These Ghost Movies Stand the Test of Time
Classic ghost movies are an excellent choice in entertainment for any season of the year, but some films that feature ghosts hold up better than others over the span of time. Yes, indeed, some ghostly movies certainly have a more enduring quality, overall.
So, keeping in mind both a haunting plot and the ability to go the distance with most audiences, here are my Top Six Ghoulishly Good Ghost Movie Recommendations …
1) Ghost Story (1981) is a movie based on the thrilling novel of the same name by Peter Straub. I’ve both read the book and seen the film, and let me tell you, both are well worth the time. The movie actually follows the book pretty closely, so if you are more geared towards that style of engagement, you aren’t missing much from the book. With an all-star cast that includes Fred Astaire, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Melvyn Douglas, and John Houseman comes a tale spanning two generations of men that are haunted by the same spectral lady. Eerie and decidedly adult (they earned the ‘R’ rating), this is my very first choice for a good ghost movie (or book, if you prefer).
2) The Uninvited (1944) is a film centered on not one but two ghosts that haunt an old manor house in the English countryside, which is recently purchased by a brother and sister from London. The story is evocative, the musical score is haunting (and has far outlasted the popularity of the movie), and the filming style is truly creepy in the shadowy black-and-white from the era. Keeping in mind when this was filmed, don’t expect too many jump scares, as this is more about story and characters than fright, as it was made over 70 years ago.
3) House on Haunted Hill (1959) stars fright-master Vincent Price as an eccentric millionaire who pays five guests to spend one night in a truly haunted house. Yes, this film has ghosts to its story and a spooky-looking set design (the outside shots of the house are actually of a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and it’s absolutely exquisite), but it is not a scary movie. More tongue-in-cheek with a couple of plot twists, thanks to the direction style of William Castle, this unique gem is fun for all ages.
Syarafina Yusof on Unsplash, Projector for Ghost Movies
4) 1408 (2007) is a psychological horror film based on a Stephen King short story, starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. Cusack plays a paranormal de-bunker who checks into a famously haunted room at the Dolphin Hotel, ignoring all the warnings, of course. This then leads Cusack’s character on a journey of personal terror. Although perhaps not one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King story, overall the transition to screen is a good one.
5) Candyman (1992) stars the incredibly talented Tony Todd alongside Virginia Madsen and Xander Berkeley, and it is the story of graduate students working on a thesis revolving around an urban legend of a killer spirit, “The Candyman.” This legend strongly effects a downtrodden part of the city in which the students reside, and he has a hook for a hand. This movie scared the crap out of me when I was growing up, as I was about ten years old when it first debuted. Even as an adult today, some of the scenes and imagery are still positively haunting. One of the best things about this film is the rather unconventional ending (especially for the time), which still really resonates with me. I highly recommend it.
6) Oculus (2013) is a rather twisted (in a good, time-distorted sense) story of a woman who is trying to exonerate her family of murders that were actually committed by an evil, spirit-possessing mirror. It’s a terrifically original story and an awesome film, starring both Katee Sackhoff and Karen Gillan. Mirrors do have a long history in many cultures of being associated with spirits, and this film really capitalizes on those traditions.
BONUS: For those who don’t mind a little bit of the Yuletide spirit all year long, the 1984 version of A Christmas Carol, featuring George C. Scott as Scrooge, is my favorite film version of this festive ghost story. It has a dark, spooky vibe that makes it stand out from other iterations of Dickens’ classic, which has been converted to film numerous times.
Best Wishes & Stay Spooky!
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