Survival Movies – The Cream of the Crop and Those That Didn’t Shine

Survival Movies, Best to the Worst!

The popularity of survival movies has really grown over the past couple of years. I have rated these movies in three different categories. The categories are: realisticness, survival value and entertainment factor. Each of these is on a A – F Grading Scale with A being best and F being worst. These ratings are all based on my opinion so you may not feel the same.

Waterworld – Realisticness – D Survival Value – D Entertainment factor – C+
The Earth is now filled with water, but some people believe there is still dry land on the earth. This is one of the many survival movies about the fight over resources. As in many movies, this is a fight between the protagonist (Kevin Costner) and the antagonist (Dennis Hopper) and his cronies (called the smokers). This movie is fun to watch but I don’t feel it was realistic or offered much in the way of survival value.

The Postman – Realisticness – B Survival Value – C Entertainment factor – B
I feel the reviews of this movie by critics don’t give it justice. In this film, the United States is a very different place with little order. Many people have gone back to a dark ages style of living with no electricity, very little law, and a tyrant thug (Will Patton) trying to gain power. The protagonist (Kevin Costner), a drifter, finds a way to make a difference in the world even though he is originally only worried about his own livelihood and well – being. This was a very long movie, but I really enjoyed it and liked its sense of hope. I thought this movie offered decently realistic insight on what could happen with a breakdown of society and numerous years of lawlessness. It had a few areas that I think gave it some survival value, but overall, it was just one of the entertaining survival movies.

The Road – Realisticness – A Survival Value – B Entertainment factor – C
While I didn’t feel this was one of the survival movies that lived up to my expectations, I feel it accurately portrayed the emotional rollercoaster that an end of the world situation would create. The characters in this movie were not able to trust anyone around them, and they lacked the resources necessary to carry on a normal life, which could be an accurate outcome in a real societal breakdown. I think this movie, while being boring in some spots, felt very realistic and showed the dreary outlook of the main character (Viggo Mortenson) in a post apocalyptic world with no hope. On the survival value front, I thought there were some topics to take away from the story line that would be useful in real life. I felt that this movie allowed me to realize that striving for happiness and wishing to live life to the fullest despite terrible circumstances is key to beating the end.

I am Legend – Realisticness – C Survival Value – B –
Entertainment factor – B This is another of the survival movies that I think showed great emotion. The main character (Will Smith) and his dog attempt to survive throughout this film despite the constant threat of zombies. I will say this movie has one of the saddest scenes in any movie I have ever seen, which makes the whole movie worth watching. This survival movie really shows you how important a companion is when you are lonely. Other than the importance of companionship, there were only a few survival lessons to be learned.

Book of Eli – Realisticness – C Survival Value – C
Entertainment factor – B I felt Book of Eli with Denzel Washington and Mila Kunis was worth the watch. This survival movie showed how important being aware of your surroundings is. Also in a disaster ridden world it shows how there will be people that will take power any way they see fit. The use of religion to control people is what the antagonist (Gary Oldman) uses to gain power. If you are a Christian or are religious this is definitely an important movie to watch because it shows how people can use religion and the Bible for good as well as evil to push their own motives. Even so, in the end, this movie didn’t show the Bible or Christianity in a bad light. I thought the lesson of being aware was the best survival value it gave.

Jeremiah Johnson – Realisticness – A
Survival Value – B Entertainment factor – B Jeremiah Johnson (Robert Redford) is one of the best survival movies. This movie is about a man who wants to live as a hermit living off the land, who wishes to be left alone to do his own thing. This is the oldest movie on my list and also one of the best. I believe it has great survival value and is quite realistic. In one scene, Jeremiah Johnson finds a man who has been dead for a while with a note on him saying, “I, Hatchet Jack, being of sound mind and broke legs, do hereby leaveth my bear rifle to whatever finds it, Lord hope it be a white man. It is a good rifle, and killt the bear that killt me. Anyway, I am dead. Yours truly, Hatchet Jack.” How can you not love this movie with a scene like that? This movie is great at depicting how to live off the land and be self – sufficient.

Castaway – Realisticness – B Survival Value – C Entertainment factor – B
Castaway, starring Tom Hanks, is a family survival movie. There is some survival value to this movie like starting a fire or taking an abscessed tooth out with an ice skate. The main character is involved in a commercial UPS type plane crash that leaves him stranded on an island with no other survivors. It illustrates how ingenious people can be when they do not have the conventional tools for survival.

Into the Wild – Realisticness – A Survival Value – B Entertainment factor – B
Into the wild is the true survival story of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) who gives up his ordinary life to roam the US and live in Alaska. This is an ultimate adventure movie that shows how Christopher lived all by himself in the Alaskan wilderness with only what he could carry on his back. This film offered good survival value, and it taught me something very important: never eat wild plants unless you know exactly what they are and if they are safe to eat.

Zombieland – Realisticness – D Survival Value – D Entertainment factor – A –
This is really a comedic approach at the survival and zombie genre. While there is really no realisticness or survival value to speak of it, is very funny. This survival movie stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Emma Stone. During the film, they all come together to help each other survive a zombie infested world. In my opinion, one of the best cameos of all time occurs during this movie. Just watch and see!

28 Days Later – Realisticness – B Survival Value – C Entertainment factor – B
28 Days Later is a survival movie starring Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins). After a virus wipes out almost everybody on the planet, a few survivors come together to try and find a safe place to live. This was a good movie that portrayed what could happen if an epidemic were to spread very quickly. This survival movie does not have tons of survival value, but it still provides insight on the possibility of a nation or worldwide epidemic.

Mad Max/Road Warrior/Beyond Thunderdome – Realisticness – D Survival Value – D Entertainment factor – B
Mad Max, The Road Warrior, and Beyond Thunderdome are very entertaining and fun survival movies to watch, but they are very unrealistic. Mel Gibson stars as Mad Max, a man who lives in a post apocalyptic world who also tries to improve life for himself and others. There really was not much survival value in these movies, but there are cool vehicles with many types of weapons, which makes them entertaining.

Red Dawn – Realisticness – B – Survival Value – B Entertainment factor – A+
Red Dawn is not just one of my favorite survival movies, but also one of my favorite movies It has quite a few stars before they were household names (Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson and Jennifer Grey). The Russians and Cubans have taken part of Colorado and are rounding people up, whom they believe to be threats, into camps. A group of high schoolers get together and live in the woods. They badge themselves the “Wolverines” and try to take back the land that was previously theirs. This is a great movie that provided survival value in the way of outdoor living, hunting and fishing. The other thing I love about this movie, that others have also expressed, is that when you finish watching this movie, you feel extremely patriotic and proud of the great people that live in the United States.

Rescue Dawn – Realisticness – A Survival Value – B Entertainment factor – C
This survival movie is the true story of Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale), a German American fighter pilot whose plane is shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War and captured. I believe this film gives you a picture of how the living conditions in prisoner camps were. Additionally, it shows how important having a strong – will is when you need to get out of a seemingly dead end situation. There are many scenes in this film that have survival value, especially when they escape from the camp and must live outdoors and survive in the wild.

Alone Across Australia – Realisticness – A Survival Value – B+ Entertainment factor – B+
This is survival documentary is not well known, but still provides pretty great survival value. The only reason I saw this was because I attended a small independent film festival in my town. This is the story of Jon Muir and his dog that set out on a trip across Australia with only him, his dog, and what he could carry on his homemade cart. This is a great look at survival and has the highest survival value out of any of the survival movies I have reviewed. Out of all the movies I’ve ever seen, this film probably has the saddest scene because what happened in the movie was what happened in real life. If you get a chance, definitely watch this documentary. The only problem is it is difficult to find and usually expensive because of its rarity.

Why The Movie “After Earth” Is Important

I was born in 1976 and outside of “Blaxploitation” movies, there were no African American action or science fiction stars. My favorite movies included “Tron,” “Superman,” “The Last Star Fighter,” and “Dune.” The heroes in those movies had super powers, super intelligence, and had to dig deep to overcome extra-ordinarily difficult situations, often at great personal cost. It is worth noting here that the stars of these movies were all Caucasian males, and none of them looked like me. Hell, in most of the movies with a futuristic theme there was not even a Black person cast as an extra! As if, as Richard Pryor so eloquently put it, white people were not expecting us to be in the future.

It is no secret that many action, fantasy and science fiction movies contain ancient magical and mythological elements incorporated into the fabric of their stories; to see titans, gods, goddesses and fairies as characters in modern day cinema is a fairly commonplace occurrence – with one caveat, these characters almost never appear in movies written or directed by Blacks, or with an all Black cast.

When it comes to Black cinema we have few choices for our movie going pleasure. We have comedies, action comedies, the all important “Jesus Will Fix It” film and “Hot Ghetto Mess Drama,” (usually not the good kind), and last but not least is the “Catharsis Drama” – movies about profound suffering and abuse and how the characters where able to somehow carry on after being both victimized and traumatized. Few Black writers explore the realm of science fiction, fantasy, or create movies with a magical or mythological theme.

To add levels of depth and subtle complexity to their stories, adept writers and directors are able to use the archetypical and symbolic elements of the heroes and heroines of ancient mythological stories and folk and fairy tales. Many times these elements are used so skillfully as to be hardly recognized by the majority of the movie going public, but to the trained eye, these elements are obvious.

It takes study of classical literature, world mythology and symbology in order to use the above mentioned story elements with any level of effectiveness. Study that many burgeoning African American film makers seem all too willing to ignore in their movie making process, as these elements are often sorely lacking in the plots and storylines of the majority of Black cinema.

The “After Earth” screenplay was written by Gary Whitta and M. Night Shyamalan, with the story by Will Smith, tells the type of story that Black entertainment hasn’t seen the likes of in a very, very long time.

Some critics dislike this movie because they know what Mr. Smith is trying to accomplish with this type of movie, and they don’t like it. While Smith’s traditional audience may be slow to co-sign this movie for two reasons, one is they are not used to seeing African Americans play these types of roles, (although they will pay top dollar to watch Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Keanu Reaves play these roles over and over again,) and two, they don’t really understand the themes portrayed in this movie due to the fact that as a culture, we were stripped of our initiatory practices and our stories, and as a result we are used to seeing these types of roles played by White or Asian actors and actresses.

By and large, the legends, folklore and traditions of Africans and other indigenous cultures, have been demonized through religion and western culture, and so it seems we shun the magical and fantastical images of ourselves as sorcerers, demigods and heroes.

Why “After Earth” is Worth Watching

Below I will outline various elements of the movie “After Earth” that make this movie worth seeing over and over again. Fathers, if you have been looking for a movie to take your sons to that will help you to begin a profound conversation about rites of passage and growing into a man, you’ll want to check this out.

!!!SPOILER ALERT!!! – We are going to be discussing the story and plotline from this movie and by doing so parts of the actual story are going to be revealed. If you don’t want to spoil the movie before you’ve seen it, STOP NOW, and then come back after you’ve seen it to participate in this analysis.

Initiation

Let’s begin by taking a look at the theme of initiation that runs throughout “After Earth”.

Initiation was important in indigenous tribes because it was a system by which the young boys and girls of a given culture or tribe were guided through in order to educate, prepare and move them through the phase of childhood into adulthood and all the attendant rites and responsibilities which adulthood entailed.

Training

Initiation always begins with education and training, and in the movie we begin with the main character training with his military academy class. Readers will take note that cadets in the military go through a process of initiation designed to strip them of their life as a civilian to remold them as a soldier, and make no mistake, this system of initiation was taken from the ancient indigenous cultures of Africa and passed down through other cultures and societies throughout the world.

Training involves physical and mental exercise and tests designed to give initiates/cadets control over their bodies, their emotions and their minds.

It is at this point in the movie that we find that young Kitai, while exhibiting impressive physical abilities is lacking in emotional and mental control, issues which he will be forced to deal with later on in the movie.

Below is an outline of initiatory steps as experienced by the ancients and portrayed in “After Earth”

Trek Through Nature in Solitude With a Mission to Complete

Initiate Versus Nature, Beasts, and Self (FEAR)

Initiate must face and overcome several trials in order to reach their goal (manhood)

Endurance (Breathing linked to inhalers)

Initiate must protect and ration limited amount of supplies, ie; food, water, medical

Handling confrontation with potential danger.

It is worth noting here that Kitai failed his first encounter with danger (the monkeys) spectacularly! His Father told him to take control of his Power and watch what he creates. Kitai could not control his fear and anxiety and thus created a scenario where his life was in danger and forcing him to flee from the confrontation he created out of fear. In initiation, this is to be expected. The initiate must fail in order to understand what can result from recklessness and unchecked fear.

This same scenario played itself out in the movie Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke was sent into the “Cave of Darkness” by Yoda. Luke took FEAR into the cave with him and was confronted by it in the form of his Father, Darth Vader – though this Vader was purely a creation of Luke’s fearful thoughts.

More Steps on the Path

Facing medical emergency – poisoning by river leach and self administration of anti-venom.

Surviving the elements – finding thermal heat vents and shelter to keep warm during cold spells.

Defying Authority or “The System” in order to do what is right.

Leap of Faith – Jumping off a cliff in the hopes that his brash act will carry him to his goal.

Surviving a predator – The Raptor or Hawk representing Heru*

Assisting Mother Nature to defend her children – fighting for the lives of the baby hawks against the attacks of the feline predators.

Divine Aid – Initiate is pushed to his physical limits and thus transcends and is able to make contact with the spirit world where he is able to make peace with his dead sister and is given the aid and the protection of his spirit totem, the hawk.

Initiate reaches physical goal but must still go higher in order to reconnect spiritually with his Father – Kitai finds the beacon however it does not send the signal. Out of anger and frustration he hears the spiritual voice of his Father telling him to take a knee, (lower his physical nature so that he may listen to his higher “spirit” nature) – his father then tells him that he must go higher, to the top of a nearby mountain so that he can send their beacon signal (plea for assistance) into the heavens.

Initiate must face and overcome his fear here symbolized by the “Ursa” monster. Note here that “Ursa” is another name for a Bear which in some native tribes had to be faced and overcome by the young teens of the tribe in order for them to become men.

Initiate has to enter the Cave of Darkness/Fear. It is here that the monster reveals itself to the initiate and must be fought to the death.

Initiate is hurled into the abyss and must experience death. This death is not a physical one usually, but represents the death of the childish nature of the boy and the birth of the man. Fear, doubt and disbelief dies here, and the man, the warrior is able to be born. Initiate is put in mortal danger in order to force a change of mind and heart.

Upon reaching the mountaintop, the initiate is able to completely conquer himself and as a result his own fear and is thus able to destroy the monster and send a beacon into the heavens to receive a rescue and a return to his heavenly home.

By completing his task, the initiate is able to return home and redeem (save) his Father who was symbolically dead and in the underworld or in a deep soul sleep from which only the sons sacrifice could save him. **

Archetypes

The makers of “After Earth” also make use of archetypes to help them tell their story. According to the Concise Encyclopedia an “archetype” is “Primordial image, character, or pattern of circumstances that recurs throughout literature and thought consistently enough to be considered universal.” Literary critics adopted the term from Carl Gustav Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious. Because archetypes originate in pre-logical thought, they are held to evoke startlingly similar feelings in reader and author. Examples of archetypal symbols include the snake, whale, eagle, and vulture. An archetypal theme is the passage from innocence to experience; archetypal characters include the blood brother, rebel, wise grandparent, and prostitute with a heart of gold.”

Some of the archetypes that “After Earth” makes use of include, the “Father,” wise and valiant, yet fundamentally separated from his son, due to some perceived weakness or character flaw within the Son. The Son has let his Father down in a profound way, which has caused emotional and physical detachment.

The archetype of the “Son/Sun” in movies has the son following in his Father’s footsteps, while at the same time trying to make his own mark. He loves his Father but is resentful of him because he knows that he has fallen short of his Father’s expectations and/or achievements and he yearns to be like his Father and even to surpass him, in order to gain his love and respect. It is the Son’s job ultimately to redeem or save his Father, which makes him a suitable replacement for his Father, and which earns him the right to become a Father in his own right.

The steps that the Father and Son archetype takes in the movie “After Earth” are listed below.

Son in search of Father

Son fails to achieve an expected goal, and is judged by Father to be a failure. In After Earth this is unspoken, though in some stories the Father tells the Son outright that he is a failure.

Father and Son embark on journey to attempt to mend the rift between them. (This is a mask for the beginning of the initiatory journey.)

Father and Son encounter disaster, which only the two of them survive, leaving the Father severely wounded and having to rely on the Son for salvation.

Father demands absolute obedience and adherence to his rules and commands as he does not fully trust the mental and physical abilities of the Son.

Son is sent out to face the elements and enemies alone, but with the “spiritual guidance” of the Father. In After Earth, the spiritual guidance of the Father is represented by the com-link that keeps them in voice communication, and the “All Seeing Eyes” or cameras that the Father deploys in order to observe his Son’s progress and to watch out for danger.

Son VS Father – The Son begins to question his Father’s authority when his Father exhibits a lack of faith that the Son can accomplish his goals. This is perhaps the MOST important part of the movie when Kitai chooses to outright disobey the direct order of his Father. The lesson is this: when authority is wrong or becomes oppressive, it must be disobeyed by the hero in order for justice to be done.

Son Disobeys Father and is Cutoff, Cast Out or Cast Down. Being cut off from communication with the Father is symbolic of being cast down from heaven, which was shown literally as Kitai took a leap off the top of a waterfall in disobedience to his Father’s order that he return home. This event caused his communication link to his Father to be broken, leaving the Son alone and without guidance at a critical stage of the mission/initiation.

Son Forced to Face Enemy (FEAR) Alone – In the movie fear is represented by the Ursa, which is a monster that tracks its enemies through pheromones released when its prey is afraid. This creature can literally smell your fear. It is only when the Son has mastered himself that he can overcome the fear inside him, which the Ursa beast in the movie symbolizes.

Son Redeems (SAVES) Father, Returns Home a Man, Understands and Becomes Father.

The Heru Mythos

Every hero story you have ever read or saw played out on the silver screen is based on the mythos of Heru. Heru was an ancient African deity or Neter (force or aspect of nature) and the template for all good kings. You can read about his exploits in “The Passion of Osiris (Ausar)” and “A Tale of Two Brothers”. These tales come down to us from the land of ancient Kemet, now called Egypt.

In the myth Heru’s Father Ausar (Osiris) is betrayed and murdered by his jealous brother Set. Ausar is resurrected as the spiritual ruler of the underworld or afterlife. As a ruler, he is perpetually made to sit on a throne and cast his judgment on those who have recently passed on. [This is shown symbolically as Kitai's Father Cipher was stuck in the chair inside the ship and using the ships camera's (spiritual eyes) and the comm. Link (spiritual communication) to watch over and provide guidance to Kitai]

The throne motif is important as it was foreshadowed in After Earth by the soldier in the wheelchair, who approached the General and his Son. Upon approaching the General, the soldier declared that the General had saved his life and asked to be “stood up,” or in Biblical terms, “made upright”, by his companions so that he could make a proper salute to his hero (savior). This theme would play itself out again as the General would make the request “stand me up”, so that he could salute his son -this particular movie sequence represents the son “redeeming” or “saving” his Father.

Getting back to the mythos of Heru… after his father Ausar (Osiris) is murdered and his brother takes over the kingdom of Kemet, it becomes the mission of Heru and is Mother Auset (Isis) to get Heru on the throne as the rightful ruler of the land. Heru has to go through years of training under the auspices of his Mother Auset, His Aunt Nebhet (Nephtys) and the diminutive Bes who is the Neter of child birth, happiness and war. It is Bes who trains Heru to be a warrior. In the movie Star Wars Yoda played the part of the trainer (Bes) to Luke Skywalker (Heru).

The symbol of Heru was the Hawk. He was often depicted with wings and having the head or mask of a hawk. In the movie After Earth we see the relationship of the Hero to the Hawk in the “Leap of Faith” sequence where the hawk chases Kitai down and then carries him off to her nest to be food for her baby chicks. Kitai awakes while being nibbled on by the newborn chicks, but finds that the hawk nest is under attack by feline predators intent on eating the chicks.

Kitai helps the hawk to defend the nest but fails to keep the predators from killing all of the baby birds.

The hawk mourns the loss of her baby chicks with a screech of rage and begins to follow Kitai in the air, which seems menacing in the beginning, but we find out later that the Hawk has bonded with Kitai and she later drags him to safety and protects him from the cold by using her own body heat to keep him from freezing. This is an obvious symbol of Kitai’s mythic relationship to Heru the Neter*** of the Sun and the Sky… the original sky – walker.

After many contentious battles and adventures, Heru, with the help of his Mother would go on to gain rulership of the land of Kemet (Egypt) and thereby redeem his Father Ausar (Osirus).

It is important that you know that the story of Ausar (Osiris) and Heru (Horus) has been told and retold across the world and can be found in many variations, the names and characters and even some of the circumstances may change, but the root of the story remains the same. It is the duty of the Son to succeed his Father as ruler of the land or EARTH, but only AFTER he has proven himself worthy to do so. So you can see that the movie After Earth has a lot more depth to it than meets the casual eye.

There are many other examples of the mythological and archetypal symbolism that are incorporated into the movie After Earth that I was not able to touch on like the Mother as the “Queen of Heaven,” or the Sister as the “Spiritual Guardian” of her Brother. This movie is chock full of all the elements that make a great story and I for one feel that the story of After Earth was masterfully told. I’m looking forward to more of this type of movie from not only Will Smith and crew, but from other Black film-makers as well.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

*Also known as Horus, Heru was an ancient Kemetic (Egyptian) Neter (Deity) of the Sun and Sky, his symbol was the hawk. Heru was often depicted with the head of a hawk and the body of a man.

**Kitai’s Father Cipher being trapped in the innards of a spaceship evokes the symbolism of Jonah in the belly of the fish as well as the Ausarian (Osiris) mythos of Ausar sitting on a throne and providing spiritual guidance to Heru from the spirit world.

*** Neter means aspect of nature or divine nature. Neter has been translated as God and Goddess.

By Keith D. Young

Top Horror Movies, Ghost Movies

Personally I love being scared silly and a spine tingling ghost movie works for me. Of all the top horror movies genre out there like; vampires, zombies, killer tomatoes, the eerie, transparent ghoul that is floating around the room and whispering warnings to you in the dark, ghost movies are the best!

The love for a good ghost movie came about for me at a tender young age…thanks to two cousins!

It was a crisp fall day when I, at an impressionable age of eight or nine was dropped off at my grandparent’s farm for a weekend stay.

My bratty two older cousins were staying there also. For sleeping, the three of us shared two feather mattress beds in the open basement of the old farmhouse.

That was where I experienced my first ghost story. In the silent darkness my cousins told me a spine tingling story that “actually” happened not too far away. A tale worthy of being one of the top horror movies ever. They began in detail, a story about a kid, my age, getting his head chopped in half with an ax by his crazy grandfather. The poor ghoulish kid with half a bloody head now roams the countryside.

I never slept a wink that night. In fact it was a good while before I slept at my grandparent’s farmhouse again.

Halloween is near, enough of the vampire genre! That is why this article is about the eeriest, scariest ghost movies, twelve of them! Put in chronological order from oldest to newest and worth watching in this order. Notice how the older ghost movies were remade.

1) The Uninvited (1944)

A brother and sister move into an old seaside mansion. Bought very cheaply and came with a sinister past is now haunted.

Starring: Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp, Gail Russell.

2009 – The new ghost movie has a very different storyline. Hair standing straight scary never the less.

Starring: Emily Browning, David Strathaim, Elizabeth Banks.

2) House On Haunted Hill (1959)

Eccentric multimillionaire and his wife invite five unrelated strangers to a huge, isolated mansion. They offer 10,000 dollars to each guest if they make it through the night (12 hours). All five arrive by hearse and in the morning all five will be leaving by hearse, one-way or the other.

Starring: Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, Richard Long.

The new 1999 movie has the same story line, slightly altered like one million dollars instead of 10,000 and of course better special effects.

Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen, Taye Diggs, Chris Katten.

3) 13 Ghosts (1960) Out of all the top horror movies this ghost movie is one of the best. Uncle Zorba, an occultist, wills a huge unusual house to his needy nephew Cyrus and his family. This house came with three surprises; treasure, thirteen ghosts and special goggles to see these ghosts.

Starring: Charles Herbert, Donald Woods, Jo Morrow.

2001 version has the same story line, with creative well done effects and Cyrus is the uncle’s name.

Starring: Tony Shalhoub, Shannon Elizabeth, F. Murray Abraham.

4) Carnival Of Souls (1962)

A ghostly man appears through mirrors at first only to an innocent church organist. Did someone or something at the deserted carnival prompt this ghoulish image which keeps appearing to this poor girl? Even though this is a low budget movie it still merits a decent level on the fright meter.

Starring: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger.

1998 version was much more brutal with a not so funny circus clown.

Starring: Bobbie Phillips, Shawnee Smith.

5) The Haunting (1963)

An old mansion called Hill House gives paranormal proof to Dr. Markway and his invited guests. The good story line made this a spooky movie.

Starring: Julie Harris, Richard Johnson, Claire Bloom.

1999 movie has the same story line only its Dr. Marrow, a high standard cast and great movie magic.

Starring: Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, Lili Taylor.

6) The Fog (1980)

One hundred years ago a ship carrying lepers purposely crashed drowning all on board. Now the ghoulish lepers are back for revenge and coming through the fog. John Carpenter can certainly put together a great ghost movie, not only once but twice.

Starring: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Houseman.

2005- Very similar to the 1980 version but with better effects. Mr. Carpenter has also become more successful in the last twenty five years.

Starring: Tom Welling, Maggie Grace, Selma Blair.

7) Witchboard (1986)

College students start playing with an Ouija board that becomes evil. Meanwhile they were all thinking it was the spirit of a nice ten year old boy.

Starring: Todd Allen, Tawny Kitaen, Clare Bristol.

8) The Sixth Sense (1999)

In this subtle ghost movie, nine-year old Cole Sear can see, hear and talk to dead people right after they pass on. Dr. Crowe, a child psychologist tries to help Cole with these…hallucinations. I love movies that have a good twist ending and this is one of them. Definitely one of the top horror movies.

Starring: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette.

9) The St. Francisville Experiment (1999)

In a little town in Louisianna is a known haunted house. The house is haunted by the ghosts of slaves who died enduring horrible torture.Four people are unprepared for the horrors that are about to occur.

Starring: Tim Baldini, Madison Charap, Paul Palmer.

10) What Lies Beneath (2000)

The wife of an university scientist begins to see apparitions. Her husband thinks that she is nuts until he sees the images for himself. Now, they must both uncover the truth and find out what lies beneath.

Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Katharine Towne, James Remar.

11) Ghost Ship (2002)

This is a ‘better get ready to hang on to something’ ghost movie. I would consider this as one of the top horror movies. A 1962 elite passenger ship was suddenly found floating adrift by a salvage crew, forty years later. Old, rusted, deserted, full of gold and ghosts.

Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Julianna Margulies, Ron Eldard, Isaiah Washington.

12) The Ring (2002)

A strange video tape with eerie footage that seems to kill the viewer in seven days. Seconds after the video ends, a phone call, one week later you die a horrible death. Originally a 1998 Japanese film called ‘Ringu”. I had to add this flick to the top horror movies list.

Starring: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Jane Alexander.

You want to be frightened this Halloween season? My recommendation for a great scary ghost movie is any one of these twelve films. They are all worthy to be on the ‘top horror movies’ list.

So after the costumed kids are done ringing your doorbell and threatening you for treats, grab a pillow to hang on to, turn off all the lights and put on one of these scary movies. Great way to end Halloween.

Happy Halloween, Cinema Serge.