The Ghost Galleon (1974)

Spread the weird


DIRECTOR– Amando de Ossorio

PLOT– For a publicity stunt, a millionaire boat company president (Jack Taylor) decides to send two fashion models out on one of his broken boats to be saved by a passing container ship. Unfortunately, a ship filled with angry zombie sailors finds them first.


  1. advertising campaigns featuring starving castaways
  2. fashion models who navigate by the stars
  3. melodramatic scientific research center directors
  4. millionaires who don’t believe in Santa Claus
  5. the smallest ladder in the world

REVIEW– I’ve heard of some ridiculous marketing campaigns before, but this one takes the cake. Here’s their great plan: hire some bikini models to spend a few days lost in a broken boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Then hope they are spotted and rescued by a passing freighter and hope the press will then promote the broken boat. (I’m not sure how being lost at sea in a boat that doesn’t work is a selling point for that boat, but let’s not dwell too much on “logic”)

What could go wrong with this baffling plan, you ask??

Well… everything.

These poor girls stumble onto some ugly sailors. And we all know how sailors act around beautiful women. Now, imagine these sailors have been dead (and lonely) for 100 years! It’s not pretty. So, the millionaire decides to go save his models. He forms a rescue party composed of another bikini model, a meteorologist and a talent agent… because, well, why not?! Things don’t go much better for this group either. They eventually find the galleon, wander around for quite a while, and then get murdered one by one. These guys aren’t the best at formulating successful plans.

The movie was originally titled The Horror of the Zombies. While that is a fairly good name, The Ghost Galleon is much more appropriate. Almost the entire movie takes place in the dark belly of one ship, so you could call it atmospheric (or, more realistically, cheap). Strangely, you can see moments of The Fog and Pirates of the Caribbean scattered throughout. However, The Ghost Galleon presents itself as a lot more like an early 70’s child’s campfire ghost story (with bikini models thrown in for the grown-ups) than a big-budget Hollywood production.



It could be the title of this fictional movie…but strangely, it’s also a very true story.

Last sighted in 2009, the ghost ship in question is a 40-ft sailboat named Sayo, sailed by the now-mummified German captain Manfred Fritz Bajorat. He’s described as a 59-year-old adventurer who had been sailing for 20 years. He had been voyaging in 2008 with his wife, Claudia, when they split up. She died from cancer in 2010.

Sayo was spotted on January 31, 2016, by a crew in the Clipper Round the World Race. According to that event’s official statement, “During the leg from Australia to Vietnam, LMAX Exchange came across a dismasted boat south of Guam. An LMAX Exchange crewmember boarded the yacht and reported the find, which was relayed to the relevant authorities [the US Coast Guard in Guam], who instructed the team to continue racing while they took over the investigation and traced the next of kin.”

A month later, Philippine fishermen found the battered yacht more than a thousand miles west of Guam. “A white yacht floating with a destroyed sail prompted them to enter the boat to verify further,” reported the Barobo Police. That’s when they discovered the naturally-mummified remains of the solo sailor, sitting slumped over at the nav station. The fishermen towed Sayo the 60 miles to shore.

Examiners found no evidence of foul play, they believe that Bajorat died of natural causes. They surmised that dry ocean winds, hot temperatures, and salty air helped preserve the body.

Claire wore her prettiest bikini to the sacrifice…
Rob, the Unholy Skeleton Sea Captain, remarked that she looked “cute”.