Humans have been telling ghost stories since the beginning of time. And once film came around, it didn’t take long before ghosts made their way to the big screen. Today, ghost stories continue to thrive in the horror genre and they certainly do more than just saying “Boo!” We’ve gathered together 10 of the must see ghost horror movies in the gallery below, take a peek at our picks and let us know your favorite film from this list in the comments section on social media.
“The Shining” (1980)
“The Shining” is a total classic and likely terrified you at one point in time. There are numerous iconic ghosts in this film, from The Grady daughters to the woman of room 237 and the former owner of the Overlook Hotel. However, we can all agree that Jack Torrance is the true terror of this film.
“The Sixth Sense” (1999)
This film changed the course of cinema and it was one of the first horror movies I saw as a kid. “The Sixth Sense” highlights a common ghost trophe, that being unfinished business and yet managed to bring something totally new to the table. I mean, how do any of us really know if we’re ghosts or not?
“The Conjuring” (2013)
After establishing himself as the pioneer of torture porn, director James Wan flipped the switch with 2013’s “The Conjuring.” This ghost story easily one of the best horror movies of the 2010s and led to one of the most successful franchises in the genre. The ghosts in this film will give just about anyone a good fright and change how you feel about clapping for good.
While many of you recognize the 2002 American remake, we’re giving props to the original Japanese film. This film expertly combined technology (yes, a VCR tape counts) with the paranormal and gave us one of the most renowned projects of the late 1990s. It opened the floodgates for more J-horror films to gain wider audiences and we hope to never hear the phrase “Seven Days” in our direction.
“A Tale of Two Sisters” (2003)
Although 2009’s “The Uninvited” got mixed reviews, we highly recommend the South Korean film it’s based on. This film plays with your mind, mixing together both ghosts and a troubled family dynamic. And it will leave you in complete suspense until the very end.
“Ouija: Origin of Evil” (2016)
We can all agree that 2014’s “Ouija” was a colossal flop, but its 2016 prequel is certainly worth the watch. This film expounds on the subject of ouija boards and is an excellent homage to its predecessor, “The Exorcist.” It also brings together some of our favorite horror actors of the moment including Elizabeth Reaser (“The Haunting of Hill House”) and Lulu Wilson (“Annabelle: Creation”).
“The Amityville Horror” (1979)
This home in Amityville, New York is easily one of the most famous haunted houses in all of history. This film is based on the 1977 book of the same name by Jay Anson and spawned a wildly profitable film series. And when you factor in that this story is based on allegedly true events, that makes this film even more enticing.
“Ju-On: The Grudge” (2002)
This film may have received plenty of unfair comparisons to fellow J-horror heavyweight, “Ringu,” but it deserves to stand alone. This film expounds on the traditional Japanese belief of onryō, which are vengeful ghosts capable of causing bodily harm and even death. There are a host of fearsome ghosts capable of scaring the pants off of you in the OG film, including primary antagonist Kayako, her son Toshio and even their cat Mar.
Prior to recent years, themes such as race and intersectional were infrequently depicted in horror. 1992’s “Candyman” was an exception and focused on a fictitious legend of the title character—the ghost of a Black artist who was murdered after having a relationship with the daughter of a wealthy white man. It was furthered adapted into a 2021 direct sequel, which was directed by Nia DaCosta and written by Jordan Peele.
“Thirteen Ghosts” (2001)
Although this film was both a critical and commercial failure at the box office, it’s earned quite the cult following among horror fanatics. This film is a remake of 1960’s B-movie “13 Ghosts” and brings a new angle to the idea of a haunted house. Plus, “Thirteen Ghosts” boasts some of the creepiest and most original depictions of ghosts we’ve seen in popular culture.