Happy Ghostbusters Day, everybody! Today is the day the new "all-female" reboot is released in the U.S., retroactively ruining so, so many men's childhoods. In a little switcheroo, and in honor of the ghosts (of the men's childhoods, lol), how about some movies where the ghosts get a chance to do their fair share of human-busting?
When this piece was suggested, I was initially unsure just what "busting" meant—like, busting their chops? Their balls? Are the ghosts cops? No, this is just busting in the same way that the humans (or women, in the case of the new one [that was a joke, I KNOW THAT WOMEN ARE HUMANS]) bust the ghosts in Ghostbusters. There are no proton packs or little toaster-sized homes here, but these are times when people in movies get screwed with by ghosts anywhere from "a little" to "goodbye forever."
So after a great deal of thought and scientific research (lol, YouTube), here are 13 times (in no particular order) that ghosts in movies got to bust humans. Some of the descriptions contain "spoilers," so, you know, be aware—but these movies are also YEARS old so if you're going to see them, get on it already.
1. Shutter (2004)
In this horror movie from Thailand, photographer Tun (Ananda Everingham) starts noticing weird images in the pictures he develops after he and his girlfriend Jane (Natthaweeranuch Thongmee) accidentally hit and kill a woman while driving. Jane thinks the photos show the ghost of the girl they killed, and is convinced that Tun is haunted after he sees a doctor and is told that he's now twice as heavy as he used to be. And then the ghost begins showing up in more than just the pictures.
2. Poltergeist (1982)
One of the most famous ghost movies, Poltergeist, features ghosts doing a whole array of bad things to humans, including actually stealing a small one (Carol Anne Freeling, as portrayed by Heather O'Rourke [RIP]) altogether. In this rather uncomfortable scene, a ghost tries to have his way with Carol Anne's mother, Diane (JoBeth Williams). Come on, ghost, no means no!
3. The Frighteners (1996)
The Frighteners is a horror movie about Jake Busey's teeth. Kidding! It's a movie directed by Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame), about Frank Bannister (Michael J. "Alex P. Keaton" Fox), a man who manages to eke a meager living as an "exorcist" due to his ability to see and interact with ghosts.
In this scene, Bannister is knocked around by the ghost of Sergeant Hiles, played by R. Lee Ermey, who actually was in the U.S. Marine Corps for 11 years and who also played the terrifying Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, which is a much scarier and less funny movie than this one.
Quick aside: The Frighteners was also haunted by Michael J. Fox not being able to remember there was no one named "Doc" in this movie.
4. Paranormal Activity (2007)
Whatever is messing with Katie (Katie Featherston) in Paranormal Activity is later determined to most likely be a demon, and not technically a ghost, since it's not house-specific but instead follows its victims to wherever they live. So does it count as a ghost? Maybe not, BUT: A. This woman gets busted pretty bad by whatever it is, and B. It's always fun to include Paranormal Activity clips in lists of horror movies to boil the blood of film editors who hate it because it's an entire franchise based on cheap, gimmicky camera work. Whatever, it's still good.
5. Dark Water (2002)
If J-horror movies are to be believed, Japan is chock full of ghosts. They are typically young and very pale (sometimes even straight up black and white). They have poor hygiene when it comes to their hair and they tend to frequent elevators. In Japan, every elevator is apparently assigned one small child ghost resident immediately after being installed—it's a point of national pride. In Dark Water (which was remade in America in 2005 starring Jennifer Connelly), the ghost of a little girl named Mitsuko (Mirei Oguchi) takes a woman named Yoshimi (Hitomi Kuroki) as her "new mother" after Yoshimi and her daughter, Ikuko (Rio Kanno) move into the ramshackle, leaky building where Mitsuko died (and had remained undiscovered) after falling into the water tank on the roof.
6. What Lies Beneath (2000)
What Lies Beneath is virtually ghost-violence-free until the end when the ghost of Norman Spencer's (Harrison Ford) younger mistress rises up from the water where he drowned her to prevent him from escaping after his wife, in a desperate bid for her own life, drives their car into the river. That may sound confusing, but it all makes sense if you see the movie, which, if you haven't, you should, because it's really good. Bonus: handsome Harrison Ford as the handsome bad guy who handsomely gets what's coming to him.
7. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Freddie Krueger's technically a ghost, right?. Think about it: he was a real guy, people killed him, and then he came back and haunted their kids' dreams. Hence, he's a ghost. In this scene from the first and best Elm Street (which coincidentally came out the same year as the original Ghostbusters), main character Nancy Thompson's boyfriend Glen Lantz (Johnny Depp) gets sucked into a bed and then spewed back out onto the ceiling in liquid form. Also, look at Johnny Depp there. So young. Just a fetus, really.
8. Beetlejuice (1988)
Does this count as busting? Sure it does. These poor humans are at the mercy of vicious ghosts who are forcing them to do a silly dance to "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" by Harry Belafonte. (RIP Glenn Shadix.)
9. Ghost (1990)
No list about vengeful ghosts would be complete without this classic scene from the actual movie Ghost, in which the ghost of newly dead Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) beats up his sleazy former friend Carl Bruner (Tony Goldwyn) and then those creepy shadow things come and drag him to hell. See? That's what you get when you mess with Swayze (RIP).
10. The Shining (1980)
In this scene from The Shining, the ghost of Mrs. Massey, a heartbroken woman who had killed herself years earlier in the bathtub of the Overlook Inn's room 237, presents herself in the form a naked young hottie in order to seduce and then kill hotel caretaker Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), because apparently that's a thing ghosts can sometimes do (tricky em-effers). She doesn't get him, but that doesn't make it any less scary.
11. Ringu (1998)
Ringu (remade as The Ring in 2002), based on a Japanese folk tale, tells the story of a young girl named Sadako Yamamura (Kabuki Theater actress Rie Inō) who died after being thrown down a well. She gets vengeance on humanity by scaring to death (translation: heart attack) anyone who doesn't make a copy of a strange VHS tape within seven days of seeing it.
The filmmakers achieved Sadako's creepy style of walking by first filming her walking backwards in an exaggerated, jerky-limbed style, and then reversing the tape. The effect is pretty yikes.
12. Ghost Story (1981)
These creatures looks a lot more like corpses than ghosts, but the title of the movie is Ghost Story, so sure. Anyway, a ghost in this movie scares a man so much that he stumbles backwards, naked, out of a high-rise window. That's pretty frightened. You don't just accidentally crash backwards through a window from being a regular amount scared, by, say, a house centipede, even though those things are pretty gross.
13. Witchboard (1986)
Last but not least is this gem of a horror movie featuring a Ouija board, a haunted knife, and the frighteningly bad acting of Tawny "Car Hood" Kitaen. That's all you really need to know to convince you to watch it. Right? Right.