We Can’t Believe This Dumb Movie is Real: Roland Emmerich’s ‘Ghost Chase’
Director Roland Emmerich isn’t known for making the best movies; but films like Independence Day, 2012, and the Puff Daddy-infused Godzilla remake seem like stone cold masterpieces compared to one of his early works; 1987’s Ghost Chase, AKA Hollywood Monster, AKA a movie that will make you beg for the logical consistency of Moonfall.
Essentially, Ghost Chase is E.T. but with a dead butler. Let me say that again: this movie is Steven Spielberg’s family classic E.T. but with a deceased manservant instead of a lovable alien. It follows two young filmmakers, Fred and Warren, as they try to make it in Hollywood – and when we say young, we mean young. They look like two 14-year-olds who conned their way into this production Catch Me if You Can-style.
Warren inherits an antique clock from his dead grandfather – naturally, it's haunted. Fred meanwhile starts having nightmares involving the grandfather and his diminutive butler, then he decides that their latest film project (which, by the way, is already in production) should now be about these random dead real-life characters. And instead of casting, say, a human being in the role of the butler, he builds an animatronic puppet to play the part, using whatever the opposite of Hollywood magic is.
The ghost of the butler then leaves the clock and possesses the robo-butler, resulting in a character that can only be described as “What if E.T. dressed up like the corpse of Danny DeVito?”
As the boys go on a quest for more inheritance money (nothing says ‘80s heroism like a couple of trust fund kids), they’re being hunted by an evil movie producer played by Paul Gleeson of The Breakfast Club and Die Hard fame. He even sends an assassin to kill these ki– sorry, these grown adults. Luckily the ghost butler uses his magical powers that consist … of smacking him in the balls with a baseball bat.
In the end, they brave a haunted house, score the inheritance money, and even fit in a quick make-out session in the back of a limo being driven by a literal goddamn puppet.
Emmerich later claimed that the film’s “scathing reviews” from German critics drove him to move to Hollywood. So without that horrifying butler puppet, we may never have gotten to see Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum save humanity with a floppy disk.
You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter!
Top Image: Centropolis Film Productions