Friday Favorites: Underrated Ghost Stories

I’ve always said that I’ve always loved a really good ghost story. But unfortunately, they don’t seem to be as easy to make as one would think. But we know there are some really great titles out there, where it is not just scary, but also has a really intriguing and interesting story, or a intricate puzzle to be solved to free the disembodied spirit.

Because a lot of haunted houses are really about the ghosts that haunt them, we’ll include that in our theme this week. But it does have to be a ghost, not some evil or demonic force that resides there, but a lost soul or two.

For my suggestions, you may know these titles, but have you seen them? Again, what is amazing on how these don’t come up in those conversations about great ghost story films. First of all, if you can get past the cheesy optical effects, Bert I. Gordon’s Tormented (1960), which puts his BIG subjects to the side this time for a standard vengeful ghost story with Richard Carlson, not playing the nice typical nice guy this time around. Or we have the made for BBC-TV film The Stone Tape (1972), written by Nigel Kneale, with a very interesting look into ghostly remnants. Or what about the sadly unreleased (yet) The Haunting of Julia (1977), starring Mia Farrow. Or a more modern day one that while many may saw it when it first came out, I wonder how many people remember how good it was and bring it up time to time? I’m talking about David Koepp’s 1999 film Stir of Echoes, based on the Richard Matheson story. Or even Axelle Carolyn’s directorial debut with Soulmate (2013) about a woman who longs for death until she meets a ghost.

So those are just a few that came to me. What about you? What is a really good, but underrated ghost story that you know of?

13 thoughts on “Friday Favorites: Underrated Ghost Stories

  1. Like you, I love a good ghost story. it was hard for me to limit this list but I managed to keep it to 4.
    1. We are still Here- (2015)
    2. Dark waters (Japan/2002)- The Grudge and the Ring get talked about all the time but I rarely hear this one mentioned.
    3.The Devil’s Backbone- One of my all time favorite movies. I find it amazing how rarely this one comes up.
    4. Passengers (2008)- a survivor of a plane crash has to deal with the mental aftermath. then starts seeing ghosts. A great movie I NEVER hear mentioned.

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    • I’m with you on Devil’s Backbone. I just love that movie. Plus the fact that the “ghost” element is not the main part of the story but interwoven in the rest of it. Such a fine piece of cinema.

      I have seen both versions of Dark Waters but don’t remember being too impressed. Then again, while I do love Ringu, there just seem to many of those similar types that it got old very quickly with me.

      I had never heard of Passengers and with that cast, I am shocked! But it is now in my Netflix queue!

      Great titles, Chris!

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  2. I dig we are Still Here and Dark Waters. I enjoy the Dark Waters remake with Jennifer Connelly as well. It’s probably the best of the American versions of those films.

    The Abandoned and Lake Mungo are the first two that come to mind for me.

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    • I got to see The Abandoned in the theater when it played in one of those early 8 Movie marathons. Really enjoyed that one. Don’t remember being a fan of Lake Mungo though. Unless I’m getting it confused. Is that a found footage one?

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      • I kick myself for not going to see The Abandoned theatrically!
        Yeah, Mungo is a mixture of stuff with found footage elements. Usually not a fan of that stuff, but that one works for me.

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    • You know if I remember with Lake Mungo., there isn’t a ghost but instead it turns out it was doctored footage and that kind of killed the movie for me. I really like the abandoned though.

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  3. Another great Topic! My favorite underrated ghost story would have to be the BBC TV adaption of the Susan Hill novel, “The Woman in Black” -1989 (IMHO, this is the definitive version – much better than the 2012 Big screen remake by Hammer Films and starring Daniel Radcliffe). The Screenplay was written by Nigel Kneale, a regular contributor on a number of BBC Television horror-themed programs. Like many British horror outings, the gothic story is a slow-burn, inviting the viewer along for a chilling, jolly good old fashioned ghost story.

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    • I LOVE THE WOMAN IN BLACK!!!! And while I did like the remake, yes, the original is far superior and just damn creepy. More people need to see that one. Just a great film.

      Well done, Todd!

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  4. I would like to add:

    The Uninvited (1944)

    Stir of Echoes (1999) [already mentioned by Jon]

    Ghost Ship (2002) This one doesn’t have much in the way of “fans”, but I enjoyed it 🙂

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    • Well Nick, I am one of those that isn’t a fan of Ghost Ship, other than that wow of a beginning. I believe The Uninvited was one of the first ghost movies not played for laughs or didn’t have a Scooby Doo ending. But yes, I agree. Just a beautiful picture.

      And I think I am going to have to bust out Stir of Echoes again soon.

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  5. There are some truly original ghost/haunted house movies that rarely if ever get attention so great choice for a topic.

    I saw someone already mentioned THE UNINVITED (1944) which remains one of the best ghost stories ever made. While it’s often overlooked the movie is filled with atmosphere. Criterion has a release on this one and it’s worth picking up for fans of the genre.

    THE EVIL (1978) mostly played drive-ins but was another that I thoroughly enjoyed. With Richard Crenna, Joanna Pettet, Andrew Prine, Cassie Yates, Lynne Moody, Mary Louise Weller and Victor Buono in one of his last feature film performances. Shout TV has this available to watch for free.

    One few talk about that I saw and was surprised at is GHOSTWATCH (1992). Made for the BBC the show aired on Halloween night 1992 and appeared to be a live program where a home in London is supposedly haunted and they’re doing an investigation throughout the show combined with information back at the studio. Needless to say things don’t go as planned.

    GRAVE ENCOUNTERS (2011) was one of the many movies made about TV ghost hunters and to me was the best among them. This is one I can go back to and still enjoy.

    In a comic vein how about BLACKBEARD’S GHOST (1968)? On Disney + right now and a treat every time I’ve ever watched it.

    To me these are the little known movie. But it would be remiss to not toss out THE HAUNTING (1963) and THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1959) as two of the best haunted house/ghosts movies ever made. I can still sit through each and never be bored. I’ve offered too many but these are among some of my favorite movies.

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    • I dug The Evil as well! Have it on dvd as part of a double feature with the movie Twice Dead that Shout put out on DVD. They also released it on blu as a stand alone title.

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    • Nice job pointing out The Evil. Always liked that one, though the ending is a bit silly, but still a lot of fun.

      I actually saw Blackbeards Ghost in the theater, way back in the day!

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