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30 best and worst movie ghosts, spooks and spirits

Worst: Over Her Dead Body (2008)

Not the necrophilia flick you were hoping for, but Eva Longoria and co attempting a reverse gender Ghost with more emphasis placed on the ‘com’ than the ‘rom’. Longoria is Kate, who dies on her wedding day, and comes back to haunt her fiancé’s new girlfriend who, happily, is a psychic.

Sure, Longoria makes for a stunningly coifed dead thing, but the spark and wit that she so often sets to ‘dazzle’ on Desperate Housewives is sorely missed here. Paul Rudd, we expected better of you.

Best: The Others (2001)

For the first two thirds some serious misdirection takes place that has us empathising with Nicole Kidman's war wife Grace. Peculiar rustlings, hushed voices, and to top it all off a living room flooded with light after she'd specifically closed the curtains!

Her ghostly housekeeping staff are, in a sense, the harbingers of doom, bringing with them a supernatural realisation for Grace. After the penny drops that she and her kids are also spirits, the entire movie plays out like a terrifying fairy tale told in reverse. A mad-as-a-hatter woman chasing after her two children might seem innocent but their period attire makes them downright creepy.

Worst: House on Haunted Hill (1999)

A soulless attempt to cash-in on the stellar Vincent Price original led to this uninspired lot, seemingly cherry-picked from the cache of nineties horror ghosties. Trying to beat the first outing when it comes to scares, there's now an almost countless amount of spirits that all compete with one another. And none are particularly scary.

Former residents of the house -- medical experiments gone awry -- stalk the living residents. People who perished in the furnace, in the hydropool... you name it, they're all here, and they all look very similar.

Best: Crimson Peak (2015)

The 'gothic corridor' of Guillermo del Toro's haughty mansion plagues young Edith, a writer relocated to the lofty mansion owned by her new husband. What makes this batch of ghouls all the more terrifying is the manner in which they appear. If they're not clawing themselves up from beneath the floorboards then they're creeping over the poor girl's shoulder.

Part of their sinister allure is down to the methods employed by del Toro. Hiring a crew of actors as the resident spectres, he added to their performances by layering CGI onto their jerky movements. For a film that's not a straight-up horror, it packs plenty of shuddering moments thanks to this bunch.

Worst: Ghost Town (2008)

The machinations by which Greg Kinnear's businessman turns into a ghost, and subsequently is able to be seen and heard by Ricky Gervais' character are rather extraordinary.

With that being so, you might think he'd get up to loads of mad-cap activities and try and do some good. No, he blows it and just whines quite a lot. And is rather manipulative of the living.

Best: Mama (2013)

How the two girls raised by 'Mama' managed to retain both their hair and their sanity during their upbringing is beyond comprehension. An otherworldly ghost entity with a firm grip on those kiddies, she's a pioneer in the cinematic ghost canon: mainly for her phenomenal dexterity.

She's not content with popping out behind a fridge door or leering from beneath a trapdoor. None of those stereotypical behaviours are in her repertoire. She prefers the slow-burn approach, until revealing her true form in all of its contorted glory. Just the sight of her is enough to cause years of untold nightmares.

Worst: The Amityville Horror (1979)

The unseen relies on what we don't see to create tension. Palpable fear needs to be exacted in a wholly unique manner if we're not given a fearful sight to behold.

Which is where the invaders who reign holy hell down on the Lutzes fail to make a mark. Sure, not all ghosts have to manifest in physically trouser-soiling form, as long as the chaos they cause is just as spooky as any ghastly face. A gigantic brown pig, though? If that's not bad enough this lot resort to the types of hijinks you might prank a friend with; locking people in toilets, stealing money and fiddling with the thermostat. You'd really need a plumber rather than Derek Acorah...

Best: Unfriended (2014)

Millennial horrors tend to lean on modern boogeymen. Unfriended taps into the social media savvy teenage market by infecting every device of this bunch of friends with the ghost of a dead schoolpal.

We scarcely see Laura Barns' physical form. It doesn't really matter when her deeds speak volumes about her evil motives. One-by-one picking off her contemporaries, this is one undead spirit who takes 'burying the hatchet' a little too literally.

Worst: The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (2013)

Let's skip the first Haunting in Connecticut because the rabble of ghosts situated in the second are even less impressive.

This ambling bunch of scaremongers are no way near as bone-chilling as they think. Sure, they've got the decaying visages that'd cause anyone to soil themselves, but overplayed it's akin to watching a bunch of tweens dressed up at Halloween.