50 Years of Ghost Movies
Covering the classics from 1935 to 1985, 50 Years of Ghost Movies clearly shows the evolution of the genre from all its facets, including comedy, suspense, mystery, and horror. Each film listed in chronological order by year, and alphabetized for easy reference is described in flash-format with a brief synopsis, while others are spotlighted and reviewed in full. More
M. Celaschi - Review
"50 Years of Ghost Movies" is a guide to ghost films from 1935-85. It begins with a note from the author, Staci Layne Wilson, explaining her love of ghost tales and how she defines a ghost. Some may disagree on films included or excluded in the guide as Wilson has chosen her own definition of ghost as a spirit that was once a human or an animal. So the vampires in SALEM'S LOT are in, demonic possession in THE EXORCIST is not.
There is also a brief summary of how ghost tales have differed over the decades. The 1920-30s had more romantic themes, 30s, 40s, and 60s were more comedic, and the 50s were more somber. And of course, the 70s & 80s had the ghosts evolving into slashers and were much gorier than their predecessors. My favorite!
The guide includes ghost film staples like THE POLTERGEIST, THE SHINING, DON'T LOOK NOW, and LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH. But it also includes some foreign films like the classic RASHOMON & KWAIDON, and even pervy delights from Jess Franco and Jean Rollin! Classic old school ghost movies include reviews on TOPPER, THE GHOST AND MS. MUIR, and Hitchcock's REBECCA.
Rounding out the movie guide are quotes from ghost films, celebrities recounting their favorite ghost movies, haunted Hollywood attractions, and an interview with Ernie Hudson (GHOSTBUSTERS). But my favorite celebrity quote has to be from David Lynch who, when asked what his favorite ghost movie was, replied, [long pensive, Lynchian pause....thinking....thinking...] I don't know.
Favorite Quote: "There is no life, my darling, until you love and have been loved. And then there is no death." - Jennie in PORTRAIT OF JENNIE.
Bottom Line: "50 Years of Ghost Movies" was a fun read and had me jotting down a few films it got me interested in. The book only covers the years 1935-85, but leaves us waiting for "Modern Ghost Movies," which is coming out soon.
Joyce Picker - Review
Horror aficionado, Staci Layne Wilson, has produced a very comprehensive guide to what you need to view on those nights when you need a good spooking. With a listing of every possible ghost movie from the mid-30's to the mid-80's, this book will give you an idea of what exactly will satisfy the craving for a haunted story.
As well as the chronological/alphabetical listing of ghost films, Wilson provides us with various fun facts that pop up every few pages. A regular on the red carpet while compiling this book, Staci had the chance to ask various celebrities what their favorite ghost movies are, the most popular choices being "The Shining," "Poltergeist," and "The Haunting." A movie critic herself, Wilson actually admits that she has never been as much in love with "The Haunting" as most seem to be. Other interesting blurbs that show up in her book are lists of haunted sites in Los Angeles, as well as prominent quotes from many of the ghost movies.
An added ghostly bonus to Wilson's book is an exclusive interview with Ernie Hudson, star of the funniest apparition movie of all time, "Ghostbusters."