fodder for our merciless entertainment. Every stereotype is present, from the glee club student who is in love with her teacher, to the rather large and in charge nerd, whom is by far my favorite character because he breaks the expectations I’d have for such a role.
Maybe my expectations were rock bottom, and this mediocrity surprised me, but I adored every moment I spent with Ghostquake. It didn’t matter that there wasn’t much of a plot, or that the script didn’t have Oscar-worthy dialogue. The film clearly delivers an earthquake, ghosts and deaths, so it hits all of its marks early on.
The death toll is high, and it ranges from some crazy ideas like a scream that causes a head to explode, to something more typical, like a weight machine breaking off someone’s limbs. At no point did I believe any of this could happen, but, to me, that was the best part. Actually, the film hit its key moments when the two teachers are attacked by mutant frogs that are clearly being operated by a string, and it’s amazing for all of the wrong reasons.
Charisma Carpenter (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has a quick, one-line cameo, but the true star here is Danny Trejo, who plays our demon-hunting janitor. He even has a scene near the end where he randomly shows up shirtless and gives a great Chuck Norris-style acting bit. The best part is that while Trejo takes the role more seriously than anyone else in the cast, it’s clear that everyone else is having the time of their lives. It looked like these guys and girls had a blast filming this, and they knew it wasn’t going to be good, so they completely ham it up for the camera. Shawn C. Phillips, our husky nerd, hams it up so hard that I instantly fell in love with his character, and was glad he got a lot of screen time. I even looked him up online, and he’s in a ton of B-horror films, some of which I really need to see now. He also runs a very popular YouTube channel where he reviews a lot of DTV horror films, much like Cinefessions.
The version of this film I received on DVD is called Ghostquake, however I read that the DVD is more edited than the SyFy airing. After sorting through a comparison, I can definitely say that my DVD contains the unedited SyFy version, so I’m not sure if there are different versions out there or not.
Very rarely do I fall in love with a B-movie, but this one is right up there with some of my guilty pleasures, and falls right next to Murder University, which I was lucky enough to review back in July. If you turn your brain off and settle in for one crazy, campy ride, Ghostquake just might surprise you like it did me. You’re mileage may vary on this one, but I enjoyed it a lot!
Ghostquake (2012) was released on DVD by MTI Home Video on May 27th, 2014. It was directed by Jeffery Scott Lando and written by Paul A. Birkett, and Anthony C. Ferrante. The film is 84 minutes in length, and is not rated. Cinefessions was provided a DVD copy of the film for review from MTI Home Video.
Chris was raised on horror films, which gave him a deep love for the genre, especially its most quirky and offbeat titles (like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2). This love quickly turned into an obsession for cinema in 1997, when he decided he needed to see every major theatrical release. Video games (JRPGs), reading (anything but fantasy), and reality television (Survivor) are just some of his other passions. He’s been with Cinefessions since 2013, and has been writing reviews all over the internet for the past twelve years.