Top 10 Most Memorable Ghosts in Film History



The paranormal has been a staple in movies since the dawn of cinema. Our fascination with the possibility of life after death, even in a different form, has led to countless films featuring ghosts and other supernatural beings. However, when it comes to truly memorable individual ghosts in cinema, the list is surprisingly short. Sure, there are plenty of scary moments in films, but it’s rare to find a ghostly character that truly stands out and leaves a lasting impression.

In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 most memorable ghosts in film history. And no, Casper didn’t make the cut.

1. Slimer in Ghostbusters


Slimer is undoubtedly the most iconic ghost from the Ghostbusters franchise. This lovable, gluttonous green blob even became a central character in the animated series and inspired the popular Hi-C Ecto Cooler drink. Despite having limited screen time in the original film, Slimer’s impact on pop culture is undeniable.

2. Ghost of Christmas Past in Scrooged


David Johansen, better known as Buster Poindexter, portrayed the Ghost of Christmas Past in this modern retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic tale. Modeled after a stereotypical New York City cab driver, this ghost’s raspy voice and complete disregard for Bill Murray’s Frank Cross make him a memorable and entertaining character.

3. Dr. Malcolm Crowe in The Sixth Sense


While Haley Joel Osment’s performance as a young boy who can see dead people stole the show, Bruce Willis’ portrayal of Dr. Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist trying to help him, is equally impressive. The film’s shocking twist ending solidifies Crowe’s place in the pantheon of memorable movie ghosts.

4. Sam in Ghost


Patrick Swayze’s performance as Sam, a man who becomes a ghost after being murdered, is both heartwarming and thrilling. From exacting revenge on his killers to messing with his former coworker, Sam’s journey as a ghost is captivating. However, the infamous pottery scene with Demi Moore’s Molly is perhaps best left unmentioned.

5. Beetlejuice in Beetlejuice


Michael Keaton’s portrayal of the titular character in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice is one of his most memorable roles. The mischievous, crude, and lecherous ghost is both repulsive and endearing, making him a standout character in film history.

6. Billy Mahoney in Flatliners


The vengeful spirit of Billy Mahoney, a young boy who was bullied by Kiefer Sutherland’s character years earlier, is a force to be reckoned with in Flatliners. The fact that he’s portrayed by the same actor who played the lovable Bigfoot in Harry and the Hendersons only adds to his appeal.

7. Candyman in Candyman


Candyman is a truly terrifying horror film, and much of its success can be attributed to the chilling presence of the titular character. The Candyman’s haunting voice and menacing demeanor make him one of the most memorable ghosts in cinema.

8. Delbert Grady in The Shining


Delbert Grady, the murderous former caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, is a chilling presence in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. The fact that he brutally killed his own twin daughters only adds to his sinister reputation.

9. Large Marge in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure


Large Marge, the ghostly truck driver who gives Pee-wee a ride in Tim Burton’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, is a memorable character thanks to her shrill laugh and creepy demeanor. She’s a perfect example of how a small role can leave a lasting impression.

10. Samara in The Ring


Although I’ve never seen The Ring, it’s widely regarded as one of the scariest movies of all time. As the central antagonist, the ghostly Samara is a key part of the film’s terror, making her a fitting addition to this list of memorable movie ghosts.

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