It depresses me greatly to think about how far from scary Halloween has become. People don’t seem concerned about looking scary, or having a good scare. Halloween seems to be about sex and candy. Two things I am all for by the way, but Halloween should be scary. So, if you are planning a Halloween party, or you just want to get in the spirit of the holiday, try these oh so scary Ghost Stories.
Drag Me to Hell (2009) Sam Raimi excels at horror. He also excels at dark comedy. When you put those together you get classics like Army of Darkness, and this little gem. This is the story of a young loan officer who denies a really gross old lady a loan, and therefore gets gross old lady evicted from her home. Then gross old lady attacks Sweet Young Loan officer and puts a curse on her. The rest super fun so I won’t spoil it. But… there is a goat possession. That’s right. GOAT. POSSESSION.
The Others (2001) A fresh take on the Haunted House genre starring Nicole Kidman as a woman who lives in a huge house with her two weird kids who are sensitive to light. There are creepy caretakers, and odd nannies, and there are even cool, twisted memento mori photographs scattered about to keep the spooky vibe. I saw this in the theater when it came out and left happy. It’s a good one.
Amityville Horror (2005) I’m not usually a supporter of horror remakes, but in this case I’ll make an exception. The 70’s version just doesn’t stand the test of time. It’s hard to take a haunting seriously when James Brolin is brooding under six tons of facial hair. It’s much easier to take a haunting seriously when the unhappy ghosts want to inhabit the incredibly chiseled body of Ryan Reynolds.
Ghostbusters (1984) Ok, so Ghostbusters isn’t really scary. But, when I was ten years old seeing it on a big screen, it was pretty close. While it offers a few jumps and jolts, the most frightening parts of the film involve Rick Moranis trying to flirt, Zuul’s dogs, and a giant marshmallow man which terrorizes New York. It still holds up after all these years.
The Haunting (1963) I read The Haunting of Hill House in high school. I loved it. It was the first book that ever scared me. The book has been made into a movie more than once, but this is the best version. A doctor is researching the existence of ghosts in a really creepy old mansion that has a lurid history of death and insanity. The always amazing Julie Christie plays Nell – the young psychic who has a really hard time dealing with crazy.
The Shining (1980) The Grandfather of all ghost stories comes from the master of horror himself, Stephen King. Many people complain that the book is scarier than the movie. Whatever. Learn that film and literature are two different mediums, and that those two mediums work in two different ways. It’s like comparing apples to a steak. Anyway, Jack Nicholson is a writer with the worst case of writer’s block, like ever. He takes his family to The Overlook Lodge in order to work as the caretaker over the winter. Things start going spooky almost immediately. Look for Scatman Crothers as the Chef with the shining. Watch this together with Room 237 if you want to spend four hours in terror.
The Sixth Sense (1999) You all know the big secret of this movie, but knowing the secret doesn’t make the movie any less scary. Bruce Willis plays a shrink who is trying to help a cute little boy who thinks he sees ghosts. Angry ghosts. Mean ghosts. Ghosts who like opening cabinets… and not shutting them!
The Devil’s Backbone (2001) A movie directed by Guillermo Del Torro and produced by Pedro Almodovar is a movie worth seeing. Carlos is a twelve-year-old boy who stumbles upon an orphanage in the midst of the Spanish Civil war. He soon discovers the schools dark secrets, and its ghosts. This movie is awesome.
The Frighteners (1996) Long before Peter Jackson was gallivanting around New Zealand making gay hobbit porn, he made movies like this one. (And Dead Alive. And Meet the Feebles) Michael J. Fox plays a man who recently lost his family in a car accident. He soon discovers he can communicate with the dead and make a living as a phony paranormal expert. Not to be confused with a real paranormal expert. This is a pretty scary movie for young viewers, and the special effects are still pretty awesome.