Lust For Ron: Dr. Lauren & Darren Review “The Graveyard Story” (1991)

Dr. Lauren McIntyre is a horror obsessive, tattoo connoisseur, natural Goth and cat wrangler. Lauren is still full of ribs and pie after the weekend. Say hi to her on Twitter: @noddinggoth

Darren Gaskell is a horror obsessive and “enthusiastic” karaoke performer. Darren is still full of ribs and pie after the weekend. Say hi to him on Twitter: @darren_gaskell

*** WARNING: THERE ARE MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD PLUS A FEW SWEARS ***

THE GRAVEYARD STORY (1991)

Starring: John Ireland, Adrian Paul, Christine Cattell

Writer: Bozidar D. Benedikt

Director: Bozidar D. Benedikt

Darren: A change of pace for us this time, in every single sense, as we randomly review Canadian….can’t even really say it’s an actual horror film in the end…..let’s say Canadian movie The Graveyard Story.

Dr. Lauren: The reason we’re talking about this is because you were “recommended” to watch this by Mr. Mitch Bain [of the Strong Language and Violent Scenes podcast fame and now also credited with the score of the new cut of A Ghost Waits] and then you “recommended” it to me and we then decided to review it because someone needs to make this into a cult classic.

Darren: I’ve just seen She Dies Tomorrow and it’s about passing on a contagion where you get this ominous fear of death approaching. It’s similar with Graveyard Story except we’re passing on the ominous fear of Graveyard Story across the universe.

Dr. Lauren: The premise of it is that an old rich man has hired an ex-cop or detective….?

Darren: Yeah, he’s ex-police and he’s now a private investigator.

Dr. Lauren: He’s there to help investigate a small dead girl who the old rich man has adopted and has since been dreaming about.

Darren: The guy who plays the detective is a guy called Adrian Paul. I thought it was going to be the Adrian Paul who was in the Highlander TV series.

Dr. Lauren: Oh, right.

Darren: It isn’t that Adrian Paul. They’ve gone with the less well-known one.

Dr. Lauren: What’s the cop’s name? Is he Ron Hunt?

Darren: Ron Hunt. Good, solid cop name. So Ron is hired by Dr. McGregor because he wants to know what happened to the dead girl and what’s going on with her not-so-secret secret grave.

Dr. Lauren: This story absolutely fucking blew my mind. It’s so terrible, it’s so badly written and the dialogue’s absolutely fucking shocking.

[Bit of a pause here because they both cracked up laughing]

Darren: And yet, there’s something mesmerising about it.

Dr. Lauren: It’s just mesmerisingly bad.

Darren: I didn’t ever want to switch it off, regardless of how appalling it was. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

Dr. Lauren: I was astounded at how bad it was on every conceivable level.

Darren: It’s just so weird. Nothing appears to make logical sense.

Dr. Lauren: It’s over-complicated as well.

Darren: There a voice-over at the start about the house and it talks about “the beautiful, grey, monotonous walls”. How can a wall be monotonous?

Dr. Lauren: What first got me is that Ron Hunt, International Man Of Mystery, has been hired by Dr. McGregor for a mystery task. So he’s gone on this massive journey to get to the Doctor’s house, he’s picked up in a car and it seems like fucking days before he finds out what he’s actually there for. They don’t talk about it in the car on the way to house. It looks like they’re having dinner, like a day later, when they finally start talking about it.

Darren: And Dr. McGregor is like “Don’t worry about it, I’ll keep paying you”. Hey, that’s fine. Ron’s quids in because he’s been put up in a nice house, he’s having dinner, he hasn’t investigated a single thing until he’s taken to the very inconspicuous secret grave for this girl which is absolutely fucking massive.

Dr. Lauren: Even before we get to that, the old man tells a very long-winded story about how he never had children and then he got really old and was sad that he never had any children. So he’s like “I decided to adopt a little dead girl”.

Darren: As you do.

Dr. Lauren: He was walking through the local cemetery and he found what I can only describe as a fucking enormous grave monument with a life-size statue of a little girl on it, which looks like it’s made out of Blu-Tack.

Darren: It’s so strange. And the performances are all really bad.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah.

Darren: Ron’s investigation takes him to a whole load of supporting characters, most of whom are wooden beyond belief.

Dr. Lauren: They’re all universally terrible. So, Ron starts investigating the little dead girl. Who does he get to first? Does he go to the nymphomaniac journalist?

Darren: She comes later. In a manner of speaking. He goes to see a young priest.

Dr. Lauren: Yes! The one that looks like he’s got semi-circular eyebrows just drawn on in Sharpie.

Darren: The priest’s delivery of the dialogue is weird because HE……TALKS……LIKE…….THIS…… After getting very little information from the priest, Ron goes to see the local constable, who gives him a list of the bad things that happened in the year the little girl vanished, which was 1980. So it’s a list of accidents, ranging from severe to not very interesting.

Dr. Lauren: It sets up to be a spooky, supernatural sort of story. Dr. McGregor has been having dreams about then girl as if she’s calling to him. It looks like something out of a terrible 80s music video.

Darren: There’s some fairly harsh lighting going on. He has visions that the little girl is appearing in his bedroom.

Dr. Lauren: And it looks like she’s brought a fog machine with her.

Darren: Whenever this little girl’s spirit goes, there’s something spraying dry ice out around her. Like a lot of this movie, these visions, in terms of the rest of the story, are absolute nonsense.

Dr. Lauren: They are absolute nonsense. The whole thing’s absolute fucking nonsense!

Darren: After Ron goes to the constable, who doesn’t give him much information other than the accidents that have befallen people in 1980, he does go to see the nymphomaniac journalist. He’s in her office for, what, two seconds before she’s hitting on him.

Dr. Lauren: The only thing she could do to hit on him any harder would be to rub herself on him. She’s going for it.

Darren: She’s on the phone when he gets there and she says…hold on, I’ve written the dialogue down because this is so bad….okay, she says “There’s a man here. Ooh, he’s gorgeous. Hang on”. Vicky – that’s her name – tells Ron that she loves helping men and proves this by sitting on the edge of her desk in a very suggestive way and flashing her legs at him.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah. She does do a lot of that. I don’t think I’ve ever hit on anybody that hard.

Darren: No. I’d be thinking that anything she does is too much but Ron Hunt, dogged detective that he is, spurns her advances.

Dr. Lauren: He’s quite brusque with her, isn’t he?

Darren: She’s not an unattractive woman but Ron’s got no interest in her whatsoever. He’s more interested in the local records.

Dr. Lauren: She’s really, really throwing herself at him and he’s not having any of it. He’s very much into dealing with the task at hand. He’s not interested in any fun with the journalist.

Darren: What I thought might happen is that when he’s looking through the copies of the old newspapers, the camera would pull back to reveal that she’d got her hand down his trousers.

Dr. Lauren: She disappears for a bit to let him get on with his research.

Darren: She leaves him completely alone in her office, at which point some suspenseful photocopying action happens.

Dr. Lauren: OH MY GOD! That photocopying sequence! I laughed my arse off. He’s got the biggest book I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s like the fucking Domesday Book. It’s like that massive book that KISS released a few years ago that was the size of a gravestone.

[Darren is laughing so hard that he’s having a coughing fit]

Dr. Lauren: There’s a very protracted scene where he’s found the one article he wants in this giant book and he tries to get it into the photocopier and this goes on for minutes. It’s hilarious.

Darren: We’ve all had problems photocopying stuff but I’ve never seen it made into a point of suspense. Oh, I haven’t quite got it in, the photocopy’s no good, I’m going to have to try again.

Dr. Lauren: That reminds me. When I was at college, me and a few of my friends – I can’t really remember how this came about – photocopying was a euphemism for masturbating.

Darren: Ah, okay.

Dr. Lauren: Whoever was teaching our class, if the teacher said “I’ve just got to do some photocopying”, we’d all be there going “Hur hur hur”. So you talking about photocopying and talking about having to jam in it just set me off.

Darren: Once Ron’s struggles with the photocopier are over, it’s well into the evening and Vicky shows up again. She’s changed clothes. Does she bring a bottle of wine with her?

Dr. Lauren: She does bring a bottle of wine and she’s taken her glasses off.

Darren: She’s trying a different tack. She’s maybe thinking “The intellectual look didn’t work so I’m going full on slutty now”. Like she hasn’t been draping herself over him from the minute he got there. But again, Ron’s having none of it.

Dr. Lauren: I thought for a second that she was going to take her coat off and only be wearing something like a negligee under it.

Darren: There is another line I made a note of in terms of driving people through the exposition in this. When he finds the article he needs, Ron says, aloud, “Ten year old Dolly Cooper. That’s it!”.

Dr. Lauren: So we find out that the little girl is Dolly Cooper, who was ten when she died in 1980. I’m assuming this is set in the present day when the film was made.

Darren: Yeah, so they’ve moved on around nine or ten years.

Dr. Lauren: Yes.

Darren: Ron goes to visit Miss Bloor, a wealthy local woman who is involved with Dolly because she took Dolly and her mother under her wing when she found out they were living rough. As she said “I was overwhelmed by their misfortune”.

Dr. Lauren: And while she’s telling the story we get a lovely, hazy, soft-focus montage. This woman takes a shine to Dolly and although she employs Dolly’s mother as a servant, she takes Dolly out to buy her loads of clothes.

Darren: There’s shots of them eating sandwiches in the kitchen.

Dr. Lauren: And wandering through a park together. Then we learn what happened to Dolly. One day, Miss Bloor was going for a walk with Dolly when there was the most comedic, cartoonish kidnap sequence I have ever seen in which the garden labourers are just hiding behind a tree.

Darren: The tree one of them chooses to hide behind couldn’t hide me or you.

Dr. Lauren: No!

Darren: It’s the most sorry looking tree and there’s a stocky garden labourer trying to look invisible behind it.

Dr. Lauren: It’s like something out of Wacky Races. This woman and Dolly are wandering down this path. The two blokes literally run up behind, pick the child up and leg it and this woman doesn’t even fucking notice. She’s still walking and chatting away to herself.

Darren: She goes about a hundred yards before she’s even realised the person she was with isn’t there any more.

Dr. Lauren: She’s the worst fucking babysitter ever.

Darren: The two dastardly garden labourers ask for a ransom because they think Dolly is the rich woman’s kid. Even though they try to explain that she isn’t, they still ask for the same amount of money which is difficult to put together.

Dr. Lauren: They ask for a ransom of $10,000 and, as the woman says, it was on a Friday and all the banks were closed so she couldn’t even try to get the money together. Unfortunately, she’s only got three and a half grand kicking around her house, which seems normal to me. I don’t know about you.

Darren: Well…

Dr. Lauren: All these thousands of pounds people have stashed around their houses in shoeboxes.

Darren: We’ve all got that amount of money just lying around, I’m sure.

Dr. Lauren: Maybe this is what women did at the time. Hide loads of cash around their house.

Darren: The garden labourers must know the banks aren’t open but they don’t take this as an excuse. There’s a grisly discovery soon after. Miss Bloor and Dolly’s mother find a coffin with blood on the outside.

Dr. Lauren: We don’t even know how they find it! It juts cuts to a scene where the two women are looking at a small coffin with a bloody handprint on it and a bit of a kid’s dress sticking out of the lid.

Darren: If it wasn’t ridiculous up to this point, which it clearly is, this is when it goes off-the-scale ridiculous. At no point do either of these women think “I know this is going to be horrible but maybe we should have a look inside”.

Dr. Lauren: They don’t even call the police when the kid goes missing. They decide to sort it out of their own volition. They try to negotiate with the kidnappers and that goes awry. The kidnappers then send a coffin with the dress poking out and a big bloody handprint on it but at no point do either of the women look inside the coffin and they arrange a secret burial without looking in it, without telling anyone and without reporting the death. They just go to the priest and say “Will you do this backstreet funeral for my daughter, please?”.

Darren: The priest is like “Yeah, that’ll be fine”.

Dr. Lauren: If you are gonna arrange a shady, secret funeral then why would you pay for a fucking giant grave monument with a lifesize image of the dead person on it?

Darren: “We want to keep this hush hush but we also want to have the world’s most enormous memorial”.

Dr. Lauren: It reminded me of some of the memorials you get around Père Lachaise in Paris that do have life-size statues of actual people, This one looked like it was made out of polystyrene and Blu-Tack.

Darren: They’ve gone for a classic look but the budget for this obviously wasn’t huge and it really shows. The gravestone in this one is not going to end up on the cover of a Dead Can Dance album.

Dr. Lauren: No, it’s not. So they have the secret funeral and poor Dolly’s mom is so distraught that she tops herself. They find her hanging. And Miss Bloor doesn’t really give a fuck, does she?

Darren: She doesn’t react in a particularly shocked way. It’s less “Oh shit, there’s someone hanging from the rafters”, more like “I think I might have left the iron on”.

Dr. Lauren: When you’re out somewhere and you think you might have left the front door unlocked or the gas on or your hair straighteners plugged in.

Darren: She comes in, you see the bottom of the legs, and she kinds of goes “Hmm, that’s interesting”.

Dr. Lauren: So that’s kind of the end of her story for now, right?

Darren: Yes.

Dr. Lauren: So she’s told that to Ron. It’s all done in a floaty, hazy, dream sequence sort of way.

Darren: Ron heads back to see Dr. McGregor to catch him up on what’s been happening and then Dr. McGregor pulls out the big reveal. He hasn’t been telling Ron everything. He’s left out a very important piece of information.

Dr. Lauren: Which I think is really short-sighted of him. Why the fuck didn’t he say this in the first place? It could have saved Ron loads of time if he’d been told this earlier.

Darren: And Ron’s been paid for all of this.

Dr. Lauren: Dr. McGregor is obviously not short of a bob or two. He gave Ron two grand up front.

Darren: So after the flashback from Miss Bloor, you now get a flashback from Dr. McGregor in his slightly younger days. Unfortunately, they don’t have anyone who looks like a slightly younger version of John Ireland, so you rarely see him in this sequence and when you do you only see him from the back. He reminisces about how he was involved in a relationship. This sequence is entirely inappropriate.

Dr. Lauren: It turns out he’s knocking off* one of his nurses who is the woman who is Dolly’s mother. This whole sequence with their flirty relationship was like something from Confessions Of A Window Cleaner.

Darren: Nymphomaniac women seem to be running through this movie. You’ve got Vicky who can’t keep her hands to herself and then you’ve got McGregor’s nurse who’s phoning him up at all times of the day to meet in a place where they can have it off.

Dr. Lauren: She just will not keep her clothes on in front of him.

Darren: And the accompanying voice-over is done with all the tact and subtlety this movie deserves. This is the point where I had to stop the movie because I was laughing so hard. There’s a soft focus shot of them getting it on and over the top of this a voice says “Love was anytime, and anywhere”. My sides couldn’t take any more, I had to have five minutes away from the film.

Dr. Lauren: It turns out that Dr. McGregor is a massive fucking prick.

Darren: He’s horrible.

Dr. Lauren: After he’s had all his sexy adventure times, he knocks up this nurse and then casually suggests that she should get an abortion.

Darren: He really is a piece of shit.

Dr. Lauren: She’s all like “What about our baby?”

Darren: The voice-over kicks in again during this bit. On screen, she says “I’m pregnant” and then the voice-over says “She became pregnant”. YES, I KNOW! SHE JUST SAID IT! I LITERALLY JUST HEARD HER SAYING THAT! Why are you telling me this again?

Dr. Lauren: The dialogue’s like that all the way through. Why make the point once when you can make it fifteen times? It batters you over the head with all of this exposition. It’s amazing.

Darren: I was surprised that I didn’t cut back to the present day and have Ron ask “So, she was pregnant then?” so Dr. McGregor could say “Yes, she was pregnant”. And then Ron turns to camera and says “Hmm, she was pregnant”.

Dr. Lauren: This is like Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace.

Darren: I did get Darkplace vibes through some of this.

Dr. Lauren: Definitely.

Darren: Unfortunately, for this movie, Darkplace was meant to be terrible. There was serious intent with this one. It then lurches from a slightly spooky horror mystery to a last half hour which kind of turns into a mob thriller.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah! It’s such a weird turn. Ron does some more investigating and he tracks down one of the kidnappers who’s just got out of prison and he’s in some sort of rock band who play a shitty bar somewhere. Then it almost turns into a kind of buddy detective thing for a while as the guy who’s got out of prison helps Ron for no apparent reason. He doesn’t seem particularly remorseful about what he’s done but he agrees to help.

Darren: The band is called The Tin Eddies and it’s one of those situations where the filmmakers obviously know the band so these musical numbers are shoehorned in. And the band is followed around by three of the most bizarre dancers you will ever see on screen.

Dr. Lauren: At this point in the film I had no idea where it was going, I had no idea what was happening any more. I didn’t know how it would relate to the mystery of the dead girl. It had just gone completely broken arrow at this point.

Darren: When they’re delving into this ex-kidnapper’s life, Ron says he’ll help out if he’ll dish the dirt and they meet in a hotel room. So they’re both talking in this bedroom and, to be honest, the way it’s shot made me think they were going to end up fucking each other.

[Dr. Lauren bursts out laughing]

Dr. Lauren: I didn’t think that. I thought it was really weird but I didn’t think they were going to get it on. Maybe Ron is gay. I can’t think of many single men that would turn down the nymphomaniac journalist.

Darren: For all of Vicky’s over-eagerness, she’s obviously intelligent and quite sassy but Ron’s got no interest in her at all.

Dr. Lauren: Not at all. He wants to find out what happened to the dead girl.

Darren: And he finds out the dead girl may not be dead at all.

Dr. Lauren: Ron questions the guy in the band about Dolly and how they killed her and the guy’s like “We didn’t fucking kill her”. Which is really confusing at this point because you think “Well, she was buried”.

Darren: It turns out that the other kidnapper is connected to organised crime and owes money to three of the most ludicrous gangsters in cinema history.

Dr. Lauren: It’s not exactly Reservoir Dogs, is it?

Darren: This was ’91 and I’m pretty sure Goodfellas was out the previous year. This is at the very opposite end of the spectrum to Goodfellas in terms of portraying the gangster lifestyle. I’m astonished one of them didn’t have a violin case with a machine gun in it.

Dr. Lauren: They’re caricatures of gangsters. One of them, judging by his outfit, looked like he should have been in a ska band rather than being a gangster.

Darren: One of them’s in the classic pin-striped suit. He looks like he was in Bugsy Malone and never took the suit off, it grew with him.

Dr. Lauren: He does look like that.

Darren: So the gangsters show up, or “the boys from Detroit” as they’re referred to.

Dr. Lauren: You wouldn’t mess with the boys from Detroit, would you?

Darren: Absolutely not. If I was doing something and I got told the boys from Detroit were coming in I’d be thinking “Ah shit, that’s it for me now”. There’s a bit of a double switch by the other kidnapper because he says he’ll take him to see Dolly but it’s all a bit of a ruse.

Dr. Lauren: Is this the shoe shine guy?

Darren: It’s the shoe shine guy.

Dr. Lauren: So the other kidnapper, not the one in the rock band, the other one, it turns out he is working as a bookie in a strip mall but he’s masquerading as a shoe shine man to cover up his nefarious activities and he’s working for this organised crime outfit. Ron goes to see him and asks about Dolly. The guy in the rock band said he didn’t kill Dolly and he left the other guy,

Darren: He ran out, leaving the other guy to take care of it and Ron thinks the other guy might have killed Dolly but it turns out that not only has he not killed Dolly, he’s adopted her and she’s living with him.

Dr. Lauren: She’s still alive, she’s about nineteen years old and as for the whole shenanigans with the coffin, they just put a dress and a note in there to scare Miss Bloor and the mother into coughing up the money. They didn’t even look inside the coffin and presumed there was a corpse in there so they buried it and then the mother killed herself for no reason at all.

Darren: What a faux pas.

Dr. Lauren: That is a faux pas.

Darren: There’s not really a huge amount of sympathy for the mother. They just brush it off.

Dr. Lauren: To be honest, if she’s going to be stupid enough not to look in the coffin, I’ve got no sympathy for her either. Fuck her.

Darren: I can see your point. Slightly harsh, though.

Dr. Lauren: I think the lesson we can all take home from this is that if anybody ever sends you a coffin that may or may not have your dead child in it, please check.

Darren: And because there’s a bloody handprint in it, don’t think “Well, that’s enough for me”.

Dr. Lauren: They’d actually put a note inside the coffin. If they’d bothered to look in there, they would have found out they had until a certain day to get the money.

Darren: Ron goes to the guy who says he’ll prove she’s alive and then go back to his place but the shoe shine guy pulls a switch, knocks Ron out and, well, I was going to say ties him up but this is tying someone up in literally the loosest sense. That guy is never going to get any Boy Scout badges for knot tying. If there had been a slight breeze those ropes would have fallen off.

Dr. Lauren: It’s one bit of rope around his chest. Has he even got his hands tied up?

Darren: I’m not even sure. Still, Ron proves to be the most useless person at escaping from any kind of bonds. If he’d wiggled a bit the whole thing would have fallen apart.

Dr. Lauren: He could have bobbed down and would have got out of it. He just had to bend his knees to escape.

Darren: So the boys from Detroit have been called in to pay the shoe shine guy a visit but also to dispose of Ron.

Dr. Lauren: But at the same time Ron is tied up in the same room Dolly is in. She’s sitting on a bed and she’s very quiet and compliant. Apparently, she’s just lived in a basement for ten years and doesn’t seem that bothered about it. She’s calling the shoe shine guy Dad and thinking this is all perfectly normal.

Darren: Movies have to work at least on their own internal logic and this doesn’t work on any sort of logic. It’s constantly making up its own rules, which on one level is quite fun but on another level is unbelievably stupid.

Dr. Lauren: I don’t know if you know many ten-year-old children but I used to be a Brownie leader. That may come as a surprise to some people.

Darren: I’m just taking that in. I didn’t know that.

Dr. Lauren: Did you not know that?

Darren: No.

Dr. Lauren: I did it for about four years. The ages of those kids were between seven and ten and if I would have taken any of those kids and told them they had to go live in a basement for ten years, I can’t think of one of them that would have put up with that shit. They would have questioned it. They would have tried to get out. They wouldn’t have said “Okay, I live here now”.

Darren: Every time she asks the shoe shine man why she can’t go outside he says there’s loads of people after them and that she needs to stay there and every time she says “Oh, all right”.

Dr. Lauren: I can’t see that flying with them. Even if you could persuade a ten-year-old to accept that was true, there is no fucking way that any teenager would have stayed in that basement for all that time.

Darren: No. It is utterly, utterly ridiculous. It comes back to bite her as well because not only do the mob want to get rid of Ron, they also think Dolly’s a bit of a liability as well because she’s seen too much.

Dr. Lauren: And Ron tries to persuade her to help him escape but she’s incapable of untying the one knot in the rope that’s holding Ron captive so she’s fucking useless.

Darren: The shoe shine guy says it wasn’t part of the deal to kill Dolly as well and then, not unexpectedly, shoe shine guy bites the dust.

Dr. Lauren: He does, pretty rapidly.

Darren: The boys from Detroit finish him off.

Dr. Lauren: To be honest, I had no feelings either way for any of the characters in this film so I didn’t really care.

Darren: Considering the shoe shine guy is portrayed as a bit of a sleaze throughout the movie, the fact that he gets a last-minute pang of conscience and gets shot for his trouble doesn’t really seem to fly either. He’s selling people out for the entire course of the movie, he still has his betting thing going so for him to throw it away isn’t that convincing. Anyway, he gets bumped off but instead of the mafiosi shooting everybody on site one of them says he has a better idea so they concoct this idea where, instead of shooting everyone right there and buggering off, they take Ron and Dolly to a scrapyard where they’re going to stick them in a car and have it crushed. So they take the time to drive them across town to this scrapyard and shove them in this car crushing machine but then don’t have the sense to stick around until it’s done. They set it going and then think “That’s fine”.

Dr. Lauren: It’s like a Batman villain scenario where they have a really elaborate plan like sharks with lasers on their heads or whatever but they don’t hang around to check that Batman carks it.

Darren: Maybe they think that because Ron’s been so fucking useless at trying to get out of one rope that there’s no way he’ll escape the car crusher. And that happens to be true.

Dr. Lauren: It does happen to be true.

Darren: He’s tied up in the back of the car and he has just as much trouble getting out of the ropes there as he did in the shoe shine bloke’s dingy apartment.

Dr. Lauren: It turns out that the only person with even an ounce of sense in this entire thing is the nymphomaniac journalist because she’s being following Ron from the very beginning and she stops the car crushing machine. Her lust for Ron is such that she’s pursued him across the place and she’s rescued Ron and Dolly from the car crusher. I can see the Mafia’s logic of the car crushing machine. When you’re crushed up in a car cube, people are not going to know you’re in there. No one’s going to try to get you out. It’s quite a good plan. I can see how it’s not necessarily sensible to drive them across a city when you could just shoot them in a basement that no one knows about. The whole “crushing someone up in a car cube” I actually find quite ingenious.

Darren: It sends a message. In this case, I don’t know who it sends a message to because everybody else is dead. They don’t even stick around to see the car even get a bit crushed. It gives the roof a little prod and they’re “That’s fine, he’s dead, let’s go”.

Dr. Lauren: I’m now starting to get sucked into thinking about the mechanics of crushing people inside a car in a car crusher and how that would work. Car crushers do crush cars up a lot. I wonder how much a corpse would get crushed up. I wonder what volume it would be when it had finished.

Darren: Hmm.

Dr. Lauren: There’s definitely a research paper in this somewhere that somebody might have already done. If anyone’s reading this and they know of any forensic papers about people being crushed in car crushers let me know because I’d love to read it.

Darren: Yeah, I’m now interested in it as well. It’s more interesting than anything that goes on at the end of this movie.

Dr. Lauren: With the way that Dolly reacts to everything at the end of this film all I can think of is that at some point before we meet her again as an adult she’s had some sort of backstreet lobotomy because she just does whatever anybody tells her.

Darren: And even when she’s in the car that’s about to be crushed she has this blank expression on her face.

Dr. Lauren: She’s completely dead behind the eyes.

Darren: There’s no panic, there’s no excitement, it’s just “Oh, you know, getting crushed by a car, whatevs”.

Dr. Lauren: I’m genuinely not sure if it’s the actress who’s terrible or because that’s just how the character’s been written. Maybe the actress is really good and that’s what she was given to work with. Maybe she was told to be like that.

Darren: She might have read the script and thought “I’m gonna phone this in, this is shit”. So Vicky, nympho news librarian and ace reporter, shows up in time to get them out. Even when Ron gets out of the car, he can’t get out of the ropes so he has to be freed. It’s a good advert for girl power because Vicky ends up saving the day. Ron’s just a plank who gets himself into scrapes and can’t get out of them.

Dr. Lauren: You know what? I’d have quite liked it if Vicky had turned up with that massive book and battered the mafia over the head with it.

Darren: It’s a shame she didn’t take the mafia on but not only has she saved Ron and Dolly from the car crusher, she’s phoned the cops in advance. The mafia guys are arrested, it all turns out okay.

Dr. Lauren: It’s very much a Scooby Doo ending.

Darren: It is a Scooby Doo ending. They just needed some to say they’d have got away with it if hadn’t been for those meddling kids.

Dr. Lauren: They take someone’s mask off and find out it’s the pesky janitor.

Darren: Everyone goes back to Dr, McGregor’s, including Dolly. I mean, he hasn’t seen her at all, because he fucked off before she was born.

Dr. Lauren: If there’d been a proper Scooby Doo ending they could have revealed that the shoe shine guy and Dr. McGregor were the same person!

Darren: That would have been better than anything they came up with here.

Dr. Lauren: They could have ripped the shoe shine guy’s face off and it would have been Dr. McGregor underneath.

Darren: “It was you all along!”

Dr. Lauren: That would have been a great ending.

Darren: So Dolly’s now in a life of privilege.

Dr. Lauren: Do you think she’s bothered about that?

Darren: Not really.

Dr. Lauren: She doesn’t seem that arsed that she’s got a new dad and there’s no proof either way that the shoe shine guy or Dr. McGregor is her dad or what.

Darren: If you’re believing the script, the nurse who Dr. McGregor was having the fling with was putting it out all over. Who knows?

Dr. Lauren: If you’ve been living in a basement for ten years, the prospect of living in that massive house is probably quite nice.

Darren: At that point, Dolly doesn’t seem quite as excited as anyone else would be at the change in circumstances. Although she turns from basement-dwelling teen to socialite in remarkably quick time. Ron goes back to pick up his pay cheque and to say goodbye. Dolly thanks Ron, and Ron’s on his way out but we find out he’s got someone else with him. It’s Vicky, the nympho ace reporter.

Dr. Lauren: There’s quite a protracted scene. It’s not like at the end of a James Bond film where there’s some sex pun and that’s it.

Darren: It’s quite uncomfortable. If he’d said something like “Guess what I’m photocopying of yours tonight?” and winked at the camera that would still have been better than having to sit with them for another two minutes while they make small talk.

Dr. Lauren: It’s super awkward. Do you think they’re going to head back to Vicky’s house to do some furious photocopying?

Darren: That photocopier is going to get some serious action.

Dr. Lauren: Eww.

Darren: So they drive off into the sunset. Ron’s eventually succumbed to Vicky’s charms.

Dr. Lauren: It doesn’t seem like he’s that interested in her but she’s worn him down and it’s expected of him.

Darren: I wouldn’t have been surprised if the last scene would have had him say “Oh, go on, then”.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah!

Darren: I think the final reveal is that Ron’s bi. He’s unsure of Vicky but he’s thinking that men and women are both okay so he’s going to give Vicky a shot.

Dr. Lauren: Vicky’s a voracious sexual predator and unlikely hero.

Darren: She is. And the best character in the movie.

Dr. Lauren: She is the best character in the movie for sure.

Darren: So, thoughts?

Dr. Lauren: Oh my God, this film is so bad but I was captivated by how bad it was.

Darren: It’s terrible but in a way that you can’t take your eyes off.

Dr. Lauren: When the third act kicks in, that’s the point I thought “What the fuck was all that stuff about the old guy having dreams about the dead girl?”. She wasn’t really dead. It’s not explained. It shambles from being this crappy ghost story into being this pseudo-gritty crime thriller. It’s like opposing halves of two different jigsaws that someone is trying to smash together into one cohesive picture. It’ll never work.

Darren: It’s a schizophrenic film. It’s a ghost story which ends up having no ghost in it whatsoever.

Dr. Lauren: And no explanation as to why anyone thought there was a ghost in the first place.

Darren: It’s the sort of thing which I’ll recommend to certain people. Some people would visit physical violence upon me if I recommended it to them.

Dr. Lauren: I am certain I will watch this again with friends and drinks.

Darren: You can sit there and be astounded at how inept huge chunks of this movie are.

Dr. Lauren: In some places, it felt quite long. It’s only an hour and a half, right?

Darren: Yeah, it’s around that. It does take its time but you’re only ever a few minutes away from the next stupefyingly idiotic or massively inappropriate moment.

Dr. Lauren: It was a journey.

Darren: Genre fans should check it out and then spend the next few minutes afterwards thinking “What the fuck did I just watch?”.

Dr, Lauren: If you like terrible, trashy films and you can appreciate them for how hilariously bad they are….I was thinking about John McPhail a lot when I was watching it, he’d probably like it. If you’re into your Secret Obsessions and Demon Winds of this world this is for you.

Darren: It is. I’ve got a soft spot for Secret Obsession. It’s glossy and it’s kind of aware of how daft is even though it’s played straight. Graveyard Story is so po-faced and straight down the line…

Dr. Lauren: It takes itself so seriously! I should say as well that the music in it is just shocking.

Darren: Oh, it’s awful.

Dr. Lauren: It’s like demos you get on a Casio keyboard that you got for Christmas when you were a child.

Darren: The score to this is dreadful.

Dr. Lauren: I wonder if you can get it anywhere.

Darren: I’m not sure I’d be rushing out to buy it, to be honest.

Dr. Lauren: I might look for it. If I find it I might get it you for Christmas.

Darren: Oh God!

Dr. Lauren: You’ll be obliged to listen to it out of politeness.

Darren: A few years ago I got the Suspiria soundtrack to Christmas and Alison made me turn it off as we were driving around various places so this year I could say “I’ve got a new soundtrack, it’s Graveyard Story, listen to this”.

Dr, Lauren: I’ll apologise to Alison in advance then.

Darren: Is there any point trying to assign a score to this?

Dr. Lauren: No.

Darren: It’s a futile exercise. Is it a one? Is it a five? I’ve no idea.

Dr. Lauren: It’s going to be a total Marmite film. Some people, like us, are going to love it because it’s so fucking terrible and some people are going to absolutely hate it.

Darren: I know a few people who would really enjoy this but I also knew a few people who would hate it so much.

Dr. Lauren: Should we leave it there?

Darren: We should. So our score is anything from a one to a five.

Dr. Lauren: Yeah. Technically it means that it’s an average of two and a half but I don’t think that’s fair.

Darren: No, it’s not fair. The Graveyard Story transcends mere scoring.

Dr. Lauren: I think it’s unscoreable.

Darren: It is. We should leave everybody to make their own minds up.

THE SCORES

Dr. Lauren: ??? / 5

Darren: ??? / 5

*Knocking off: Sounds like murder but it’s also a term for sexy adventure times.

About celluloiddeej

Film fan, horror festival goer, karaoke enthusiast, cat whisperer, world traveller, complete idiot. Happy to chat with you on your podcast/whatever if you can stand the Yorkshire accent.

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