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Top Ten Movie Ghosts of All Time

  • Nov 16, 2010
There's nothing like a little hyperbole (is that like the Superbole?). These are the top ten kick-ass movie ghosts ever captured on film (in the real sense, not in the Ghost Hunters EVP crap kind-of-way). Prepare to get the chills!
The Ring
Samara is the the Charles Bronson of bad-ass in the afterlife. Living in a well, she likes nothing more than Pina Coladas, walks in the rain, and horrifically executing anyone who watches her art house tape. And when it's all said and done, you might try to understand her or help her, but it's not going to stop her crawling out of your TV. Time to sell the TV.

See the full review, "Leaking TVs, horses freaking out: just another day in the life of Samara".
Adam: What are your qualifications?

Betelgeuse: Ah. Well... I attended Juilliard... I'm a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I've seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT... NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU'RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY... NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK? You think I'm qualified?

I think that about says it all.

Patrick Swayze was the sort of guy you'd like to have a beer with. Prior to Ghost, nobody had considered pottery sexy - apparently the sales of the spinny clay things went through the roof. His unsettled spirit returns to save Demi Moore from this man's haircut:

The Grudge
Kayako is right up there with Samara for taking no crap from anyone and getting on with the inevitable, endless brutal killings. In fact, instead of the Alien vs Predator and Freddy vs Jason movies, I'd like to see Kayako vs Samara (and throw in Robocop for good measure).

The Grudge reminds us all never to visit any house in Japan without checking that no scary Asian girl was murdered at some point in the past. Instead of street numbers in Japan, they could just paint the bodycount on the front door.

Kayako can appear any time, invariably does, and has a death-rattle calling card that would make a great Halloween ringtone.


With so many ghosts to choose from, Ghostbusters is a veritable smorgasbord of the undead. Despite a choice between Zool, the lady in the library and the skeleton cab driver, I'm picking the ghost who would demolish that smorgasbord and leave you holding the check: Slimer.
Apart from the fact that Bruce doesn't think it's suspicious that nobody in the world will talk to him apart from Macaulay Mark II, we've gotta love his Help The Kid psychobabble approach instead of wearing sheets and rattling chains. Proof that there are billable hours in the afterlife, this was M Night's most fully-rounded character (which ain't saying a lot).

The Shining
I still contend that The Shining is the scariest movie ever made. Packed with iconic visuals, genuinely frightening moments and a growing sense of dread, the hotel ghosts are alarming enough to make Holiday Inn Express look like a great choice. Redrum!

Is he a ghost? Who knows but drinking a vat of Starbucks never looked like such a good idea. Trapped in soggy stairs, or inside a waterbed - or being diced with his Swiss-army knife mitten motif: Freddy guarantees his victims a grisly demise all because eventually even a quadruple espresso wears off.

The Others
Wow, recent Spanish horror movies have really packed a punch. The ghosts in The Others are nearly as scary as the ones in The Orphanage, but I don't want to spoil the surprise if you haven't seen either film. Time to call in TAPS from Ghosthunters!

The Fog
It's fair to say that moving around in the fog is the fastest way to get around the Bay Area, and vengeful pirate ghosts take this green transport option in John Carpenter's classic thriller. Glowing red eyes and fish-hooks await their victims, who for some reason don't just run to SFO and get the first flight to Tahiti.

What did you think of this list?

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November 20, 2010
I've heard that #1 & #6 are good. Since I'm not into any kind of ghost or horror movies, I haven't seen any of these, except for "Ghost" :-) Yep, pottery wasn't sexy until "Ghost"!
November 20, 2010
I only get to watch horror once a year during Halloween, so I have to choose wisely :-)
November 19, 2010
Sppoky list, I agree that Shining is one of the most scary films, Kubrick was a Genius. One more I can think of is The Innocents from 1961 I saw that as a kid and had trouble sleeping for a long time after that.
November 19, 2010
I haven't seen The Innocents, though apparently Martin Scorsese put it on his top 10 list of scariest films ever made. Netflix Queue, click!
November 19, 2010
Nice! Diggin' this list, James! Ha, fog :P
November 19, 2010
Like paper wraps rock, fog beats BART.
November 18, 2010
Great list! although I would probably put in the Japanese originals of the Ring and The Grudge. You forgot the obessive vengeful ghost of the Thai horror flick SHUTTER
November 19, 2010
Good call, good call. You know, I haven't seen Shutter so will immediately add it to the Netflix Q.
About the list creator
James Beswick ()
Ranked #2's "token Brit".
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