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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 »

  • 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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