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Top 10 Creepiest Ghost Movies

Top 10 Best Ghost Movies (Horror Movie List) It is fast approaching that unique portion of the year when all true matters arcane and diabolical are given the festive treatment, as Halloween prompts folks to deploy their broomsticks for something other than sweeping up after the household pet. Although we have recently seen cinematic quotas of the supernatural gobbled up by vampire and zombie flicks, it would be remiss to overlook the genuine chills instilled by the most successful exponents of the ghost movie genre. So here are ten of the scariest ghost movies to put the frighteners on us poor, trembling cinema-goers.

10. Dark Water (2002)

best ghost movies list
Leaky plumbing becomes an unlikely source of spine-tingling terror in this J-Horror offering from director Hideo Nakata, the man who had previously attached creepy connotations onto video cassettes and cold-calling in the first two Ringu films. Sharing some narrative ground with his earlier horror hits, Dark Water finds Nakata once again casting a supernatural child as his primary wellspring of unsettlement, as the spirit of Mitsuko (Mirei Oguchi) seeks some redress for her premature demise. The red of Mitsuko’s lost bag and the prevalence of water in the movie both establish a link to Nicholas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, and the blend served up on this occasion by Nakata was beguiling enough to inspire Hollywood to deliver an unexceptional 2005 remake starring Jennifer Connolly.

9. The Fog (1980)

Ghost Movie - The Fog
Gar! Me hearties! Spectral seadogs resurface to wreak vengeance upon the small coastal town of Antonio Bay, as Jamie Lee Curtis collaborates with director John Carpenter on a more expansive chiller than their earlier Halloween. The Fog sees Curtis cast alongside her mother, Janet Leigh, and although the shock ending of Carpenter’s movie is certainly not up to Psycho standard, the enveloping mist of the title provides an effectively eerie shroud under which the succession of revenge killings can be enacted. And, as ever with horror aficionado Carpenter, there some teasing little genre nods too – such as a twosome of characters turning up bearing tributary monikers to Robert Fuests’s Abominable Dr. Phibes and Great God Pan writer Arthur Machen.

8. The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Best Ghost Films
Better known for the bizarre, tactile mutant bodies that inhabited his Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy movies, The Devil’s Backbone saw Guillermo del Toro adopting a rather less-outré approach to the paranormal than that which we have come to expect from the fuzz-faced Mexican auteur. Death looms large over the film’s scenario, with the Spanish Civil War-era action taking place in an orphanage in which roams the restless spirit of deceased young resident Santi (Junio Valverde). A sense of unease stalks The Devil’s Backbone throughout, as the darkest facets of human behaviour overshadow Santi’s baleful haunting – although del Toro himself might have felt like he was the one coming back from the dead, as he fully grasped the opportunity to rebuild following the production difficulties and poor reception of Mimic.

7. Poltergeist (1982)

Top Ghost In Movies
And we reach the first haunted house movie of the list. Tempted as I was to include The Legend of Hell House (which sees the astral presence of Michael Gough’s devilish Emeric Belasco spreading misery as an expression of the resentment he harboured about his titchy little legs), I decided to plump for this successful collaboration between writer-producer Steven Spielberg and director Tobe Hooper. The sense of wonder one has come to typically associate with The Beard’s output is given a darker tint here, with Carol Anne Freeling (Heather O’Rourke) being ripped away from her family and subsumed by the static of the television set. Meanwhile, Texas Chainsaw Massacre helmer Hooper keeps the schlock coming; as evinced by Martin Casella’s psychic researcher clawing his own face to shreds, and some slightly bathetic final revelations about a defiled burial ground.

6. The Haunting (1963)

Ghost House Movies
Blimey, wait for one haunted house movie and then a pair of the blighters show up at once. What are the odds? Well, probably significantly better than finding someone who prefers the Jan de Bont-directed remake of The Haunting to the 1963 original. Coming as it did between his work on West Side Story and The Sound of Music, The Haunting perhaps represents a slightly unlikely interjection in the production schedule of the period for its director Robert Wise. However Wise brings the kind of intelligence to proceedings that you might expect from the man who cut Citizen Kane, delivering a disquieting thriller that is high on aesthetic quality and psychological sophistication.

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186 Comments »

  • Pete Krolczyk said

    The Changeling starring George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere, The Woman in Black starring Daniel Radcliffe, The Legend of Hell House starring Pamela Franklin and Roddy McDowall, and The Innkeepers starring Sara Paxton, Paty Healy and Kelly McGillis

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  • yash said

    you missed one movie “THE GURDGE” & “DEATH SILENCE”

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  • mimideyi said

    u all should put some thai horror movie in the list

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  • Vamsi Reddy said

    well where is grudge and exorcist and exorcism of elimy rose

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    • David said

      THE EXORCIST and THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE(although, they are two great movies) are NOT ghost stories, they are movies based on demons- not ghosts, which this article is about…. GHOSTS! GHOSTS and only GHOSTS!

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  • Ozrics said

    Just one comment for this list. It wasn’t too bad until you got to the No. 1. ‘The Shining’ is about as scary as a banana and less entertaining. How people rate this pile of somewhat pretentious crap I do not know. It is truly laughable – especially that bit at the end when Jack ends up frozen.

    Best choice – The Haunting. Quirky, original, intelligent and like nothing else on earth. Now that is scary!

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    • David said

      I couldn’t agree with you more… Although, I have somewhat of a guilty pleasure for THE SHINING, It is not really that great a movie. Why it is always overrated is beyond me… Perhaps it is mostly by those who either only saw the movie or they saw it before reading the book. I first read the book and then was ecstatic to find out it was being made into a movie. When I finally did see the movie, I left the theater feeling greatly cheated and very angry that such a great director could hack-up what the book was all about. The film does have some good moments but not even the acting from all the supporting players was worth defending, in fact it’s terrible. And as you’ve mentioned in your post, that ending was so laughable. I expected a huge explosion… we get a sudden up-close Jacksicle.

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  • pfftlecakes said

    Don’t Look Now is one of my favorite movies of all time. I never see it make lists like these! Seriously, if you like long movies, watch it. It may not seem like a long running time, but the film really takes its time to lure you in. Incredibly chilling. Ecstatic to see the author appreciates it too.

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  • mike said

    The Changeling. George C. Scott. Very unsettling.

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  • Eduardo said

    Great list. But how about the 1989 made-for-TV “The Woman In Black”?. I know very few have seen it, but it fits this category perfectly.

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  • Roger Smith said

    There is one Ghost movie that scared the Hell out of me when I was a young boy. Til this day I still can’t watch the Bedroom scene. It was a Movie called “Ghost Story” back in 1980-81, not really sure of the year..but it did have a cast of Great actors. Another one that was freaky was a movie called “One Dark Night”.

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  • Jerry said

    Insidious needs to be on this list……it just does

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    • David said

      I really like your conviction, Jerry! I was going to say that this was mainly a movie about astral projection and possession, but there ARE elements of ghosts and hauntings too. So, I was just about ready to say that INSIDEOUS doesn’t really belong on this list, but upon further “inspection” of it, I’d say yes, absolutely! “…. It just does”- lol! Thanks for that!

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      • Jessica Nicole Marsh said

        In my opinion you are both right and wrong here. Yes, it is a story about astral projection, but it was advertised even as a ghost/haunting story that was supposed to be original because it was not the house that was haunted- it was her son. It is firmly placed in the ghost story genre by such scenes as the little boy ghost that runs through the house, for instance, and by the fact that the dead people all want to come to life again by living inside the boy. And don’t forget the dad and the old lady.

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  • francine said

    Ghost Story

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  • BrokeDog said

    Fairly good list (with, in my opinion, The Haunting (original) being the best)! But, Dead Birds was a pretty good “ghost” movie that should’ve, at least, warranted some consideration(?) The original “The Fog” was great, also!

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  • Kryp44 said

    The Shining is King’s most over rated book. I have a lot of problems with his story telling in this one. Kubrick’s movie is a classic and improved on the novel greatly.

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  • Nabil Al-Murabit said

    Two films that weren’t added are The Legend of Hell House, which is old school scary and Ghost Story that had all of those old school stars in like Fred Astaire. Mama and Insidious were pretty good as well

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  • Jessica Nicole Marsh said

    I have to say, I’m not surprised that this one didn’t make the list, but Bag of Bones is a pretty decent one. I especially like finding out why the black lady was coming from the dead and what happened to her. It was very original, even if the thing about the tree was a bit cheesy.

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