(1995, US, 92 min) Dir Andy Farmer. Cast Christopher Lloyd, Lizzie Phillips, Dan Aykroyd, Eric Idle.
Big budget screen version of the 1960’s short lived animated TV show with Christopher Lloyd as the voice of the Christmas Ghost. It’s December the 24th and young Patty and her father (Phillips and Aykroyd) are moving into their new house, Gotspold Manor. On the first night the Christmas Ghost appears, initially frightening Patty but she gets to know him and vows to solve the mystery of his death before he disappears for another year on Boxing Day. There are the obligatory moments of wacky slapstick but for the most part the tone, bizarrely, is one of melancholy. It seems that mediocre director for hire Farmer was experiencing some personal difficulties at the time of the making of this film which seems to have permeated the entirety of the film from the script to the performances to the music, which is a kind of treacly minor key dirge. Fans of the original show (of which it seems there are a surprising amount) were so vocal in their displeasure at the film that Farmer put an apology in the Hollywood Reporter. Besides all of that the film, seemingly by virtue of it’s title alone, can be seen filling up an hour and a half in the schedules on some channel each Christmas. A mo-cap update is in the pipe for next Christmas with Johnny Depp playing everyone so I guess we have that to look forward to.