Halloween Week Day 2: Top 5 ghost/haunting/possession movies

Day 2 of Halloween Week and I thought I might jump in with another top 5, because I actually have a lot of fun making these.

 

Poltergeist (1982)

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I was like 6 when I first saw this movie and I had nightmares for weeks. I had never been scared of monsters hiding in my closet before, but this movie totally changed that. It’s true, some of the special effects don’t really hold-up, but some are still pretty amazing, like * SPOILERS (I guess)* that scene where Marty (Martin Casella) rips his own face off in the mirror or the infamous clown sequence. *END OF SPOILERS* Plus, when you read about every eery things that happened during filming, the movie becomes scarier. This is probably one of the most iconic movies of the genre and is wayyyyyy better than its 2015 remake.

Beetlejuice (1988)

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Okay, so this movie isn’t exactly scary and it isn’t your typical ghost movie either, but it has a real Halloween vibe to it. Plus, it is one of the great Tim Burton movies (which is becoming quite rare, in my opinion, and it really hurts me to say that because he really was my idol growing up). Newly dead Barbara and Adam Maitland (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) want to scare off the new owners of their house with the somewhat unhelpful help of Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), a freelance bio-exorcist. They also befriend Lydia (Winona Ryder), the new owners’ daughter. It is a really entertaining movie with a quite engaging story and characters. Also, the use of stop-motion animation is pretty cool.

The Shining (1980)

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This movie is honestly one of my favourite movies out there. Jack Nicholson is simply brilliant in his role as Jack Torrence and the movie really succeeds to keep a disturbing, eery feeling throughout. Rumour has it that Stephen King didn’t like the adaptation. Having read the book, I can understand why, but I still think the movie does an amazing job. Plus, it is a movie highly interesting to analyse (if you’re into movie analysis and The Shining, you should check out Room 237 (2012) by Rodney Ascher, some theories are quite interesting). This movie has given us one of the most iconic quotes in cinema, and who could forget that funky hallway carpet?

The Exorcist (1973)

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After all those years, that little girl still freaks me the hell out. Just like Poltergeist, I saw this movie wayyyyy too young (I used to sneak out of my room at night to watch tv…) and it gave me a ton of nightmares. Not only is the makeup disgustingly effective, the acting is really good. The movie was actually nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award, one of the very few horror movies to ever be nominated. I personally haven’t read the novel it is adapted from, so I don’t know for a fact that it is a faithful adaptation, but the screenplay was written by William Peter Blatty, who is the author of said novel. So I guess it is pretty faithful.

The Amityville Horror (1979)

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This movie is not the most entertaining one on this list and it has way too many unnecessary sequels and remakes, but I believe it is an absolute must-see nonetheless. It mainly has bad reviews from critics, but did pretty good at the box-office, and if you are interested in the History of horror movies, this movie is definitely important. Based on an apparently real-life story, and shot in seven weeks, The Amityville Horror gave us one of the most famous haunted houses ever, and a creepy little theme song to go with it. It does have a pretty traditional horror movie story (a couple moves into new house where a mass murder occurred and start experiencing a series of paranormal events), but at the time, it was pretty new and still effective.

Honorable mentions

  1. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  2. The Conjuring (2013)
  3. The Haunting (1963)
  4. The Sixth Sense (1999) —- This one was actually going to make the list, but according to me, it is not exactly the kind of movie intended for this list. Yeah, it’s a ghost movie, but not the kind you watch on Halloween. Idk, at least I get what I mean.

I love stop motion animation

If you know me at all, you know I looooove stop motion animation. Especially clay animation. I love the amount of effort that’s put in the process and the end results are always stunning. As a kid, my favourite movie was The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993); I’ve always been impressed by the way it looks. I was blown away by the technique. One of my biggest dreams is to work on one of these movies one day. In the last few years, I fell in love with the stop motion animation studio Laika (you can check out their website: www.laika.com). They are the people behind Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012), The Boxtrolls (2014) and the upcoming Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), which I am very excited to see. They always bring such amazing characters to life, and fantastic stories too. I don’t think I’ve ever liked a company that much before.

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But stop motion/clay animation is not only used to make animated movies; some moviemakers use it to create their special effects, and it’s amazing. A few examples are the original The Evil Dead trilogy (1981-1992), Beetlejuice (1988), Alice (1988) and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004). Some people think it’s too campy or just plain bad special effects, but I think it’s great! It adds a lot to these movies, creating their own universes set between dream and reality. I love when moviemakers are not afraid to mix different genres and styles in a movie because sometime, you get very interesting results.

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All in all, I’m a stop motion fan and I wish you can at least appreciate the amount of work and effort that is put in this type of animation, whether you like it or not. And I’m excited for Kubo and the Two Strings, it comes out a few days after my birthday, so I guess I’ll be able to convince someone to come with me as a birthday present.