Ghost Chase (1987)

For all the difficulties facing young filmmakers attempting to make it in Hollywood, many services are designed to aid their struggle. Film schools, for example, can help young visionaries hone their technical skills and expand their knowledge of film history. Agents can establish contacts unavailable to neophytes. But more helpful than anything, if Ghost Chase is to be believed, are the ghosts of long-dead butlers who take the form of midget extraterrestrials. Ersatz Coreys Jason Lively and Tim McDaniel star as filmmaking buddies whose lifelong ambition of making a derivative, low-budget slasher movie seems out of reach until Lively inherits an antique clock from a grandfather he never knew. Disappointed at first, Lively changes his tune upon realizing that each night at midnight, the clock produces a deferential alien midget named Lewis, who seems to have worked as Lively’s grandfather’s manservant. Relatively nonchalant about the arrival of an undead alien life form, Lively and McDaniel immediately begin to pump him for information. Soon, they’re all on the trail of a missing fortune buried in the basement of an old mansion, and on the run from evil film producer Paul Gleason. “What a wimpy ghost,” McDaniel says as Lewis appears to die after a night in pursuit of the lost fortune, but their ghost chase resumes upon his miraculous return the next night. Soon, they end up doing battle with an animated suit of armor and other assorted special effects, seemingly chosen by future Godzilla director Roland Emmerich because no one else happened to be using them at the time. After securing his rightful inheritance and humiliating Gleason, Lively ascends to the title of Time’s Man Of The Year, presumably more for his newfound fortune than for his miraculous ability to resurrect the dead.

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