Top Fifteen Ghost Movies of the Last 100 Years Part II
Psychological Horror Films
This hub will continue to review a collection of fifteen ghost movies that were produced as early as 1908, the silent era in films to present. The first five storylines in the movies that I reviewed in Part I were based on folklores, comedy, and romance. The movie Poltergeist I and Ghost tied to be the most popular of my top five. The next five films are classified as psychological horror. This genre relies on character fears, guilts, beliefs and emotional instability to build tension as the plot is developed.
1. The Shining 1980
This is a 1980 horror film based on the book of the same name, written by Stephen King. The film was directed by Stanley Kubrick and starred Jack Nicholson. This film is considered to be one of the best horror films in history. (Wikipedia) The story is about a writer who gets a job as a hotel caretaker during winter. His son has ESP and had terrifying premonitions about the hotel, in particular room 237. The hotel was built on an Indian burial ground and often got snowed in. Jack trades his soul for a drink and soon tried to kill his wife and son.
The Shining grossed about 95 million dollars (Wikipedia) and is a classic horror film.
2. Candyman 1992
This is a neo noir/slasher film based on the story, The Forbidden by Clive Barker. The film is the first in a trilogy and was directed by Bernard Rose and starred Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd and Xander Berkeley. The film is based on a local legend where the son of a slave was murdered because of a love affair with the daughter of a plantation owner. The main character is haunted by the Candyman because of her disbelief. She wakes up on a pool of blood and is charged with murder. In the end she becomes the new Candyman.
This film grossed over 25 million dollars.
Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh 1995
This horror film was the sequel to the 1992 Candyman based on the story by Clive Barker. It was directed by Bill Conton and starred Tony Todd et al. The film is set in New Orleans on the eve of Mardi Gras. Candyman 2 further develops the storyline started in the first film. The identity of Candyman is revealed also the reason for the murders. This film did not do as well at the box office as the first in the sequel.
3. The Stir of Echoes 1999
Described as a supernatural horror/thriller, The Stir of Echoes was released in 1999, starring Kevin Beacon and directed by David Keopp. The film is loosely based on the novel of the same name by Richard Matheson. The film is about Tom (Kevin Beacon) and son, Jake (Zachary Cope) find out that they have the ability to "receive" , i.e. communicate with ghosts. Tom discovers this after a post hypnotic suggestion was implanted. He did not know how to control the power while his son was calm and coherent in communicating with the ghost. Tom learns how to utilize his gift of communicating with ghost to control what was happening around him and his family.
Ths movie even though it opened at number 3 in the box office, it grossed about 23 million dollars worldwide.
4. The Ring 2002
This is the American remake of the 1998 Japanese version called the Ringue. The film was based on a novel by Koji Suzuki. It was directed by Gore Verbinsky and starred Naomi Watts and Martin Henderson. The film is about a cursed video tape which after it is viewed the viewer receives a phone call that condemns them to death in seven days.
This film was very successful and grossed over 249 million dollars.
The Ring Two 2005
Ring Two is the second sequel to Ring which was based on the 1998 Japanese version of the same name. Ring Two was again directed by Gore Verbinsky and starred Naomi Watts et al. The film continued the storyline of the first in the sequel. It portrayed Rachel's (Naomi Watts) struggle to rid her son, Aidan, (David Dorfman) of the possession of the ghost of Samara.
The Ring Two grossed 161 million dollars worldwide. The Ring Three is said to be scheduled for release in 2011.
5. An American Haunting 2006
This film was directed by Courtney Soloman and starred Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek et al. The film was previewed at the AFI Film festival in 2005 and released in America in 2006. It was a box office failure, even though it had so much star power. The film is based on the book, The Bell Witch: An American Haunting by Brent Manohan. It is based on the legend of the Bell witch and switches from the 19th century to the 21st. The plot dealt with poltergeist occurrences as well as incest.
The horror genre of films continues to evolve as more themes, such as slasher, psychological, zombie or vampires become popular with the viewing audience. The psychological horror, a sub-genre of horror film has evolved to include socio-political influences and the writers' imagined reactions to these events. Most are based on local legend as in the case of the Candyman and the American Haunting. Whatever is the motivation of the writer of such genre, it is evident that it is a very lucrative business, where films like the 2002 film, The Ring, grossed almost 250 million dollars worldwide.
Based on the definition of a psychological horror (see first paragraph), I believe that all these films live up to the expectation.
Take the pool, which would you rate as the best psychological horror film?