Friday, February 17, 2012

Supernatural Friday: Good Scary Ghost Movies

I went to see the other day, The Woman in Black. It wasn’t bloody (maybe a tiny bit) and it brought back the good scary gothic ghost tale, without the audience seeing brains scattered or gallons of blood spilt. It is based off the novel by Susan Hill. Now, I need to read the book.

Since I am busy working on my Young Adult paranormal, plus catchingup on other things,I decided to easy on today's Supernatural Friday. I am going to post eleven good scary ghost story movies (so I want to be different!). Commenters can chime in with their suggestions if they're not on my list. That's fine; I can't find every movie.

1. The Haunting (1963): This movie, or actually a scene in the book, The HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson, scared me while reading it in a room full of people. Stephan King had to do it while I was alone in my bedroom, at night. There is a remake, but don't bother. This black and white version is the one to rent or buy.

2. The Innocents (1961). Based on the Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw, this tale is about a governess who comes to believe the two young children she's taking care of are possessed by ghosts. The movie mixes gothic horror trappings with edgy, modern topics of sexuality and abuse while challenging viewers' perceptions of what a haunting is.

3. Poltergeist (1982). It's easy to forget how scary this PG-rated movie about a suburban family's house haunting was in its day, especially to little kids with clown dolls in their rooms.

4. The Others (2001). This movie is set in the vintage gothic  World War II-era mansion. A mother and her two young photosensitive children are stuck in their house as they await the return of the soldier husband/father. Of course, the house just happens to be haunted. Marvelously paced with a delicious twist ending, this is the kind of high-end cinema that appeals to viewers who don't even like horror movies.
5. The Uninvited (1944). The Uninvited is a classy classic mystery with ghostly twists and turns, as a brother and sister team up to uncover the truth behind the haunted house they recently purchased.

6. Lady in White (1988). Not just a ghost story; in fact, the ghosts aren't the villians, but a living killer. Lady in White wraps nostalgia up in a complex supernatural mystery as a man relates the story of his ghostly childhood encounter while locked all night in his elementary school. The film achieves scares by masterfully placing you in the boy's shoes and recapturing all those childhood fears that you paid psychiatrists to help you forget.

7. Burnt Offerings (1976).  In the movie, a family rents an old house for the summer, and guess what? It's haunted!

8. Ghost Story. This movie came out in 1981 and based off Peter Straub's GHOST STORY. Four successful elderly gentlemen, members of the Chowder Society, share a gruesome, 50-year old secret. When one of Edward Wanderley's twin sons dies in a bizarre accident, the group begins to see a pattern of frightening events developing.

9. What Lies Beneath (2000). A sort of supernatural homage to Hitchcock, What Lies Beneath is a slick, big-budget production about a woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) who begins to think that her house is haunted by the ghost of her next-door neighbor. It has the classic feel of an old-fashioned murder mystery with the added fright factor of the ghost of the victim returning from her watery grave.
10. Ju-on: The Grudge (2003). If Ringu introduced much of the world to the "yūrei" figure (the long-haired Japanese female ghost), then Ju-on: The Grudge takes to a new level of fear by making her more animalistic, sadistic, unstoppable, irredeemable and really, really clingy.The Changeling (1980). A recent widower (George C. Scott) moves into -- you guessed it -- a spooky old house that turns out to be haunted. In this case, the ghost is a young, sickly boy whose wheelchair and ball lend some classic scares as the man unweaves the tangled, tragic mystery behind the boy's death.


Have you seen some of these? Did they scare you? What other movies like these scared you?


Kate@Midnight Book Girl said...

I just saw The Woman in Black the other night, and I was surprised by how scared and tense I was while watching the movie. I loved the level of creepiness, and it did bring to mind The Others. I'm trying to think of good supernatural movies that are similar and not already on your list, but so many movies go for the gross out. Love this post!

Tara Fox Hall said...

Hi :) I have seen all but Burnt Offerings, which I may have seen and forgot the name? You have listed some of my favorite and most cherished horror/suspense films, esp. The Uninvited, the first Haunting ("in the night, in the dark...":) ) Great post. The only one I would add would be The Shining, which scares the hell out of me just watching that car drive up the mountain road and listening to the music. Seeing the two girls in the hallway..shiver. I'm going to have a nightmare tonight for sure. I should have waited to look at this post until morning...

Cara Marsi said...

Great list. Of your list, I've seen Poltergeist, The Uninvited, The Haunting, Lady in White, Ghost Story & What Lies Beneath. Another I like is the Ghost of Canterbury (think that's the title) about a medieval ghost haunting a mansion in England taken over by US soldiers during WW2. That one was more humorous than scary.