With all my blogs about Halloween movies this month, I seem to have overlooked one of the best subjects. Never fear! We still have a few days left to catch some good ghost stories.
One of my favorite contemporary classics is the original Ghostbusters from 1984. I love the scene in the library, especially when the spectral librarian shushes the Ghostbusters. The only scene that beats that, in my opinion, is when Ray
(Dan Aykroyd) “chooses” the form of the Destructor.
This film spawned two video games, a cartoon series, a 1989 sequel, and the universal response to the question, “Who ya gonna call?” Imdb.com reports that next year will bring Ghostbusters III to the big screen.
Over the years, Hollywood has created dozens of giggle-generating ghost stories. One family friendly flick stars Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard as a couple in a haunted castle in Cuba, in 1940’s The Ghost Breakers.
An adorable ghost tale is 1944’s The Canterville Ghost, starring Charles Laughton, Robert Young and Margaret O’Brien. O’Brien’s Lady Jessica turns on the cute like nobody’s business. Another film about a child’s encounter with the spirit world is 1995’s Casper, starring Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci.
The quintessential ghost romance is 1947’s The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, with Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison. If you need a more contemporary spirit romance, try out Ghost from 1990. This tearjerker, suspense, love-story has a
nice measure of humor sprinkled throughout. Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg star.
For a goof-ball comedy, watch The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. This 1966 classic stars Don Knotts in his Adam’s apple-bobbing-bow-tie. His silliness still delights. If you love this one, watch 1980’s The Private Eyes. Tim Conway joins Knotts,
and together they investigate a haunted mansion in England.
If you prefer something creepy without the gore, I recommend 2001’s The Others with Nicole Kidman. This movie has the feel of classic Hollywood and incorporates all the universal fright elements: a dark gothic house, old photographs and furnishings under dust covers.
If you need an all-out scare for Halloween, I have a few frightful options.
Let’s start with a couple of cinema essentials. The Shining (1980) stars Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, and both are seriously scary stars. Another is The Amityville Horror, originally made in 1979 and then remade in 2005. Either
version will scare your socks off, especially when you learn that the story is based on true events. Psst…once you see these movies you will “get” more jokes.
Next, you must watch 1982’s Poltergeist. The cast is phenomenal. The story revolves around a normal family in a normal house, suddenly dealing with supernatural forces. I’ve seen this movie several times and I still hide my eyes during a few scenes. If you want to be really freaked out, read about the behind-the-scenes occurrences for this movie.
Lastly watch M. Night Shyamalan’s 1999 The Sixth Sense. When the “twist” revealed itself at the end, my immediate response was, “I have to see that again.”
My favorite part about all of these films is that every one explores the dynamics of relationships—couples, spouses, parents, siblings, friends, associates—set against the backdrop of the spectral plane. These characters are meaty. They
have valid problems and realistic faults.
The stories help these films stand the test of time to become annual traditions.
That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading!