Favorite Ghost Movies

I'm a complete and total horror nut, but my favorite genre is ghost stories. My favorite childhood memories are the Saturday afternoon horror movies on TV -- especially the ghost stories...

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13 Ghosts (1960) Typically gimmicky horror from famed shlockmeister William Castle finds a family inheriting a mansion which soon proves to be haunted . Will appeal to cult fans, of tongue-in-cheek classic chillers.

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The Blair Witch Project (1999) Ingenious (and terrifying) "mockumentary" about film students lost in the woods. Appealing to mainstream and art-house audiences, this is a must-see for fans of atmospheric, frighteningly real suspense. Scary for those who don't need their horror spoon-fed to them!

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Burnt Offerings (1976) Based on the Robert Marasco novel of the same name, Dan Curtis's eerie movie puts a spin on celluloid haunted-house sagas. The well-adjusted Rolf family (father Oliver Reed, mother Karen Black, aunt Bette Davis, and young son Lee H. Montgomery) rent a huge old summer house only to find that its spirit is in control of the estate. The requisite sinister proceedings appear--including a possessed pool and the vision of a sinister hearse driver following Reed--that disrupt the family's unity. Black also falls under the spell of an elderly woman whom she is required to take care of, but no one ever sees. While it may not be as overtly shocking as other ghost tales, Burnt Offerings has a creepiness that gets under your skin thanks to good performances and the dreamy, soft-focus photography. --Bryan Reesman 

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Changeling, The

(1979) Well told horror story with Scott playing the role of a widower music teacher. After the death of his wife, he moves to Seattle in hopes of starting a new life in a grand old mansion. Unfortunately, his new home turns out to be haunted by the troublesome ghost of a murdered child bent on revenge after 70 years of torment. 

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Dead of Night (1945) While horror conventions may change from generation to generation, there are ideas that will scare us no matter what time period we inhabit. Dead of Night is a classic horror anthology that effectively plays on those timeless fears. Mervyn Johns stars as a man who has been summoned to a house with a group of strangers he has never met but has seen in his dreams. As they convene, he predicts certain events will happen as they do in his dreams, and when they do, the other guests relate their own experiences with the supernatural, including tales of a possessed mirror, a sinister ventriloquist's dummy, and an eerie premonition of death. Throughout the group meeting, the protagonist fears something horrible will happen to him, and we are left to wonder what it might be. The film's final, revelatory sequence offers an unexpectedly horrific surprise. It may have been made in 1945, but Dead of Night is still spooky. --Bryan Reesman 

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Dominique is Dead (1979) - A woman who believes that her husband is trying to drive her insane hangs herself and then comes back to haunt him. 

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The Fog (1980) Horror master John Carpenter offers up a triple treat with The Fog: Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau, and Janet Leigh all in the same movie. As if that weren't enough, both John Houseman and Hal Holbrook make appearances, each clearly enjoying the novelty of being in a horror flick. The Fog opens just before the centennial celebration of the seaside town of Antonio Bay. Then the witching hour strikes, glowing fog rolls in, and all hell breaks loose. Carpenter wrote the script with producer Debra Hill, his collaborator on Halloween, and the two know their craft. It's a creepy story and a tight script, and, as in their previous effort, the audience gets to know the main characters a bit before they're put in danger. The movie also has a sly sense of humor: "Things seem to happen to me," says slasher vet Jamie Lee. "I'm bad luck." Barbeau is also obviously having a great time, sinking her teeth into her role as a frightened disc jockey watching the fog roll in from a lighthouse. The Fog offers a few shocks and plenty of good old-fashioned clammy chills. You'll never look at weather systems the same way again. --Ali Davis 

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Ghost Story

(1981) Slow-moving, star-studded horror tale concerning male friends confronting terrifying past. Unevenly adapted from Straub bestseller, but pleases fright-seekers who prefer moody atmosphere over gripping suspense and gore.

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The Girl in a Swing

(1989) Antique dealer falls madly in love with mysterious German woman and marries her only to later find out that his new bride is not all that she first seemed.

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Grim Prairie Tales (1990) Writer-director Wayne Coe's low-budget anthology is not as scary as its title or packaging would have you believe, but it is a charming effort nonetheless. Brad Dourif and James Earl Jones star as a city slicker and a bounty hunter who meet at night on a quiet prairie and end up swapping stories by the campfire. Since the four tales are part of a slowly building competition between the two men, they become progressively more gruesome. The two most memorable revolve around a grotesque gunfight and its aftermath, and a wandering prairie woman with a bizarre appetite. Ultimately the stories are mood pieces rather than outright scare fare, but they are absorbing, and the connecting scenes with Dourif and Jones are so energetically played out that you forget how calculated some of their exchanges are.

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Grim Prarie Tales or get paid to write your own.

(1995) When a man investigates an alleged haunting at a secluded mansion in the country, he is horrified by strange occurences, shocked by the mansion's dreadful history and entranced by the young woman who resides in the menacing house. Based on James Herbert's novel.

Read reviews of "Haunted" or get paid to write your own.

The Haunting

(1963) A paranormal investigator invites two women with psychic powers to help him examine Hill House, a sinister family estate haunted by the angry souls from its troubled past. Tamblyn plays the cocksure heir to the house who will learn to respect its wrath. 

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The House of Seven Corpses (1973) A film crew uses a supposedly haunted house for location work on a horror film, and learns to regret it; low-budget, but not bad.

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The House of Seven Corpses or get paid to write your own.
House on Haunted Hill

(1958) Overnight guests at a haunted house are scared... to death! Great cast, gimmicky effects, and lurid style make this a treat for horror freaks; may be too jokey for some.

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The House Where Evil Dwells (1982) Three modern individuals are possessed by the ghosts of three bloodthirsty samurai. They suddenly find themselves motivated by dark forces beyond their control. Filmed entirely on location in Japan. 

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(1978) Surreal, quite confused, ultimately rewarding film about haunted apartment building with underwater chamber. Brilliant design, stylish direction for lovers of cinematic beauty; too much gore for squeamish viewers.

Read reviews of "Inferno", or get paid to write your own.

The Innocents (1961) In one of her finest performances, Deborah Kerr stars as Miss Giddons, a devout and somewhat repressed spinster who happily accepts the position of governess for two orphaned children whose uncle (Michael Redgrave) readily admits to having no interest in being tied down by two "brats." So Miss Giddons is dispatched to Bly House, the lavish, shadowy estate where young Flora (Pamela Franklin) and her brother Miles (Martin Stephens, so memorable in 1960's Village of the Damned) live with a good-natured housekeeper (Megs Jenkins). At first, life at Bly House seems splendidly idyllic, but as Miss Giddons learns the horrible truth about the estate's now-deceased groundskeeper and previous governess, she begins to suspect that her young charges are ensnared in a devious plot from beyond the grave.

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The Kingdom (1995) The Kingdom defies categorization. This cult Danish miniseries plays like a nightmarish cross between Twin Peaks and Chicago Hope as directed by David Cronenberg, and even that hardly captures the giddy absurdity of Lars von Trier's soap-opera-cum-horror-tale. The setting is a modern hospital built on a medieval graveyard, but the most terrifying ghosts belong not to ancient history but rather to the hospital's own dark past. An egotistical, self-righteous visiting Swedish doctor, who abhors the Danes and screams his outrage in nightly rants from the hospital roof, presides over this ensemble of eccentrics; but he's hardly the strangest this hospital has to offer. ER has nothing on this delirious madhouse, where haunted ambulances, a Masonic cult, a devil cabal, demons, ghosts, and a most mysterious pregnancy lurk in the fringes of more earthly (though equally bizarre) melodramas. Shooting in video with a bobbing handheld camera, von Trier creates an otherworldly atmosphere with the dimly lit corridors and bland, drained color schemes, set to an eerily sparse soundtrack of echoing hospital sounds and electronic wailings. The mix of deadpan hysteria and spooky ghost story concludes with the most outrageous cliffhanger put on film (to be continued in The Kingdom II). (The home video also includes closing comments by a smiling von Trier himself, unseen in the theatrical version.) Simply put, you've never seen anything quite like this. --Sean Axmaker 

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The Lady in White

(1988) Mystery combines with modern-day ghost story in nostalgic tale of young boy's fascination with spooky house. Gothic horror fans not seeking gore will enjoy this critically acclaimed spine-tingler.

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Legend of Hell House, The

Exceptionally tense tale of parapsychologists spending a week in haunted mansion. With its creepy atmosphere, abundant chills, this delights scare fans more interested in hair-raising suspense than buckets of gore.

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The Man Who Haunted Himself (1945) Strange psychological drama about Moore encountering a duplicate of himself in the aftermath of a car crash. Mildly interesting; good location footage of London.

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The Old Dark House (1932) Boris Karloff took top billing in the supporting role of Morgan, the scarred mute butler with a penchant for drink and a vicious mean streak, but the film is really an ensemble piece. Melvyn Douglas is the wisecracking romantic lead who, with his traveling companions Raymond Massey and Gloria Stuart, takes refuge from a storm in the creepy old mansion lorded over by the gloriously flamboyant Ernest Thesiger and his dotty, fanatical sister Eva Moore. They are joined by more stranded passengers, a hearty Charles Laughton, whose Lancashire working-class accent and blunt manners set him apart from the social graces of his companions, and his mistress, Lillian Bond. Through the stormy evening, the five guests endure a night of madness and mayhem as the batty old family reveals its dangerous secrets. Whale combines marvelous stylistic flourishes and witty drawing-room dialogue with campy indulgence, creating a film both macabre and sardonic, a nightmarish comedy of manners. 

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The Other - (1972) In a sleepy New England town during the summer of 1935, twin brothers play a macabre game of murder only their grandmother can stop. Many thanks to Strega for finding this gem for the list!!

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(1982) Wildly successful horror film about suburban family terrorized by evil spirits. With its nerve-wracking suspense and dazzling effects, this is scary entertainment for older kids, adult fans of mainstream fare

Read reviews of "Poltergeist", or get paid to write your own.

Sixth Sense, The

(1999) Frightening supernatural thriller involves psychologist encountering child visited by the dead. The haunting visuals, twisting plot, brooding tone will chill mainstream horror seekers, while ample nail-biting tension satisfies suspense addicts.

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Stir of Echoes

(1999) Eerie chiller about blue-collar Chicagoan whose reality begins to crumble after undergoing hypnosis. Fans of suspense should enjoy the plot twists, visual style, though many may find the less-than-forceful ending disappointing.

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The St. Francisville Experiment (1999) - Four people - a psychic, a ghost-hunter, a filmmaker and a historian - all trained in the paranormal and equipped with cameras, fly to Louisiana to investigate a haunted house, plagued by the spirits of slaves who endured the most grisly and unspeakable tortures known to man. However, the four are unprepared for the horrors that will occur. Unlike any supernatural thriller or horror film that you think you may have seen, The St. Francisville Experiment takes viewers on a ride they have never experienced before, because this time it’s real!

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Terror in the Haunted House (1958) - A man takes his new wife to the house of her nightmares. Uniquely filmed in "Psychorama," a process which flashed words and pictures of snakes and skulls upon the screen to cause subliminal shivers. This visual suggestion proved so successful, it was banned by the government shortly after the film's release. 

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The Turn of the Screw (1974) - A well-told ghost tale about a governess who takes charge of two young children living in an isolated country manor. She soons finds herself in a desperate struggle against a hidden, dark force for the children's very souls. Based on Henry James novel of 1898.

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Uninvited, The

(1944) Spooky ghost story about young couple investigating their haunted house. Still praised by today's critics as chillingly scary. Eerie cinematography, dead-right performances make this a must for fright movies lovers. 

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Web of the Spider (1970) Overly familiar thriller about the skeptic who accepts a wager that he cannot survive the night alone in a haunted house. Franciosa and associates try vainly to give it a fresh twist but are upstaged by shrieking spirits, howling winds, and assorted creepy crawlies.

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Web of the Spider or get paid to write your own.

The Whip and The Body (1963) Kurt Menliff (Christopher Lee) returns to his ancestral castle after being banished by his father some years before. He finds that his lover Nevenka (Daliah Lavi) has married his brother. However, it is not long before they resume their previous relationship and Kurt is mysteriously murdered. Is Nevenka being haunted by his ghost or is it al in her mind? You'll have to watch it to find out.

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The Whip and The Body or get paid to write your own.
The Willies (1990) - What could be more innocent than three boys camping in the backyard and telling scary stories? Innocent? These stories are absolutely guaranteed to give you the willies. 

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Other places to rent movies online are at:

Best Video
Digital Video Connection
Home Film Festival
Video Library
Video Vault

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