Ghost movies: A List of Favorite American/British Ghost Movies

Shortly after seeing the CGI ghost movie MAMA, which is not a bad film except that the ghost looks too much like a slithering, noisy creature from an Asian horror film, I thought I would make a list of my favorites in the ghost genre. This does not include other horror sub-genres, which I may tackle at some other time. Nor does it include Asian ghost films like THE HEIRLOOM (Taiwan). I already made a subjective comparison between Asian and Western (US and UK) horror films in an earlier article on this blog.

I am also not including movies with fake ghosts like THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (Vincent Price), and by fake ghosts I mean humans playing manipulative games in order to scare others for a reason. William Castle didn’t produce any ghost stories that I found frightening. His terrifying films were those that featured psychopaths (STRAIT-JACKET and HOMICIDAL).

I am also not including the gallo films because they are usually long on gore and short on logic. Dario Argento’s schtick is to plant a clue that we come back to again as an alleged explanation for the goings-on, unfortunately.

With each film listed, I will include one actor or actress by way of identification rather than the director or the release date. Film buffs will know the director/date and other readers can look them up.

Here we go:

1. THE UNINVITED (Ray Milland)
2. THE HAUNTING (Julie Harris)
3. THE INNOCENTS (Deborah Kerr)
4. THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE (Roddy McDowall)
5. THE SHINING (Jack Nicholson)
6. GHOST STORY (Fred Astaire)
7. THE OTHERS (Nicole Kidman)
8. HAUNTED (Aiden Quinn)
9. STIR OF ECHOES (Kevin Bacon)
10.THE SIXTH SENSE (Bruce Willis)

These are somewhat in the order of my preference but could be changed with a little persuasion.

One might argue in favor of countless other ghost films, such as THE TERROR, THE TOMB OF LIGEIA (if you count a dead wife possessing a black cat as a ghost), and 13 GHOSTS (either one). You might even argue against THE SHINING since it includes demon possession as well as hotel ghosts. It is pretty much a matter of taste and choice. Television, on the other hand, is full of all sorts of paranormal stories with plenty of ghostly visitations. Some of those feature some pretty interesting haunted houses/places and the production values, in most cases, are not bad.

If I were to mention one of my all-time favorite horror movies, it would be THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES, but the moth men are not ghosts. That film will belong in a future list. One thing I like about the films on my top-ten list is the fact that the subject of ghosts was taken seriously, particularly the first three films. Skillful cinematography instead of special effects gimmicks were employed.

See what you think. If I made any mistakes in the spellings of names, I will correct them.