Ghosts, haunted castles, folklore and humor all rolled up into one of the lesser known gems of the 80’s. Peter O’Toole, Daryl Hannah, Steve Guttenberg and more star in High Spirits.
Today’s Key Movie:
High Spirits is a dark comedy about Peter Plunkett (Peter O’toole), a man determined to save his family castle from being foreclosed upon by turning it into a tourist trap. Banking on the Haunted nature of his ancestral home in Ireland, he soon discovers that his ruse may be more real than he anticipated. Also starring Beverly D’Angelo, Daryl Hannah and Steve Guttenberg, this is a cult horror comedy classic.
This is a film is a dark comedy in the same vein as Beetlejuice or even House. While starting off as a comedy, it quickly becomes a terrific blend of horror and romance when Jack (Guttenberg) inadvertently interrupts an ancient murder that is repeated night after night. Due to this, the ghost of Mary Plunkett (Hannah) falls in love with Jack and they have a chance to break the curse once and for all.
Why this movie?
This is one of those films my parents rented because it ‘looked fun‘. It starred Peter O’toole, one of my parents favorite actors, and so they thought this would be one worth renting. At the time of this films release, Steve Guttenberg had pretty much become a household name with his time in films like Police Academy, Short Circuit, 3 Men & a Baby and Cocoon. Guttenberg was one of my favorites at the time so I would watch pretty much anything he was in. Luckily, My mother didn’t care for it all that much, my dad and I loved it.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
It is a fun quirky film and one that I remember fondly. While it is a little over the top at times, it is one of those rare gems that is just a fun film to watch. Everyone in the film is at there best, every actor in the film appear to be having fun with the absurdity of the script and you can tell they are really enjoying themselves. It is a film that really shouldn’t work but for some reason it does. Playing off of curses and lore, nothing in it really makes sense but that in itself is part of the fun.
Gutenberg and D’Angelo play an unhappy character that, despite their hatred for one another in the film, they have a chemistry that just plays well. Others in the film like Jennifer Tilly, Peter O’Toole and even Peter Gallagher are all a delight. One person I was shocked to discover was in the film, having not remembered him being in it, is that of Liam Neeson. Neeson plays the role of the murderous ghost Martin Brogan who kills his wife every night in a repeat of their wedding night from 200 years prior. He ends up falling for Sharon (D’Angelo) and their scenes together are great.
Even though it is a comedy, There are some moments that are seriously frightening though, this is a Horror comedy remember and it certainly doesn’t forget that. One specific scene comes to mind, the one with ghost nuns. Trust me, nightmare fuel that part.
This film is absurd and insane and I love every second of it. If you are up for something unique, insane and just plain fun, then give High Spirits a go. I think you’ll dig it.
OK, where do I get this movie?
This is one that you might have to look for. You can grab a digital copy on your favorite platform for around $10. It is fun and I think you’ll dig it.
and of course, the trailer:
Late To The Game 09/13/18
Thank you for reading today. I hope you enjoyed the review. If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and also a complete review of Star Trek Discovery. We also have a fun Retro TV Review series in which we are currently reviewing the entire Star Trek The Next Generation Series, episode by episode.
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