Top Ten Ghost Movies

by: Larry Dwyer


Wow, this list of “Top Ten Ghost Movies” proved a bit tougher than I expected. I ended up leaving out a few that I originally thought would make it in to the top ten to include ones that I didn’t even think of until writing this. Then I was going to increase the list to a top fifteen but in the end I decided to stick with ten. So, without further ado, here they are:


Session 9 (2001)

Hey, I don’t like David Caruso either but can we get past that for a second? Okay, I’m not positive that this is technically a “ghost” movie but you decide for yourself. It takes place in an abandoned mental institution with a crew that was brought in to clean the place but instead they begin listening to left-behind recordings of former mental patients (not a good plan). Word has it that some of the actors had some spooky encounters while filming.

Session 9 horror movie 


Burnt Offerings (1976)

What a cast! Burgess Meredith, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis and Karen Black. Creepy as hell and definitely inspired some bits of The Shining (which just may make an appearance on this list). Also, you may recognize the house as it was used a few years later as the funeral home in Phantasm.

Burnt Offerings horror movie


The Changeling (1980)

Geroge C. Scott! One of my favorite actors does a great job in this gem about a man who loses his family in an accident and moves across the country only to end up in a haunted mansion. No shortage of scares in this one so check it out if you’ve never had the pleasure.

Changeling horror movie


The Haunting (1963)

This is one of those movies that my dad made me watch when I was probably way too young to be watching scary movies. The cool thing about The Haunting is that it manages to scare you without really showing you anything. This was unfortunately remade sometime in the 90’s.

The Haunting horror movie


The Orphanage (2007)

Listen up, if your kid ever asks if their “imaginary friend” can come over the house, just say no. Remember Amy’s “imaginary friend” Jodi in Amityville Horror? Yeah, not cool. You’ll definitely see Guillermo del Toro’s influence as the producer here.

The Orphanage horror movie


The Fog (1980)

Ghost pirates, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, Adrienne Barbeau and a whole lot of fog. How could you go wrong?

The Fog horror movie


Poltergeist (1982)

I’m old enough now that I should not be scared by a PG movie but seriously, fuck that clown. And the maggoty steak. And a pool full of muddy corpses. This movie still creeps me out and I now hate trees. Thanks alot.

Poltergeist horror movie


The Amityville Horror (1979)

“Based on a true story”. That’s a phrase that gets kicked around a lot. You know what? Who cares…this movie scared the shit out of me regardless of whether it was true or not. James Brolin put on a hell of a performance and to this day, every time I see a room painted red, I think of James knocking down that wall in the basement.

Amityville horror movie


Ghostbusters (1984)
I never said this list had to be ALL horror! How could you do a list about ghost movies and not include this? Do I really have to even do a wrap up? I mean, who hasn’t seen it? If I have to describe the movie, I’d say it’s human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!

Ghostbusters horror movie


The Shining (1980)

Here it is, folks: The crème de la crème; the pièce de résistance! Well…my favorite ghost movie of all time anyway. Having been a Stephen King fan since childhood, I’m well aware that the Man himself disliked Stanley Kubrick’s rendition of his masterpiece and I understand why. One of his biggest complaints was the casting of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance because Nicholson looks crazy. If you’ve read the book, you know that Jack Torrance was a recovering alcoholic but a sane recovering alcoholic and you see how the Overlook Hotel changes him whereas Nicholson just looked nuts from the get-go. That aside, this movie scared the shit out of me when I was a kid; truth be told it still scares the shit out of me now. Those twins in the hallway…they still give me goose bumps. Kubric may not have done a great job from King’s standpoint but from mine, he made one of the best horror films of all time.

Shining horror movie


Well, that’s it kids. Let me know what movies you think I may have left out and I’ll let you know whether it was intentional or a screw-up. There are definitely a few biggies that I cut out that are still bothering me so I know there must be some that are bothering you! Maybe you’ll even find one or two on here that you’ve never seen. If you do, go find them and get scared!


Agree? Disagree? Have a comment? Post it here.

Larry Dwyer on Twitter
Larry Dwyer
Staff Writer at Horror News Network
Larry Dwyer has been writing for Horror News Network since 2012. Catch up with him on Twitter at @LarryDwyer and read his in-depth bio on our About Us page.
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