Ghost Rider (1982 film)
|Directed by||Chuck Ungar|
|Produced by||Chuck Ungar|
|Written by||Chuck Ungar|
|Starring||Doug Edmunds, Wendy Taylor|
|Edited by||Chuck Ungar|
|Running time||15 minutes|
Ghost Rider is a US short film on bus safety, shown primarily in schools in the 1980s.
Review by Eric Petersen, Internet Archive:
Kevin (Doug Edmunds) is the sad and lonely new kid in town. After enduring his first day of junior high school, Kevin is befriended on the bus ride home by a sweet girl (Wendy Taylor) who offers him a sympathetic ear. She drops her pencil and Kevin picks it up, only to find that the girl has vanished. Her name is inscribed on the pencil - Tracy Donnelly.
The next time Kevin sees Tracy on the bus, she gives him a bus safety manual and begs him to read it. The other kids wonder who he's talking to. Then Kevin finds out that Tracy is a ghost. She died in a bus accident, and what's more, she used to live in the same house as Kevin.
The bus safety manual goes unread, so an invisible Tracy haunts Kevin at home while he's working out. Through some nicely done special effects, she moves his weights around and floats the manual over to him. Finally, he agrees to read it.
The next time Kevin sees Tracy on the bus, she explains that she never read the bus safety manual, so she didn't know what do to save herself and others when the time came. Then, suddenly, a pickup truck strikes Kevin's bus, knocking out the driver and sending the bus hurtling off the road and dangling over the edge of a cliff.
Remembering what he'd read, (and with some coaching from Tracy) Kevin gets all the kids safely off the bus. Then he revives the driver and gets him out. The bus plunges off the cliff and crashes. Kevin is a hero, the kids cheer him, but he's forgotten about Tracy. Refusing to believe that Tracy went down with the bus, Kevin scours the area. Finally, she calls out to him. He sees her, she waves him a sad goodbye, and vanishes, fading away before his eyes. Kevin is heartbroken.
With its supernatural/love story plotline, highly unusual for a short film designed to be shown to middle and high school students, Ghost Rider has become something of a cult item in the three decades since it was made. The film gained more attention with its inclusion in the "A/V Geeks" section of the Internet Archive's Moving Pictures Archive; both star Edmunds and writer-director Ungar posted messages on the board, relaying their experiences on making the film. The movie has been downloaded from the archive over 22,000 times as of February 2014. (In the fall of 2010, AV Geeks founder Skip Elsheimer had Edmunds do a voice-over narration of the film for a bus safety video compilation he curated for Kino, which remains unreleased.)
Doug Edmunds has never appeared in another film (nor have any of the other actors, including co-star Wendy Taylor), but Edmunds wound up in show business anyway, as a musician. He co-founded the power-pop band the Gladhands, which released three well-received albums in the 1990s, and continues to write, record and perform to this day. His latest band project is called The Stars Explode, formed in 2007.