Trauma-Scene :: Ghost Ship’s Opening Dance Number

I am unabashedly partial to waterlogged horror, stick a bunch of idiots on a boat, preferably an abandoned one, and I’m so there. If the folks on the boat are battling a soul stealing demon then I’m so there; I’ve already left and come back again. It all stems from my original trauma experience watching SATAN’S TRIANGLE back in the olden days when I still had a soul to steal. That bad boy might as well have branded my forehead because it left me searching for a movie watching experience that can never be equaled. The only mini sub-genre that gives me a comparable amount of pleasure is the ski comedy, particularly if it concerns a lodge that is being threatened with closure by spoiled rich snobs who are begging for their comeuppance. Don’t worry folks, I’m not going to tell you that GHOST SHIP is as good as your standard ski comedy because it’s not. It has all the ingredients, a great cast, awesome looking sets and admirable cinematography. Why, it even has a cool, mid-movie music video insert where you can watch a giant hook impale a woman’s face to the sounds of a jaunty mid-nineties (GHOST SHIP is actually from 2002) sounding trip-hop tune. But alas GHOST SHIP suffers from DARK CASTLE disease, which means as far as the script goes it is just a random sewing together of brainstormed ideas with little concern for good storytelling. I’m just warning you, don’t let GHOST SHIP break your heart. You’re better off with a less flashy movie that really cares about you than GHOST SHIP, which at the end of the day is only using you and will never return your calls.

It should be admitted that even though the film as a whole is a dirty, lying, wallet-snatching scabby-faced hooker that it has one of the greatest kindertraumatic opening scenes (sans the crappy ironic title fonts) in recent memory. Have you seen it? You have to see it! The opening scene involves a tragedy that befalls a bunch of dancing fools and a very tight cable that splits them all into pieces like they’re Wile E. Coyote or something. A lone little girl is so short that the cable misses her, so she must watch as the crowd around her is spliced apart like sliced Velveeta. It is disturbing as all get out, and it makes promises that GHOST SHIP has no intent on delivering on. If the rest of the film was even half as successful as this opening bit, I would have have fallen head over heals for it. Instead this barnacle barge just sinks. (Don’t even get me started on the epilogue that had me scratching my head so hard it left permanent scars.) Oh, If only this ship could have docked at a ski lodge!

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13 years ago

Ahh now uncle I don’t think that is fair!  I love this movie and was always shocked at the bad press it got – yes the rest of the Dark Castle stuff is crap but this one I really enjoy and I think the plot does make sense.  I’ve even watched it so many times I know that your avenging demon is the one that pulls the switch to start up the wire cutting fun.

13 years ago

I watched GHOST SHIP and half-way through it I was on my cel phone with Stephen King  saying “Dude, some douchebags made THE SHINING ON A BOAT and gave you absoultely NO credit!”

My best friend liked the everybody-gits-sliced-in-half scene but I thought it just smacked of desperation!

13 years ago

I couldn’t agree with you more on this whole movie, Unkle.  I have long loved the opening sequence; in fact, it’s the only part of Ghost Ship I watch when it comes on cable.  And the ending??  Thank you — I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought it was a head scratcher!

13 years ago

Don’t worry about the cable, I think this post is gonna split the Kindertrauma family right down the middle.

I’m not normally one to question the word of Unkle.  Hell, it’s simply not a smart move to go up against anybody who knows as many ways of snuffing out life as our beloved Unky Lance does.  But Ghost Ship is impossibly boring and the opening scene is tired.

When a dear friend informed me the first 5 minutes was possibly the greatest opening of a film ever, I did my duty and rented it.  Underwhelmed is a word, yes?  People argue it is trashy and therefore good.  Believe me, I know good trash.  I own a La Toya Jackson country album.  Ghost Ship is not anywhere near the same league.

Dissenting over.  Now for my punishment, Unkle?

13 years ago

I completely agree with you! I rented this when it came out and was completely horrified by this opening! I liked the rest of the movie all right, but when I watched it again with my mother, I said to her “I have to seriously warn you- do not watch the opening. I’ll tell you when to open your eyes.” She did. My mom isn’t as big a horror fan as I am. I closed my eyes too. Ick.

13 years ago


I dont think I ever heard these words together in a sentence before!

And I felt guily over downloading her bubblegum ’80s single Heart Don’t Lie last week! You have ME topped.

Now had La Toya Jackson STARRED in GHOST SHIP? Well, we could have doubled our pleasure, doubled our fun!

aunt john
aunt john(@admin)
13 years ago

@SeanoftheDead: Don’t act like you don’t know what the punishment is…

Unkle, pass Aunt John the taser gun!

Amanda By Night
Amanda By Night(@amanda-by-night)
13 years ago

The only scene in Ghost Ship I’ve seen is this opening, because people kept telling how bad the movie was but that it had this incredible opening. Maybe one day I’ll see the whole thing, but I do agree, it’s quite the opening!

13 years ago

It’s not awful awful; it’s just The Same Old $#!&. The ultimate fate of the little girl (suggested in flashback, revealed in a cheap scare) is sad and disturbing, and the climax is just overflowing with felony-grade CGI Abuse, but everything else is stuff you’ve seen done before–and done better. I never thought I’d say this, but the excremental Death Ship with George Kennedy is more fun, even if considerably less polished (understatement of the year right there).

Wednesday's Child
Wednesday's Child(@msinitforthekills)
12 years ago

I hope to never see a person split in half in real life, but if I should be so unfortunate I hope they realize it right away and don’t take so long to fall down. Didn’t the same thing happen to Lucy Liu in one of the Kill Bill movies? Anyway, yeah, the opening is the best part of this movie and one of the best horror scenes of the ’00s, oughts, whatever we’re calling this decade.

7 years ago

I saw this in the theater – with my grandmother. Because she was awesome. When this scene ended, she made a face, and then laughed her ass off. Yeah, she was awesome.