Maybe, just maybe, a big influence on my fascination with the paranormal comes from watching horror films and reading ghost books from an early age. Long before I got in to the paranormal, I was allowed to stay up on Saturday nights watching horror film double bills on BBC1, followed be Hammer Horror Films, all at a relatively young age. It explains a lot.
I Walked With A Zombie (1943)
Blithe Spirit (1945)
Dead of Night (1945)
Early classic British portmanteau horror film that will leave you with a phobia about ventriloquist’s dummies – if you didn’t already have one.
The Beast With Five Fingers (1946)
The Ghost & Mrs Muir (1947)
Basically, a love story that happens to contain a ghost. A lovely old classic.
The Ghosts of Berkeley Square (1947)
Ghost Ship (1952)
Night of the Demon (1957)
The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) (1985-1989) (2002-2003)
Theatre of Death (1965)
Carry On Screaming (1966)
Quatermass & The Pit (1967)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Great in it’s time, probably wouldn’t impress new viewers now but I always found it somewhat over-rated.
Whistle and I’ll Come To You (1968)
Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969-1970)
The Stone Tape (1972)
Did you think the stone tape theory was based in solid science? Check out the 1972 Stone Tape BBC drama, originally aired at Christmas (just days before I was born).
It suffers from early 1970s effects and mild off-hand racism common at the time, but the basic paranormal-based plot is sound. An updated version, staying as true to the original plot as possibly, could be something quite outstanding. And it has orbs, probably one of the earliest offenders.
Tales From The Crypt (1972)
The Exorcist (1973)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
The Vault of Horror/Tales From The Crypt II (1973)
From Beyond The Grave (1974)
Peter Cushing deals out justice via a creepy old antique shop in this Amicus portmanteau horror film, which includes a till that matches the one in Haunted, 35 Stonegate, York. That was a great thing to find out in Haunted at two o’clock in the morning.
Hallowe’en (1978) and the sequels
Sapphire & Steel (1979-82)
Paranormal and sci-fi, what isn’t there to love about it? The first episode also has orbs in it. I hope they don’t re-make them, they’re fantastic as they are, although maybe a spin off of some of the other elements is in order? Re-watching this amazing series recently reminded me how scary they were (I was watching them from the age of seven and onwards), and prompted me to announce that from now on, all ghost investigations I run will be in their style including the clothing styles: David McCallum in a dinner suit is ALWAYS welcome on one of my nights! As would the wonderful Lead, had the actor Val (Valentine) Pringle not sadly died young, fighting two burglars in his home.
Tales of the Unexpected (1979-1988)
The Fog (1980)
“Midnight ’til one belongs to the dead. May the Lord deliver us.”
The quote above comes from the original John Carpenter version of The Fog, I’ve never watched the re-make and at this time have no intention to do so. I watched The Fog when I was probably too young to be watching such things, which is maybe whilst I still love and am scared by it, I have a mild phobia about fog.
The Monster Club (1980)
I love these portmanteau British horror films, and this one has more fog in it!
Not aged well, but has some genuinely scary moments. Oh, and more chuffing orbs!
Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
Ghostbusters (1984) and the sequels
Cheesy, but fun.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and the sequels
The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
The Lost Boys (1987)
The Serpeant & The Rainbow (1988)
Pet Semetary (1989)
Tales From The Crypt (1989-1996)
No, seriously. Well, not too serious: boys rebuild an accidentally decapitated girlfriend using spare body parts from dead hookers. What could possibly go wrong?
Night of the Living Dead (1990)
The Pit & The Pendulum (1991)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)
Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight (1995)
The Craft (1996)
From Dusk ‘Til Dawn (1996)
Sabrina The Teenage Witch (1996)
Tales From The Crypt presents Bordello of Blood (1996)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
Event Horizon (1997)
Never again. Eyeballs, that is all. I watched it on TV, even watching the next film, Morons From Outer Space, didn’t stop the bizarre dream that night where I was a seer with her eyeballs in her own hand…
Child’s Play (1998)
Dark City (1998)
Urban Legend (1998)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
I didn’t see this until 2011, and was thoroughly underwhelmed by it. Was I the only one?
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
A few jumpy moments, not really scary, but fun and Johnny Depp in period clothing is always a bonus.
From Hell (2001)
The year is for the film, however it’s worth ignoring that and tracking down the original graphic novel. It’s much better, and definitely has a ghost in it.
The Others (2001)
Only problem with films like this is that it only works properly the first time. Plus, I’d written a short story before I saw it that bears a passing resemblance to it, and nobody is ever going to believe that I wrote it without being influenced by the film.
Tales From The Crypt presents Ritual (2001)
Thir13en Ghosts (2001)
Not sure if the original would be better, I actually quite enjoyed it (considering I don’t usually like the splatter type horror/ghost films), but felt that a huge chunk was missing – they could have done a whole lot more with the ghosts’ back stories.
28 Days Later (2002)
The Ghost Ship (2002)
Most Haunted (2002-2010)
Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) and the sequels
Sea of Souls (2004-2007)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
The Corpse Bridge (2005)
A sweet story of the undead… having seen it a number of times, I would still watch it again given half a chance.
Dark Water (2005)
Just enough psychological scares to keep you on edge, without leaving you sleepless. I’d like to see the original version, it has a better rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
Day Watch (2006) and the sequels
Crooked House (2008)
Ghosts In The Machine (2009)
BBC4 documentary about programmes about ghosts on British television, worth watching to discover things you may have missed (or not even been born for).
The Last Exorcism (2010)
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