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Top 10 Creepiest Ghost Movies

5. The Sixth Sense (1999)

Ghost Movies Best - Top 10 List
Imagine if you will, an antediluvian filmic era. Before The Happening. Before The Village. Before Signs. Welcome to the golden age of M. Night Shyamalan, when The Sixth Sense briefly transformed him into the hottest new film-maker in Hollywood and he could deliver a twist ending that had viewers choking on their pop corn in surprise, rather than weakly sobbing at the lameness of it all. Starting a trend for chiller flicks featuring kids delivering their dialogue in loud whispers (which persists to this day) and a trend for movies starring Haley Joel Osmant (which proved to be far, far, far-shorter lived), The Sixth Sense attempted to establish a cogent relationship between the living and the deceased, without diluting the spiritual atmospherics.

4. Don’t Look Now (1973)

Best Ghost Horror Movies
Ah, I have to confess to a bit of con-job on this one. Because, rather than sitting here resplendently in fourth place on my list, Don’t Look Now should face technical disqualification on the grounds that there aren’t actually any ghosts in it. But! The elliptical story related by Man Who Fell to Earth helmer Nicholas Roeg suggests that grieving John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) is being stalked round Venice by a red coat-clad phantom version of his dead daughter – consequently giving Don’t Look Now at least a partial ghost film credit. And there is no shortage of creepiness in the central scenario, which culminates with one of the most heart-stopping finales in cinema, when Baxter discovers that the ‘daughter’ he has repeatedly sighted is a ***spoiler***. Sounds laughable on paper, bloody terrifying and terrifyingly bloody in practice.

3. The Others (2001)

Scariest Ghost Movies
It may have been penned way back in 1897, but Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw still seems to exert a sizeable influence over the motion picture ghost story. The literary original was successfully adapted as The Innocents with Deborah Kerr in 1961, and James’ narrative components of a young woman inhabiting a strange gothic property, a perplexing set of events which appear to be supernatural in nature, and kids conversing with the spirit world were all adopted by director Alejandro Amenábar for his Nicole Kidman-starrer The Others. Privileging a nebulous sense of anxiety over blaring great shocks (although the bit where Kidman finds her daughter has been replaced by a knobbly pensioner is certainly a jolter), Amenábar’s movie even manages to find a sinister purpose for British comedy veteran Eric Sykes, as gardener Mr. Tuttle.

2. Ringu (1998)

Scariest Ghost Movies
A second entry in the list for director Hideo Nakata and the movie that ensured we would spend the opening years of the 21st century being deluged with J-Horror and J-Horror remakes alike. Despite the plethora of imitators, Ringu remains a genre benchmark though, boasting as it does a highly effective marriage of tight, surprising plotting and evocatively uncanny imagery. Around the conceit of being able to sign your own death warrant without even knowing it, Nakata weaves a race-against-time dilemma and downbeat denouement, while Rie Inou’s herky-jerky moving Sadako instantly establishes herself of one of the most identifiable characters in modern horror cinema.

And here it is, the number one all time top ghost movie –

1. The Shining (1980)

Best Ghost Movie (Horror Movie List)
Much of Stanley Kubrick’s take on The Shining has undeniably become the stuff of all-too frequent parody; the Diane Arbus-inspired twin girls, the elevator of blood, the revelation of ‘REDRUM’ in the mirror, and Jack Nicholson’s manic cry of “Heeeeeeeeeere’s Johnny!”. However The Shining delivers so many moments of oddness that it still never fails to unsettle (the briefly-glimpsed guy in the bear costume and Joe Turkel’s sallow-faced bartender always succeed in putting a cold breeze up my flagpole). Kubrick’s Steadicam relentlessly glides the corridors of Overlook Hotel, trailing little telepathic Danny (Danny Lloyd) trundling round on his tricycle, searching out the spiritual malevolence that finally sends Jack Torrance’s booze-fuelled caretaker over the edge, and gives Nicholson opportunity to cut loose. With a really big axe.

Any scary ghost movies I missed? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Also See: Top 10 Vampire Movies / Top 10 Werewolf Movies

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186 Comments »

  • ghost said

    The Haunted (1991)

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  • Drixon said

    What About
    – Shutter
    – Ju-on
    – The Entity
    – The Stephen King Version of the Shinning, The Kubrick one was scarry as hell but the miniseries on actually was closer to the book.
    – One Missed Call
    – One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show.

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    • David said

      THE ENTITY, although a truly scary movie, is not a ghost story. This film deals more with the subject of an incubus: a demon spirit or entity that rapes their victims repeatedly at any given moment against their will.

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  • orgace patliputra said

    me and my friends r deciding to watch a movie tonight….bt we don’t want thriller ghost movies….we want to see movies with ghost in it……i founds ”THE OTHERS ” trailer good….bt it should not be a thriller…..give suggestions pls

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  • Tinosaur1591 said

    What about paranormal activity? What about the Blair witch project? What about the orphanage? Maybe PA and The orphanage came out after the list was made? But I think these three titles should be included at least in the comment section. So should the changling. George C Scott is so good in that one. Good list though. You’ve included some of my favourites. 🙂

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    • David said

      I don’t think THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT would be a “ghost story.” It would probably be considered to be in the witch/voodoo sub-genre of horror. the rest of the movies you mention are truly ghost stories.

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    • David said

      I forgot to add PARANORMAL ACTIVITY as not being a ghost story- it’s a movie about possession takeover.

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  • Crittab said

    I might be the only one, but the first Paranormal Activity remains the scariest movie I’ve ever seen. I still think about it occasionally in the middle of the night and get totally creeped out.

    That, and the original Amityville Horror.

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    • David said

      Bothe of these movies are NOT ghost stories. They’re about possession takeover and demons, respectively.

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    • David said

      WHAT?! “Scariest movie ever seen?”! I don’t think soooooo…..

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  • david said

    i think insidious is the most scariest movie i have ever seen.

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  • VJ said

    This list don’t have the ghost movies.
    Ghost movies are Ring,Grudge & Mirrors.
    Need a list in these kind.Please update.

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  • Gent said

    A little known one would be the 1945 Strangler of the Swamp starring a young Blake Edwards (yes, that’s starring not directing.) It’s not bad with some good creepy atmosphere about an innocent man who was hanged and spooks the locals around the swamp where he was wrongfully executed.

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  • m. jones said

    “The Orphanage” is just as haunting as “The Others” and both have an unexpected twist ending.

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  • Tracey said

    I was disappointed. I hoped to find a great ghost movie I hadn’t seen already! Darn. Anyway, very incisive list, nothing to disagree with there, apart, perhaps, from order of merit. I’d definitely add a brilliant oldie, ‘The Uninvited’, 1940s with Ray Milland. Ooh, and I really liked ‘The Haunted’, one from the 80s with Jeffrey (‘Walking Dead’) DeMunn. It’s an obscure TV movie, never mentioned, and I don’t understand why. I found it very creepy, especially the scene where Janet hears someone calling her name in an empty room, and the one where a ghost woman comes down the stairs out of nowhere and starts sticking her tongue down Jeffrey’s throat. Eeek.

    I’d also agree with those who cite the original ‘Woman In Black’. Terrifying. And ‘The Changeling’.

    My list would comprise, ‘The Woman In Black’, ‘The Changeling’, ‘The Uninvited’, ‘Dark Water’, ‘The Haunted’, ‘The Haunting’, ‘The Others’, ‘6th Sense’, ‘Ringu’ and ‘The Fog’.

    Oh, and just wanted to say, if we were going by title, ‘Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You’ would win by several miles!

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  • fanfan said

    There is this movie with Justin Long and a blonde girl…
    Don’t remember the title.

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  • Bob said

    How about the movie “Ghost Story”? I get chills watching that movie

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  • Barb D said

    “The Uninvited”, 1944, the first real ghost story. Scary, atmospheric, creeply manse on an english storm-tossed cliff. Great stuff.

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  • Doktor Vok said

    Whistle & I’ll Come To You BBC 1972, an M.R.James short story with Michael Hordern. THE scariest ghost ever, the fact that it’s first seen in broad daylight is unsettling enough but the finale still disturbs me on a very deep & primal level.

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    • David said

      Just the way you describe it here makes me what to find this movie and buy it. Seems like a very creepy ghost story… I hope I find it. This is the second time I’ve seen someone point this story out.

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  • Kevin C said

    Like the list.Maybe I am showing my age but the first movie that came to mind when I thought of ghost movies was the 1981 gem “Ghost Story”. Has an all star cast of Hollywood old old school superstars.

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