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Top Ten Must-See Ghost Movies

We love movies about ghosts. Probably not a surprise, but we consider ourselves ghost movie lovers with discerning taste. Not fans of the uber gory genre: guts and blood for the sake of rattling your ick tolerance. We like a good ole scary ghost movie that, if you were to watch it in your home alone with the lights off one starless night, you might not be able to ignore the creeks and groans of your floorboards that have always been there, but now, well, maybe you just weren’t paying enough attention to them.

Here is a list of some of our faves, in no particular order. You may have seem some of them, or even most of them. We recommend, however, that you watch them again. Try Friday night, starting at 11:30pm (take a nap Friday early evening—you’ll be fine). Have a full stomach (no need to get up during the viewing), have a drink ready, (probably want to avoid something hot or that could stain your furniture), grab a blanket, and turn out all the lights (candles might be in order, but don’t put them anywhere that could cause you danger by knocking them over or forgetting they’re lit), and get ready. A good ghost movie can give you and your companion an exceptionally enjoyable evening. If you’re flying solo, hold on to your seat–it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Then tell us how it went. And if you were able to fall asleep. And if your dreams were more like nightmares.


  1. The Innocents


What can we say–this movie is just perfection. Filmed in black and white for extra creepiness. Set in turn-of-the-century Victorian England, Deborah Kerr stars as Miss. Giddens, the tightly wound governess assigned to care for two orphaned children. Miss Giddens comes to believe that the children are under the spell of the late valet and former governess, who both died tragically on the estate. From the opening haunting song to the long shots of the ghostly Miss Jessel, you’ll feel the darkness of the movie from the outset. Are the children truly haunted, or is Miss Giddens losing her mind? Watch it and decide for yourself.


“What shall I sing to my lord from my window? What shall I sing for my lord will not stay? What shall I sing for my lord will not listen? Where shall I go when my lord is away? Whom shall I love when the moon is arisen? Gone is my lord and the grave is his prison. What shall I say when my lord comes a calling? What shall I say when he knocks on my door? What shall I say when his feet enter softly? Leaving the marks of his grave on my floor. Enter my lord. Come from your prison. Come from your grave, for the moon is a risen. Welcome, my lord.”


  1. The Changeling


This is not the Angelina Jolie movie. George C Scott is a grieving husband/father who experiences an house haunting of epic proportions. After his wife and daughter are tragically killed, Scott moves away to get on with life, and rents a mansion that isn’t exactly unoccupied. This is the quintessential haunted house movie.  Watch for that little red ball!


  1. The Orphanage


If you can get past the fact it’s subtitled (and some people can’t–they find it too distracting), this gem will make everything you led to believe about creepy old orphanages true—that nothing good ever happened in any of them. A woman, together with her husband and adopted son, returns to the orphanage she lived in as a child with the intention of reopening it as a home for disabled children. Strange things start to happen, and one of the family goes missing. The movie is both tragic and heartbreaking, all wrapped up in one spooky package.


  1. Lake Mungo (2008)


A topnotch Australian mockumentary in the same vein as Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch. Young Alice Palmer drowns at Lake Mungo under mysterious circumstances. A few months after her death, her family starts getting glimpses of her. Modern day ghost story that will leave you chilled to the bone.


  1. Burnt Offerings


The Rolf family become caretakers of an estate occupied by old Mrs. Allardyce. Soon something begins to affect all of them in unexpected, unsettling ways. What is happening to them—is it something beyond their control? No disrespect, but Karen Black’s face was made for horror movies–she’s so expressive, and evocative, and, well, just scary.


  1. Shutter (2004) Thai Version


If you can get a hold of the original Thai version, do so, but there is also this remade English film that’s not quite as subtle, but certainly still disturbing. A photographer and his girlfriend get into a hit-and-run accident with a young woman, killing her and leaving her by the side of the road. Afterwards, shadowy faces begin appearing in photographs, and other strange events begin occurring. Karma is a real b&^%h.


  1. The Devil’s Backbone (2001)


This is a subtitled Guillermo del Toro movie, so be prepared for dark, heavy, disturbing themes. Set in an orphanage during the Spanish Civil War in Spain (I swear, orphans always get the raw end of the deal), a young boy begins having supernatural encounters. Ghost movies don’t get much darker than this one.


  1. The Awakening (2011)


In 1921 England, an author assists the police in  identifying charlatans and helping to debunk purported supernatural happenings. A boarding school headmaster enlists her help to identify the cause of mysterious phenomena manifesting at his school. This movie is probably the most subtle on the list in the terror department, but subtle does not equate dull. If you’re in for a more thinky kind of film, the Awakening is your best bet.


  1. The Uninvited (1944)


Stick with this one, the original, and not the remake. Sure, it’s a little stiffly acted and the special effects are nowhere near as tight as current movies, but so what? This flick is spooky as heck. Siblings buy a seaside mansion for next to nothing, and soon find out that their bargain deal wasn’t really much of a bargain. A good, old-fashioned spooktale that has everything you want in a ghost story:  a séance, an asylum for the mentally ill, an actual cliffhanger, and a slew of ghosts who have some unfinished business with which to attend.



10. Whistle and I’ll Come to You – Omnibus (1968)

If you’ve heard of this one, well then, you really are a ghost movie aficionado.  It’s technically from a British TV show from back in the day, but we couldn’t leave it off because it’s so awesome. A professor who likes his solitude and privacy goes to stay in a hotel on the English seaside. On a beach walk, he finds a whistle with the inscription, “Whom is this that is coming to”. You know from there it ain’t gonna go well for him. To quote a reviewer, “Downright bone chilling”. Worth a viewing just for that.