As October winds down and Halloween approaches, theaters are at the height of their scary movie season.
There are slasher movies, movies about supernatural evil and movies about ordinary human evil. And occasionally mixed in with those standard theatrical offerings is that centuries-old staple of late autumn gatherings — the ghost story.
When it comes to movies about ghosts or hauntings, everyone has their favorite.
But what makes a good ghost movie — accuracy, suspense, special effects, tone, atmosphere? What do professional parapsychology professionals consider to be the best cinematic efforts?
One person uniquely qualified to answer that question is Humble resident.
Haviland is the founder of Lone Star Spirits Paranormal Investigations. When not conducting paranormal activity investigations, Haviland is a hypnotherapist who helps clients cope with smoking, addiction, stress, weight loss, PTSD or personal growth issues. Haviland has also successfully used hypnosis in resolving haunting investigations.
But exactly what constitutes a haunting? What is the difference between a haunting and a ghost?
“Not all hauntings involve ghosts; they involve all our senses such as voices, smells, touches and sightings,” Haviland explained. “Poltergeists or recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis (RSPK) occur when we manifest stress or unresolved issues as energy into the environment. This is triggered by emotional events by arguments or sensations that remind our subconscious of these events and then the manifestation can mimic haunting events or a metaphor of the emotion — such as water being depression or sadness or fire being anger for example.”
Haviland continued, “A ghost is the visual remnant of a living person or animal. Under the right conditions, our psychic selves are able to see these. These are usually a residual haunting or place memory. It’s like a tape loop and plays over and over. On rare occasions, a ghost can be intelligent and react to us. This is the conscious mind surviving death and usually is only pieces of their memories, not a whole person. The memories usually surround the death or circumstances of — or leading up to — it as well as unfinished business.”
So now that has been determined, what does Haviland consider to be the best related movies?
“I have chosen these ghost or haunting movies for their story, creep factor and overall feel,” Haviland explained. “I think if you watch any of these, you will not be disappointed in the scare or startle you may get. Although it’s hard for me to pick a favorite from this list — as they all have their qualities — my personal favorite is “The Changeling” with George C. Scott. It is the classic unfinished business scenario.”
Here is an annotated list of Haviland’s current favorite movies about ghosts or hauntings:
The Changeling (1980) — “This is a classic creepy movie of a mystery and haunting of a ghost that has unfinished business. It’s a must see.”]]>
100 Feet (2008) — “A woman kills her husband in self defense and is sentenced to house arrest only to find her husband’s spirit is still in the house.”
Legend of Hell House (1973) — “A team of parapsychologists sets up in a well known haunted house to prove life after death but they get more than what they expected. A classic.”
The Awakening (2011) — “In 1921, a paranormal investigator is asked to investigate a school due to ghostly activity. She finds out things are a bit more than she thought. I liked the character’s approach on trying to debunk the claims. An enjoyable movie.”
Find Me (2014) — “I just watched this and was utterly surprised by its story and how it stays with the haunted creep factor. Another must see movie.”
Ghostwatch (1992) — “A great ’found footage’ haunted house show. One of the first ones. It has some great creepy moments.”
Lake Mungo (2008) — “A family sees the ghost of their daughter in this Australian film. But why?”
Apartment 143 (2012) — “Has a poltergeist infested this home? A good story line.”
The Woman in Black (2012) — “A young lawyer, played by Daniel Radcliffe of ’Harry Potter’ fame, travels to close out an estate and finds a haunting mystery. The story and ambiance are great for some creepy moments.”
Poltergeist (1982) — “Who Doesn’t like this movie? Entertaining.
Death of a Ghosthunter (2007) — “I liked this one because of the contemporary team feel and it has some pretty good jumpy moments.”
The Quiet Ones (2014) — “Loosely based on the Philip experiment, a 1972 parapsychology experiment conducted in Toronto, this film has some good moments.”
(1999) — “Although this movie fell to the wayside due to Blair Witch hoopla, it is a really under-appreciated ghost story and another case of unfinished business.”]]>
American Ghost Story (2012) — “A writer moves into a haunted house to get the story of a lifetime. Be careful what you wish for. One of the better ’found footage’ films of the genre with great creepy feelings throughout.”
An American Haunting (2005) — “Based on the Bell Witch story, this movie is always a good watch.”
The Sixth Sense (1999) — “ A great story about a boy who sees ghosts and how he deals with them and himself. Definitely worth the rent.”
Click here for more.
Image from MorgueFile.