Literally hundreds of movies claim to be ghost movies, and that's great, regardless of the fact that they're 'all about ghosts' or just 'sort of' about them. Now if I'm going to watch a GHOST MOVIE I like mine chock full of spirits from opening credits to closing crawl. So, for the purpose of this list, I chose 10 movies that fit firmly into that medium, while still having other things going on plot wise to coast comfortably from BOO to BOO, as it were. Now I also know that there's no way I could have possibly gotten this list right for all of you, and I half-ass apologize for that. I say 'half-ass' because fifty percent of these lists is based wholly on my own opinion and likes and dislikes. So, with that, you readers have an open invitation to SEND ME YOUR FAVORITES VIA THE COMMENT SCREEN and let me know, with as much humanity as you can muster, where I dropped the ball. Now, in the immortal words of Carol Anne, 'They're Heeeeere...'
PS- No, GHOST with 'Roadhouse' ass-kicker, Patrick Swayze was NOT a good movie. Sorry, FTW!
10) JU-ON (THE GRUDGE - 2003) - Dir. Takashi Shimizu
No. This is not the American remake starring Buffy. This is the original, Japanese version with far deeper scares and a far more complex and less convoluted story. Apparently, dying while in turmoil leaves a lasting curse on the location in which it occurred. In this case, it's a house and it's just overrun with malevolent spirits looking to meow like cats and have long, wet ghost hair. It's pretty freaky. Oh, I watched both versions back to back one day, ya know, for laughs, and it's amazing just how different they really are. Try it yourself!
9) 2000 MANIACS (1964) - Dir. Hershell Gordon Lewis
"The South will RISE again!" Based a bit loosely on the play, Brigadoon, a group of folks attend a Centennial Celebration in the deep south only to encounter the angered spirits that occupy those same fair grounds. Lewis is well known for his colorful and plentiful gore, and this film does not disappoint. In fact, watching the wacky hicks roasting a woman's arm while singing about it is just too classic.
8) THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979) - Dir. Stuart Rosenberg
Amityville builds a creeping mood filled with fright-inducing suspense. The effects are simple but effective and the performances are somewhat over the top but just as necessarily wacky. The film's overall lasting appeal has little to do with the film's apparent campiness as it has more to do with the real terror inducing legend that inspired it. Besides, when you've got a cast that includes bat-shit crazy Margot Kidder of Superman fame, it's all gold.
7) THIR13EN GHOSTS (2001) - Dir. Steve Beck
Yes, it's a remake, but it's better and therefor OK by me. Though the acting was every bit of the 09's-00's horror movie sassy street shit we've all come to abhor from most films like this, I have to say the house was truly inventive and on the DVD you can check out at your leisure each and every one of the 13 ghosts with full descriptions. Oh, and if the name F. Murray Abraham doesn't sell you, well, I guess I was wrong about you.
6) GHOST STORY (1981) - Dir. John Irvin
Fred Astaire? Douglas Fairbanks Jr.? John FRIKKIN Housman? Are you serious! That's like a who's who of old-timey Hollywood under one horror roof! Pretty decent adaptation of a Straub novel, well, at least far better that horror author's generally get, and a bit spooky here and there, Ghost Story follows a group of friends being tormented by a vengeful dead acquaintance played by Alice Krige later of Star Trek fame. Look it up, you'll see.
5) POLTERGEIST (1982) - Dir. Tobe Hooper
"It knows what scares you" Best. Tagline. EVER! This movie used to scare the shit out of me when I was a kid, absolutely. Yet, I watched it every time I got the chance. It was always the tree scene and the clown scene and that little toy woman, Zelda Rubenstein... GAHH! Well, whether or not you believe in the legends of the many cast members demises brought on by doing these films or not should only make your viewing pleasure of this movie all the better.
4) THE FRIGHTENERS (1996) - Dir. Peter Jackson
Michael J. Fox versus Jake Busey and Jeffrey Combs! Now that's quality entertainment! A movie visually designed and well written by master Robert Zemeckis, the ghost effects in this are particularly cool and the story is very well done. Fox can see the dead and 'employs' a few of them to aid in his 'cleansing' of targeted houses reaping the benefits. Until, literally, all Hell breaks loose. Oh, and those of you in love with Pushing Daisies as I am, Chi McBride (Emmerson) plays a spook in this movie.
3) BEETLEJUICE (1988) - Dir. Tim Burton
If you haven't seen this movie featuring the outstanding Michael Keaton as 'The Ghost With The Most', the exit door is to your left. Oh sure, he steals this Burton classic dealing with, well, Burton-esque visages of the undead, but the likes of Ryder, Davis, Baldwin, and the always awesome character actor Jeffrey Jones do 'killer' jobs themselves. Bad pun. Sorry. The music, provided by Burton's man-love, Danny Elfman, really sets the mood as two lost and relatively stupid new ghosts try in vein to win back their home from a marauding family bent on making it their own. BEETLEJUICE BEETLEJUICE BEETLEJUICE!
2) THE 6th SENSE (1999) - Dir. M. Night Shyamalan
Easily both Osment and Shayamalan's best film, The 6th Sense offers the viewer the opportunity to grasp the perfectly constructed story line from nearly the first minute. One of Hollywood's finest endings of all time, the build up becomes so apparent once the climax hits you like a ton of bricks. Follow the red items and you'll be able to discern specific bits long before the end hands them to you. Oh, and I'm still a bit miffed that my wife figured this film out, in the theater, before I did. Congrats, honey. Seriously.
1) GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) - Dir. Ivan Reitman
To not have this classic ghost movie at number one would have been a crying shame. Four losers who decide, cllectively, to become New York City's finest in free-roaming apparition disposal, Venkman, Spengler, Stantz, and Zedmore, with assistance from their secretary, Melnitz, traverse the tri-city area wreaking as much havoc as the ghosts they trap. An amazing movie full of tons of laughs, cool ghosts, and even an equally awesome sequel. Oh, and the rumor mill has it that a part 3 is in the works with all of the original cast sans Rick Moranis. Evidently he's living the rich life off of his 'Honey I Whatever' films. Good for him. Jerk.