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Top Fifteen Ghost Movies of the Last 100 Years Part I

Updated on August 25, 2009

Top Five Movies of The Last 100 Years

1938 Adaptation of A Christmas Carol, starring Reginald Owen.  Source: Wikipedia
1938 Adaptation of A Christmas Carol, starring Reginald Owen. Source: Wikipedia
1951 A Christmas Carol, starring Alastair Sims. (Wikipedia)
1951 A Christmas Carol, starring Alastair Sims. (Wikipedia)
1984 Television Movie A Christmas Carol. Source: Wikipedia
1984 Television Movie A Christmas Carol. Source: Wikipedia
2009 To Be Released A Christmas Carol, starring Jim Carey.
2009 To Be Released A Christmas Carol, starring Jim Carey.
GhostBusters I & II  Source: Wikipedia
GhostBusters I & II Source: Wikipedia
Poltergeist III, 1986  Source: Wikipedia
Poltergeist III, 1986 Source: Wikipedia
Ghost, 1990, starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore  Source: Wikipedia
Ghost, 1990, starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore Source: Wikipedia
Casper, The Friendly Ghost, 1948  Source:Wikipedia
Casper, The Friendly Ghost, 1948 Source:Wikipedia

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Ghost Movies

My Top Five Ghost Movies

Ghosts, apparitions, spooks, spirits or duppy have been the focus of many folklores, stories, books and films. As early as 5 BC the play Oresteia contained the first ghost reference as a work of fiction. (Wikipedia).

Ghosts in Modern Thinking: During the modern era, ghosts mysteries and spiritualists groups became a part of popular culture. Writers such as Charles Dickens, in 1843 wrote the novel of A Christmas Carol. This novel has been adapted at least ten times for films, movies, musical, animation or television series, starting in 1908 to 2009.

1. A Christmas Carol (film adaptations) 1908, 1910 1938, 1951,1971, 1984, 1997, 2004, 2006, 2009

The story is a Victorian morality tale (Wikipedia), where a miserly moneylender who devotes his life to wealth accumulation, experiences a profound life changing and redemption over Christmas Eve night. He was visited by three ghosts; of Christmas past, present and the future.

A Christmas Carol was first adapted as a silent film in 1908. It produced by Essanay Studios in Chicago. It was one of the earliest adaptations of Charles Dickens novel the Christmas Carol, (1943). It starred Tom Ricketts as Ebenezer Scrooge.

The film was again adapted in 1910 for silent film and starred Marc McDermott as Ebenezer Scrooge. The film ran for 15 minutes and was directed by J Searly Dawley.

A Christmas Carol was again adapted in 1938 as a movie, produced by MGM and starred Reginald Owen. It was 69 minutes long and was made to be family oriented. Many of the scenes that were considered too scary at the time were removed. This movie version remained popular until in 1951 when the new version was released.

The 1951 film adaptation starred Alastair Sims as Ebenezer Scrooge and directed by Desmond Hurst with screenplay by Noel Langley. The characters were developed and made relevant to some of the social issues of the time, such as homelessness.

The 1971 adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel, A Christmas Carol was an animated cartoon version of the 1951 film. It was released as a television special. It was later released as a film and received the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1972.

The 1984 A Christmas Carol was a television movie, filmed in Shrewsbury, England. It starred George C. Scott as Ebenezer and was directed by to Clive Donner, who was editor on the 1971 film version. Scott was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special.

The 1997 version of A Christmas Carol was an animated film, starring Tim Curry and many prominent actors, such as Whoopi Goldberg. The 1999 version was a television movie, starring Patrick Stewart and directed by David Hugh Jones.

In 2004, A Christmas Carol: The Musical, was a television movie based on the 1994 Stage Musical of the same name. It starred Kelsey Grammer as Ebenezer and was directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman. This is my favourite version of the Christmas Carol. I usually pull out my DVD to watch it as soon as December comes around.

The 2006 version of A Christmas Carol was a computer-animation, produced by BKN Entertainment. It was released to selected theatres in November and went to DVD that same month. The characters were skunks, rabbits, stork, cricket, kangaroo and walrus. I have not seen this version of the movie.

In November of this year, we will see yet another adaptation of A Christmas Carol. The film is written and directed by Richard Zemeckis and will star Jim Carey as Ebenezer and several other roles. The film will be produced in 3D through the process of performance capture as used in The Polar Express (2004).

2. Ghost Busters I & II 1984, 1989

Can you hear the tagline: "Who you gonna call? Gost Busters!" This film was first released in 1984. The original story was written by Dan Aykroyd. The film starred Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis and directed by Ivan Reitman. The comedy film was based on three eccentric New York ghost exterminators. The ghost busters were hired to exterminate a demonic spirit called Zuul, who was a demigod of 600 BC. The film was comedic and treated the subject matter in a comedic manner; poking fun at the ghost exterminators, who were clumsy and apparently ignorant in the ways of ghost busting. The film grossed over 291 million dollars.

Ghostbusters II was the sequel, released in 1989 with the same director as the first film. It had the biggest three-day opening for that time, grossing over 29 million dollars in one weekend. Even though the movie was met with mixed reviews, it grossed over 215 million dollars. Many movie goers had high expectations after Ghostbusters.

3. The Poltergeist I, II, II

In 1982 the first and most successful Poltergeist film in the sequel was released. It is an American horror film a, which was produced by Steven Speilberg and Frank Marshall. It was nominated for three Academy Awards. It is said that the director of the film, Tobe Hooper experienced poltergeist activities when he was a child. For weeks after his father died he witnessed doors breaking in, dishes flying around his house and other bizarre occurrences.

The film is about ghosts that did not passed over into the light, terrorizing a family whose house was built on a burial ground. The portal into the house was from the television screen, which a five year old child communicated with the ghost.

The poltergeist II was released in 1986 and was not as successful as the first. It was however nominated for an Academy Award for Visual Effects. The film was directed by Brian Gibson and starred Craig T Nelson et al. The story line continues with the ghost trying to hurt the Freelings and their five year old daughter. They were successful defeats the demons, forcing them to cross over to the afterlife.

Poltergeist III was the third and final in the series. It was released in 1988 and was directed by Gary Sherman. Only two of the original cast members returned to thie second sequel and one of them, Heather O'Rouke, (the five year old child in the first film,) died of natural causes before post-production was finished. Even though this film was considered a box office hit, it was the least grossing film of the three.

4. Ghost

Ghost is a romantic drama film, released in 1990 and starred Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberge. It was directed by Jerry Zucker. It was nominated for multiple Academy awards including Best Supporting Actress (Whoopi Goldberg) and Best Picture and Best Screenplay. The movie grossed over 505 million dollars.

The premise of the movie is about a lover who died tragically and is trapped between the world of the living and the dead. The ghost tried to learn the ways of poltergeist to get his girlfriend's attention. He is assisted by a con artist posing as a medium, who found out that she could hear ghosts. In the end, the lovers learned how to communicate with each other and the disembodied went into the light.

Anyone who saw this movie is mesmerized by the romantic scene with Patrick Swayze and Demo Moore making the pottery. Now that was hot! Oh, and the soundtrack, was not too shabby as well. Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers have not sounded more righteous!

5. Casper The Friendly Ghost

The story of Casper, The Friendly Ghost was created in 1930 by Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo as a children's book. It is about an amiable ghost boy. In the 1945 Cartoon release of the Friendly Ghost, Casper was portrayed as a cute pudgy ghost-child with a New York accent. (Wikipedia) Casper likes to make friends with people rather than scare them.

In the 1950s Paramount ran a series of theatrical releases of Casper until the summer of 1959. New cartoons versions were released in 1963 by ABC. In 1979, NBC released Casper and the Angels. FOX released a Casper series in 1995, based on the live-action feature film of the same year.

Casper the Movie 1995, was directed by Brad Silberling and Steven Speilberg was among the producers. The voice of Casper was Malachi Pearson and Christina Ricci was his love interest. This film was a box office hit and grossed over 287 million dollars.

Stay tuned for Part II and Part III of Top Fifteen Ghost Movies of the Last 100 Years...



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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      PRAY GOD! I just saw that THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL IS DUE OUT OCTOBER 2012 ON BLU-RAY. ] LET US WHO HAVE DREAMED OF THE POSSIBILITY PRAY FOR THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE THAT THIS RELEASE OF THE MOVIE WILL FINALLY BE BOTH COMPLETE AND IN WIDESCREEN ALL AT THE SAME TIME. WHAT A JOY THAT WOULD BE!=======================================The five PLUS stars are for the MOVIE, not necessarily this 2005 DVD rsaleee . . . . (Now that I have seen the new DVD, I give it 3 1/2 or 4 stars. See explanation below.)In Oct. 2002, Disney Home Video rsaleeed its first DVD formatted THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL. The response was both pro and con. The response that was negative dealt with two primary issues:(1) That the 2002 DVD was pan-and-scan (AKA full screen or 1.33:1 ) instead of widescreen, and, in fact, unlike many DVDs, did not even offer the viewer a choice between pan-and-scan and widescreen. For fans of the movie who prefer widescreen, this was a great disappointment!(2) That the 2002 DVD for Region 2 and perhaps other regions also removed the When Love Is Gone song. Disney has not, to my knowledge, offered an explanation for the removal. I would guess that it was because the song is sad and someone at Disney probably decided that such a sad song did not belong on a DVD intended for children.Thus, that 2002 DVD had TWO strikes against it as far as MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL purists were concerned. At the Amazon site for that earlier DVD, you can find more than 130 reviews, many of which express PROFOUND disappointment about the lack of widescreen and the missing song. (Note: Amazon has unaccountably merged those 2002 reviews with the 2005 reviews. Just got toward the end of the list to see the older reviews.)Fast forward to 2005, just a couple of months ago. Disney announced a new rsaleee of this film The Muppet Christmas Carol Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition. Eager fans immediately assumed that this would be the long-awaited anamorphic widescreen version. However, various statements and press rsaleees listed the movie as 1.33:1 or, in other words, pan-and-scan. When this was discovered, the fans HOWLED at what seemed like a betrayal and an absence of common-sense by the people at Disney. THEN, within a few days of the official announcement, Disney back-peddled and issued a new announcement that the first one was in error and that the 50th Anniversary version would be in BOTH pan-and-scan and widescreen. The ***SIGH*** of relief was like a wind that rushed across the globe!But now comes the TRICKY PART that tries to answer your specific question. Some fans who have contacts within the industry or have means of mining the Internet, discovered that the CONTENT of the pan-and-scan and the widescreen versions that would be on the same disc would be different in that one would have the afore mentioned song and one would not. As mentioned HERE in these reviews for this new rsaleee, apparently the version to contain the song is the pan-and-scan version which, if it's true is a totally incomprehensible creative decision. (Why would the the version that was TRUE to the widescreen format be missing the song, thereby compromising that version?)Right now, as a GIANT FAN of MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL, who has longed for a widescreen DVD since the advent of DVD, I am hoping that there has been some miscommunication going on (for example, look above at the official aspect ratio listed in the Product Details. On today's date of Oct. 13, 2005, it's listed as 1.33:1, so the facts about this rsaleee seem to be unfortunately garbled!)Incidentally, there exists a WIDESCREEN (though obviously not anamorphic) Laserdisc version of the film that INCLUDES the song When Love Is Gone. I know because I own it . . . and it is among my most precious possessions!!All we can do is wait until November 29 to find out what this new rsaleee will truly hold. I personally hope there will be an anamorphic widescreen version that also includes When Love Is Gone. ADDENDUM: Well, yesterday was November 29, 2005, and I picked up this DVD. There's good news, bad news, and some qualified good news. The anamorphic widescreen image far exceeds any previous video or DVD version. However, the rumours are TRUE that the widescreen does NOT include the wonderful song When Love Is Gone, and that the fullscreen version DOES include it as Extended with Deleted Scene. However, for the diehard, there is this awkward-but-workable compensation: The two versions are on the same side of the DVD, thus when the widescreen version comes to the point when the song should be sung, you can use your

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Dim, indeed this story is timeless, no wonder it has been revisited by many generations of film-makers and storytellers.

      Thanks for you comment.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      7 years ago from Great Britain

      I never tire of A Christman Carol. There have been so many versions, tv. films etc. , since Dickens wrote the book. Love them all. Great hub. Thank you.

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Wife Who Saves, thanks for stopping by and for your comment. I hope that you saw the most recent movie of A Christmas Carol, starring Jim Carey. I think it was great, especially because it was in 3D. Jim Carey's role was really toned down in this movie. I was just waiting for him to burst out doing something really silly. He did get silly as only Jim can be in a few spots and at the end, but only for about 10 seconds. I wanted more antics from him; I guess the story line did not lend itself to much.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Have a great day.

    • profile image

      Wife Who Saves 

      8 years ago

      These were all good ghost movies with A Christmas Carol being my favorite. Thank you for sharing this hub.

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      anjalichugh, thanks for your comment. Definitely Ghost, the movie has all the components of a great romantic movie. I have watched it many times myself.

      Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

    • anjalichugh profile image


      8 years ago from New York

      My personal favorite..'Ghost'. I must have watched it not less than 10 times. I enjoyed reading this hub till the end. :)

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Mr Chievous, thanks for your comment. The idea of writing about ghost is cathartic for me because its a topic that I have filed away for years and not dealt with. Occassionally someone may say something that spark a memory or I may have an experience that is peculiar and that brings back some memory... Writing as you may know is sometimes the best medicine for what ails. By being brave and writing about a subject such as this I'm giving myself the permission to feel the fear and face it. or maybe I just couldn't think of anything else to write..Lol!

      It is said that the director of Poltergeist I had some real life experiences with the subject matter, it is no wonder it was so convincing. I prefer the lighter side of the subject matter, so Ghost or Ghostbuster works for me...

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your feedback...

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      quicksand, There are some really scary ghost stories, but some are more humour than horror...Ghost and Ghostbusters for instance. But honestly, I don't like to read them myself because my imagination gets the better of me.

      Anyway horror is one of the fastest growing genre of fiction next to mystery. That says alot of people are curious about the subject matter.

      I hope that I have not uncovered any ghosts for!

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Ms Chievous profile image


      8 years ago from Wv

      Great idea for a hub. I don't watch scary movies anymore because I can't even watch the commercials! I liked Poltergiest I the best!

    • quicksand profile image


      8 years ago

      I do read ghost stories, but I simply cannot go beyond the title!

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Yah..they are off the chain with Unchained Melody!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      The Righteous Brothers, right?

    • DynamicS profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandria Green-Stewart 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      James thanks as alwys for your kind support. I'm with you about ghost. The soundtrack alone does it for more.

      Thanks for stopping by..

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      This is a pleasure. I enjoyed your words and the memories you evoked. I enjoyed all of these movies. Poltergeist I is one of my favorites of all movies and Ghost is also way up there. Thanks for the trip.


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