by David Christopher Bell
When you think about it, the film Ghost has the exact same plot as your average supernatural horror film. It’s about a wronged spirit haunting a former lover through possession and manipulation, only to provoke and carry out gruesome revenge on those who wronged him. The only difference is that we watch horror movies from the side of the haunted, and not the one doing the haunting.
Also, there sadly tends to be much less romantic pottery making.
Here’s a handful of spooks who, like Swayze, totally were in the right.
8. Mrs. Ganush in Drag Me To Hell
Technically speaking she isn’t a ghost, but is exacting revenge from beyond the grave. Also, she kind of overreacted. That said, it was still a pretty dick move that lead her to doling out the curse – as our main character denies her a mortgage extension after she literally begs for one on her elderly knees.
Anyone who has dealt with uncaring bureaucracy knows exactly how crazy it can make you when your life is on the line – so in the end I just can’t fault the woman for pulling an elaborate gypsy hell curse because it’s exactly what I would have done in her situation. Keep that in mind, Wells Fargo.
7. Kyra Collins in The Sixth Sense
Kyra is the little girl who is able to get our little dead-people-seeing hero to go to her funeral and implicate her stepmother in her demise via poisoning. Obviously, she had a point with that one. What bothers me is how terribly she goes about getting the attention by being scary about it. Especially later when we see that she can keep it somewhat unscary if she wants to.
In fact, with the twist this movie has, the ghosts seem to be extremely inconsistent – ranging from seemingly belligerent to downright helpful. While you could say that about the living, what bugs me is Cole’s reaction to Malcolm who – as we all know – had every reason to send that kid running.
6. Santi in The Devil’s Backbone
Guillermo del Toro sure loves mixing civil wars with ghost stories, psychopaths, and young children, and yet his films never feel like horror movies when you watch them. They’re certainly creepy, but not exactly out to scare you shitless either.
As you may have guessed, this one involves a civil war and some ghosts at an orphanage – also a psychopathic gold hunter who knocks a kid out cold and decides to drown him. The kid doesn’t take kindly to that, so he haunts a bunch of his fellow orphans into leading the guy into his equally drowny death.
5. Alma Mobley in Ghost Story
In terms of elaborate ghost revenge this one is pretty neat – not only does this woman come back from the dead to kill the old men who wronged her in their youth, but she also wants to nail their adult kids while doing it. And by nail I mean the sex, along with a drawn out ghost relationship. It’s kind of weird, but these guys at least get to walk around knowing they once stuck it to a ghost.
And they deserve every drop of revenge sex/death too, as the flashback on the film later explains that they came to her house acting all rapey and ended up knocking her out, presuming that meant she was dead, and then accidentally drowning her while disposing of the body. It’s no wonder that she plays the long con here.
To top off the weirdness of this movie, it’s also Fred Astaire’s last film. Also, if you wanna see that scary religious lady from Silent Hill aka the Borg queen from Star Trek get naked, this is the one for you.
4. Samantha Kozac in Stir Of Echoes
It would be so frustrating to be killed by idiots, as Samantha is and like Alma Mobley in Ghost Story is as well. If the last thing you ever see is some slack-jawed gumps wondering what to do about your body, you best believe that’s a reason to come back and haunt the shit out of everyone around them.
Lucky for her, Kevin Bacon gets hypnotized, which in this particular world can make you see ghosts and, for some reason, lose the ability to recognize the song “Paint It Black.”
3. Madison Frank in What Lies Beneath
People were so shocked by the idea that Harrison Ford could possibly play a cold blooded killer despite the fact that Indiana Jones once totally shot and killed a man holding only a sword. What Lies Beneath is a fun film, and one I personally believe takes place in the bizarro world where Richard Kimble wasn’t framed.
The ghost in this one largely enacts her revenge though jump scares and the hope that her killer is lousy at not hitting his head on shit. She turns out to be totally right about that, and with the help of Catwoman is able to finish what Jabba started.
2. Natre in Shutter
For the extremely saturated longhaired ghost girl genre, it’s hard for something to stand out. I think Shutter’s ending managed to do that when it is revealed exactly why our main character has been having trouble with his neck and shoulders.
And he sure did deserve this, as the revenge comes after the main character dates a girl before dumping and alienating her – plus taking a freaking picture of his friends sexually assaulting her before she kills herself. What a tool. It’s such extreme assholery that the film waits until the end to tell us about it – otherwise we’d be rooting for the ghost the whole time.
1. Rachel Parsons in Gothika
This is the only ghost on the list who actually tries to look out for the living by saving a girl kidnapped on Halle Berry’s husband’s snuff farm. That makes her pretty awesome in my book, not to mention that she starts with a brutal axe revenge of her killer before picking up the pieces from there. Why don’t they all start that way?
Also, why are they always women? Ever notice that? Women only kill after someone kills them first, and adult men are reserved for hulking mask wearers with slaughter equipment. Why don’t dudes ever come back to avenge themselves? Just once I’d like to see that happen in a film that doesn’t also involve Patrick Swayze possessing Whoopi Goldberg to get some last chance mack on.