Ghost (1990) (part 8 of 8)
Later that night, Carl is all alone in the office. He’s still at his computer, typing away to no avail. Patrick sits in an office chair watching him with a smug expression. He tosses out pleased-as-punch observations, all about how “they” are going to kill Carl and “bury [him] right next to Jimmy Hoffa.” How is Jimmy these days, by the way? Send him my regards, would you?
Patrick uses his spooky Zen power to push his chair across the room. Carl is startled as he watches an empty chair sail to the other corner of the room. Carl asks if anyone’s there, and then he shuts off the computer.
He asks again, and the computer turns itself back on. He sees the keys typing themselves, and suddenly “MURDERER” appears on the screen. Carl screams, wondering who’s doing this. Just then, the screen fills with “SAMSAMSAMSAMSAMSAMSAM…” 20 GOTO 10 wasn’t impressive in Superman III, and it’s not doing a thing for me here.
Carl picks up the monitor and throws it to the floor. In the next shot, he’s over at Demi’s apartment. Demi asks if anything’s wrong, and Carl says he has something to ask her. Patrick, trailing behind Carl and reeking verily of Eau de Smug, impishly says, “Yeah, he needs to borrow four million dollars!”
Carl frantically demands to know what that “psychic lady” told her about Sam. So Demi casually lets it slip that Whoopi was down at the bank today, closing an account. Oh, and her name is actually “Rita Miller”. Drums thunder on the soundtrack, as you can almost see Patrick’s world collapsing in on him.
Carl claims to have an upset stomach, so Demi goes to get him an antacid from upstairs. Most likely, from that half-used pack of Rolaids she’s been saving. Patrick then decides this is the best time to provoke the panicked guy who’s already proven himself capable of murder.
Carl suddenly finds himself pushed into the kitchen by shoves from an unseen assailant. His sweat cranks up to eleven as he whimpers, “[Patrick]?”
Demi is still upstairs as Carl decides to take control of the situation. He snarls to his unseen attacker, asking where the money is, and if that “psychic lady” has it. Patrick’s smirk finally starts to fade when Carl turns on the stove and holds a piece of paper over it, threatening to torch the place. Patrick looks horrified. Nice going, dumbass.
Carl then grabs a knife and says he’ll cut Demi’s throat. Demi comes down the stairs, and Carl whispers that the money had better be back by 11, or Demi is dead. Once again, nice going, jackass. Seriously, did Patrick spend even a single second visualizing the ultimate outcome of his big revenge plot?
Demi asks Carl what’s got him so upset. He says he has some last minute business at the bank to attend to, but he’ll be back later. Patrick realizes that Whoopi’s in danger, girl, so he hurries over to her apartment.
Cut to a close-up on a TV screen, which is currently showing The Arsenio Hall Show. Dated? This movie? No way. On the screen, Arsenio says, “Don’t try to adjust your television. I’m black.” And soon to be grateful for all those discount long distance phone service ads putting food in his mouth.
Whoopi and her assistants (do they live with her, or what?) argue about watching this or Love Connection. Just then, Patrick shows up and tells Whoopi she has to get out of there. Her assistants just mutter to themselves as she animatedly argues with Patrick. He then looks out the window and sees that legendary comedy duo of Willie Lopez and Carl drive up.
They break in on the ground floor, which gets Whoopi and her assistants moving. They take refuge in a neighbor’s apartment, while Willie and Carl split up to look for them. Willie enters Whoopi’s apartment, and a community theater production of Poltergeist commences. The door closes by itself, the TV turns on, pictures shake, and knick-knacks fling themselves off the walls at him.
Willie hides in the bathroom. Suddenly, the sink’s hot water faucet turns on, fogging up the mirror. Willie then sees the word “BOO” being written on the mirror, in a bit that calls to mind a similar moment in the giallo classic Deep Red. And I know we’re well past the ninety-minute mark, but it’s still a bit too early in the movie to remind me of the much better films I could be watching, guys.
Willie tears out of there in a primal panic, passing an anxious Carl in the lobby. He then runs out into the street, where Patrick shoves him around a lot. Eventually, he runs directly into the path of a car, a van, and a truck. Ever have one of those days? But frankly, I think his horrible jerry curl was more than enough punishment.
Anyway, Willie is dead, “ironically” becoming a ghost himself. He sees two guys on the corner shaking their heads, while one says, “They snuffed him!” Which is the very first time I’ve heard that terminology used outside of Hellcats.
Oh, but this finally gives us a chance to see what the “Other Ones” look like. You see, when someone is good, God’s Holy Non-Denominational Glowing Spores come to bring them to Heaven. One assumes. But when someone is evil, the Other Ones come to bring them to Hell. Which one also assumes. Hey, you have to assume a lot in a movie about the afterlife where nobody even talks about God.
Anyway, the moans and groans of the Other Ones are indeed creepy, as they literally materialize out of the shadows on the ground. But in appearance, they look more like the offspring of Bakshi’s Black Cheerleaders and the Camera Smudge from Night of Horror.
The Other Ones surround Willie, and then drag him to the deepest pits of Presumably Hell. Where, interestingly enough, the multiplexes are always playing host to a festival of Whoopi Goldberg and Demi Moore movies.
Whoopi rushes back to Demi’s apartment. She has some trouble convincing Demi she’s telling the truth about Patrick, and to let her in. But some cheeserific business with a penny being floated in the air leaves a perfect tear perched on Demi’s cheek, and she opens the door in wonder.
Cut to Demi hanging up the phone and telling Whoopi the police should be here any minute. In yet another suspense/stupidity moment, neither Patrick nor Whoopi thinks to shuttle Demi to a friend’s place, or even to get other people to come over. Because, you see, that would make it much harder for Carl to almost kill her. Thoughtful fellow, that Patrick.
Demi asks again where Patrick is, and once again, he’s sitting beside her. She wishes she could hold him one last time. Whoopi looks thoughtful, and then sighs. This brings us to perhaps the most demented plot point of the entire film, wherein Whoopi declares that Patrick can possess her body, so he can touch Demi one last time. But he wants him to hurry up, before she changes her mind.
And so, we cut to Whoopi and Demi locked in a romantic embrace. Oh, my mistake. It turns out this film is as gutless as a butcher shop’s front window, because all we see is Whoopi taking Demi’s hands, and then a pan around her transforms Whoopi into Patrick. You know, I can understand not wanting to provoke unintentional laughs with a Demi-Whoopi love scene, but why did they introduce the whole “bodily possession” angle in the first place if they didn’t have the balls to follow through with it?
Anyway, Patrick and Demi twirl the night away to “Unchained Melody”. Yes, again. I guess they really wanted to get their money’s worth.
They’re about to kiss, when Patrick is startled out of Whoopi’s body by Carl banging at the door. Patrick lies there weakened, and unable to help. You see, taking control of a physical body temporarily drains a ghost. Aren’t you glad they clumsily established that earlier?
Whoopi and Demi flee to the fire escape and scatter through the unfinished upstairs. (Presumably, it’s the same attic from the opening credits.) Anyway, here’s the big forced action climax as Carl chases them through the attic. There’s a lot of scaffold tossing, and gun fumbling. Carl nearly shoots Whoopi, but an unseen force tackles him.
Carl then grabs Demi and holds her at gunpoint. Suddenly, just when it seems there’s nothing that can save her now, the gun flies out of his hand.
Carl randomly opens a door, only to find ActionPatrick ready to start raining down invisible punches on him. He slowly backs Carl toward an open window. Carl flings a rope and pulley at Patrick, but completely misses.
The pulley swings back Carl’s way, and knocks him through an open window. The pulley swings again, shattering the glass. This leaves a giant blade of glass at the top of the window frame, which shuttles down and impales him, complete with a squirt of blood. That was quite graphic, and a welcome change from the antiseptic good taste that’s coated the picture thus far.
And sure enough, Carl the Ghost suddenly pulls away from his physical body. He finally sees GhostPatrick for the first time, getting a big “uh oh” look on his face. And without much further ado, the Other Ones come along to drag Evil!Carl off to Presumably Hell.
Patrick walks over to where Demi and Whoopi are cowering. He asks if they’re alright, and for no apparent reason, Demi can suddenly hear him. Unfortunately, this psychic breakthrough has happened just in time for God’s Holy Non-Denominational Glowing Spores to make a reappearance.
The Spores illuminate Patrick, and this somehow means Demi can see him, too. At this, an orchestral rendition of “Unchained Melody” permeates the soundtrack. Lovely. I see they spent the same amount of effort on the score as they did on the screenplay.
Patrick stands in front of a blue screen, watching a tableau of barely distinguishable glowing figures in the distance, while blue and pink mists swirl around him. So… Heaven is Queen Frostine‘s castle? I knew it!
He leans in for one more bad effects shot, where Demi sits stock-still while semi-transparent Patrick kisses her. He exchanges parting words with Whoopi, and then begins to say farewell to Demi.
He tells Demi he loves her and always will. She replies, “Ditto.” Sure didn’t see that one coming. No sir.
He steps backwards and says, “It’s amazing, [Demi]. The love inside. You take it with you.” And this is where it occurs to me that it’s probably good Patrick died, because he is just way too deep for this mortal plane, man.
He fades further into the distance and the glowing effects behind him grow more garish, all of it calling to mind the spine tingling moment in Close Encounters when the silhouetted figures of the missing people exit the mothership. But I think it’s okay at this point to remind me of better films, because at least it helps to wash away the memory of this one.
Demi watches him go. He says, “See ya.” Oh, yes, that’s a lovely sentiment. Can’t wait for you to die so we can be together again! You know, Demi is still quite young. More than likely, she’s going to marry again. So what then? I’m guessing there are going to be quite the awkward dinner table conversations in Heaven.
She chokes back “see ya” through the prettiest tears in the world. Patrick steps into the mothership and there’s a fade to black. And with that, it’s off to the credits.
Well, I’m going to give myself a cinematic Christmas present and watch one of my all time favorites, the aforementioned Close Encounters. I wish a happy one for you and yours.
And I think we should all take away an important message about love and sharing from this movie: For Christ’s sake, never ever share your passwords with a coworker. It will always come back to haunt you. And it might even come back to haunt you along with Whoopi Goldberg. And nobody wants that.