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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 »

  • Bill said

    The Entity is one of the scariest ghost movies! By far! Based on true events..

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    • David said

      THE ENTITY is NOT a ghost story! This is a story about a demon called an incubus. Learn which genres and the sub-genres are which.

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  • Jessi said

    Omg! You forgot the Exorcist! That has to be the scariest movie I’ve ever seen. All others aren’t even on the same planet as the Exorcist when it come to the scare factor and not to mention it is one pretty creepy movie. That movie gave me nightmares, and that’s never happened to me before, so I think that movie deserves some credit.

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  • Troy said

    there seem to be good bed time stories. you did forget one the king of horror movies and books. Stephen King, the movie Rose Red as well as many others of his classics.

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  • Allan said

    You missed the truely number one, and rated by most film critics as the best: the 1944 Ray Milland “The Uninvited.”

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  • mjl said

    Another good one was with Kevin Bacon in the Stir of Echo’s, Flat Liners was pretty good too

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  • mjl said

    The Changeling-George C Scott
    Amnyville Horror-Brolin in it, the older one

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    • David said

      THE AMITYVILLE HORROR is not a ghost story. It is about a house possessed by evil demons and had nothing to do with the true horrors of that house which are the DeFeo’s murders occuring before the Lutzes so called hauntings.

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  • mjl said

    Ghost Story with Fred Astair, older movie lot of old actors, but it was pretty good, had a plot

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  • Jeff Gillette said

    I’m not shocked by what was shown but very shocked by the omission of Baby’s Room, a Spanish film from a few years back. Still frightens me!

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  • Fossafun said

    Good List….but

    “The Changling” starring George C. Scott scared the sleep out of me for about a month as a kid. I haven’t seen it since and I’m wondering if it really is as creepy as my memory serves…or was I just to young and gullable?

    Anyone remember this one?

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    • Gabi said

      Totally agree with David. First: horror films is a genre. Ghost films is a subgenre under horror films. Films like Ghostbusters, Casper or Ghost are respectively comedy, children’s film and romantic drama with supernatural or fantasy elements.
      Here it is about scary films with ghosts. I, as a Spanier, must talk about three brilliant spanish productions nobody has mentioned here: The Orphanage, The Others and The Devil’s Backbone, all three quite eerie and fully ghost films. At least The Devi’s Backbone would be in my top 10 list.

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  • shelley said

    GRAVEDANCERS with Dominic Purcell is a jumpy ghost story

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  • VINCE said

    WHAT ABOUT VINCENT PRICE’S 1959’S “THE TINGLER” ALSO, A BASED ON TRUE STORY “THE HAUNTED 1991” ABOUT A FAMILY’S FIGHT WITH THE PARANORMAL OF BOTH GHOSTS AND A DEMON IN WEST PITTSTON, PA. YOU CAN GET THIS ONE FROM “BTJUNKIE” HAVE FUN WATCHING!! IT REALLY OPENS YOUR EYE’S.

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    • David B. said

      This is NOT a ghost story. This is a “creature” monster movie.
      This article is “The Top 10 Creepiest Ghost Stories”- not : the Top 10 Horror Movies.

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  • VINCE said

    P.S. AS LIKE STEVEN KING, VINCENT PRICE ALSO LIKES TO PLAY IN HIS MOVIES.

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    • David said

      Could you, please, elaborate on what you mean to say about Vincent Price. Vincent wasn’t a writer nor “author.” If he starred in ANY movies it was because he was an “actor.”
      He didn’t write the stories of the films he starred in. So, could you get back to us on this, please? Do you know something we don’t?

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  • Candace said

    I’m looking for silent hill!!! I know a lot of people didn’t like it but I could care less I thought it was awesome!

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    • David B. said

      Sorry! This is not a Ghost story- It’s a creature- monster movie. And yes, this movie is awesome!

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  • Spartan said

    Where is’Gigli’ (2003) ?

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  • Kirie Himuro said

    Excellent list. My favorite ghost movie is The Shining as well. I’m glad the original Dark Water and Ringu are in the list and not the remakes.

    Dead Silence (2007) was not a bad movie at all, compared to most horror movies of today. It had a good storyline and that old ghost lady Mary Shaw was just creepy. Recommended!

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    • David B. said

      So sick of people saying that the “American version” is not good. THE RING was actually BETTER than RINGU. I’ve seen most of the original oriental versions and I hardly find any of them to be trully scary.

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      • Kirie Himuro said

        Well I’m so sick of people saying that The Ring was actually better than Ringu. I’ve seen most of the original oriental versions as well. 😀

        To me it all differs:
        Ringu has a better storyline, more creepy atmosphere which makes it scary. Plus it’s an urban legend myth of Japan set in modern day Japan! In Ringu they actually had to save Sadako. But in the remake they made her just a bad and evil monster. It’s not scary, it’s just shocking to watch some of the disturbing faces.

        But I do think The Grudge (2004) remake was better than Ju-on: The Grudge (2003) which was just horrible.

        Dark Water (2003) was a pretty good movie, and so was the remake, just not as good.

        I’ve watched a bunch of other originals and remakes. To me, not all originals are as good as the remakes.

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        • Sheridan Passell said
          Sheridan Passell

          Ringu gave me the sweat of fear. That’s very rare. I thought the remake, by comparison, wasn’t great.

          Totally agree that the American The Grudge is better than the original.

          The Dark Water remake played like too much of a straight drama.

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