Thursday, July 9, 2009

Theme Thursday - Ghost

Theme Thursday this week delves into the supernatural with 'Ghost'

Ghosts are not something I believe in personally, but I love horror movies and there are plenty of ghosts to be found in them!


Poltergeist (1982)


"They're here..."

Who can forget that line from the early 80s blockbuster horror flick? Directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), this was a supremely creepy film about a normal American family caught up in paranormal circumstances.

Scared the ever-lovin' crap outta me as an 11-year-old! The possessed clown doll was bad enough, but then there were scenes like this:

Poltergeist ghost



The Haunting (1963)

The Haunting

Based on a novel by Shirley Jackson (which I still want to read), this is one of those old movies I ignored as a kid. What a mistake. It would have scared me silly then.

Even now the film retains the eerie sense of the unknown, of being watched by something so sinister and evil, that one can get goosebumps. Julie Harris is so great as Nell, the lonely woman who thinks she has finally found a place, a home, where she is special. Eeek!

(The remake from 1999 is good, but the original is better.)


The Fog (1980)

The Fog

John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Atkins, Janet Leigh, John Houseman, Hal Holbrook... What an awesome creative pool. The movie? Less than it could have been.

A film about the vengeful ghosts of pirates who were wronged and died at the hands of a greedy few. The film is creepy and eerie and has so much going for it that it has always been hard for me to knock it. But there has always been a bit of confusion or a lack of clarity that just irked me.

That said, it is still LOADS better than the remake from 2005.


The Sixth Sense (1999)

The Sixth Sense

"I see dead people."

M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed this film, and was lauded as a 'new Hitchcock' at the time. While that proved to be an overstatement, this film still holds up as a great, and sometimes very creepy, ghost movie.

It is funny, the film can be watched for the first time twice. By this, I mean that the first viewing is great, but once you know "the secret" and re-watch the film, you are viewing it all with a new eye. Interesting, at least.


The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

the ghost and mrs. muir

A classic, this film is one I really enjoy. Not scary, it is more of a romantic ghost story. A lonely widow (the beautiful Gene Tierney) with a small daughter moves into a wonderful seaside cottage, which just happens to be haunted by the previous owner, the late Captain Gregg (the great Rex Harrison).

Can the two proceed to co-exist, when one of them no longer exists? I love the mood here, and the scenery. Just wonderful, a great film that spawned a late-60s television series of the same name.


Beetlejuice (1988)


This is Tim Burton's great 80s comedy, a quirky ghost story that is full of weird and wonderful characters.

Michael Keaton is great as the title ghost, but Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin are also great as the confused Maitlands. Winona Ryder is perfect as the morose Lydia. And Catherine O'Hara is just great, as usual.

Say his name three times! "Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!"


The Others (2001)

The Others

This film is another with a twist, like "The Sixth Sense". Once you know it, the next viewing is a different experience.

This film deals with ghosts in a different way and it is interesting to watch. I feel like I shouldn't say too much, even though the film is 8 years old, there may be some out there who haven't seen it. And I don't want to spoil it.

A great acting turn by Nicole Kidman, it's a film to watch at least twice.


Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Sleepy Hollow

Based on the great short story by Washington Irving, this film is another wonderful collaboration by director Tim Burton and star Johnny Depp.

Creepy and scary, the film is fun in a horrible way, with Depp perfect as the awkwardly uncomfortable Ichabod Crane, Christina Ricci wonderful as Katrina and Christopher Walken creepy as the pre-headless Horseman.

Rent this around Halloween - a great way to get into the spirit of the season!


Ghost Town (2008)

Ghost Town

This is a newer film, but great fun!

Ricky Gervais plays a lonely, jerk of a dentist, who goes in for a routine medical procedure winds up with a strange side effect - he can see and hear the dead! And the dead want his help, since they have no power to interact with the living.

The film is simple, but funny and well acted by Gervais, Greg Kinnear and Tea Leoni. Gervais is the stand-out, however, making his character more than just a jerk, he is a real man who has just lost his way in the world. Very good.


Ghost (1990)


Didn't think I would leave this one off the list, did you? Truth is, I almost did. Sheesh, I am getting old!

This film was a big hit when it was released, the pairing of Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg, all in their prime, was box office success.

Swayze plays the title ghost here, an honorable man killed by a thug working for a dishonorable man he thought was a friend. Whoopi plays the fake psychic who suddenly finds her power working for real.

Great scenes, with a good mix of comedy and romance, this film is the one with the much-parodied scene of Moore and Swayze and the pottery wheel. Heh.


Hope you enjoyed this ghostly jaunt through Hollywood. Check out what the other Theme Thursday participants are conjuring up this week.

And here is a bonus ghost for you:

Myers Ghost

Michael Myers playing a little prank. Does he get your ghost? ;)


  1. Where's Ghostbusters? And the remake of The Haunting was garbage... the new House on Haunted Hill was better, and that was trash.

  2. Personally I like 13 Ghost. Those were the freakyist dead souls ever. Why couldn't the guy have collected someone nice, not 13 of the most distrubing ones. Just saying. Tends to make pooping your pants from fear so much easier to take.

  3. All the remakes were junkola, especially The Haunting. I like the coverage of just about every era, here...wait! Where's Topper? And Casper?

  4. So many ghosts to be chatted about! All good choices to discuss...I think if you kept going with all the ghosts out there, I'd still be reading long after I should be at work!

  5. Hi Caffeinated Joe,
    What a very interesting take on this Thursday Theme. I must admit of all the films that you have listed...The Ghost and Mrs Muir is my favorite "ghostly" tale.
    Followed closely by... the recently discovered
    Depp in Burton's Sleepy Hollow,(I even own The Making of Sleepy Hollow...(The Book)
    and Ghost.

    C.J., Thanks for sharing!
    DeeDee ;-D

  6. Sometimes I do believe that the horror movie poster art is better than the movie! Thanks for the flashbacks. -Jayne

  7. Oh I just knew you'd go all out on this one. I watched "Passengers" the other night. Not bad. Sixth Sense still sensational and Poltergeist I can't get on DVD but am dying to show the kids cos it was so scary. Ghost of course is the penultimate chick flick. Beetlejuice is defo one or of our watch again and agains! Well done you . then I knew you would.

  8. The original "A Haunting" is great, the recent one with Catherine Zeta-Jones is just plain ridiculous!

    "The Others" is brilliant!


  9. Thanks for reminding me of a few movies I still need to see but I have to say I disagree with you about The Others. I found it too predictable and I think they tipped their hand too early. But really, a great ghostly post!

  10. Awesome! I love this blog!
    I have seen... The Fog (I think), Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow, and Ghost Town. Sleepy Hollow is one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITES!

  11. I got the willies just browsing your list! Ah, I completely forgot about The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Now that's my kind of ghost.

  12. Great post! One of my alltime favs....Swayze, Moore, and Goldberg!!!! Wish I had counted the times I watched it!

  13. How can I scare thee, let me count the ways.
    Not a fan of horror flicks, but I love the romantic and funny ghost stories. Thanks for the post

  14. The original "Haunting" is still the scariest movie I've stumbled onto as an adult (The Shining being the one from my childhood). great list! need to see some of these I haven't caught yet.

  15. nice eclectic mix. poltergeist freaked me out as a kid. love m. night, he always has such wonderful twists...the happening, not so much. happy tt!

  16. Ah great list of ghost movies!Ha!Yeah Michael Myers..funny!:D

  17. I've never heard of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Is on Netflix?

    I've seen The Huanting, Poltergeist, The Fog as a kid with my siblings. We could not sleep with the TV on, hid all our dolls and stuffed animals in the closet, our eyes would widen with fear with every little creak the house made, and driving up to San Fran to watch the fog roll in (something both my parent love to do) had us all crying in the car begging my father to take us home. Those damn gold seeking pirates!

  18. I haven't seen most of those films. I am just not scared by scary movies. I find some movies creepy, like Existenz and The Spanish Prisoner, but never scary.

  19. I suppose that someone who believes he's happily married would also believe in ghosts.

  20. fun choices...i did wonder, as I read down the list, if you'd include "Ghost". That is one of those movies you like when you see it but it seems awfully corny now. awwww.

    Scariest movie I remember is "The Beast With 5 Fingers". I was locked in a room while it played on a b&w tv and I was only 6 yrs old. It scared the hell out of me. Had nightmares for weeks.

  21. Jeff: Look, I had to have a cut off point SOMEWHERE. And yeah, those remakes didn't compare.

    Cal: 13 Ghosts was eh. A bit too confusing for me. And sorry about your pants! hahahaha

    subtorp: Yeah, I thought of Topper, too. But I could have kept going on and on! But I never saw the Casper movie.

    Ravyn: Yeah, it's true, I could have kept adding more and more!

    DeeDee: Thank you & thanks for stopping by!

    Jayne: Sadly, yeah. Sometimes the posters are the best part!

    Baino: Never saw "Passengers", huh. Gonna check it out! And thank you very much! :)

    Poetikat: Yeah, gotta agree with you! :)

    Kate Hanley: I actually didn't figure out the twist to "The Others" until the revealed it. Doh!

    Nicole: Yeah, knew you would like the inclusion of "Sleepy Hollow"!

    willow: After writing about it, I want to see "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" again now! :)

    nanny: Whoopi is what made "Ghost" fun for me!

    Dreamhaven: Hahaha - Thanks for stopping by!

    The League: Well, now you will have some scary movies to check out!

    Brian Miller: Yeah, "The Happening" wasn't happening! hahahaha

    Candie Bracci: Thanks! :)

    Gabby: Yes, it appears to be available on Netflix!

    Sorry you were so freaked out as a kid, but at least the movies were doing their job! :)

    Kurt: never saw either of those movies. But I have been scared a number of times with some really good, creepy films!

    Don, American: Um, I really have no idea what you are talking about.

    California Girl: Kind of corny, yeah, but Whoopi makes it fun.

    Never saw that other film, sounds like one I would enjoy! :)

    Thank you to everyone for stopping by!

  22. You know what was a great ghost story? "The Changeling" With George C Scott!

  23. That Mrs Muir was one tough broad, I agree!

  24. Great list! I watched "The Sixth Sense" twice through the first time I saw it, actually. It was even better the second time.

    And yes, you must must read "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson! It's thrilling.

  25. I do not like horror movies. The music makes me nervous. But "The Haunting" is an exception. I remember when I saw it (the original) on television. I had a television in my bedroom, and several neighbours came over to my place to watch the film. We all curled up on and around my bed, the movie started, and we sat in silence. Eventually, there were commercials, but nobody got up to go to the bathroom or to get a snack or for any other reason. We were all frozen to our chosen spots, too terrified to move. Afterward, we all burst out laughing at our silliness, but at the moment, the terror was real.

  26. Gee, Wings, I think some of these people expected you to list EVERY ghost-related film ever made! Why didn't you?

    I liked the choices, some very unpredictable. I'd have different titles if I were to do a short list of my own, of course. But yours were excellent!

    (I've got the book, too, btw...)

  27. Poltergeist and Beetlejuice are favorites of mine...although I find the older I get the more freaked out over REALLY scary movies I get...a real SISSY!

  28. Otin: I have YET to see that! Doh!

    Kris: I agree!

    Leah: I plan to, really!

    Sandra Leigh: Ha! Very cool, glad the movie scared you, shows that they did their job in making it. :)

    Silver Fox: Seems they did want me to list them all! hahaha :)

    Jill: Yeah, tastes do sometimes change as we get older.

  29. I haven't seen them all - thanks for not spoiling The Others, because that's one of them.

    The Haunting of Hill House is the scariest book I have ever read, ever. I've not seen the Haunting, either.

    So that's two to put on the list! Thanks!

  30. poltergeist and beetle juice scared the hell out of me when i was younger... no surprise that i don't watch horror movies, huh?

  31. Megan: Definitely gonna search for a copy of "The Haunting of Hill House"! And enjoy "The Others"!

    Jaime: Not for everyone, that's for sure. :)