In the name of spreading the heeby jeebies across the land, here is a top ten list of ghost films for your entertainment.
1. The Frighteners
Directed by Peter Jackson, and written by Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson, The Frighteners is about a man that can see and speak with spirits. They happen to really piss him off. Oh, and also The Grim Reaper is picking off people and ghosts, one by one.
The special effects in this film are still impressive, despite the film being made in 1996. In particular the scene at the beginning of the film where we see a form materialize out of the wall, and carpet of an old house. Perfect nightmare fuel, and it’s hilariously funny to boot.
Jake Busey’s character is enough to make this one of the creepiest movies you’ll ever see.
Come to think of it, Jeffrey Combs’ character is pretty fucking creepy too.
Even Michael J. Fox is pretty creepy.
Right on, Peter Jackson.
Also, though it isn’t a ghost film, check out Heavenly Creatures. Also a very creepy film, at least at the end.
2. Stir of Echoes
Based on the novel of the same name by Richard Matheson, and written and directed by David Koepp, Stir of Echoes is fan-fuckin’-tastic. Make no mistake though chitlins, it is a scurry one.
Everything from hypnotism to cold bathtubs, in this Chicago based chiller. Second time on a top ten, wham. Kevin Bacon, no, he won’t stop!
Some of you might be quick to type up angry emails, explaining that Ghostbusters is in fact not a horror film.
Let us examine the evidence before us: It has all sorts of ghosts in it. It has demonic dogs, and an evil goddess. If it isn’t a horror film, what is it? Comedy you say, thinking yourself clever; horror comedy yes, but a straight comedy from the 1980s, it is surely not.
Featuring Bill Murray in his prime, direction by Ivan Reitman, and a screenplay written by Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Rick Moranis, Ghostbusters is an extremely popular film, and deservedly so. It manages to be funny, while still making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
And holy crap is the music video for the theme song funny.
Also, the sequel Ghostbusters II really needs a director’s cut.
4. Session 9
Another one of those iffy mindscrew types, where depending upon your interpretation of the film, it could be a ghost story, or it could just be a case of psychosis.
Filmed at the abandoned Danvers State Mental Institution (subsequently made into condos, I think), in Massachusetts, Session 9 was written by Brad Anderson and Stephen Gevedon, and directed by Brad Anderson. Session 9 is as much about the ghosts that might haunt abandoned aslyums, as it is about the actions which haunt us long after they have been finished. Seen this film at least seven times, and it’s still terrifying every time.
5. The Devil’s Backbone
Written by Guillermo Del Toro, Antonio Trashorras, and David Munoz, and directed by Guillermo Del Toro, The Devil’s Backbone is a Spanish language film that packs quite the punch. Set in 1939, at an orphanage in Spain, amidst a backdrop of war and strife, it is an oddly poetic reflection on the things we leave behind, but never forget. Also, much like every other Guillermo Del Toro film, it’s incredibly beautiful.
6. The Eye
From the Pang Brothers, Chinese film The Eye has all the trappings you’ve come to know and love from Asian ghost films. Or is that grown to know, and become bored with? Despite the over saturation of Asian ghost films, The Eye still delivers the cold spots.
7. The Fog
Written by John Carpenter and Debrah Hill, and directed by Carpenter, The Fog is a tale of ghosts and the sea sure to form barnacles on your boatside.
8. Lake Mungo
Written and directed by Joel Anderson, Lake Mungo is an Australian mockumentary. Don’t expect to get much sleep after this one.
9.The Legend of Hell House
Earlier this year, we lost one of the greatest and most influential genre writers of all time, Richard Matheson.
The Legend Of Hell House, based off of the brilliant novel Hell House by Matheson, with a screenplay by Matheson, tells the story of a seriously haunted house. Of a house filled with the spirits of those tormented by a sadistic madman known as Emeric Belasco.
10. The Shining
“Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya.
I’m just going to bash your brains in.” -Jack Torrance
And who doesn’t love a film with a guy in a dog outfit blowing a dude?
Who on this green Earth could possibly not like that?!
Kubrick’s haunting masterpiece is a perfect way to end out this list.
Check out Mark’s comparison of Stephen King’s The Shining novel to Stanley Kubrick’s film while you’re at it.
Be safe out there, kiddies. You never know when/with what we’ll be trying to bump you in the night.
HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN!