In 1944 appears the first movie freely adapted from O. Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost, directed by Jules Dassin. Set in America, the story is about a coward Sir Simon that, in 1600, escapes a duel and finds refuge in the family castle. Then, after a TV movie directed by Paul Bogart in 1986, a second, more faithful, remake of the work appears in 1996, directed by Sydney Macartney.
Ghost stories are always very fascinating and are a source for many movies, be they scaring or amusing. The Walt Disney production, Blackbeard’s Ghost (1967,director Robert Stevenson) is a comedy in which the famous pirate’s ghost returns to our time. Casper, the friendly ghost(1945), is just the first a cartoon of a long series still produced nowadays and inspirer of the touching movie Casper (1995, by Brad Silberling), about a paranormal expert and his daughter in an abandoned house populated by three naughty ghosts and a friendly one, Casper.
Very famous are the comical Ghost Busters and Ghostbusters II (1984, 1989) written by Dan Aykroyd both directed by Ivan Reitman and centred on the figures of three unemployed parapsychology professors who start a unique ghost removal service. Encouraged by the success of the attractions at Disney theme parks are Pirates of the Caribbean (and sequels), whose protagonist, Captain John Sparrow-Jonny Depp, fights against a ghastly crew and The Haunted Mansion (2003) directed by Rob Minkoff , in which a busy Eddie Murphie visits a haunted house with his family during a job interview. Funny ghosts populate the corridors of Hogwart, the School of Magic Art of the Harry Potter’s series and represents the various, rival Houses.
Scooby-Doo, (1969 on,) is a funny talking dog that, with his four friends, Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy, drive around the world in their “Mystery Machine,” and solve rationally mysteries about ghosts and other supernatural forces. A living, breathing, scary monster is the protagonist of Monster House (2006, by Gil Kenan) by Steven Spielberg who is also the producer of a very frightening movie about ghosts, Poltergeist (1982, by Tobe Hooper) about a family’s home, haunted by a crowd of ghosts. Terrifying is Belfagor, the phantom of the Louvre, written by Arthur Bernéde (Belphégor, Le fantôme du Louvre). The ghastly “mummy” who comes to life in the caverns under the Louvre Museum and menaces an elegant and mysterious Paris is the protagonist of a popular TV series of the 1960s (Claude Barma) and of a film of 2001 directed by Jean-Paul Salomé.
The American director Tim Burton is the creator of two particular ghosts movies: Beetle Juice (1988) and Sleepy Hollow (1999). The former is about a couple of ghosts who asks a “bio-exorcist” to help them to remove the intolerable new owners of their house; the latter is based on a Washington Irving’s novel and is centred on the legendary figure of the cruel Headless Horseman who goes round beheading people.
The horror writer Stephen King is the author of a story about a hunted house and its ghostly inhabitants for Michael Jackson’s video Ghosts (1996, album Blood on the Dance Floor), directed by Stan Winston. Moving and romantic is, instead, the plot of Ghost (1990, by Jerry Zucker) about a girl that, thanks to a medium/ psychic, can meet again her dead lover for a few minutes.
Among the latest success of these numerous series are two both entertaining and thrilling movies. The amusing Night at the Museum (2006) by Shawn Levy is about a night security guard at the Museum of Natural History where, under an ancient curse, the animals come to life. More frightening is Ghost Rider (2007, by Mark Stevens Johnson), that, inspired by a character of the Marvel comics, deals with a stunt motorcyclist who gives up his soul to become a hell blazing vigilante.