GHOST STORIES: Time to shift the focus of October’s Spotlight on Horror on ghost stories. We investigate some of our favorites. So, what makes up a Ghost Story? This one is easy! There is (or what seems to be) some creepy paranormal ghost stuff going on, duh. Here’s our spotlight:
The Changeling is a little-known movie that anyone interested in the ghost story sub genre should check out. The movies follows Dr. John Russell (played by George C. Scott) as he tries to mend after dealing with the death of his wife and child. He moves into an old mansion where he starts to become aware that he is not the only presence in the home. The Changeling is an undoubtedly creepy thriller that more people should pay attention to. See it for yourself. Evidence: Anyone who has seen this movie knows what I’m talking about… THE BALL ON THE STAIRS! That is a GTFO moment if there ever was one. See it below.
The Orphanage tells the story of a mother’s struggle to deal with her own past as an orphan, as well as the recent disappearance of her adopted son. The Orphanage tops my list of recent horror. Not only is it super creepy and shiver-inducing, it is also a beautiful film. Director Juan Antonio Bayona is a marvel here, expertly crafting a chilling, atmospheric and effective ghost tale. Guillermo Del Toro helped produce the film, so as you may imagine, this movie is a feast for the eyes and the heart. I highly recommend checking this out if you haven’t already. Evidence: The main character Laura brings in a medium to see if she can communicate with the ghosts in the house.
The Devil’s Backbone
Yet another Guillermo Del Toro movie making this list. The Devil’s Backbone is another story set during the Spanish Civil War, much like Pan’s Labyrinth. It can be said that Pan’s Labyrinth is a girl’s fairytale and The Devil’s Backbone is a boy’s ghost story. In TDB, young boys at an orphanage must deal with the escalating war, corruption within the institution and the mysterious death of a fellow orphan.The film combines creepy mystery with the powerful statements of war seen through a child’s eyes. Evidence: Oh this ghosts exit. Check out the trailer:
Stir of Echoes
Stir of Echoes is a well-crafted thriller that deals with a man’s struggle over his new found psychic abilities. Kevin Bacon shines here, giving a commanding performance that really lets the viewer become submersed in the film’s mystery and his character’s obsession. Evidence: No embedding but click here to watch a good clip between Tom (Bacon) and his son Jake, who can also see ghosts.
Everyone not living under a rock has heard of the smash hit Paranormal Activity. In 2009, this low low budget horror flick effectively used the “Blair Witch” type marketing to have people all across the country literally ‘demand’ that the movie be shown at their local cinema. Besides the massive appeal PA made across the US, it is a legitimately tense thriller. While I can’t get behind the movie’s re-cut ending, Paranormal Activity is a solid film throughout. It plays on everyone’s small fear that, just maybe, that noise you heard wasn’t the wind. Evidence: The whole movie is one big gathering of video evidence. I would post a clip but I feel like it takes away from the film a little. Take a look at the trailer:
This movie really worked because it invented a new type of fear. By using a television and modern day home, not a creepy old house, is showed us that a haunting can happen anywhere. Even scarier is the real life drama that follows the Poltergeist movies. Dominique Dunne (Dana Freeling), Heather O’Rourke (Carol Ann Freeling), Will Sampson (Taylor, a good spirit), and Julian Beck (Kane, an evil spirit) have all died after the movies were filmed. Dominique, 22, was choked into a coma by her ex-boyfriend where she later died and Heather, only 12 years old, died from septic shock. The other two actors, Will and Julian, died from complications after a risky heart-lung transplant and stomach cancer, respectively. Evidence: Talking to your daughter through the tv seems pretty spooky.
The Shining is more than a horror movie, it’s a work of art. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing The Shining yet, then you should consider watching it asap, because you are missing out. Directed by the brilliant Stanley Kubrick, The Shining is an artful masterpiece in terror. It is more than your typical ghost story, mixing in eerie elements from a number of genres to create something truly special. Best asset: Twins.