Why do we like to be scared? Do you think it might all go back to that first jack-in-the-box encounter? We turn the crank, the clown jumps out, we get scared, and then we laugh. That little thrill just gets us every time.
When Halloween comes around every year, we start thinking about dressing up in costumes and snacking on tiny boxes of candy and miniature candy bars – and what movies we can watch to scare the daylights out of us! Or make us laugh. Or maybe even make us cry.
I’m sticking with a ghost theme this year, and I’ve divided my viewing into three categories.
Ghosts That Make Me Laugh –
- The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) – Don Knotts gives his signature “nervous-until-he-really-has-to-be-brave” performance as Luther Heggs, a man who agrees to spend a night in a haunted house for a newspaper article. Of course, he also wants to impress the girl of his dreams. Mostly funny, but also scary at times, it’s my favorite Knotts movie.
- Ghost Busters (1984) – Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson star as a team of proton pack packers for hire. They’re able to get rid of even the most stubborn ghost haunting your home or business. Call for estimates.
Ghosts That Really Scare Me –
- The Haunting (1963) – Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, and Russ Tamblyn spend some time in a haunted house as part of research into the paranormal. One of the most incredibly frightening movies I’ve ever seen – and it’s rated G! Proof that a really terrifying movie doesn’t have to come from gallons of fake blood or even be in color. Your own mind can fill in the blanks better than any special effects artist.
- The Others (2001) – Nicole Kidman stars as a woman waiting for her husband to return from WWII. Renting a home in the English countryside for herself and her children, she gradually comes to realize that they’re not alone in the old house.
Ghosts That Charm Me –
- The Ghost and Mrs. Muir – Gene Tierney plays Lucy Muir, a young widow who rents a seaside cottage for herself and her daughter. But the original owner of the house, Captain Daniel Gregg, played by Rex Harrison, is still around – and determined to get rid of the new residents. The problem is that Mrs. Muir is stubborn, not easily frightened – and very beautiful and charming.
- Ghost (1990) – Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore star in a movie that’s, by turns, romantic, tragic, and funny. When Sam is killed in a seemingly random act of violence, he finds that he’s still tied to Earth by his love for Molly. As he wanders the city, Sam learns that his death was not random after all – and that Molly is still in danger. Whoopi Goldberg co-stars, giving an Oscar-winning performance.
- Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990) – Another love story, this time starring Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson as Jamie and Nina, lovers parted by Jamie’s sudden death. But is he really gone? A romantic and very sweet movie about knowing when to let go. If you only know Alan Rickman from his villainous roles, be sure to see him in this movie.
So depending on your mood this Halloween, take your pick of the above ghosts you want for company. Or do you have other favorites?