Ghost Tour (2015) ***
Writer-director Erik Bloomquist, whose two-reeler The Cobblestone Corridor icareviews covered earlier this year, returns with the eight-minute short Ghost Tour. Set in 1973, the story concerns milquetoast tour guide Richard Sawyer (William Bloomfield) and his final night of duties at the reputedly haunted and soon-to-be-closed museum at the Clemens School for Boys, where decades ago thirty students and teachers mysteriously perished. Sawyer, who only believes himself to be “haunted by memories, not by ghosts”, encounters evidence to the contrary on this particular evening, when three of his guests refuse to leave the premises after the tour. Tied into this event and the subsequent revelation is Richard’s brother William (William Youmans), the curator of the museum.
At only eight minutes, Ghost Tour is in a hurry to get through a lot of exposition, which rather cramps the viewing experience, forcing the audience to try to establish sympathy and interest in a character with whom next to no time has been spent, so that Ghost Tour would benefit from feature-expansion to allow for the deliberateness of pace becoming such material. This viewer was also left desiring something more in the way of a motivation for the heinous crime the docent discovers. With some elaboration, perhaps double the length, one might imagine this yarn serving as one of the segments in an old Amicus portmanteau film. Ghost Tour‘s look is nice and stately, Bloomquist having found an ideal location in the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. More an indication of potentials than a finished whole, the short is nonetheless a lesson in editorial concision. Three stars.