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|
Ghost Rider is a US short film on bus safety, shown primarily in American schools in the 1980s.
After enduring his first day of junior high school, Kevin is befriended on the bus ride home by a girl who offers him a sympathetic ear, saying she knows what's it's like to be new. 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.
While doing his homework Kevin passes his mother the pencil, and she states that the house is full of them - the Donnelly's used to live in the same house, before moving away after their daughter - Tracy - was killed in a bus accident.
Kevin realises that Tracy is a ghost, and anticipates meeting her again on the bus. Tracy is flirtatious with him, and before disappearing, gives him some homework - a bus safety manual to read. At home Kevin ignores the leaflet, so Tracy haunts him; moving his weights, changing his radio stations, and fluttering the manual until he agrees to read it, learning emergency procedures as he does so.
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 when there was an accident, and she warns him that he will need to know what to do soon. As she states this, one of the other students sees a pickup truck overtaking dangerously, only to meet another vehicle coming towards them. The schoolbus is forced off the road, knocking out the driver and sending the bus off the road and dangling over the edge of a cliff.
Remembering what he'd read, and with some coaching from Tracy, Kevin evacuates the other students before reviving the driver and both getting off the bus which is now empty and with no counterweights then falls down the cliff.
The other students hail Kevin as a hero, but he is concerned for Tracy, calling her name until she appears in the distance - only to wave goodbye and fade away again. Upset, Kevin is consoled and led back to the group by two of the students, one of whom was injured in the crash.
- Kevin - Doug Edmunds
- Tracy Donnelly - Wendy Taylor
- Bus driver - W Clair King
- Teacher - Gary Abdullah
- Kevin's mother - Debra Thomspon
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 26,000 times as of April 2017. (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.