Ranking the Black Zodiac: Who are the Scariest Ghosts in THIRTEEN GHOSTS?

The remake of thirteen ghosts has the deluxe ghost package. which phantoms are the scariest in the film.


Who are the scariest ghosts in Thirteen Ghosts ? Director Steve Beck and screenwriters Neal Marshall Stevens and Richard D'Ovidio broke out the characters of the ghosts in the 2001 remake of the William Castle film. Each ghost had a distinctive look, and while the film did not explicitly tell their stories, their scenes echoed what caused them to become scary specters. The film's DVD release gave the fans what they wanted: the Ghost Files special feature that details the ghosts' tragic lives and deaths and gave them their ghost names. But we're here to rate the fright factor of each of the thirteen ghosts, so let's get to it! Read more: 13 Ghosts: The Series Producers Hope To Expand The Mythology .

1. The Juggernaut - Played by John De Santis


Image Credit: IMDB

While The Juggernaut (John De Santis) doesn't have an intricate costume, the fact that he reportedly has a kill count of at least 40 people goes a long way towards convincing us that he is the scariest ghost. Born Horace 'Breaker' Mahoney, he was an abandoned and angry child who became a seven-foot-tall serial killer who would literally rip people apart. Mahoney also has a baleful stare that sticks with you. Brr, he gets the top spot in part because he is one of the ghosts responsible for the character Dennis Rafkin's (Matthew Lillard) brutal death.

2. The Angry Princess - Played by Shawna Loyer


The Angry Princess (Shawna Loyer), formerly known as Dana Newman, was a woman who couldn't accept how beautiful she was and was so tormented by fear, self-hatred, and body dysmorphia that she died by her own hand after trying to perform surgery on herself. She doesn't have a high kill count, but her stare is chilling, and the intent with which she carries her knife says a lot about what she would do to anyone she has her hands on. She's a fan-favorite ghost with good reason. Dana, as played by Shawna Loyer, has the looks that kill. Read more: INTO THE VOID: Dark Castle Should've Remade More William Castle Movies .

3. The Jackal - Played by Shayne Wyler


The Jackal (Shayne Wyler), the former Ryan Khun, is slightly less evil than The Juggernaut. While he is a hostile and violent predator and rapist with a penchant for going after the most vulnerable women, he realized he needed help on some level because he committed himself to an institution. But don't be lulled into a false sense of security; he's the ghost that nearly killed Kathy Kriticos (Shannon Elizabeth). Kathy was only saved because Kalina Oretzia (Embeth Daviditz) stepped in to help.

4. The Hammer - Played by Herbert Duncanson


The Hammer (Herbert Duncanson), formerly George Markeley, was a blacksmith in life and wronged by a man in authority, Nathan, who accused him of stealing and then murdered his family. While Markeley was peaceful, that was too much, and it drove him to pursue Nathan and his posse of killers, beating them to death with his blacksmith's hammer. The people of the town killed him unjustly, and he remains one of the angriest ghosts among the Thirteen. The Hammer and The Juggernaut beat poor Dennis Rafkin (Matthew Lillard) to death, which accounts for their high placements on this list. Read more: The Best of the Best: Ten Essential Vincent Price Horror Movies.

5. The Bound Woman - Played by Laura Mennell


The Bound Woman (Laura Mennell), who was Susan LeGrow in life, was a rich beauty who flirted and fooled around with many boys in high school. When her quarterback boyfriend caught her cheating on him with another student, he killed them both and buried Susan under the football field at the 50-yard line. She was found strangled and bound in rope, hence her name. While she cannot hurt people because she will spend eternity tied up, she does lure Arthur's son Bobby (Alec Roberts) to the house's basement, so she has unearthly powers.

6. The Great Child - Played by C. Ernst Harth


The Great Child (C. Ernst Harth), also known as Harold Shelburne in life, is underrated among the ghosts but pretty dangerous. The catch is that he's only dangerous when someone hurts his beloved mother. After Margaret Shelburne and Harold were relentlessly mocked, they sought refuge in a freak show. But even the freaks and carnies showed no mercy and kidnapped Margaret, who died of suffocation. When Harold found his mother, he went on a killing spree with an axe. Yes, he's frightening and more sinned against than a sinner. Read more: Want To Try Casket-Aged Wine? Yes, We're Serious .

7. The Pilgrimess - Played by Xantha Radley


The Pilgrimess (Xantha Radley) was known as Isabella Smith during her life and was a colonist in the early days of the United States. An orphan who was ostracized by the other townspeople, she was accused of witchcraft and blamed for crop failures and the illness of the local leader. She claimed that she was innocent, but no one believed her. After being chased into a farmhouse that was lit on fire, the final verdict was pronounced on Isabella when she escaped the barn unharmed. The main reason she ranks so high despite not being as vicious as some other ghosts is that the actress Xantha Radley's work makes her character seem scary.

8. The Torn Prince - Played by Craig Olejnik


The Torn Prince (Craig Olejnik), formerly known as Royce Clayton in life, was a star baseball player murdered by his scheming opponent in a drag race. One of the less aggressive ghosts, he still carries his bat, which is still a weapon. He's more of a tragic figure than a murderous force but still a restless ghost among a crowd of dangerous spirits.

9. The Torso - Played by Daniel Wesley


The Torso (Daniel Wesley) is another ghost whose scare factor is underappreciated. Jimmy, 'The Gambler' Gambino, was a man who risked the wrath of organized crime when he couldn't pay his debts and was gruesomely murdered by the Mafia. While his spirit is entirely benign, he cannot harm anyone; since he's just a torso, we rate his scare factor at number nine for one crucial reason. You can't tell me that if you turned around and saw a torso and head wrapped in plastic before your eyes, you wouldn't be frightened. Stop playing.

10. The First Born Son - Played by Mikhael Speidel


The First Born Son (Mikhael Speidel) is one of the least scary ghosts because he's a small child named Billy Michaels, and while he does pick up a weapon, he mostly asks people if they want to play. But he gets the eleventh spot because he is a ghost and could potentially do some damage if he wanted to. He doesn't seem to be interested in killing or scaring anyone, so he's rated as benign.

11. The Dire Mother - Played by Laurie Soper


The Dire Mother (Laurie Soper), known as Margaret Shelburne during her lifetime, is another neutral spirit. Yes, she is scary because she is a ghost but she is unlikely to harm anyone. She is constantly in the company of her son Harold, The Great Child, and spends time feeding and caring for him. Again, she is a spirit mistreated by others during her lifetime, and she exists only for her son's sake.

12. The Withered Lover - Played by Kathryn Anderson


One of the least scary ghosts is The Withered Lover (Kathryn Anderson) or Jean Kriticos, the deceased wife of Arthur Kriticos and mother of Kathy and Bobby. Her spirit isn't angry and is, in fact, the only benevolent ghost who wants to help her husband and family. It's not her fault that she was captured as part of Cyrus Kriticos's plot to harness the energy of the thirteen ghosts to power a machine that would allow him to see the past, the present, and the future.

13. The Broken Heart - Played by Tony Shalhoub


Arthur Kriticos (Tony Shalhoub) was the person Cyrus Kriticos intended to become the all-important thirteenth ghost. Since Arthur stays alive and doesn't become a ghost after realizing that his uncle betrayed him, wanted to sacrifice him, and wasn't dead after all, he is the least scary of the ghosts because he never became one in the first place. If you aren't a ghost, you fortunately become the least frightening future ghost on the list.

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The Backstory Of Each Ghost From Thirteen Ghosts

Matthew Lillard in Thirteen Ghosts

Let's get one thing out in the open — " Thirteen Ghosts " (or "THIR13EN GHOSTS" if you're cool) rules. The 2001 remake of William Castle's classic 1960 film of the same name is dripping with Y2K era horror goodness, a wild rogues' gallery of terrifying ghost designs, and a supporting role from horror good luck charm Matthew Lillard. The film was part of the Dark Castle Entertainment boom that included the remake of " House on Haunted Hill ," another underrated gem that deserves more love. 

Did "Thirteen Ghosts" make money at the box office ? No. Is the plot some deeply meaningful story that will stay with you forever? Also no. Is "Thirteen Ghosts" an absolute blast and a brilliant display of spectacle and special effects from Greg Nicotero and Robert Kurtzman? Abso-f******-lutely.

The original film featured an occultist who captured ghosts from around the world, and for the most part, "Thirteen Ghosts" follows a similar premise. Where the remake shines, however, is the introduction of the Black Zodiac. A twisted inversion of the typical Zodiac that people like to use in place of having an actual personality, the Black Zodiac represents twelve earthbound ghosts that are needed to open the Ocularis Infernum. 

"But that's only 12," I hear you replying to the Facebook post for this article. Don't you worry, my sweet summer child, in time you will learn. 

The titular spirits are a marvel of horror creativity and even include their own terrifying backstories. As my gift to you all, here's the history of each of the ghosts in "Thirteen Ghosts" as told by someone who watched the original DVD special features way, way too many times as a teenager, complete with guidance to find which ghost aligns with your astrological sign.

The First Born Son

Representing the loss of the firstborn male typically seen throughout scripture, ghost hunter Cyrus Kriticos captured the spirit of Billy Michaels. Little Billy loved Western movies and showed excessive rage whenever his parents dared to pull him away from the television. One day, Billy was challenged to a duel by a neighbor boy who had recently found a real steel-tipped arrow in his father's closet, and Billy, refusing to accept defeat, brought a toy cap gun. The kid was a hell of a shot because the arrow struck Billy right through the back of his head and came out through the middle of his forehead. The neighbor boy was arrested and taken to a juvenile detention center.

In death, Billy is seen wearing an embroidered Western-style button-up, a singular feather headpiece (old school ghosts don't know about cultural appropriation), and wields a tomahawk axe. His name is most likely a reference to Old West gunfighter Billy the Kid and is representative of the Aries sign in the traditional zodiac. The First Born Son exemplifies all of the "negative" traits of an Aries, such as being a stubborn, reckless dare-devil, and possessing a sense of youthful immaturity.

Loosely based on the victims of the real-life Cleveland Torso Murders , The Torso is the captured spirit of Jimmy "The Gambler" Gambino. With a name that feels like a self-fulfilling prophecy, Gambino had a terrible gambling addiction, sacrificing his schooling for visits to the racetrack and late-night gambling in dive bars. After a while, Gambino opened his own booking business, but the same way an alcoholic should never be a bartender, Gambino's addiction got in the way of his payoffs. Gambino quickly became known as the man who would never turn down a bet. His reputation put him on the radar of mobster Larry "Finger" Vatelo, who propositioned Jimmy with a bet over a boxing match.

Jimmy's fighter lost the match, and with no money to his name to pay for his losses, he fainted. When Vatelo's men came to collect and found Gambino unconscious and without the means to hold up his end of the bargain, they took care of him the hard way. Vatelo's men cut Jimmy into pieces, wrapped him in cellophane, and gave him a one-way ticket to sleeping with the fishes. 

The Torso seems to be one of the non-violent ghosts, likely because, as a torso, his ability to actually harm someone is a bit limited. He is the Black Zodiac version of a Taurus, explaining his desire for material things, greed, laziness, and boundless rage. Whenever his ghost appears, the endless screams of his severed head can be heard.

The Bound Woman

With a story resembling a typical urban legend shared around a campfire, the Bound Woman centers on the ghost of Susan LeGrow. A privileged teenager, Susan was the daughter of the wealthiest family in town and a proud member of her school's cheerleading squad. Back in the day, this is all it took to solidify that Susan would be the most popular girl in school. Despite her reputation as a "heartbreaker," as was expected of all high school queen bees, Susan spent her senior year dating Chet Walters, the captain of the football team. Unfortunately, as Susan craved more attention, she had been cheating on Chet with another guy, and the two were discovered on Prom Night. Thrown into a fit of rage, Chet clubbed her lover to death and then tied Susan up before strangling her with his tie and breaking her neck.

In a final act of poetic hatred, Chet buried Susan under the 50-yard line on the school's football field. He was put on death row and before his execution delivered his final words: "The b**** broke my heart, so I broke her neck." 

As the third member of the Black Zodiac, the Bound Woman represents Gemini, with her history of cheating depicted as an example of the indecisive nature of Geminis and their reputation for being two-faced. As a Gemini ... rude.

The Withered Lover

If you're looking for a scare, look elsewhere, as the story of the Withered Lover is one of tragedy. Jean Kriticos was the loving wife of Arthur Kriticos (Tony Shalhoub) and the mother of their children Bobby and Kathy. Jean was a wonderful mother who was well-loved by her family, but on a tragic night, a stray log rolled out of the fireplace in the family home and ignited the Christmas tree. Arthur ran to save Bobby and Kathy, assuming that Jean would run outside to safety, but she did not, and the left side of her body was horribly burned in the fire. The family took her to St. Luke's Hospital where she sadly died from her injuries.

Despite her violent demise, Jean was likely the only member of the Black Zodiac that was genuinely innocent and kind. When her family took up residence in Cyrus' manor/ghost jail, she did her best to protect them all from danger and keep them safe from the more malicious spirits. The Withered Lover is the traditional Zodiac equivalent to Cancer, represented by her motherly, intuitive, compassionate, sensitive, and emotional nature.

The Torn Prince

Royce Clayton's story sounds like something ripped straight out of an episode of "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" Born in 1940, Royce was a gifted high school baseball player with a bad case of narcissism and a superiority complex. With elite colleges all over the country scouting him and promising to take him away from the simple life in his small town, Clayton felt invincible. All of that changed, however, when a local greaser named Johnny challenged Royce to a drag race. Royce agreed to the race in his prized hot rod, but that pesky Johnny had cut the brake line. 

Royce seemed to do okay in the first half, but was unable to handle a dangerous turn and drove off of a cliff, flipping the car three times before it burst into an inferno. The accident shredded large amounts of flesh from his body, including a massive chunk out of the right side of his face. Royce's future was history. His body was buried overlooking the baseball field, and in death, his ghost haunts the corridors of Cyrus' home, baseball bat still in hand. He represents the inverse of Leo, making him self-centered, egotistical, possessive, and impatient.

The Angry Princess

Another tragic tale, the sixth member of the Black Zodiac is the Angry Princess. In life, Dana Newman was considered by many to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. Unfortunately, Dana likely suffered from body dysmorphic disorder. She sought the assistance of a plastic surgeon to aid her low self-esteem unfortunately fueled by a slew of abusive boyfriends. Working for the surgeon, Dana received payment in the form of breast implants, multiple nose jobs, and a laundry list of other needless body modification procedures. After Dana was left working alone one night, she attempted to perform surgery on herself to mend an imaginary imperfection, but the procedure failed and Dana was left blinded in one eye.

With her beauty seemingly destroyed, Dana's self-loathing became too much to bear and she died by suicide in her bathtub. As Cyrus describes it, she was as beautiful in death as she was in life. Dana's insecurities were well on display throughout the home, envious of Kathy's (Shannon Elizabeth) beauty, and enacting revenge on the lawyer Ben Moss who declares "nice tits" and is shortly thereafter sliced in half by a sliding glass door. 

The Angry Princess represents Virgo, known for being overly critical, insecure overthinkers, and perfectionists to a fault.

The Pilgrimess

Another story based on real-life history, the Pilgrimess is the ghost of Isabella Smith. In 1675, the orphaned Isabella immigrated to a small New England town in the hopes of starting a better life. Unfortunately, the established colony didn't take too kindly to outsiders, and she was isolated from the rest of the community. Shortly after her arrival, a mysterious illness struck the town's livestock, and they all died. A local preacher decided to use their deaths as a means to accuse Isabella of witchcraft. Despite her pleas of innocence, the preacher suddenly fell ill, and this horrified the town into believing that she was, in fact, a witch. 

The town chased Isabella into a barn, which was then lit on fire. Miraculously, she survived the incident, walking out of the barn completely unharmed. This shocked the town, who decided this was proof of her witchcraft and sentenced her to a slow and painful death in the stocks. Children stoned her, adults cursed and spit on her, and after a few weeks, Isabella died of starvation. Whether or not she was actually a witch was never confirmed, not even by Cyrus, but the turmoil she suffered made her a perfect choice to join the Black Zodiac. 

The twisted inverse of a Libra, the Pilgrimess is unreliable, impatient, emotionally detached, and vindictive.

The Great Child and the Dire Mother

The eighth and ninth ghosts of the Black Zodiac come in the form of the mother-son duo, Margaret and Harold Shelburne. Margaret was a little person who worked as a sideshow attraction in a traveling carnival but became pregnant after she was sexually assaulted by the Tall Man. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding his conception, Margaret was greatly protective of her son, relentlessly spoiling him and giving him everything he wanted. Her constant infantilization of him meant that Harold spent his entire life in diapers, and never developed any skills to take care of himself. They were mocked mercilessly by their fellow carnival workers, and after a group of them kidnapped Margaret as a sick joke, Harold unleashed a furious search for her.

By the time he found her, his mother had suffocated in the bag they were keeping her in, so Harold killed the workers with an ax, as well as many of the other performers who had mocked them in the past. Harold displayed their disembodied remains for paying customers, motivating carnival broker Jimbo to order an angry mob to execute Harold in retaliation. 

The Great Child represents Scorpio, making him insensitive, possessive, aggressive, and vengeful, while the Dire Mother represents Sagittarius, seen as optimistic individuals, almost to the point that it hinders their perception of reality ... like a growing son needing to be seen as something other than a baby.

While the story of George Markley may not be directly inspired by a living person, his tragic demise sounds unfortunately similar to some of the more disgusting events in American history. George Markley was an honest, hardworking blacksmith, but as one of the only Black men in town, found himself suspected of theft by a local man named Nathan. The man threatened to run George out of town, but knowing his innocence, stood up for himself and refused to move to a new town. Furious, Nathan and a gang of his buddies lynched George's wife and children in retaliation, as a means of sending George a message that he'd better leave or else suffer a similar fate. Devastated, George tracked down Nathan and his friend and beat them to death with his sledgehammer. 

When the town got word of what had happened, George was taken by an angry mob to his shop where they tied him to a tree and pounded railroad spikes throughout his body with his own sledgehammer. In one final act of horrific racism, the townspeople chopped off George's hand and replaced it with his sledgehammer, not unlike the hook hand of "Candyman." 

The Hammer is one of the more malicious spirits caught by Cyrus Kriticos and poses a massive threat to Arthur Kriticos' family when the ghosts are released in the house. As the tenth member of the Black Zodiac, he also represents the stubborn, unforgiving, impulsive, and brutal traits found in Capricorn.

Arguably the most easily identifiable and terrifying ghost of them all, The Jackal tells the twisted tale of Ryan Kuhn. Born to a sex worker sometime in 1887, Ryan Kuhn was a raging misogynist with a demented and insatiable lust for women. He spent his life on earth as a serial sexual predator, with a tendency to attack, rape, and murder random women walking home late at night, or the full-service sex workers just trying to do their work in peace. Recognizing that his animalistic tendencies were a severe problem, Ryan Kuhn willingly committed himself to the Borinwood Asylum. Unfortunately, the treatment was unsuccessful; Ryan slowly lost any grasp he once had on reality and was diagnosed criminally insane. He scratched at the walls in his cell so violently that he shredded off his fingernails, and the frequent clawing forced his hands into a deformed position. One day, Ryan attacked a nurse, forcing the orderlies to confine him to a straitjacket, electing to tighten it whenever he acted out.

Well, Ryan acted out frequently, and with every tightening of the jacket, his limbs continued to bend and contort. He eventually gnawed through the straitjacket, forcing the doctors to trap his head in a primitive head cage and keep him locked in isolated darkness in the basement of the asylum. Ryan grew to hate any form of human contact, screaming wildly whenever anyone dared approach him. The asylum eventually caught fire, but instead of fleeing with the rest, Ryan elected to stay within his cell and let the fire take him over. 

He is said to represent Aquarius' extremism, rebellion, and lack of empathy, but it feels cruel to associate any sign with someone as viciously evil as The Jackal.

The Juggernaut

Horace "The Breaker" Mahoney is the first member of the Black Zodiac that we're introduced to in "Thirteen Ghosts," as the opening scene of the film shows Cyrus and his team capturing his ghost in a junkyard after baiting him with a semi-truck filled with blood. Abandoned by his mother and raised by his father, Horace was relentlessly teased as a child due to his abnormal height and facial disfigurements. His father gave him a job at his junkyard chopping and crushing up old cars, which Horace did alone for most of his teenage years. Unfortunately, after his father died, Horace went insane as a result of his isolation and became a serial killer. For years, Horace would pick up hitchhikers and motorists requiring assistance and bring them back to his junkyard, eventually breaking every bone in their body and then ripping them apart with his bare hands to use their meat as feed for his dogs.

As Horace was about to kill his seventh victim, an undercover police officer, the SWAT team arrived to take him out. Horace managed to strongman his way out of his handcuffs and kill three police officers before he was gunned down. In the years that followed, Horace's earthbound ghost continued a reign of terror, with his body count rising to over 40 before his capture. 

As the Black Zodiac representation of Pisces, The Juggernaut avoids taking responsibility, is aggressive, a loner, and extremely sensitive. Probably explains why he went insane the moment he lost the only person who ever cared about him.

The Broken Heart

While the standard Zodiac only features 12 signs, the Black Zodiac required a 13th ghost in order to activate Basileus' Machine which doubled as Cyrus Kriticos' mansion. Said to be "designed by the Devil and powered by the dead," the machine requires thirteen earth-bound spirits to open the Ocularis Infernum (Latin for "The Eye of Hell") allowing the owner incalculable power. Named after the 15th century astrologer, Basileus' Machine was hidden at the core of Cyrus' two-story mansion made of ectobar glass, etched with Latin containment spells to keep the captured ghosts at bay. The machine required a spirit to be sacrificed willingly out of love, in contrast to the other earthbound spirits who died in agony. Hence, the 13th ghost.

Cyrus Kriticos handpicked each earthbound spirit to represent the Black Zodiac, including his nephew Arthur Kriticos. After selecting Jean to be the fourth ghost, he intended for Arthur to be the 13th, The Broken Heart. Cyrus intentionally put Arthur's children in danger in the middle of Basileus's Machine, hoping that he would willingly die to save them, thereby unlocking the power of the Ocularis Infernum. Well, Cyrus' plan failed spectacularly and he was torn to pieces by most of the members of the Black Zodiac, freeing their spirits to pass on, and allowing Arthur to reunite with his children and their nanny Maggie (Rah Digga). 

With no conventional Zodiac counterpart, Arthur serves as a reminder to express unconditional love whenever you can and to immediately call bulls*** if your weird, rich uncle leaves you a glass mansion that comes with a free visit from Matthew Lillard talking to ghosts.

'Thirt13en Ghosts,' That Reviled 2000s Horror Remake, Is Good, Actually — Here’s Why

The 2001 horror remake now has a delicious Shout Factory blu-ray to get your mitts on.

Could I ask a favor? Take a second to feast your eyes on the original theatrical poster for the 2001 horror remake  Thirt13en Ghosts .

Gimmie your first impressions. Aggressively garish Photoshop? A color scheme that literally hurts your eyes? Not one, but two  punny taglines? That rare "number squished into the title" that just screams "edginess"? A heck of a lot to take in, right? I understand if you need a sec to lay down...

...Welcome back! And sorry if this knocks you back on your butt, but I'm here to tell you that all this stuff is  good , not bad. To be broadly general for a moment: Our contemporary "critically acclaimed wide release horror space" (think A24) tends to condition us that less is more. That effective genre filmmaking is auteur-driven, and the moves auteurs make walk the line between invisible classicalism and stylistically competent invention that nonetheless fits within a handsome, prestigious pocket. That a film's scares, set pieces, and iconography should be clean, intentional, deliberate. As such, there can be a tendency to look at the recent past — in this case, the early, "show-offy" 2000s horror scene — with derision, with ironic detachment, with a feeling that our horror filmmaking and tastes have evolved.

From such a viewpoint, watching  Thir13en Ghosts  (yes, I'm using the number-in-the-title verbiage; it deserves my respect) must feel, like its poster, quaint at best and pained at worst. But if we readjust our viewpoint — if we, say, put on a new pair of glasses that allows us to see things we couldn't normally — we'll find a bustling, alive, unique, and entirely intentional experience. A film that contains both One Perfect Shot-ready deification of prestige classicalism  and a visual style ready to pack a punch most aren't willing to load up these days. A film that rips us through the funhouse of horror, with an emphasis on "fun," while still communicating something cleanly and effectively about the powers of family and the need to move past trauma. Contemporary prestige horror films are artsy European fare we're "supposed" to like; Thirt13en Ghosts  is a schlocky Amblin rip off we're "supposed" to feel bad about liking. Reader, like the many ghosts of Thirt13en Ghosts : Unshackle yourself.

The  Steve Beck -directed film is a remake of the 1960 William Castle -directed film,  13 Ghosts . Castle's legacy is one of showmanship, of imbuing his horror fare with joyfully fearless gimmicks and ways to push the audience beyond the limitations of "the cinema frame." In the case of  13 Ghosts , audiences were given specialized 3D glasses that, if worn and viewed through one lens, would actually reveal the ghosts within the frame. If unworn or viewed through the other lens, the ghosts would remain "invisible" in the frame. Castle called this, of course, " Illusion-O ." And 41 years later, Beck and screenwriters Neal Marshall Stevens and Richard D'Ovidio  took this extratextual level of performative muckraking and shoved it within the text.

You, the audience, don't have to wear glasses to see the ghosts anymore. But the characters within  Thirt13en Ghosts  do. And when they don't, we see the horrific ghosts and creatures (with illustrious, practical make-up designs by SFX maestro Greg Nicotero ) stalk them with a level of dramatic irony that makes you want to shout at the screen. This choice to stick the OG gimmick within the film's framework works not only as an arguably more immersive way to get an audience's investment, but as a statement of intent by Beck, Stevens, and D'Ovidio. BIg, grand, thoroughly "un-cool" genre ideas aren't something to run away from, and this isn't going to be a remake that comments on its source material snarkily. It's so indebted to the joys of past modes of horror filmmaking, that it's made something that even critics at the time reviled into a fundamental mode of conflict within the film.

The cold open of  Thirt13en Ghosts  takes this idea, which I might basically call "cheesy fun in horror is good," and runs with it in a wild, lavish, lushly-produced set piece that feels straight out of the MCU — but with friggin' blood, and ghosts, and  F. Murray Abraham  and  Matthew Lillard screaming at each other. This opening sequence is a delightful example that, sometimes, more  is  more. Cinematographer Gale Tattersall  twists and turns the camera through atmospheric, practical sets with gleeful abandon. Composer John Frizzell  cranks up the gothic melodrama beyond emotional, attention-demanding limits to find new stratospheres. And Abraham and Lillard, just having so much fun performing in the film  Thirt13en Ghosts , deliver the character, thematic, and plot stakes with efficiency and delight, soaking lines like "Don't play God" and retorts like "Children play" with extra barbecue sauce. It's a startling sequence of audacity, of a time when we treated horror movies with the level of budget and filmmaking force of a summer blockbuster, and of genuinely good communication.

And then, Beck proves he can do that prestige shit, too. There is a family trauma at the center of  Thirt13en Ghosts , giving it a relatable sense of emotional stakes and need to win beyond the ghosties.  Tony Shalhoub  plays the patriarch of a family. He, his children  Shannon Elizabeth and Alec Roberts , and their housekeeper (and my personal lord and savior)  Rah Digga , have suffered something horrific. The mother of the family,  Kathryn Anderson , died in a house fire, leaving the rest of them to cope in varying modes of healthiness without her. How does Beck communicate this to us? Surprisingly, smoothly and subtly. The opening titles play in a stylish one-shot carousel, the camera slowly turning around and around Shalhoub's home, moving forward in time on each revolution. We see, and be lieve , the family's love for each other, and the pain that happens to them in elided, unencumbered time is palpable. It gives us everything we need to be invested in the picture, cleanly and inventively, and radically different from the high-octane thrills of the cold open. Up  could  never .

From then on,  Thirt13en Ghosts  alternates between these two modes — thrill-driven set pieces with raucous filmmaking, and quiet character beats with a refreshing pumping of brakes — until it synthesizes into an inevitable-feeling climax with one of the most nakedly, thankfully sentimental horror conclusions I've seen in years. The film knows we gotta get into a haunted house full of a baker's dozen of ghosties; to get there, it ingeniously fuses the destinies of Shalhoub and Abraham, revealing they're related, Abraham is, ahem, "dead," and he's leaving his fancy-ass house to Shalhoub's family (a heightening of the familial traumas we've seen thus far; perfect!). Once we get there, we get to take in the wonders of Sean Hargreaves ' astonishing production design; this wild house, nearly entirely glass (so much about the power of visibility in this picture!), covered in ghost-stopping scrolls and interlocking puzzles, looks better than literally any green screen background created since.

And then, the ghosties. My goodness. Nicotero's designs will make your jaw drop. They're gruesome, intense, and tactile works of SFX ingenuity. And best of all? They all have their own traumas and backstories needing to be reckoned with, represented by some startling visuals and "ghost gimmicks" that we only get teases of (I need to know what the heck is going on with "The Great Child" and "The Dire Mother"), but hint at a rich and explosive mythology going on at the center of what appears to be nothing but "scary ghosts" (also, not coincidentally, what I think is going on with the movie as a whole). Without spoiling anything, we do eventually find out a chief trauma of  one  of the main ghosts, and the way it intersects with and answers both Shalhoub's trauma and the conflict of the film's nuts-and-bolts plot is, like the house these characters live in, an effective puzzle told with uncommon panache.

Critics hated  Thirt13en Ghosts . And our most revered contemporary horror filmmakers have largely moved on (or ignored in the first place) from any sense of precedent or influence they could have gleaned from the picture (with the possible exception of something like an  It Chapter Two ). But I find it, still, to be a film of unbridled energy, of joy in visible, even grandstanding craftsmanship, of solid and inviting emotional foundations that help make its stylistic flourishes pop even harder. The seams on the poster are visible, the copy stuffed with ideas, the color scheme demanding visceral attention from your eyeballs. And that is the point, not something to run from.

Thirt13en Ghosts  is available on a Shout Factory collector's edition Blu-ray. For more appreciations of "stuff most people find bad," here's a take on Batman Forever .

The Devil’s Backbone.

Scariest ghosts in cinema – ranked!

From unexplained bumps in the night to creepy children and things without faces, here are some of film’s most terrifying spectres

20. Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

The jokey sequels may have turned Freddy into a lovable goof, but in Wes Craven’s original supernatural slasher the razor-gloved ghost in a striped jersey who kills teenagers in their dreams is still a genuinely frightening bogeyman.

19. Daniel Robitaille in Candyman (1992)

With Nia DaCosta’s reworking stuck in Rona-limbo , it’s worth revisiting Bernard Rose’s transposition of Clive Barker’s short story from Liverpool to a Chicago public housing project. Looking into the bathroom mirror and saying “Candyman” five times will summon the hook-handed ghost of a black artist (Tony Todd) murdered by a lynch mob. Go on and say it, I dare you.

18. Emeric Belasco in The Legend of Hell House (1973)

Size does matter. If ever a ghost failed to live up to its reputation it’s the malevolent entity at the centre of John Hough’s screening of Richard Matheson’s haunted house tale (played by an uncredited Michael Gough) who has to delegate his havoc-wreaking to a black cat and unsecured chapel furniture. He still manages to rack up a body count.

17. Mitsuko Kawai in Dark Water (2002)

The damp stain on the ceiling is arguably scarier than the ghost of the little girl in the yellow raincoat, particularly when you learn why she is a ghost in the first place. But a sad backstory is no excuse for leaving the taps running and trying to drown living children in their bathtubs.

16. Delbert Grady in The Shining (1980)

There’s stiff competition from the scary twins and the woman in Room 237 of the uber-haunted Overlook hotel, but the alarming way the ex-caretaker’s ingratiating stain-sponging in the gentlemen’s lavatories slides into racist invective and brutal understatement (“I corrected them, sir”) gives Delbert the edge.

15. Yone and Shige in Kuroneko (1968)

A woman and her daughter-in-law, killed by marauding samurai, are reincarnated as feline spirits who seek revenge by tearing out the throats of random warriors. Hard not to have some sympathy for these two, but the eerie bamboo forests and somersaulting ghosts in Kaneto Shindô’s kaibyo (a subgenre of stories featuring cat demons) are reminders that no one depicts the supernatural quite as beautifully as the Japanese.

14. Tomás in The Orphanage (2007)

Tip: avoid games of hide and seek in big old orphanages, especially when your seven-year-old son claims to have made friends with a little boy with a sack over his head. The Spanish film-maker JA Bayona combines the terrifying and the tragic into a sad, scary fable with a heartbreaking ending, anchored by a brilliant performance from Belén Rueda as the haunted mother.

13. Mary Meredith in The Uninvited (1944)

For sale at a suspiciously low price: big old mansion on a Cornish clifftop. Liabilities include inexplicable draughts, nocturnal sobbing and the hovering phantom at the top of the stairs. This super old-school yarn has a lovely score by Victor Young (the song Stella by Starlight became a jazz standard ), some clever twists and a haunting performance by Gail Russell as the girl whose genealogy holds the key to the mystery.

12. Mrs Mills and Mr Tuttle in The Others (2001)

Spanish genre film-makers do it again with Alejandro Amenábar’s haunted house mystery that turns on nicely ambiguous performances from Fionnula Flanagan and Eric Sykes as the servants who know more than they’re saying about the creepy goings-on menacing Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) and her children in their creaky old house in Jersey, circa 1945.

11. Santi in The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

The orphanage kitchen is haunted by a pasty-faced little boy spectre with an upwards-gushing head wound. Just because he has a tragic backstory (and ultimately gets a satisfying revenge on the film’s villain, albeit only after the latter has murdered nearly everybody else) doesn’t mean he won’t scare the bejeesus out of you in Guillermo del Toro’s achingly sad ghost story set during the Spanish civil war.

10. The girl under the sink in A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Can the ghost of their late mother protect troubled teenager Su-mi and her little sister from their evil stepmother? You may think you have guessed what’s going on in Kim Jee-woon’s psychochiller, but odds are this Grimm-like spin on an old Korean folktale will still pull the narrative rug out from under your feet. And omigod, what’s that under the kitchen sink?

9. Melissa Graps in Kill, Baby … Kill! (1966)

Forget the Grady twins from The Shining – the scariest little girl ghost is the one with long blond hair (she is actually played by a little boy) who keeps peering through windows and making Carpathian villagers impale themselves in this chiller by Italian horror maestro Mario Bava. She must have made an impression on Federico Fellini, who “borrowed” her for Toby Dammit, his ultra-spooky segment of the 1968 Poe anthology, Spirits of the Dead.

8. Toshio in The Grudge (2004)

Hard to keep track of all the remakes and sequels in the Grudge franchise, but this is a rare case of Takashi Shimizu’s American reworking being even scarier than his own Japanese versions. Not so much a coherent story, more a series of spine-chilling set-pieces as doomed characters troop one by one into a cursed house in Tokyo, where they meet the obligatory scary broad with long black hair and Toshio, the small boy who miaows like a cat – and who somehow manages to commute all the way across town to a modern office block for the film’s most hair-raising episode.

7. The man in the lift in The Eye (2002)

The downside of a violinist’s sight-restoring cornea transplants is that they make her see scary ghosts in the Pang brothers’ Hong Kong/Singaporean ocular horror. And none scarier than the old man in the lift. She doesn’t need to turn around to know he’s behind her, gliding ever closer as the lift moves upwards so very, very slowly. And part of his face is missing! Next time, take the stairs.

6. Sadako in Ring (1998)

You think it’s all over! Well, it is now that Sadako has crawled up from her well and out of the TV screen to frighten everyone to death. But what’s to stop her from breaching the fourth wall and emerging into your living room? If ever a ghost needed a haircut and a manicure, it’s this one.

5. The old lady in Black Sabbath (1963)

Mario Bava certainly knew how to shred your nerves. In A Drop of Water, the final segment of this horror anthology, a nurse makes the rookie mistake of stealing a diamond ring from the finger of a dead medium. And, of course, the corpse comes a-visiting to reclaim it. The spooky old lady makeup may be panto level but, with a few sickly coloured filters and masterly command of ambience, Bava elevates this apparition to the stuff of nightmares.

4. The stumbling woman in Pulse (2001)

Japanese creep-meister Kiyoshi Kurosawa reinterprets the ghost story for the computer age in a story about mysterious disappearances on a university campus. It is probably a metaphor for alienation in the modern world, but don’t let that put you off. And don’t expect to be spoon-fed with reassuring logic; do expect an atmosphere of mounting apocalyptic dread, people fading into shadows, a soundtrack full of ominous rumbling and – scariest of all – the ghost who stumbles.

3. Jennet Goss in The Woman in Black (1989)

For chills that go all the way down to your marrow, forget the Daniel Radcliffe version of Susan Hill’s novel and go for the TV adaptation with a screenplay by Nigel Kneale. If you thought you couldn’t be frightened by such hoary cliches as old dark houses, foggy marshes and black-clad figures looking vaguely malevolent in graveyards – think again. And brace yourself for what devotees invariably refer to, with a shudder, as “ that scene”.

2. Abigail Crain in The Haunting (1963)

Maybe it’s the dead heiress haunting the house in Robert Wise’s film, the first and best adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s classic ghost story or maybe the malignant force is the house itself – but this is a ghost so scary you don’t even need to see it to be frightened out of your wits. Never underestimate the primal fear of unexplained noises, hammering at the door, the sort of overelaborate wallpaper you really do not want to examine too closely – and the realisation that the person whose hand you thought you were holding is on the other side of the room.

Deborah Kerr in The Innocents.

1. Peter Quint and Miss Jessel in The Innocents (1961)

Are the ghosts real, or figments of the febrile imagination of the governess who sees dead servants peering through windows or lurking on the far side of the lake in a fair approximation of an early Black Sabbath album cover? It doesn’t matter, because either way they will chill your blood in the first and still the best adaptation of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. Directed by Jack Clayton, every frame of Freddie Francis’s deep-focus black-and-white cinematography seems designed to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

  • Horror films
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • The Shining
  • The Innocents

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15 Seriously Scary Ghost Movies (And How To Watch Them)

Ghoul from Grave Encounters

Whether or not you believe in ghosts, few would deny that the mere idea of being in a haunted house is unsettling. For that reason, there are many great horror movies based on the premise of sharing a home or any isolated area with a deceased individual’s spectral remains, yet some are more frightening than others. If you are looking for a truly terrifying supernatural movie night, these scary ghost movies should do the trick.

The Shining (1980)

While trying to finish a novel, a recovering alcoholic author ( Jack Nicholson ), his wife (Shelley Duvall) and young son (Danny Lloyd) become caretakers of a desolate Colorado hotel where a sinister presence threatens to tear them apart.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: While the author himself was not a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of his 1977 novel , The Shining is considered to be among the best Stephen King movies — if not the best — for its unrelentingly eerie atmosphere and aimlessly unique depiction of hauntings.

Stream The Shining on Max . Rent or buy The Shining on Amazon .

The Changeling (1980)

A recently widowed music professor (Academy Award winner George C. Scott) becomes wrapped up in a disturbing mystery about his new home — a long-vacant mansion in Seattle — with guidance from the ghost haunting it.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: One of Martin Scorsese’s favorite horror movies is The Changeling , which is acclaimed as one of the best horror movies that address grief in a profound way in addition to its top-notch scares.

Stream The Changeling on Tubi . Stream The Changeling on Peacock . Stream The Changeling on Plex . Rent or buy The Changeling on Amazon .

Poltergeist (1982)

A real estate agent (Craig T. Nelson) and his wife (JoBeth Williams) tries to rescue their youngest daughter (Heather O’Rourke) from the evil spirits that have invaded their home and abducted her into their realm.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: Hailing from producer Steven Spielberg and director Tobe Hooper, Poltergeist is an essential haunted house movie — not just for its indelibly frightening elements, but also for its emotionally grounded depiction of parents longing to find their missing child.

Stream Poltergeist on Max . Rent or buy Poltergeist on Amazon .

The Sixth Sense (1999)

A child psychologist ( Bruce Willis ) with his own dark past tries to help a young boy (Haley Joel Osment) come to terms with his disturbing gift.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: Arguably M. Night Shyamalan’s best movie , the clever and frightening classic The Sixth Sense has a unique set of rules about the afterlife which, once you see the killer twist ending , you’ll never think of the same way again.

Rent or buy The Sixth Sense on Amazon .

Stir Of Echoes (1999)

After agreeing to be hypnotized by his sister-in-law at a party just for a laugh, it quickly proves to be no laughing matter for the man ( Kevin Bacon ) as he begins to see visions of a girl who is dead. 

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: Because it was released not long after The Sixth Sense and bore similar themes of ESP and paranormal activity , writer and director David Koepp ’s intense adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel Stir of Echoes did not get the attention it deserved, and rarely has since then.

Stream Stir Of Echoes on Tubi . Stream Stir Of Echoes on Plex . Stream Stir Of Echoes on Freevee through Amazon .

Session 9 (2001)

Relations between the somewhat normally close-knit crew of an asbestos removal company grow sour as they race to complete a job at an abandoned mental hospital with a dark past that slowly comes to light.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: From director Brad Anderson — who also co-writes with star Stephen Gevedon — and also starring CSI : Miami star David Caruso, Session 9 is yet another unfairly overlooked horror movie with some really good scares and a chilling final act.

Rent or buy Session 9 on Amazon .

1408 (2007)

A grieving father who specializes in disproving supernatural phenomena ( John Cusack ) puts the legend of an hotel room with a supposedly deadly curse to the test, only to find a reason to believe.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: From director Mikael Håfström, 1408 is another haunted hotel story from author Stephen King that mostly plays out like a spooky one-man show, while also starring Cusack’s future Cell co-star, Samuel L. Jackson .

Rent or buy 1408 on Amazon .

The Orphanage (2007)

During a visit to the foster home where she grew up, a woman (Belén Rueda) and her husband (Fernando Cayo) accidentally lose their young son (Roger Príncep) and turn to unusual measures in hopes of finding him.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: From producer Guillermo del Toro and writer and director J.A. Bayona, the Spanish-language thriller The Orphanage is already spine-tingling as a missing child story, but its ghostly elements make for an unforgettable frightening experience.

Rent or buy The Orphanage on Amazon .

Lake Mungo (2008)

A family from Australia recalls in interviews the strange events that would begin to plague their home shortly after their teenage daughter drowned to death.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: From writer and director Joel Anderson, and one of the most unlikely After Dark Horror Fest entries, Lake Mungo is an overlooked supernatural drama that's so mysteriously compelling, delicately constructed, and convincingly acted, no one could fault you for assuming this faux documentary was real.

Stream Lake Mungo on Tubi . Stream Lake Mungo on Plex . Rent or buy Lake Mungo on Amazon .

Grave Encounters (2011)

The typically skeptical crew of a docuseries that explores notorious sightings of alleged hauntings find the irrefutable evidence they never thought they would after locking themselves in an empty insane asylum.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: Part satire of paranormal investigation reality series like Ghost Adventures , and another part relentless nightmare fuel, Grave Encounters is another relatively underrated found footage thriller featuring some of the most unforgivably frightening supernatural entities you could imagine.

Stream Grave Encounters on Freevee through Amazon . Stream Grave Encounters on Tubi . Stream Grave Encounters on Plex .

Insidious (2011)

A teacher (Patrick Wilson), his wife (Rose Byrne) and their children begin to suffer from very strange and disturbing circumstances after their eldest son (Ty Simpkins) mysteriously falls into a coma.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: Writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan of Saw fame already turned the haunted house genre on its head with the unique concept of Insidious , but rarely had a film of this kind been so visually arresting and indelibly frightening at this time either.

Stream Insidious on Max . Rent or buy Insidious on Amazon .

The Pact (2012)

After her sister goes missing not long after the death of their mother, a woman (Caity Lotz) begins to suspect that the secret behind her disappearance is tied to the unexplainable events she begins to experience in her childhood home.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: If you have never seen or heard of writer and director Nicholas McCarthy’s The Pact , I highly recommend it to people who enjoy engrossing mystery stories that do not hold back on high-stakes frights.

Stream The Pact on Tubi . Rent or buy The Pact on Amazon .

The Woman In Black (2012)

A widowed legal practitioner (Daniel Radcliffe) is shocked to learn that an abandoned manor in a small London village is haunted by a vengeful spirit who struck fear in the locals.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: Based on the novel by Susan Hill, The Woman in Black is one of Daniel Radcliffe’s best movies outside of the Harry Potter franchise in the way it harkens back to a forgotten era of gothic tales of the unexplainable, but with haunting imagery for audiences of any generation to get spooked by

Stream The Woman In Black on Paramount+ . Rent or buy The Woman In Black on Amazon .

The Conjuring (2013)

A family calls upon the help of famed paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) to help rid their new Rhode Island home of the evil presence inhabiting it.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: While the more memorable antagonists in any of the Conjuring Universe movies are of the demonic sort, director James Wan’s original that started it all has its fair share of great and grandly creepy ghostly moments.

Stream The Conjuring on Max . Rent or buy The Conjuring on Amazon .

Ouija: Origin Of Evil (2016)

A mother of two (Annalise Basso and Lulu Wilson) who makes a living as a fake medium (Elizabeth Reaser) adds a new element to her performance that turns out to be much more real than she could have envisioned.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: Some of the earliest proof of writer and director Mike Flanagan’s expertise in horror storytelling was the surprisingly taut and viscerally unsettling Ouija: Origin of Evil — a prequel to an almost universally reviled generic teen thriller from 2014.

Stream Ouija: Origin Of Evil on Netflix . Rent or buy Ouija: Origin Of Evil on Amazon .

If these ghost movies do not manage to scare you, we hope they at least warm your spirit as a horror fan.


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Jason Wiese

Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.

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13 Ghosts (2001): One of the Most Underrated Horror Remakes of the 2000s

Take a ghastly tour of the glass-walled home of Cyrus Kriticos and his collection of ghosts in the sleeper-hit, 13 Ghosts!

Every year, horror fans and aficionados attempt to take on the daunting task of watching a horror movie for each day in the month of October. Aptly named 31 Days of Horror , the challenge usually consists of viewers watching a mixture of their favorite classics, recent releases, and popular genre staples that may be new to them. In celebration of the spooky season, we at MovieWeb have curated our own suggestions for the month, providing a plethora of favorites from our contributing writers and editors. Check out our 31 Days of Horror posts every day this October, and embrace all the freaky found footage, vicious vampires, and stalking slashers you could ever hope for. Today, we kick off Day Seven of MovieWeb's 31 Days of Horror with an underrated, modernized remake of a classic ghost story, 13 Ghosts

There are several ingredients needed to produce a horror masterpiece. First, you need a creatively horrifying monster, a la Freddy Krueger, Leatherface, Jason Voorhees, and the Xenomorph. Next, you need a compelling setting, plot, and gimmick. Finally, a likable and relatable cast of characters is necessary to bring the whole experience home. The best horror films have all used this recipe to great effect, producing some of the most terrifying experiences on the big screen. However, other films have all of these elements but have failed to find the same audience.

This is the case with 2001's 13 Ghosts . The feature film directorial debut of Steve Beck, 13 Ghosts has faced a great deal of criticism since its release, but that hasn't stopped a growing cult following from forming around it. In these 31 Days of Horror , now is the perfect time to dig deeper into this bizarre and fascinating film. While it may not be the scariest horror film ever produced, this remake of a 1960s classic has all the right ingredients to thrill and chill you during this spookiest of seasons.

Strong Foundations

Released in 1960, the original 13 Ghosts was directed by William Castle. The film followed the Zorba family, which had fallen on hard times. Impoverished, Cyrus Zorba is pleasantly surprised to discover that his late uncle Plato has bequeathed Cyrus his home. A fully furnished mansion, the Zorba's are ecstatic about this lucky change, even with the warning that the house comes with 12 ghosts collected by the eccentric scientist. As the ghosts make themselves known and a lost fortune comes into play, the Zorbas fear that one of them might be next to join the cadre of spirits.

The original 13 Ghosts followed a trend in William Castle films. Always the innovator, Castle introduced new gimmicks to each of his more famous films, and 13 Ghosts saw the introduction of "Illusion-O." The viewer would be given two pairs of glasses, one with cyan lenses and the other with red lenses. When the ghosts appeared on-screen, the viewers could don the red glasses to make the monsters clearer, while the blue glasses would remove them from the screen completely. This was meant to mirror the glasses used in the film, which allowed the Zorbas to see the ghosts.

The gimmick and the film were generally critically panned. While many applauded the attempt, Illusion-O wasn't all that effective, and while the plot had some solid bones, it lacked execution. Looking at it today, the film barely holds up, though its tongue-in-cheek humor does make it a surprising influence for modern horror comedy. The centerpiece, the ghosts, are cheaply made, little more than bad Halloween decorations and actors in black spandex, though Castle did innovate by introducing horror monsters that weren't truly the villains of the story . They may have scared the Zorbas initially, but they weren't the main threat of the movie.

Into the House of Horrors

41 years later, Steve Beck worked with Neal Marshall Stevens and Richard D'Ovidio to adapt the original Robb White screenplay for the modern day. The film had the same basic structure, following the Kriticos family instead of the Zorbas. The film also saw a more malicious intent in the uncle's collection of ghosts, and the transition of the ghosts from a third party to active villains. It homaged the Illusion-O effect in the character's goggles, which allowed them to see the ghosts. It was a major departure from the original film, altering several key elements and bringing the story into the modern era.

Instead of studying supernatural phenomena like Dr. Plato Zorba, Cyrus Kriticos traveled the world to collect ghosts with extremely traumatic and violent histories. His goal was to use them to fuel the Basileus Machine, an ancient device used to open a portal to hell. Before he can complete his plans, though, he is killed while capturing the Juggernaut, the 12th spirit. With his death, his home, the Machine itself, is bequeathed to his distant nephew, Arthur Kriticos.

Arthur, a high school math teacher, and his family are living on hard times after the death of his wife in a fire. With the news that his uncle's home is now his, the family is ecstatic about the new change of scenery. Things take a deadly turn when they enter the house, as Cyrus' plan is enacted. The family is locked inside with medium Dennis Rafkin and spirit liberator Kalina Oretzia, and as the glass walls move, it frees the violent ghosts from their imprisonment. Unaware of Cyrus' machinations, the group must escape the flood of deadly monsters while finding a way to escape the house of horrors.

15 Obscure Horror Movies That Should be Remade

Building up the bones.

As with the original, 2001's 13 Ghosts suffers from generally low review scores. It definitely wasn't one of the best 2000s horror movies . Most critics praised the art direction and the cast's performances but felt that the film wasn't all that scary. The plot, too, is criticized, with plenty of predictable twists and clichés. Despite this, it was a box office success, earning $15 million and ranking second during its opening weekend. The film has seen a massive growth in popularity in modern times. This cult following has even inspired the production of a horror miniseries based on the property, announced in August 2023 by Dark Castle Entertainment.

The lack of scares in the film is a genuine criticism. After all, this is the horror genre, we're talking about, and outside the body horror in the ghostly character designs and some truly horrifying deaths, the film does lack in traditional horror. That said, is that such a bad thing? The film excels in its creepy atmosphere, introducing each ghost in turn and giving them each their due. The movie also leans more heavily into its horror comedy or parody elements , and while it does ride the line between the two, refusing to choose either side, it succeeds as a unique creepy experience. This is what has drawn fans in for the last 22 years.

Behind the Goggles

13 Ghosts' success (or lack thereof) didn't jumpstart any of its cast members' careers. While many have a fairly extensive backlog, there are only a handful with any real name recognition. Matthew Lillard as Dennis Rafkin is the standout performance, as would be expected from the horror great, and Tony Shalhoub of Monk fame has a great performance as Arthur Kriticos. F. Murray Abraham brings his typical Shakespearean flair to the main villain, and Embeth Davidtz, a star of M. Night Shyamalan's Old , had a strong, if not cliché, performance as the spirit liberator.

The cast largely consists of B-list and C-list actors, which isn't an insult. It is the largely unknown nature of much of the cast that has inspired its cult following, and they all performed admirably. The writing suffers from clichés and a lack of character motivations (other than survival), but the cast truly excels despite this. While Lillard, Davidtz, and Abraham have all gone on to find relative fame in the industry, the rest, like Shannon Elizabeth and JR Bourne, have kept their careers alive with television and smaller film credits.

True, Mad Genius

As mentioned earlier, the true draw of this film is its art direction. While much of this is directed at the ghosts themselves, the entire world of the 13 Ghosts remake is beautifully fleshed out. Nearly every aspect of the Basileus Machine is brilliantly brought to life, from the containment spells scrawled on the glass walls to the rune-inscribed wheels at the center of the machine itself. Every element of the Kriticos house is thoughtfully placed, and while it is a bit chaotic, it makes sense for Cyrus' collector personality. It feels like a house meant to draw people in to trap them, and that adds to the atmosphere.

That said, the ghosts are the true stars of this film, and they have some of the most inspired designs in horror history. From the "First Born Son" to the "Jackal" to the "Juggernaut," each of the ghosts is unique and horrifying, taking several cues from Hellraiser's Cenobites in their body horror-inspired designs. Each ghost bears the scars of its violent end, and whether it be a shambling headless corpse, a bound prom queen, a disfigured victim of suicide, or the horrifying results of racism, the ghosts are some of the best designed villains in horror.

The one critique with regard to the ghosts is that their backstories are all relegated to special features on the DVD. Of course, delving into the histories of 12 complex characters is impossible in one film, but it would have been nice to see some better allusions to their characters. We learn about the massive Juggernaut's kill count, that the Jackal was a Charlie Manson-style serial killer, and we see hints to the "Angry Princess'" tragic end. However, despite this lack of character depth, their compelling designs have made them legends of horror history.

10 Horror Movies That Will Make You Rethink Traveling Abroad

Lost to the machine.

Every viewer may have a different experience, but 13 Ghosts is too often slept on by newer horror fans. Does it have its flaws? Most certainly. Many have been outlined in this analysis, but despite this, the film has had a surprising legacy. Fans still return to this film whenever the spooky season rears its terrifying head again, and with the recent announcement of a new 13 Ghosts miniseries , now is the perfect time to explore this hidden gem.

At the very least, you can relish in the incredible world design, the horrific cast of spirits, and the pitch-perfect performances of Matthew Lillard, Tony Shalhoub, and the rest of this lesser-known cast. Don't let the critical reviews scare you away. For fans new and old, 13 Ghosts is the perfect creepy watch for the 31 Days of Horror .

Check out our unholy advent calendar of sorts for MovieWeb's 31 Days of Horror below, and watch along with us:

Screen Rant

10 most terrifying ghosts in horror movie history.

Spooky ghosts and malevolent spirits are the bread and butter of horror. And these 10 specters might be the most terrifying in horror movie history.

Ghost stories have been a part of human society for thousands of years. Every society has their own versions of spooky tales that are concerned with the return of the dead to claim their revenge, to reconnect with relatives, or to try and return to the land of the living.

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One important distinction to keep in mind for this list is that there is a notable difference between a demon and a ghost. A demon is a being that has never been human, whereas a ghost is a human soul that is trapped between the living and the dead. Consequently, this list will only focus on ghosts and not demons. With that in mind, here are the ten scariest ghosts in horror movie history.

Bride in Black - Insidious (2010)

The reveal in  Insidious   that Patrick Wilson's character had been followed by this creepy ghost throughout his early years was terrifying. There is something primeval and unsettling that triggers this fear. The Black Bride is always in the background, always watching and always getting closer. Further, we can see a malicious grin on the face of the ghost that unsettled all viewers.

Naturally, we learn more about the Black Bride and we see how the character has an unsettling and abusive past that only adds to the fear factor.

Librarian - Ghostbusters (1984)

While  Ghostbusters was a comedy, it was not without genuine scares. One of the more genuine scares in the movie is one of the earlier scenes, in which a librarian ghost screams into the camera. There is no doubt that this scene traumatized children around the world and helped to build a fear of ghosts and the supernatural into children.

This ghost not only introduced many children to horror movies, but also helped introduce children to the idea of sleeping with the light on.

Little Boy - The Devil's Backbone (2001)

The 2001 Gothic horror masterpiece by Guillermo Del Toro features one of the most terrifying child ghosts of all time. Set during the final years of the Spanish Civil War, the movie perfectly captures the period in which it is set and manages to craft a haunting story with strong political overtones.

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The design of the ghost child is incredibly disturbing and terrifying. The rotting, pale flesh coupled with the haunting, black, and unblinking stare really leaves an impression on the viewer.

Sadako/Samara - Ringu (1998)/The Ring (2002)

The Ring is one of the most horrifying movies ever released. Both the original Japanese movie and the American remake are incredibly scary and this is due to the unique premise on which the film is based. The idea that a curse can spread via a videotape and invoke the wrath of a spirit is scary. However, it is how the spirit kills you that is so horrifying. Samara crawls through your TV and murders you in such a way that your face becomes twisted.

Additionally, there is something horrifying about the unknown. Samara's face is covered through most of the movie and we barely see her face. This only ramps up the fear factor of the character.

Natre - Shutter (2004)

Shutter is a Thai horror movie that focusses on a vengeful spirit that is typically only seen in photographs. The film was incredibly popular and became one of the most successful Thai movies of all time, managing to spawn both English language and Hindi remakes.

What makes Shutter so scary is its focus on subtle scares. There are very few jump scares in the movie rather, directors Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom, focused on creating an atmosphere of impending doom. In addition to the imagery of the ghost in photographs, the film also has a very memorable ending that is almost parable-like in its execution.

Woman in the Bath - The Shining (1980)

The scariest ghost in The   Shining  is, arguably, the woman in the bath. This character lures the unsuspecting Jack Torrens into an embrace, appearing as a young and attractive woman. However, Jack's attraction suddenly became limp as the beautiful woman transformed into a rotten and decrepit crone. While the inclusion of the character in  The Shining is terrifying enough, the spooky phantom appears in the cinematic sequel,  Doctor Sleep . 

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What is so terrifying about the character is how she does not jump at the screen. This ghost doesn't need to trigger a jeep jump scare to terrify you, she just stares at you. This leaves a far more disturbing effect on the audience.

Kayako - Ju-on: The Grudge (2002)/The Grudge (2004)

The second entry from both Japanese and American cinema on this list.  The Grudge is another movie that has managed to terrify audiences worldwide. The Grudge  is a horror movie that is founded on a story of domestic abuse. A crime of passion gives way to one of the most iconic spirits in J-Horror.

Due to her horrific death, Kayako crawls around in an unnatural manner. It is this discomfiting method of movement, coupled with her ghostly appearance that disturbs any viewer.

Little Girl - The Sixth Sense (1999)

This one may be unfair as the ghost is not intentionally scary, however, the ghost of this poisoned girl is undoubtedly terrifying. Perhaps the ghost of the little girl could've considered that her sudden, sickly appearance may be considered unnerving.

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While the ghost was revealed to be no threat to the protagonist, there is no denying that she was one of the scariest ghosts in The   Sixth Sense . We all jumped out of our seats when she appeared behind Cole in the tent.

Tomás - The Orphanage (2007)

Another entry in this list is a misunderstood ghost. The character of Tomás was always a eerie one. The Grady Twins of  The Shining have shown that ghosts of children are on a different level of creepy. There is something unnerving about a child ghost and this also holds here as well. However, what separates the Grady twins from the ghost of Tomás is the mask. Tomás' mask helps to make the ghost even more unnerving and scary.

While Tomás was revealed to be a not so menacing presence in the movie, he was incredibly unsettling nonetheless and easily deserves a place on this list.

The Woman In Black (2012)

The Woman in Black is an underrated horror movie. The movie draws on the subtle elements of Gothic horror to create an immersive, atmospheric, and suspenseful world. The setting of the house in such an isolated area creates a trapped feeling in the audience, eliciting uneasy feelings from the beginning. However, not only is there a feeling of isolationism but there is also a vengeful ghost thrown into the mix.

What is so disturbing about the ghost in The   Woman in Black is how she looms in the background. Her character lingers in the peripheral, which leaves the viewer checking over their shoulder long after the movie has ended.

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Halloween: The 10 Scariest Movie Ghosts, Ranked

Spooky season is upon us, so if you're looking for some of the scariest ghosts ever captured on film, look no further.

A strange creaking sound in the middle of the night. An odd shape in the darkness. A weird whisper in an otherwise empty house. This is where the story almost always begins, but sooner or later that sound, that shape, that whisper becomes a terrifying figure smashing around the home screaming. Ghosts are always serious business when it comes to movies.

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Since the early days of film when Georges Méliès was experimenting with the art form to today's special effects-filled horror movies, ghosts have been a mainstay of movie theaters almost from the day the first theater opened, and with good reason - the whole idea of ghosts is undeniably creepy. The dead still going about the world of the living, sometimes lashing out and attack others while being otherwise intangible, and it always happens in the middle of the night, making it all that much more frightening.

10 Large Marge (Pee-Wee's Big Adventure)

Starring Paul Reubens as the titular character and directed by Tim Burton , Pee-Wee's Big Adventure is filled with strange imagery, including the creepy clowns that appear in Pee-wee's nightmares, but the truly horrifying moment comes from a trucker with a frightening story that begins with "On this very night, ten years ago..." and ends with her head exploding into a horrific yet funny image.

Large Marge opened the door to horror for many kids. Her strange tale and scary face was enough to freak out kids in just the right way, not giving them horrible nightmares for weeks on end, but just enough to make them want to see more spooky spirits in movies.

9 The Librarian (Ghostbusters)

Ghostbusters rides the line between fear and comedy in a way few movies ever have, and the Librarian is the perfect example of that. The first ghost in the movie, the Librarian starts off as a rather kindly looking free-floating apparition that makes Peter, Egon, and Ray very excited until she changes from a pleasant old woman into a horrific hag, proving that the Ghostbusters are afraid of some ghosts.

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More importantly, without the Librarian the three scientists would never have come up with the idea to form Ghostbusters just in time to take on Gozer the Gozerian and save the world from what would certainly have been the apocalypse. Oddly enough, the Ghostbusters never bothered to go back to the library to capture the Librarian.

8 Kyra Collins (The Sixth Sense)

M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense is filled with lots of creepy ghosts, and poor young Cole Sear, played by Haley Joel Osment, is the only person who can see them. The one ghost that really stands out from the rest is Kyra Collins, a young girl who has recently died.

What makes Kyra so terrifying is the way that she died. As Cole learns, Kyra had been ill for a long time before passing on, and as her ghost helps him discover, her illness wasn't natural. Kyra's mother slowly poisoned her for weeks, leading to the child's death.

7 The Dagmars (We Are Still Here)

To try and move past the death of their son, Anne and Paul Sacchetti move into a new home, only to discover that it is haunted by the rather nasty looking Dagmar family. Ted Geoghegan's modern horror classic We Are Still Here has three of the creepiest looking ghosts to ever show up on film.

The Dagmars, as it turns out, were murdered by the townspeople as a sacrifice to an evil entity that lives under the house. Now, with the entity demanding a new sacrifice and the Sacchetti's moving in, the Dagmars have returned, but are they there to help the entity or Anne and Paul?

6 The Man Who Can't Breathe (Insidious: Chapter 3)

The Insidious movies are filled with some scary spirits, and while the Red-Faced Demon and the Bride in Black are the most recognizable, the Man Who Can't Breathe from Insidious: Chapter 3 is the creepiest. Dressed in a dirty hospital gown that shows off plenty of his burnt skin, and wearing an old oxygen mask on his face, the Man Who Can't Breathe has taken the spirits of an apartment building hostage and is pulling the living into the Further so he can eat their life-force.

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With his heavy breathing and shuffling gait, the Man Who Can't Breathe jumps ahead of the other ghosts in the Insidious series because he isn't targeting any specific person, choosing instead to feed off of every living person while torturing the other spirits who are trapped there.

5 Kayako Saeki (Ju-On)

Kayako Saeki is one of three ghosts that Ju-On and the films that followed it focus on. When she was living, Kayako was, she believed, happily married to Takeo Saeki with whom she had a son named Toshio. When Takeo became convinced that Kayako was cheating on him, he brutally murdered her before killing their son and then himself.

Kayako became an Onryō - a vengeful spirit - who would attack anyone who came into the Saeki House. While all three ghosts in Ju-On are creepy, Kayako, crawling around covered in blood while creepily repeating her death rattle and cracking her neck, is one of the greats.

4 Madeline O'Malley (The Innkeepers)

Written and directed by Ti West, The Innkeepers is a slow burn horror movie that greatly rewards anyone who takes the time to watch it. In the movie, Claire and Luke - played by Sara Paxton and Pat Healy are the last two employees at the once-great Yankee Pedlar Inn, which is due to close its doors forever.

The duo are ghost hunting enthusiasts who believe that the inn is haunted and are trying to capture evidence of the ghost of Madeline O'Malley. As the final weekend of the inn progresses, Claire and Luke get more evidence than they could have hoped for.

3 Johnny Bartlett (The Frighteners)

The only thing scarier than a serial killer is the ghost of a serial killer who is still out there upping their body count. In Peter Jackson's The Frighteners , that's exactly what Johnny Bartlett is doing. Decades after he was executed for murdering twelve people, Johnny's evil ghost has returned to continue his nightmarish work with the help of his deranged girlfriend. The only living person who can see - and stop - Johnny Bartlett is Frank Bannister.

The idea of Johnny Bartlett is creepy enough, but it's the over the top spooky performance by Jake Busey that really makes the character stand out. Busey plays Bartlett as a complete madman who wants to get the highest body count because he thinks it makes America look bad that there's a Russian killer who has outdone everyone else.

2 Woman In Room 237 (The Shining/Doctor Sleep)

The Shining , based on the book by horror master Stephen King , is filled with some really scary stuff, but none of the other ghosts at the Overlook Hotel are as creepy as the Woman in Room 237. First seen by little Danny before his father Jack falls under her spell, the Woman in Room 237 appears differently depending on who sees her.

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To Danny, she is a rotting toothless old woman coming out of the bath, but to Jack she is a beautiful woman that seduces him, bringing the failed writer closer to madness. The Woman in Room 237 returned in Doctor Sleep , still haunting Danny years after he and his mother escaped from the Overlook.

1 The Entity (The Entity)

What makes The Entity so frightening is that it is based on the true story of Doris Bither, a woman who claimed to have been repeatedly assaulted by three ghosts in 1974. Birther was observed by doctoral students at the University of California and while they found nothing conclusive, the students did claim to see some odd things.

The Entity  takes the basics of the Bither case and turns it into a terrifying movie that has some of the most amazing special effects for any ghost movie. Making it all the more frightening, the ghost is never actually shown in The Entity, leaving it to the audience to imagine what it may look like.

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Thir13en Ghosts (2001)

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The 65+ Best Ghost Movies Of All Time

Ranker Film

If you love an exhilarating chill down your spine, these good ghost movies are a must-watch. From unsettling hauntings to heart-stopping scares, ghost movies are a timeless favorite in the realm of the supernatural. The films creatively explore our fascination with the afterlife, whether it's through terrifying encounters, metaphysical mysteries, or even comic relief. Our selection brings together critically acclaimed productions, audience favorites, and iconic classics, all bound by one eerie element - ghosts.

Movies with ghosts bring the fearsome unknown to the fore, making them an irresistible draw for thrill-seekers. This curated collection of ghost movies offers a broad range of spectral experiences. From uncanny returners who spook the living to heart-rending tales of lingering spirits stuck in limbo. There's plenty of intrigue and fright to keep you on the edge of your seat.

One of the highlights is the universally lauded psychological thriller, The Sixth Sense . This film shocked audiences worldwide with its clever storytelling and unexpected twist. Joining this classic in the top ranks are the gothic horror The Others , and the bone-chilling The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 , films about ghosts that have spawned an entire franchise of its own. These three are just a taste of what awaits in our collection of the best ghost movies of all time.

Finding these scary ghost movies to watch gets even easier, with convenient streaming buttons provided under each film. Explore a spectral world whether on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Paramount+, Disney+, or HBO Max. Shuffle around these platforms on your endless quest for your next spectral fix, all from the comfort of your home.

As these are highly immersive cinematic experiences, your personal preferences might influence your favorites. Therefore, we encourage all spectral film aficionados to interact with this ranking. Let the voting begin. Will The Sixth Sense continue to top the list, or will another ghostly tale usurp its position? Only your votes can decide. Traverse the corridors of our haunted mansion of film and vote up the ghost movies you found particularly chilling. Separate the frightful from the forgettable and let us know which supernatural stories made your heart race and sent chills down your spine. Immerse yourself in these ghostly narratives - if you dare.

The Others

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The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense

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The Conjuring

The Conjuring

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  • # 36 of 249 on The 200+ Best Psychological Thrillers Of All Time

The Shining

The Shining

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  • # 7 of 250 on The 200+ Best Psychological Thrillers Of All Time



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Stir of Echoes

Stir of Echoes

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The Haunting

The Haunting

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  • # 18 of 400 on The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

The Ring

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  • # 441 of 772 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

The Changeling

The Changeling

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  • # 237 of 388 on The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
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Ghost Story

Ghost Story

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The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror

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John Carpenter's The Fog

John Carpenter's The Fog

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The Uninvited

The Uninvited

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What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath

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The Orphanage

The Orphanage

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Ghost Ship

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The Devil's Backbone

The Devil's Backbone

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The Entity

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The Frighteners

The Frighteners

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The Innocents

The Innocents

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Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak

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Thir13en Ghosts

Thir13en Ghosts

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13 Ghosts

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Burnt Offerings

Burnt Offerings

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Carnival of Souls

Carnival of Souls

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Ghostbusters II

Ghostbusters II

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Eerie true tales of people and places being haunted by g-g-g-ghoooosts!!!

Creepy Real Pictures of Ghosts

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‘Presence’ Review: Steven Soderbergh Tells a Ghost Story from the Ghost’s POV. It Is Scary? Not Quite. But the Family Demons Lure You In

Soderbergh shoots the film in long roving takes that are supposed to be what the ghost is seeing. But for all the fancy camera moves, the paranormal activity remains rather minimal.

By Owen Gleiberman

Owen Gleiberman

Chief Film Critic

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A still from Presence by Steven Soderbergh, an official selection of the Premieres Program at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

I exaggerate, though not by much. In “Presence,” we’re indeed taking in the entire movie from the point-of-view of the unseen spirit who has taken over the house. The spirit hovers and observes and always seems to know where the action is; nothing escapes its view. Yet in this case, the cinematographer is Soderbergh himself (shooting under the nom de plume Peter Andrews), and while he has shot many of his own films, going back to “Traffic,” you get the feeling that part of the fun of “Presence” for Soderbergh was literally, through the conceit of the ghost, finding a way to join in the action, to become part of it and fuse with it.

But no. The presence in “Presence” is mostly — merely — a presence , and for long stretches we almost forget it’s there; we’re just watching a shoestring movie shot with a rather nosy and flamboyant visual style. Soderberg stages each scene in a long unbroken take, ending each one of them with a cut to black. All very stylish and percussive. But if he had made a version of this movie without the ghost-as-camera-eye conceit, it would have been more or less the same movie.

Paranormal activity aside, this family has enough ghosts of its own. The mother, Rebecca ( Lucy Liu ), is a tightly wound control freak who runs everything and plays favorites with her kids (she’s the one who decides, in the space of five minutes, to purchase the house, mostly because it’s in the coveted district that will allow the teenage son she dotes on to attend North High School). Rebecca works at an oblique high-finance job in which she’s committed some mysterious illegal action that could get them into hot water. Tyler (Eddy Maday), the son, is sweet on the surface but a mean-boy lout underneath, and his sister, Chloe (Callina Liang), is falling into a depression, though not just because she’s entered the teen-blues tunnel. Her best friend, Nadia, died a few months before of a drug overdose. (She’s the second girl in her school to have died that way.) Chloe is the one member of the family who can sense the ghost’s presence, and Soderbergh doesn’t waste much time revealing why that is. As it turns out, the ghost is there not to haunt but to protect.

The thing about Soderbergh’s “little films” is that they’re brash and inventive and superior to what so many directors could just toss off. But you get the feeling that the main reason they exist is so that Soderbergh can enjoy tinkering with them. That doesn’t sound like a bad philosophy of art or moviemaking, yet he tends to throw these films together in a way that “works” (they carry you along) but that leaves no imprint. It’s as if he were crafting a puzzle by making up pieces on the spot.

“Presence,” in its showy angst, winks at topicality, in the same way that it winks at a lot of other things (like things that go bump in the night, or the rise of teenage mental illness, or serial killers). But it’s just flirting with all of them. You want the movie to add up to something, but what it adds up to is another half-diverting, half-satisfying Soderbergh bauble, only this time he’s the ghost in the machine.

Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival, Jan. 19, 2024. Running time: 85 MIN.

  • Production: An Extension 765 production. Producers: Julie M. Anderson, Ken Meyer. Executive producers: David Koepp, Corey Bayes.
  • Crew: Director: Steven Soderbergh. Screenplay: David Koepp. Camera: Peter Andrews. Editor: Mary Ann Bernard. Music: Zack Ryan.
  • With: Lucy Liu, Chris Sullivan, Callina Liang, Julia Fox, Eddy Maday, West Mulholland.

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50 Greatest Ghost Movies Of All Time Ranked

Miss Giddens Gasping

Ghosts, spirits that linger on unanchored to a human body, are powerful tools in storytelling. Although typically a staple of horror movies, ghosts can be deployed in any genre, serving as an emissary into dark topics audiences usually prefer to ignore. The concept of a ghost has been around seemingly forever: exorcized in ancient Babylon , used in classical Greek plays, featured in Shakespeare's works, and passed down as folklore. 

Cinema has been an excellent form for ghost stories. You've probably encountered more movies about ghosts than you can count, from the Silent Era to the present day. With the help of rankings provided on Rotten Tomatoes and considering the cultural impact, with a sliver of personal opinion, we have ranked the 50 best movies about ghosts. While preferential treatment was shown to horror films, there is a blend of genres here.

49. The Amityville Horror (1979)

"The Amityville Horror" made a huge impact thanks to the reportedly true story making headlines years before. It also  spawned a franchise that consists of several sequels and a remake. Nonetheless, it starts off the list due to the rather confusing aspects of the supernatural occurrences. At one point, it's stated that their house contains a doorway to Hell. So, the forces tormenting them could certainly be demonic, but inhabitants of Hell would likely include souls, right? Maybe some of the utterly bonkers activity going on could have been perpetrated by ghosts.

You probably know the story already: One year after a man murders his entire family at home, the Lutzes move into the house. Strange happenings lead them to believe there is something very wrong with their home. As its effect on them grows darker, the film ratchets up the horror until culminating in a final night that is worse than they could have imagined.

Aside from the questions regarding what exactly is haunting the Lutz family, this is still an effective piece of horror with imagery and scenes that stick in your memory, haunting you long after the credits have finished rolling.

48. What Lies Beneath (2000)

As we will see with later entries on this list, the concept of unfinished business is a popular trope in ghost stories. The idea is that spirits often stick around after death to take care of something they were unable to in life. Very often, the unfinished business has to do with their own murder, as it does in the supernatural thriller "What Lies Beneath" from director Robert Zemeckis .

Zemeckis, who dabbled in horror previously with episodes of "Tales from the Crypt" and the dark comedy "Death Becomes Her," tells the story of a woman named Claire (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) coping with her husband Norman's (Harrison Ford) affair by communing with the spirit of his dead mistress, although she isn't aware that's what she's doing until later in the film.

Although the film contains some legitimately creepy moments, its primary concern is the mystery surrounding the mistress' murder and Norman's involvement. While Pfeiffer and Ford turn in solid performances, the real star of the film is its atmosphere. The gorgeous Vermont setting, incredible house, and serene lake become eerie and unsettling as the story unfolds, successfully bringing the audience into the story and holding them tightly until the film's final moments.

47. 13 Ghosts (1960)

Discussing the films of William Castle can be difficult because they were designed to be experienced, not simply watched. The notorious showman treated his movies like carnival exhibitions. He wasn't so much a storyteller as he was a promoter. He didn't want you to sit passively and marvel at the wonderful narrative; he wanted to get you to jump up and scream. He didn't do this by crafting quality films that would go on to stand the test of time; he achieved his desired effect through gimmicks.

For "Macabre," he had audience members sign an insurance policy in case they died from fright. Buzzers were installed under select seats during screenings of " The Tingler " to convince audiences the creature from the film was after them. " House on Haunted Hill " featured a plastic skeleton flying out over the audience. The original " 13 Ghosts " required viewers to put on special glasses referred to as supernatural viewers in order to see the ghosts on the screen.

While stunts like this usually have a short shelf life, several of his films, such as "13 Ghosts," are still fun to watch as a bit of retro fun. Is it scary? Not really. Does it reveal some profound insight into the human experience? Nope. It does, however, feature the greatest hits of horror movie cliches played up to their full, zany, and entertaining potential.

46. Heart and Souls (1993)

One of the first things you're likely to notice about the romantic comedy "Heart and Souls" is the incredible cast. While Robert Downey Jr. is the lead, the souls in question are played by powerhouses like the late Charles Grodin , Alfre Woodard (who reunited with Downey in "Captain America: Civil War"), Kyra Sedgwick, and Tom Sizemore. All of them are incredible actors who work exceptionally well together.

This is an unfinished business ghost story that offers several opportunities for Downey to show his acting chops. The four ghosts from 1959 who follow him around, almost serving as guardian angels, often step in to his body to achieve some of the aforementioned business and to help him fix his life. When they do, Downey has to essentially play a ghost pretending to be his character, leading to some solid physical comedy. While it may not be hilarious, the film is genuinely funny with a bittersweet tone that holds up years after its initial release.

45. Casper (1995)

Most of the time, "Casper" is a light-hearted and innocent little movie about a young girl (Christina Ricci) learning to accept change. After the death of her mother, Kat's father (Bill Pullman) immerses himself in his work, leaving her to grieve alone. Neither of them possesses the ability to communicate with each other regarding their mutual pain. When they move into a haunted house for work, Kat struggles to accept her new surroundings. Luckily, she meets a dead little boy who has such an intense crush on her that he's actually the one responsible for them moving here.

Usually, a plot about a ghost luring a girl to his home would be the plot of a horror flick. However, since Casper is a friendly ghost, it plays as cute and sad. There's a lot of that in this movie. "Casper" is actually a fairly dark film , when you think about it. Characters die and quickly return as cartoon ghosts, a man has his head completely turned around and he's still able to walk, and there's the entire film is predicated on the existence of a dead child. Good, family fun!

In retrospect, this is kind of refreshing. It isn't a film that ignores the reality of our mortality. If anything, it celebrates it. While the tone ranges from macabre to broad slapstick, it doesn't shy away from conversations regarding death. This, in its own way, seems healthy.

44. Grave Encounters (2011)

Found footage received a bad reputation thanks to a deluge of cynical filmmakers who didn't understand the format's potential. After the successes "The Blair Witch Project" and "Paranormal Activity," it seemed like anyone with a camera and half an idea thought they could make their own. Unfortunately, what these imitators lacked was any comprehension of why those films worked so well.

In 2011, when you couldn't escape found footage , "Grave Encounters" was a true diamond in the rough. Styled as the raw footage from a "Ghost Adventures"-style paranormal investigation series, the film sees greedy con artists investigating a haunted mental hospital. That alone is a fun idea, but what makes the film work so well is how it experiments with the concept as a commentary on manipulative "reality" television. 

That would be enough to make it interesting, but it's elevated even further by subverting the audience's expectations in subtle but very effective ways. If found footage fatigue (or the film's mediocre trailer ) stopped you from watching this underrated gem, give it a watch. You can skip the sequel, though. 

43. Insidious (2010)

James Wan's 2010 film "Insidious" has no right to be this good. It is, in effect, a modern take on "Poltergeist," with its own intriguing mythology. The explanation as to why this couple suddenly finds themselves surrounded by beings from beyond the void isn't as simple as "their house was built over a burial ground." Instead, it's a bit more metaphysical and unique.

The concept of creepy kids has already been done to death, but Wan found a way to make it work in a whole new way. The film is packed with genuinely frightening scenes and images. There's the pacing man outside the window who suddenly appears in the child's room, the boy standing against the wall who is barely glimpsed as Rose Byrne goes about her daily routine, and those terrifying pictures of grinning ghosts who are omnipresent but rarely seen.

Wan went on to even greater success with "The Conjuring" and its shared universe of paranormal films, but the original "Insidious" still stands as a legitimately creepy, intriguing, and suspenseful supernatural chiller that holds up on repeat viewings.

42. Lady in White (1988)

At first glance, "Lady in White" appears no different than other '80s films with kid protagonists. The opening credits are eerily idyllic, almost cozy, and the idea of a child communicating with the spirit of a girl his age certainly sounds like something Steven Spielberg might have attached his name to as a producer. Where this film differs from the likes of "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" and "The Goonies" is in its tone and the specifics of the plot.

This isn't a gender-swapped take on "Casper." This is a dark, melancholic supernatural murder mystery. Murders don't happen off-camera only to be discussed later in soft detail; in the first act, you see a girl being strangled. Yes, the strangulation is a form of repetitive haunting, so it doesn't have the same impact as watching a murder in real time, but it is harrowing. Minutes later, the boy witnessing this haunting (a pale, wide-eyed Lukas Haas) is also strangled, though he survives. It is deadly serious.

While it may not have become the cultural touchstone other films of the decade became, it does linger with you, as all great ghost stories should. For anyone who grew up watching this on cable, the nightmare-inducing scenes of the ghostly Lady in White standing outside the protagonist's window are likely still lodged in their subconscious.

41. The Legend of Hell House (1999)

Two things are made very clear within the first 10 minutes of this big-screen adaptation of Richard Matheson's novel: 1) This will not be a slow burn, and 2) Hell House is definitely haunted.

The film wastes no time getting the plot rolling. A doctor is tasked with investigating Hell House. He is assigned a small team consisting of two mediums and his own wife and they're off. What we learn about Hell House is that the man who owned it was really into debauchery and the occult. This means that the nature of the haunting is typically sexual and violent.

As Matheson (who adapted the novel himself ) did with the vampire mythology in his novel "I Am Legend," he attempts to provide a scientific explanation for hauntings. He does this to amplify the phenomena and make them more realistic. Unfortunately, it's not as successful here because he assumes the viewer is familiar with these concepts and takes very little time to elaborate.

At its core, "The Legend of Hell House" feels like a teenager's version of what they think Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House" should have been. The violence and eroticism are overblown, the characters underdeveloped, and the science is half-baked. None of that is to say the film is bad. In fact, its flaws and the atmospheric cinematography make it incredibly entertaining and worth a watch.

40. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" isn't a terribly exciting story. The author takes his time establishing the beauty of the village in which it takes place and detailing Ichabod Crane's personality, but the horror elements we've come to associate with the tale don't arrive until much later. The prose is all about establishing the proper atmosphere before the final payoff.

Tim Burton's film "Sleepy Hollow" is certainly atmospheric, but it ignores the long, detailed setup to tell a funny, exciting, and uncharacteristically gory mystery. In this version, the Headless Horseman isn't an elusive and mysterious phantom, he is a tool of destruction wielded by an angry and bitter individual. He stalks his prey like a silent slasher before brutally murdering them and taking their heads back to his sacred tree.

The only way to truly enjoy the film is to ignore logic, give only the slightest attention to plot, and simply soak up the imagery. As Peter Travers stated in his Rolling Stone review , "Even when the narrative stalls from too many detours and decapitations, 'Sleepy Hollow' is gorgeous filmmaking that brims over with fun-house thrills and ravishing romance."

39. Stir of Echoes (1999)

Another adaptation of a Richard Matheson novel, this time handled by frequent Spielberg collaborator David Koepp, "Stir of Echoes" is a gripping murder mystery with a flawed, unintentional hero at its center.

Released the same year as M. Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense," it doesn't pack the same emotional punch, but is equally well crafted and intelligent. Opening with a creepy scene of a young boy having a conversation with someone we cannot see and asking the question, "Does it hurt to be dead?" it certainly feels like another "Sixth Sense," but it's soon revealed that the focus is actually an adult, Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon).  

Witzky is a working-class guy who makes the mistake of allowing his sister-in-law to hypnotize him, awakening latent abilities. Following the hypnotism, Witzky begins having visions of a murder that occurred in his house. He becomes obsessed with discovering the truth. As the mystery unfolds, we can't help but identify with his determination.

For the most part, "Stir of Echoes" is a pretty standard movie with a few surprises. It may not be an earth-shattering masterpiece, but it is very well made and deserves to be talked about more.

38. The Frighteners (1996)

Before Peter Jackson was winning Academy Awards for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," he was mostly known for his work in the horror genre—specifically, his extreme splatter flicks, like the gross-out alien invasion movie " Bad Taste ," the bonkers and raunchy puppet film " Meet the Feebles ," and the unhinged gorefest " Dead Alive ." In 1994, he successfully tried his hand at magical realism with " Heavenly Creatures ," a stylized account of the very real Parker-Hulme murder case .

He could have easily continued down the dramatic path, but 1996 saw a return to horror (albeit with a much slicker look thanks to a Hollywood budget) with the hilarious and thrilling film "The Frighteners." Starring the always-charismatic Michael J. Fox as a medium who exploits his ability to communicate with the dead for financial gain, the film is a powerhouse of comedy and creativity.

Quite frankly, "The Frighteners" is a blast. The jokes don't always land, but it moves with such a fevered pace that you don't mind. The performances are stellar, with Jeffrey Combs as a quirky FBI agent being the real standout. Also, the film cleverly deploys computer technology to allow the ghosts to interact with the real world and to craft a suitably creepy villain.

37. Scrooged (1988)

When compiling a list of ghost movies, you have to include at least one adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol." However, there are so many to choose from that the entirety of the list could be made up of the various adaptations . That's where personal choice and cultural perspective come into place. The 1988 Richard Donner film "Scrooged" won out over all the others simply for its creative and meta take on the material.

Not only is this film about a greedy curmudgeon who is visited by three ghosts who show him the error of his ways, but it also takes place in a world where Charles Dickens' story exists. The main character, played by Bill Murray, is actually overseeing a live production of the story to go out on Christmas. This allows the film to comment on the source material while honoring it at the same time.

The cast is phenomenal, Danny Elfman's score is magical, and the satire still packs a lot of bite. Of course, as great as the entire film is, it's that last moment when Bill Murray pleads with the audience to feel the Christmas cheer all year round that makes this film the uplifting classic it is.

36. The Fog (1980)

Two years after the original "Halloween" popularized the slasher film as we know it, John Carpenter made "The Fog," a classic ghost story set in an island town. While the film struggles to capture the same kind of tension and suspense Carpenter achieved in "Halloween," it does create an atmosphere that almost seems to seep its way off the screen.

The narrative is a little all over the place with several point-of-view characters, making it feel like an adaptation of a story Stephen King never wrote. This is one of the film's weaknesses, as it would have been far more engrossing to follow one character. They're all interesting and find themselves in unexpected situations once the malevolent fog rolls in bringing the ghosts of dead pirates with it, but jumping back and forth between them kills some of the momentum.

Aside from its structural shortcomings, the film has some real highlights. Dean Cundey's cinematography is always immersive and captivating. Seeing Janet Leigh in a film alongside her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis is a lot of fun. Then, of course, there's John Carpenter's mesmerizing score. Music is always important in film, but for John Carpenter movies they're crucial. In the case of "The Fog," it's the score that makes the movie truly great.

35. Candyman (1992)

Speaking of wonderful scores, Philip Glass' theme music for the 1992 film "Candyman" (titled Helen's Theme) is heartbreakingly gorgeous. It perfectly defines the nature of the film. With a title like "Candyman," one could easily assume this was nothing more than an attempt at inventing a new movie monster in the vein of Jason or Freddy. Instead, this adaptation of a Clive Barker short story is much more cerebral, mythic, and tragic than that.

Although the 2021 sequel does a much better job at discussing some of the themes introduced here, the original still stands on its own as a beautiful and grotesque gothic experience. From cinematography that makes Chicago look like something out of a damaged fairy tale, to the art direction exploring the dichotomy between modernity and myth, to Tony Todd's riveting performance, "Candyman" is a ghost story with much more to offer than the standard thrills and chills.

As Michael Rechtshaffen with The Hollywood Reporter said in his review, "This Candyman can elicit some bona fide shivers while the picture that bears his name is high-caliber horror in its purest, most primal form."

34. Crimson Peak (2015)

From one example of gothic horror to another, Guillermo del Toro's "Crimson Peak" is a huge, lavish, and twisted romance full of beautifully hideous creations, per the filmmaker's trademarks. There aren't many scares in this haunting period piece, but that's not always the intent with a dark ghost story. As we said before, ghosts can serve many purposes in a narrative, and "Peak" is an example of the supernatural being used as a metaphor for secrets and regret.

Edith (Mia Wasikowska) marries an inventor named Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), who lives with his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain). Edith is warned by a ghost to beware of something called Crimson Peak early in the film, but she doesn't listen. She relocates to the Sharpe's manse, Allerdale Hall, which stands atop and is sinking into a red clay mine, aka Crimson Peak.

Like many gothic romances, the truth of her relationship is much more complicated and the mystery she uncovers is much darker and stranger than even the audience can anticipate. The film makes this list thanks to the sheer beauty of its artistry and striking depiction of ghosts. The film manages to feel like a classic story you've known all your life while also being fresh and new.

33. Blithe Spirit (1945)

1945's "Blithe Spirit," from the play by Noël Coward, has the kind of premise that makes one think they know exactly what they're in for before the story begins. It's about a writer who hosts a séance at his home as research for his new book. At first, it seems as though the séance was unsuccessful, but then the author's late wife Elvira walks in. Naturally, this leads to bitterness and jealousy between Ruth, his current wife, and himself. While that is true, the story takes some truly strange twists along the way.

For the most part, the three leads of the film are selfish twits. Charles, the writer, never really appreciated either wife and finds his current predicament amusing. Elvira was an unfaithful showboat who held everyone in contempt. Ruth only cares about how others see her. That should make for an unlikable story, but all of it is played for laughs, and most of the comedy still works.

While everyone is good in the movie, Margaret Rutherford steals the show as the eccentric medium Madame Arcati. From the moment she arrives, she captures your attention and rewards you with an energetic and charming performance. Arcati is pleasant, courteous, and just batty enough to keep you smiling. 

32. Monster House (2006)

The haunted house is the backbone of any ghost story. Although houses are nothing more than building materials placed together to provide shelter, humans pin their identities to them. Perhaps that's why the sight of an abandoned house often makes us feel so uneasy. Lives were lived there, but now it is a shell haunted by memories. Many stories use ghosts as a metaphor for memories, suggesting it is the emptiness in what was once a place of joy that makes a house haunted.

This is not the case with the 2006 animated horror-comedy "Monster House." There is something very wrong going on at the house in question, and there's nothing metaphorical about it. The house itself is possessed by a former occupant. Not only that, but this ghost is angry. It lashes out at anyone who dares trespass, particularly children, making it a dangerous place to go trick-or-treating.

"Monster House" should be on anyone's Halloween watchlist alongside standards like "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and "Hocus Pocus." It is that inventive, funny, and good.

31. Pulse (2001)

In order to keep telling ghost stories without them getting old, you have to try and reinvent them a little bit. A subtle tweak here and there can go a very long way. Writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa brought a unique perspective to the concept of ghosts in his 2001 film "Pulse" by evolving them for the 21st century.

This film posits that the world where ghosts reside is finite and, if it gets too full, the ghosts will have to start inhabiting our world. That is an interesting enough take on ghost mythology to justify the film's existence, but Kurosawa takes things a step further by suggesting human beings, in their isolated worlds desperate to connect with one another, are ghosts already.

For a movie that was made in the relatively early years of the internet boom (one protagonist barely understands how to operate a computer), it is eerily prescient about what our digital lives would become. We spend all our time online, communicating with others, but never truly connecting—just like ghosts damned to silently wander the mortal realm alone.

30. Ghost Town (2008)

David Koepp makes his second appearance on this list, this time with a very different kind of ghost movie than "Stir of Echoes." "Ghost Town" is a romantic comedy about a man named Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) who can communicate with ghosts after briefly dying while under anesthesia. The film falls into the unfinished business category of ghost movies, as these spirits are desperate for him to help them resolve their respective unfinished business.

One ghost in particular,  played by Greg Kinnear , wants Bertram to stop his widow (Téa Leoni) from marrying someone new. Bertram agrees but falls in love with her himself. It's a fun way of subverting the rom-com trope of two people coming together under false pretenses. We've seen what happens when people start dating because of a bet or because of a little sociological experiment, so this is a fun little twist that keeps the narrative fresh.

It's also a nice change of pace for Gervais, who usually plays sardonic and selfish characters. In this film, he's just a lonely dentist who needed to die to learn how to live. The film won't change your life, but it will keep you smiling for the majority of its runtime.

29. 1408 (2007)

With all the stories Stephen King has published, you might think there'd be no need to adapt more than one with a similar premise. After the initial failure and later success of Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" and King's own 1997 TV mini-series adaptation, there's really no sense in making another Stephen King film set in a hotel. Director Mikael Hafstrom did it anyway and, thanks to a great script by Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, and Larry Karaszewski, the result is a solid, entertaining, and suspenseful little horror movie.

The premise is simple: A man who writes books about haunted hotels stays in a haunted room in New York City. The Overlook Hotel in "The Shining" allowed for long scenes of characters slowly walking down corridors to build the tension, but "1408" is just one guy in one room. It's claustrophobic and suffocating, offering just enough space for shadows to pass just out of the corner of the eye. 

The film has just enough violence to establish the stakes without indulging in extreme gore. It also delivers the goods on the supernatural. It may not stand the test of time as the best film to be adapted from the work of Stephen King, but it certainly deserves a mention.

Like Mick LaSalle wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle, "'1408' is one of the good Stephen King adaptations, one that maintains its author's sly sense of humor and satiric view of human nature."

28. Ouija: Origin of Evil (2014)

There's no reason a sequel/prequel to the 2014 film "Ouija" should be this entertaining and interesting. The former film was nothing more than a dull attempt to build a franchise around a recognizable gimmick with absolutely nothing to say. There isn't a single concept or character worth the audience's time, despite an honest attempt by the people on screen to elevate the lackluster material.

The choice to bring on Mike Flanagan as the co-writer and director for the sequel was ingenious. Since his film "Oculus" hit it big, the director has consistently proven himself to be one of the strongest voices in horror cinema currently working. What makes him such an interesting filmmaker is his respect for the genre. He doesn't come across as someone who dabbles in horror simply because it sells. "Hush," "Gerald's Game," "The Haunting of Hill House," and "Doctor Sleep" all have depth and powerful vision behind them.

You can see some of his hallmarks starting to form in "Ouija: Origin of Evil." The visual style is engaging, the horror elements are just strange enough to be unsettling but playful, and there is a real family drama unfolding. These characters feel like real people we care about, making the terrifying events that befall them all the more tragic. 

27. Ghost (1990)

Yes, "Ghost" is the movie where Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore make pottery together. That's the moment most closely associated with this paranormal romance, but it is far from the only interesting thing in the film. For instance, it was directed by comedy giant Jerry Zucker . Aside from being a touching love story about a dead man trying to protect the woman he left behind, "Ghost" is a fascinating and surprisingly dark supernatural thriller with some excellent world-building.

It would've been easy for the filmmakers to stick with common ghost story tropes by making Moore the protagonist attempting to decipher cryptic messages, hoping it's her lost love. Instead, it's told from the ghost's point of view, and the world he inhabits isn't as simple as it appears. He has to learn how to influence the physical world from a more experienced spectral mentor. In fact, the only way he can speak to anyone directly is by possessing a psychic.

A scene that doesn't get nearly as much attention as it should is when the villain of the film is dragged to hell by shadow creatures. It's a satisfyingly dark scene in an otherwise optimistic film that sticks with you long after the parodies of the pottery scene fade from memory.

26. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

There have been so many "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies since the original was released in 2003, it's easy to forget how good that initial outing was. It's a swashbuckling comedy stuffed with exciting action, vibrant characters, solid comedy, and interesting mythology that still works to this day. Plus, as Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) points out himself, it's a ghost story.

This is the kind of adventure film that has become increasingly rare. Although it contains some truly impressive spectacles, the emphasis remains on the characters and their interactions. If you put people like this in a dangerous situation, it will be inherently exciting, because we like their interplay. As the films continued, the focus shifted to bigger and stranger action. While some of the creative choices in the sequels are admirably bizarre, they fail to measure up to the pure fun captured in the original "Pirate of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl."

25. Personal Shopper (2016)

Two movies are happening in "Personal Shopper." One reflects the title: A personal shopper (played by Kristen Stewart) for a high-profile client covets her lavish lifestyle. We have several scenes of her admiring the clothes she's buying for her boss and even trying them on. She even admits to wanting to be someone else, suggesting that she envies her boss. This sounds like the setup to a murder mystery, but that's not really the story director Olivier Assayas is telling.

The other movie is still about Stewart's character, but it's interested in her search for evidence of life after death. Her twin brother, who worked in Paris as a medium, is dead, and she is looking for a sign from him indicating he is now a ghost. She sees blurry visions of a spectral form and communicates via text message with someone who claims to know her, but whose identity is never revealed, but none of it proves to her that her brother is trying to reach her.

Both movies are separately interesting, and intertwining them as the same narrative actually detracts from the story being told. Still, it makes the list for the matter-of-fact way it deals with the paranormal. Watching a glass float across the room isn't treated as a terrifying or magical moment; it's simply a thing that happens. Also, the text exchange running through most of the film is compelling enough a mystery to keep you invested.

24. The Changeling (1980)

George C. Scott is an imposing, larger-than-life figure who commands every frame he inhabits. There's a reason this guy was famous for playing a U.S. General in "Patton": he's loud, gruff, and intimidating. Therefore, it's all the more chilling when this figure becomes withdrawn, quiet, and reflective, as he is in the 1980 supernatural film "The Changeling."

Scott plays John Russell, a composer who loses his wife and child when they are hit by a car on an icy road. Their deaths happen very early in the film and pack a punch that you can feel through the entire film, thanks to Scott's melancholic performance. This is a man devoid of direction and meaning, trying to find his way back to some sense of normalcy, but stuck wandering the quiet corridors of the secluded house he escapes to in order to continue his work.

The character's grief pulls us to the character and keeps us invested in his journey. The fact that the house is haunted only serves to pull us even further into this cold, bleak world. By the time the secrets of the house are revealed, we are so enraptured that we can't brace ourselves for an intense and emotional ending.

23. The Others (2001)

Horror films don't need to have twist endings. It is perfectly acceptable to craft a film with no major third-act revelations and still make the ending satisfying. In fact, one could argue that introducing a twist to your film's finale runs the risk of ruining the audience's understanding of the narrative, confusing them to the degree that they no longer enjoy the experience. 

That's when a twist is done badly. When it's done well, it adds texture to the rest of the film, increasing the audience's enjoyment. To do this, the film first needs to work on its own without the twist, but with enough clues to justify the surprise ending. That is exactly what "The Others" from 2001 does. From beginning to end, it is an engrossing and scary ghost story about an overprotective mother. When it reaches the end and the truth is revealed, however, it brings those subtle clues into the light and gives a new reading to everything that has gone before.

This in no way robs the film of its horror. If anything, it twists the scares into a richer and more intriguing shape. It's still a haunted house movie, but the nature of the haunting and the glimpses we get of the other world is different than we expected, making the film worth watching over again to fully appreciate the sadness at its core.

22. The Orphanage (2007)

On the surface, "The Orphanage" appears to be nothing more than a spooky kid story. Just the image of a child in simple, faded clothing wearing a sack mask over their head is deeply unsettling. The mind wonders what the mask is hiding or what kind of a child would willingly wear such a repellent thing.

Once you dive into the film, however, you learn that something much deeper and more complex is going on. Soon, you're not scared just because of the imagery, but also because many of the concepts discussed in the film work their way into you. By the movie's conclusion, the rush of emotions is so powerful you have no idea how to react. On the one hand, the truth revealed is disturbing and the protagonist's decision is agonizing; on the other, the suggestion that it is exactly what she needed to do is kind of beautiful.

Miami Herald film critic Rene Rodriguez summed up the film's strengths perfectly when he said , "The movie is so good at using its horror elements to explore deeper, less fantastical emotions. For all its bump-in-the-night suspense, 'The Orphanage' is ultimately as much about motherhood and grief as it is about apparitions and shadowy corridors." 

21. Beetlejuice (1988)

"Beetlejuice" was director Tim Burton's second feature film. Considering that the first film was "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure," it's no surprise that this story about a grimy, mischievous spirit conning his way into the afterlives of a recently deceased married couple is so funny. What is surprising, though, is just how confident and assured it is. 

Almost everything we would come to associate with Burton truly took shape here on both a stylistic and thematic level. Many of the distorted visuals and concepts are highly exaggerated and reminiscent of some of his later work. Just like "Batman," "Batman Returns," "Edward Scissorhands," "Ed Wood," and even "Big Fish," "Beetlejuice" is largely about duality: the duality between the living world and the land of the dead, the duality between the tacky Deetz family and the tasteful Maitlands, the duality between the comfort of the Maitland's home and the void outside. Even the black-and-white, double-mouthed Sandworms represent duality. While it may not be held up as the pinnacle of Burton's career, it should definitely be viewed as a cornerstone.

20. Carnival of Souls (1962)

Virtually everything about the 1962 film "Carnival of Souls" is fascinating. From the film's haunting and dreamlike atmosphere to the story of how it came to be made  and the enormous influence it's had on film , there is always something about it worth exploring and discussing in great detail. Yet, it still isn't as well known as the majority of movies on this list, which is a real shame.

That said, the movie isn't for everyone. Younger audience members will likely struggle with its pacing, obvious budgetary flaws, and lack of jump scares or driving narrative. Anyone looking for a complicated plot full of twists and turns will also be disappointed. "Carnival of Souls" is eerie and occasionally verges on truly scary, but the real draw of the film is the way it simulates the experience of trying to remember a dream.

Imagine being affected by a dream so powerful you can't shake it for the entire day, but the specifics still elude you. As you go about your normal routine, there's a haze of surreal confusion swimming around your head. It's almost as though you exist in two realms at once, stalked by ghoulish imagery that simultaneously frightens and compels you to explore further.

That is what it's like for the main character who is drifting through life after a car accident, and that is how the audience feels as we take this haunting journey with her.

19. The Sixth Sense (1999)

Perhaps no filmmaker is as closely associated with twist endings as M. Night Shyamalan. The writer/director has been mercilessly parodied for his penchant for third-act reveals  over the years . Given the nosedive Shyamalan's career took post-" The Lady in the Water ," it's understandable that many audience members might have forgotten just how powerful "The Sixth Sense" was upon its release.

Unlike "The Others," this is an example of a twist that doesn't transform our understanding of the movie, it just makes much of the dialogue more poignant. The entire time we think we're watching a man help a young boy dealing with a very unique problem when in actuality it's been the reverse. Would the movie still work without the twist? It probably would, but in this case, it makes Bruce Willis' character more emotionally resonant.

Something that doesn't get talked about as much is how scary the movie is. The reveal of the kid with the bullet wound in the back of his head is more shocking than any jumpscare, and the scene where Cole realizes it isn't his mother standing in the kitchen grips you so firmly you feel you're being strangled. So, if you've never seen the film, ignore the cliché of Shyamalan's love for twist endings and give it a chance. You might still be surprised.

18. The Uninvited (1944)

If you were to close your eyes and imagine a classic, gothic ghost story, it would probably look a lot like Lewis Allen's film "The Uninvited." It is bathed in shadow and candlelight, with mysterious breezes and shivering chills and dark secrets. It is a classic ghost story in every sense.

Where it differs from many other classic ghost movies is in its decision to not keep its ghosts completely hidden. Instead of just hearing mysterious noises and seeing the occasional object being moved by an unseen force, "The Uninvited" includes some possession. There are even a few instances of ghostly manifestations that still hold up today, occasionally resembling the kind of "real ghost" footage found in countless videos online.

That, perhaps, speaks to the film's attempts at making the concept of hauntings feel plausible. As Keith Philips pointed out in his review, "'The Uninvited' was...one of the first films to treat the supernatural seriously, and to play ghosts and hauntings as something other than fodder for comedy." The decision to treat the ghost story as something that could really happen has gone on to influence how we talk about the paranormal to this day.

17. Poltergeist (1982)

You may not have given "Poltergeist" a lot of thought lately. Maybe you saw it as a kid and have grown to think of it as quaint. You might think, "Sure, the scene where the guy rips his face off in the bathroom mirror was cool, but the movie is tame and terribly dated when compared to modern horror films." Then again, you could be more interested in the rumors of a supposed curse that came about by using actual skeletons in the film's final moments. 

Make no mistake, "Poltergeist" is terrifying. Yeah, it was rated PG when it came out, and there are way more over-done special effects than there need to be, but when this movie works—and it often does—it is gripping. Just think of the imposing tree waiting just outside the children's window, or the maniacal clown doll watching the little boy try to sleep. Conjure up memories of the demonic, ethereal skeletal dog thing roaring from the doorway, and the mundane yet chilling static buzzing away on unwatched televisions.

"Poltergeist" deserves to make any and every list of best ghost movies because it does everything a classic haunting tale needs to while supercharging it with nightmarish images that still lurk within the subconscious.

16. The Haunting (1963)

Fans of the 2018 Netflix series "The Haunting of Hill House" might be surprised and confused by the Robert Wise 1963 adaptation of Shirley Jackson's classic novel. While the series was able to conjure fear out of what you do and don't see, this psychological deep-dive into paranoia is all about suggestion. There is not a single ghost to be seen, and the film makes never overtly states that the sounds heard in the middle of the night were actually caused by the supernatural. So, why is it on this list of ghost movies? 

Well, that's the thing about the paranormal—there's no definitive evidence supporting its existence. We have anecdotal evidence, personal stories recounted by the people who experienced certain things. There's a galaxy of audio and video that could be considered "evidence," but most of it is debunked or explained rationally. Those that defy explanation still don't constitute proof.

When it comes to the question of whether or not ghosts exist, the only suitable answer is: We don't know. Therefore, when "The Haunting" ends and you find yourself wondering if there even were any ghosts in that movie, that's the point.

15. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

When telling a ghost story, it is possible to have your cake and eat it too. Most movies take one stance or the other: either the ghosts are real or they're metaphors. This Kim Jee-woon film has it both ways. There are two very distinct kinds of hauntings going on in the film. The obvious one involves the terrifying woman who occasionally appears to let the audience know that something seriously wrong happened in this house. The other one is about grief and guilt.

It's true, something terrible did happen in that house. Discovering this event is the mystery of the film. The resolution is what leads to the double hauntings. One haunting is a literal supernatural consequence of someone being mistreated in life and the other is a more emotional after-effect. While watching the film, you keep expecting the protagonist to stumble on some clue that takes them down the rabbit hole of mystery, but it never happens.

That may sound unsatisfactory, but that's only if you can't appreciate the fact that the film had successfully distracted you into asking the wrong questions. The last 15 minutes or so is all about answering questions you didn't know you'd had. These answers heighten make you reconsider the narrative in a similar way to "The Others." If the film were a magic trick, this misdirection would be a perfect execution of sleight of hand.

14. House (1977)

Discussing 1977's "House" is difficult because the film defies explanation. It plays out like a student film by someone who is incredibly talented but distracted by all the possibilities of editing. In the middle of an otherwise normal dialogue scene, a character will suddenly scurry across the frame to silly music and then go back to normal. The image speeds up and slows down at random. Cuts jump from one person to an object to another person with no connective tissue. Then there's the insanity of the final act, which can only be described as...different.

Honestly, nothing anyone says about this film can prepare you for the experience of watching it. We can throw out avant-garde or arthouse, but they are meaningless here. Sometimes it is fairly linear and easy to follow; other times, it's utter nonsense. Occasionally there's a scene with a genuine atmosphere, seconds later it devolves into some of the strangest comedy you've ever seen.

The reason it's so high on the list is that it's never boring and there's nothing quite like it. Some of the gorier comedy scenes remind you of "The Evil Dead," and the more surreal sound editing and camera moments evoke David Lynch, but it's even more extreme than either of those two examples. If you're tired of the same old ghost story tropes, you need to watch "House."

13. We Are Still Here (2015)

Sometimes movies follow paths from beginning to end with no real change. The plot may surprise us, but the outlook and tone of the film remain consistent throughout. Other times, a movie begins as one thing and ends as something entirely different. Both are perfectly valid, but the latter tends to provide a more enriching experience because they have taken you on a truly transformative journey. That is absolutely the case with Ted Geoghegan's film "We Are Still Here." 

When the film begins, it establishes a somber, wintery tone. This seems obvious because the film takes place in winter, but it's also because the expression on lead actress Barbara Crampton's face tells us everything we need to know about her: she is hurting. The source of that pain comes from the loss of her son. She and her husband are moving to a country house to escape the city and the memories of their son.

At first, everything progresses like your typical haunted house movie. There are strange noises and happenings that get them to think something strange is going on, but they're never totally sure what it is. About halfway through, however, everything changes, and this eerie little movie becomes an eldritch horror spectacular with deeply disturbing ghosts, maniacal humans, and showers of gore.

Some of the more sentimental moments might leave you giggling, but the horror that follows will shut you up again.

12. The Devil's Backbone (2001)

If there's one thing about director Guillermo del Toro that everyone knows, it's that he loves monsters. Few filmmakers working today have strived to make monsters feel real while still retaining their mythic status as del Toro. His entire filmography features titles that explore monsters in some way. He has reinvented them and brought them out into the light to be examined and understood in new ways for years.

With his 2001 film "The Devil's Backbone," he does the same thing with ghosts. Santi, the ghost of the film, does what the best del Toro creations always do: disgust and frighten at first glance, only to reel you in over time. He isn't a blurry apparition or a perfect human form in white makeup to make him appear ethereal. He's almost like a zombie at first, with his decaying skin and dead stare. The closer we get, though, the more we see and understand his sadness.

Similar to "Pan's Labyrinth," the film is just as much about the horrors of war as it is about the supernatural. It is clear to whom del Toro has pledged his allegiance, since the human characters are often times scarier than the things that go bump in the night. It is a unique and fascinating take on a cliché-prone genre that stands as one of the strongest pillars of del Toro's career.

11. La Llorona (2019)

Released shortly after "The Curse of La Llorona," director Jayro Bustamante's "La Llorona" was lost in the hype. It is more than just a common ghost story attempting to exploit the recognizable legend of The Weeping Woman . Instead, it re-contextualizes it into a tale that's even more socially poignant. This isn't simply a spooky story to warn children about wandering around at night; it is about what happens when terrible crimes go unpunished.

The film focuses on a fictional former dictator who closely mirrors the real-life dictator  Efraín Ríos Montt  and the failure to convict him of genocide. As people protest his home, his life begins to crumble due to illness, and the people around him begin mistrusting him. Then we meet Alma, a quiet young woman hired to look after the house. Her appearance brings strange occurrences and old secrets.

It is a deeper, sadder film that manages to honor the origins of the legend by modernizing it, as opposed to resorting to lame jump scares and tired imagery.

10. The Shining (1980)

By the time you're reading this, there is really nothing to add to the discussion surrounding Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining." Most people know the film was not a critical success when it was released and that Stephen King, who wrote the book it was based on, didn't like it . Chances are you're even aware of all the different theories about what the film means and the documentary "Room 237" that discusses them.

All we can really do here is mention what makes it such an effective ghost movie. Audiences can continue to debate every frame of the film all they want; what matters here is how Kubrick depicts the supernatural, because it is one of the strangest and truly unsettling approaches to showing the paranormal on this entire list.

Our fear of ghosts comes from a lack of understanding. We don't know what they are or even if they exist. If they do exist, we have no grasp of what it is they want or what they're capable of. Kubrick taps into that confusion masterfully. The few times we see ghosts in the film, we're not quite sure how to react. There's something inherently off-putting about them, but nothing overtly threatening—that is, until one of them tries to kill Danny.

There is an unknowable quality to the ghosts in the film that needles at our subconscious. Evading comprehension is their superpower and it's what makes them so very, very scary.

9. A Ghost Story (2017)

The image of a sheet with eyes cut into it to symbolize a ghost has been used countless times. Usually, it is a childlike interpretation of a spirit and a low-budget Halloween costume. There is a sweetness to it that harkens back to simpler times. Seeing it as an adult can make you laugh at its naïveté, but it can also be used to evoke great nostalgia and powerful melancholy.

That push and pull between perfect innocence and jaded maturity are what makes "A Ghost Story" so enthralling. We should find scenes of a ghost as a sheet goofy, but it's too familiar to be laughed at. While seeing it, we not only acknowledge what it is supposed to represent but also feel undeniable regret over the loss of childhood and our own potential. 

As our protagonist witnesses life continuing without him, we are confronted with all the choices we never made, the potential we may never fulfill, and the chances we never took. It is an uncomfortable truth we all must face and "A Ghost Story" allows us to do that with grace.

8. Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)

With the surge in popularity of American studios remaking Japanese horror movies , it's easy to forget just how unsettling and creepy some of the original films are. "Ju-On: The Grudge," which was remade in 2004 starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, is a perfect example. From the very beginning of the original, anger and darkness permeate the film and never let up.

Under most circumstances, murders are plot conveniences in ghost stories. They set up why the ghosts are shambling around and causing a ruckus. Very rarely do they cause the audience to feel anything. They exist solely to scare us later. In this film, the murders trouble us. They're more than just a functional backstory, as they give birth to the curse that goes on to claim so many victims.

The pain experienced by the murder victims prior to the main events of the film is so intense and all-consuming that the ghosts move in agonized, horrendous fashion, barely able to mimic human mobility. It is this commitment to depicting the cruelty of murder and its consequences that makes the film so scary and one of the best ghost movies ever made.

7. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

"The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" is a film about two people who simply met at the wrong time. One is a widow (Mrs. Muir) trying to make a life for herself in England. The other is a former sea captain who is used to a scrappier lifestyle and happens to also be dead. 

As is the case with many love stories, the pair aren't sure what to make of each other at first. As they spend more time together, they collaborate on a novel and fall in love. Of course, they're incapable of having a fulfilling relationship given their different living statuses and the ghost goes away, allowing her to find someone new. Having the protagonists separate only to reunite by the end is a common trope in romances, but at least in this one, it doesn't feel contrived. Usually, the couple splits up due to some moronic misunderstanding. This time, it actually makes sense and makes the film all the more rewarding when they meet again.

6. Kwaidan (1964)

When someone says you can watch a film with the sound off and still appreciate it, that's usually a form of damning something with faint praise—as if to say that everything about a film other than its visuals is a complete waste of time. However, if someone says that about the 1965 Masaki Kobayashi horror anthology "Kwaidan," it is more a positive statement on the film's complexity rather than an insult.

The film consists of four stories. Each is a fable with dark underpinnings. From a man being cursed by the deceased wife he abandoned to another man going back on a promise he made to a spirit, a musician performing for an audience of ghosts, and a writer who may still be working from a watery grave, each installment offers a chilling story that will hold you in its snare.

On top of entertaining stories being well told, every frame is gorgeous. Watching the film is like entering a reality built for a stage without borders. The film is crafted in every sense of the word and is a feast for gluttonous eyes. It is so beautiful and engaging and layered that you can enjoy it in pieces, all at once, or even without the sound.

5. Rebecca (1940)

Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca" is a tough one to include on this list because the haunting in question is so metaphorical and cerebral that it probably isn't supernatural at all. The decision to add it was based on the debates it can spark about the nature of hauntings. Do we need to see objects levitating, doors slamming, and mysterious breezes for it to be a ghost story? Can't a ghost simply be lingering dread that clings to the living?

"Rebecca" is a movie about a woman who becomes the second wife of Maxim, a cold man who is clearly grappling with some trauma. His new wife tries to make him happy and take the place of his first wife, the titular Rebecca, but is unsuccessful. The presence of the former Mrs. de Winter permeates the entire house. She was a bitter woman and the effects of her behavior still touch the people who survived her.

Who's to say that's not how a real haunting would work? Instead of all the spectacle, we've come to expect from other ghost movies, maybe a true haunting is just a memory that refuses to let you go.

4. Ringu (1998)

When a film is remade as successfully as "Ringu," you can't help but compare them. Gore Verbinski's take on the material ("The Ring") is creepy, stylish, and crowd-pleasing. It has everything American audiences expect from a horror film with a nice twist at the end. There's no argument that it isn't a well-made and effective film.

The original, directed by Hideo Nakata, makes the list over the remake for its lack of slick production value. Despite its fantastical subject matter (a video that kills whoever watches it), "Ringu" has a realistic quality in its production that grounds it in a recognizable world. This goes a long way in making the supernatural elements even scarier because we don't expect those kinds of things to happen in the real world.

The best way to explain this is to talk about the tapes featured in both films. They are very similar and equally unnerving, but the world depicted in "The Ring" is so visually heightened that it almost makes sense that a tape like that would exist. Within the world of "Ringu," the tape resembles nothing else we've seen up to that point. It's simpler, too, making it all the scarier.

3. Ugetsu Monogatari (1953)

A metaphor that isn't explored all that often in ghost stories is the concept of ghosts as temptation. It's a realistic interpretation since many of us are tempted to believe in ghosts because their existence suggests life beyond death. However, we're not sure what that kind of afterlife would entail. Perhaps it's everything we could have dreamed, or it's terrible beyond our worst imaginings.

Kenji Mizoguchi's "Ugetsu Monogatari" explores this idea through the lens of Japan's past. It is ostensibly about two men who leave security behind in order to achieve their dreams. Both men are married and refuse to listen to their wives' reasoning for staying home and preparing for the war instead of going off on a fool's errand. One wife even tells her husband that as long as she has him, she doesn't need anything else.

The poor life isn't for him, however, and he goes out to seek his fortune. He falls in love with a ghost, leading to the loss of everything he holds dear. Although the temptation of achieving one's dreams can sometimes consume us, we might all be chasing ghosts.

2. The Innocents (1961)

Modern audiences who dislike black-and-white films should be forced to watch Jack Clayton's adaptation of Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw" to truly understand how effective the lack of color can be. 

While Netflix's own adaptation of James' novel "The Haunting of Bly Manor" may be more to their tastes, there isn't a single moment in that wonderful series that matches the simplest scene in 1961's "The Innocents." As Flora hums a tune from a music box, the governess Miss Giddens glances over the water to fully appreciate the beautiful day they're having.

Her eyes land on a woman in black standing just far enough away to obscure some of her features, making it difficult to make out who she is or what she's doing. It's better than any jumpscare and could only work in black and white. A stark black figure rising from the light gray grass draws your attention and is visually arresting. Had the scene been shot in color, it wouldn't have been nearly as powerful.

The rest of the film operates like that as well. Some of the scary moments are simple, sometimes they're complicated, but all work in part because of the lack of color. We are watching shadows move across the screen like lonely spirits passing in the night.

1. Ghostbusters (1984)

We won't be getting academic or philosophical with this entry. Explaining why "Ghostbusters" tops this list is incredibly easy and can be summed up in three words: it's so good. There are definitely films here that are better constructed on a technical level and have higher artistic visions, but "Ghostbusters" is by far the funniest and most entertaining movie of the bunch.

Directed by the late Ivan Reitman , the film is a comedy masterpiece. No matter how many times you've seen it, you're bound to find something new to enjoy. The cast is phenomenal, playing off each other like the seasoned veterans that they are. The grimy world of New York City is tactile and real, allowing the supernatural to shine. 

It is also an example of a truly transformative movie. "Ghostbusters" begins with a creepy scene in the basement of a library and ends with four schlubs standing up against an interdimensional demon and a giant marshmallow man to stop the apocalypse.

Endlessly quotable, legitimately tense, never boring, "Ghostbusters" is as close to perfect as you can get.

Elemental Astrology

What are the 13 zodiac ghosts?

The thirteen signs of the Black Zodiac are The First Born Son, The Torso, The Bound Woman, The Withered Lover, The Torn Prince, The Angry Princess, The Pilgrimess, The Great Child, The Dire Mother, The Hammer, The Jackal, The Juggernaut, and The Broken Heart.

Which 13 ghost is Libra?

The Pilgrimess: Libra (September 23 – October 22) The Pilgrimess, sharing many of the same qualities, struck out to make a new life in the Americas during colonial times. However, her uniqueness and courage were not as readily accepted by the townsfolk as she’d hoped.

Who is the scariest ghost in 13 Ghosts?

The Jackal Warner Bros. Arguably the most easily identifiable and terrifying ghost of them all, The Jackal tells the twisted tale of Ryan Kuhn.

What are the black zodiac signs?

  • The Tyrant – Aries (Mar 21st – Apr 19th)
  • The Fallen Demon – Taurus (Apr 20th – May 20th)
  • The Basilisk – Gemini (May 21st – Jun 20th)
  • The Serpent – Cancer (Jun 2nd – Jul 22nd)
  • The War Maiden – Leo (Jul 23rd – Aug 22nd)
  • The Maelstrom – Virgo (Aug 23rd – Sept 22nd)

How is a Taurus in bed?

Tauruses are also known for their love of routine — which means they’re inclined towards relationships. This love of routine appears in their sex lives, too. “This isn’t whimsical, imaginative sex; this is solid, good sex,” Stellas says. Tried-and-true positions like doggy style are their go-to.

What was the name of the 13th ghost?

Benjamin Rush, the thirteenth ghost in the 1960 13 Ghosts film. The Broken Heart, the foretold thirteenth and final ghost in the 2001 Thirteen Ghosts film.

Which zodiac is good in bed?

Leo, Sagittarius, Virgo, Aries, Capricorn and Scorpio have no issues when it comes to their performance in bed. They have the charm, they work on their foreplay and are the top most sexual and sensuous zodiac signs when it comes to actually doing it.

What Pet Should a Virgo get?

Virgos crave order and simplicity. This loyal, analytical, and practical sign would thrive with a small hamster, as Virgos love to spend time alone. Easy to clean up after, low-maintenance, and requiring little attention, hamsters would be the perfect pet for any Virgo.

Is a Leo good with another Leo?

Are Leo & Leo A Good Match? Overall, two Leos in a relationship make a solid pair. They have a lot of the same values and goals for the future, and they’ll love and support each other. It’s a compatible zodiac that can last long-term with a little bit of work.

Is Arthur the 13th ghost?

Cyrus has orchestrated the abduction of Kathy and Bobby so that Arthur will become the thirteenth ghost, which will not stop the machine as Kalina had claimed, but trigger its activation. Cyrus kills Kalina, who objected to Cyrus putting the children in danger, and summons the ghosts to activate the machine.

What does withered lover mean?

The Withered Lover is the equivalent to Cancer, which is the fourth house in the Black and Traditional Zodiacs. They tend to be motherly, emotional, intuitive, caring, and sensitive. Her ghost file is represented by a damaged photo of herself.

Is 13 Ghosts actually scary?

Silly Scary. They tried so hard to make a horribly scary movie. Now, it is gory, very. And the nudity makes it not for children, but if you want to see something scary and yet not scary at the same time, watch this movie.

What zodiac is Trump?

Donald Trump, Gemini Donald J. Trump, our 45th president, was born on June 14, 1946. According to astrologers, Geminis are often known for being fast-talking, social and, in some instances, deceptive (ahem.) Trump’s rising sign is a Leo, which—thanks to the sign’s naturally aggressive nature—makes sense.

What zodiac is Jesus?

With the story of the birth of Christ coinciding with this date, many Christian symbols for Christ use the astrological symbol for Pisces, the fishes. The figure Christ himself bears many of the temperaments and personality traits of a Pisces, and is thus considered an archetype of the Piscean.

Who is the king of the zodiac?

Leo – The King The king of the jungle and deservingly the king of all zodiac signs, Leos are natural-born leaders with a strong sense of responsibility and a sheer sense of duty. Leos often take the first step because it is their instinct to lead.

Who is Taurus attracted to?

Taurus’ often look for someone who is trustworthy, loyal, honest, and straightforward, qualities which are often found in other Taurus’ as well as Cancer’s, Capricorn’s, Virgo’s, and Pisces’. Overall, a Taurus is often compatible with Cancer, Capricorn, and Pisces star signs.

Who will a Taurus marry?

Generally, the most compatible signs for Taurus friendships and romantic relationships are Scorpio (yes, sometimes opposites do attract), Virgo, and Capricorn (what’s up, earth signs?) and of course, fellow Taureans!

Are Taurus hot or cute?

Taureans are naturally sexy people, because they are ruled by Venus, the planet of love and pleasure no less. Taureans have a strong inner self-belief, which doesn’t need shouting about, and this draws people to them because they can be trusted.

Why did Cyrus need 13 Ghosts?

The only way Cyrus could get the machine to work is if the spirits of the Black Zodiac were made complete. Therefore, he needed all 13 ghosts in Thirteen Ghosts in order to achieve his goal. His initial plan was to force Arthur to sacrifice himself and become the 13th ghost, The Broken Heart.

Is the house in 13 Ghosts real?

The exterior of the Cyrus Zorba House that the family inherits is in reality the Winchester Mystery House located in San Jose, California.

What number is the angry princess?

The Angry Princess is the ghost of Dana Newman and the sixth ghost to be featured in The Black Zodiac.

What zodiac signs are not loyal?

  • Capricorn. A Capricorn is also very likely to betray you.
  • Scorpio. Scorpios are also most likely to betray you.
  • Taurus. A Taurus is also one of those zodiac signs who can never be loyal until and unless they want to.

Which signs are loud in bed?

  • Aries. Being known as the rulers of the highest sex drive, Aries are the boldest and kinkiest when it comes to making love, all of which escalate their intensity of loudness in the bedroom.
  • Sagittarius.

What zodiac is pretty?

Finding the most attractive signs has been very difficult according to various astrologers, but it is believed that there are 5 zodiac signs the most attractive and they are Scorpio, Libra, Taurus, Aries and Leo.

Do Virgos like cats?

Virgo: Cat People Virgos love order and cleanliness, so naturally clean kitties (who, unlike dogs, generally don’t need baths or poop pick-up bags) are a match for their detail-oriented lifestyle. They can also appreciate the intrinsic sophistication of a feline and won’t find them too detached.

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Audiobook By Alvin Schwartz cover art

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

  • Three Books to Chill Your Bones

By: Alvin Schwartz

  • Narrated by: Patton Oswalt , Melissa McBride , Alex Brightman
  • Length: 4 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars 4.0 (196 ratings)

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The Creepypasta Collection Audiobook By MrCreepyPasta - editor cover art

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By: MrCreepyPasta - editor

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A terrifying, thrilling collection of must-listen horror stories chock-full of nightmarish supernatural beings and the murderously disturbed that are sure to keep you up all night long. 

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creepy definitely

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In his first collection of short stories, Ron Ripley delivers eight spine-tingling tales of the strange and the macabre. Weaving an intricate web of storytelling, listeners are asked to join him on a journey through some of the darkest of his works. Book a room at the old Crowe’s Bed and Breakfast, but be certain you can leave. Join the treasure hunter as he digs up graves and awakens more than just the dead. Lay beside a homeless man in a shelter, but make sure you’re not trespassing.

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Don’t Turn Out the Lights

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Featuring stories from R.L. Stine and Madeleine Roux, this middle-grade horror anthology, curated by New York Times best-selling author and master of macabre Jonathan Maberry, is a chilling tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark . Flesh-hungry ogres? Brains full of spiders? Haunted houses you can’t escape? This collection of 35 terrifying stories from the Horror Writers Association has it all, including ghastly illustrations from Iris Compiet that will absolutely chill listeners to the bone. 

A Nice Change From the Heavier Stuff

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Ghost Stories for Kids Age 9-12 Audiobook By Bernard Tate cover art

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A great set of short stories

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It said this was optional.

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Night Terrors Volumes 1 - 3 Audiobook By Scare Street cover art

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I was enjoying this untill

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Skeleton Crew Audiobook By Stephen King cover art

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Excellent narrators for classic King collection

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It Audiobook By Stephen King cover art

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A Classic with a Top-Notch Performance!

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Book 1

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Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry's eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin! 

Prefer Stephen Fry as narrator.

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Ghost Stories: Stephen Fry's Definitive Collection

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  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 218
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As the days grow shorter and the temperature drops, Halloween approaches. Come, brave listener, pull up a chair, and spend some time with master storyteller Stephen Fry as he tells us some of his favourite ghost stories of all time, in truly terrifying spatial audio. From the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow to the tortured spirits of M.R. James, from Edgar Allan Poe’s terrifying tale of a doppelganger to Charlotte Riddell’s Open Door that should definitely stay shut, join Stephen as he tells you some truly terrifying tales.

Fry is as comforting as ever. Loved it

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The Institute Audiobook By Stephen King cover art

The Institute

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  • Length: 18 hrs and 59 mins
  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 46,393
  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 41,772
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In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis' parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there's no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents - telekinesis and telepathy - who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and 10-year-old Avery Dixon.

I really wanted to like this novel.. but..

  • By Wendi on 09-21-19

The Outsider Audiobook By Stephen King cover art

The Outsider

  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 18 hrs and 41 mins
  • Overall 4.5 out of 5 stars 61,805
  • Performance 4.5 out of 5 stars 55,920
  • Story 4.5 out of 5 stars 55,689

An 11-year-old boy's violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City's most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

Will Patton great - story so so

  • By Randall on 06-19-18

Publisher's summary

The iconic anthology series of horror tales that's now a feature film!

Narrated by Patton Oswalt, Melissa McBride, and Alex Brightman, this collection includes all three of Alvin Schwartz's classic story collections:  Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark , More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark , and Scary Stories 3 . Walking corpses, dancing bones, knife-wielding madmen, and narrow escapes from death - they're all here in this chilling collection of ghost stories, collected and retold by folklorist Alvin Schwartz. These horrific tales are guaranteed to raise goosebumps. Let the faint of heart beware. 

Pull up a chair, find a hand to hold, and prepare to be horrified. 

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.  

  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Children's Audiobooks

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What listeners say about Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars 108
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.1 out of 5.0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Audible.com reviews, amazon reviews.

  • Overall 2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance 1 out of 5 stars
  • Story 4 out of 5 stars

Profile Image for Kristin

Don't waste your money/credit

I wanted a bit of spooky nostalgia as I prepared myself for these stories that scared me so much as a kid to be whispered in my ear, but that's not what I got. I got Patton Oswald (they let you know Patton Oswald is part of this about 100 times before the book starts) reading from a book as if he were reading a recipe. At the parts that are supposed to contain suspense or be a jump scare he says, "Now jump at your friends and yell 'Ahh!'" Every. Single. Time. It was a major let down from what I would expect from a classic scary story narration.

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49 people found this helpful

  • Overall 3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance 3 out of 5 stars
  • Story 5 out of 5 stars

Profile Image for Sebastian

Some work needed

This is not the original version with the rich sepulchral tones. And the spoken instructions of the jump scare stories in the first section are enough totake listeners out of the stary.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall 1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance 4 out of 5 stars
  • Story 1 out of 5 stars

Profile Image for Elias Gardana

  • Elias Gardana

booo misleading

These are stories for the listener to repeat... not an actual Book with a connecting story thru out.

12 people found this helpful

Profile Image for Amazon Customer

  • Amazon Customer

I’m a little upset that I bought the two scary stories to tell in the dark to find out that they are exactly the same besides the other one has way better actors.

8 people found this helpful

  • Story 2 out of 5 stars

Profile Image for kim

Not the full stories

it's just a portion of the books and horribly narrated. The narrator sounds like he is reading a book to kindergarteners and the fact that it isn't even the full story is a disgrace.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall 4 out of 5 stars

Profile Image for Angel

child's stories tip tell in the dark

had these books as a child loved them then and love them now, storyteller sucks

5 people found this helpful

  • Performance 2 out of 5 stars

Profile Image for Crystal Collins

  • Crystal Collins

I thought it would be actual stories. no, it's actually Patton Oswalt(who I adore) just deadpan saying the stories. each "story" is 1-5 min long. I would've appreciated a full story for each take but whatever

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall 5 out of 5 stars

love these scary stories!! really keep me up at night.. love sharing them with my kids..

  • Performance 5 out of 5 stars

Profile Image for jeffW

Finally the whole thing

I had the books and always wanted to hear someone read them. For the first time I can. The readers are all great. Give it a try.

Profile Image for Loune

Amazing book!

I truly enjoyed listening to all those short scary stories. I will probably tell some of them to friends sometimes to scare them a little! Amazing performances by Melissa McBride, Patton Oswalt and Alex Brightman.

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Jules' family moves into an old abandoned house. Her parents love it, but she's frightened and feels a sense of foreboding. When she sees a pale face in an upstairs window, she can't stop wondering about the eerie presence on the top floor - in a room with a locked door. Her fear replaced by fascination, Jules becomes determined to make contact with the mysterious figure and to unlock the door. Past and present intersect as she and her ghostly friend discover the fate of the family who lived in the house all those many years ago. 

Excellent Narrator!

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Ghosts Season 3's New Story Update Follows Up On Major Mystery & Season 2 Cliffhanger

  • Ghosts season 3 will follow up on the season 2 cliffhanger of which character crossed over to the other side.
  • The premiere will also involve Sam and Jay's plan to turn their barn into a restaurant.
  • The Ghosts cast have received pay increases for season 3, suggesting that none of the main spirits have crossed over yet.

New details about Ghosts season 3 follows up on a major cliffhanger. An adaptation of the British series with the same name, the CBS version debuted in 2021. It focuses on married couple Samantha ( iZombie star Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar, Never Have I Ever) and chronicles what happens to their lives when Samantha has a near-death experience and starts to communicate with spirits.

Now, with the Ghosts season 3 premiere roughly a month away, there are new hints about which spirit got "sucked off" at the end of season 2. In the show's parlance, getting sucked off has a less NSFW meaning, but rather refers to when a ghost crosses over to the other side. According to TV Insider , the season 3 premiere will directly follow up on which character crossed over . Along with this news, three new images from the season 3 premiere have also been released. Check them out, below:

Ghosts season 3 debuts Thursday, February 15 at 9 PM ET on CBS.

What To Know About Ghosts Season 3

The logline for the season 3 premiere promises that Sam, Jay, and the remaining ghosts will have to unravel the mystery of which spirit crossed over. And, continuing the show's more episodic nature, Sam and Jay will have to relocate an owl in order to turn their barn into a restaurant for Jay. The first half of the premiere, which addresses the cliffhanger, goes back to when Sam and Jay are sitting in their car outside their estate only to see a bright light, seemingly indicating one of the characters crossing over.

It's also worth noting that the Ghosts cast secured pay increases ahead of season 3. According to reporting from Deadline , McIver and Ambudkar's paychecks doubled to $250,000 an episode. The ensemble playing the ghosts — Brandon Scott Jones (Isaac), Richie Moriarty (Pete), Danielle Pinnock (Alberta), Asher Grodman (Trevor), Román Zaragoza (Sasappis), Sheila Carrasco (Flower), Rebecca Wisocky (Hetty) and Devan Chandler Long (Thorfinn) — were mentioned as earning $100,000 an episode for the upcoming season.

Ghosts Season 2 Finale: What It Means For The Show's New Episodes

The news further solidifies Ghosts as a big hit for CBS. The sitcom ranks as the second most-watched comedy on broadcast, in a close battle with the soon-to-be-concluded Young Sheldon . But the pay increase may well suggest that none of the main spirits have yet crossed over, which opens up the door to the other minor characters that have recurred on the show.

Ghosts is available to watch on Paramount+.

Source: TV Insider, Deadline

Ghosts (US)

Ghosts is a CBS sitcom that is based on the British series of the same name. Premiering in 2021, the series focuses on married couple Samantha (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar), who have inherited a mansion from one of Sam's distant relatives. They turn the house into a bed and breakfast. When Sam has a near-death experience, she begins to interact with the quirky group of ghosts who live in the mansion.

Release Date 2021-10-07

Cast Rose McIver

Genres Sitcom

Network CBS

Streaming Service(s) HBO Max

Ghosts Season 3's New Story Update Follows Up On Major Mystery & Season 2 Cliffhanger


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