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Classic Ghost Movies The Innocents Classic Ghost Movies The Innocents


18 of the Best Classic Ghost Movies



Boo!! We all love a good spine tingler and ghost movies tend to generate more tingle than most. Here is our pick for 18 of the best movies where ghosts take centre stage.

Classic Ghost Movies The Amazing Mr Blunden

The Amazing Mr Blunden

The Amazing Mr Blunden 1972
Classic kids’ chiller from Lionel Jeffries, director of The Railway Children. Features a malevolent Diana Dors.

Beetlejuice 1988
Newly-dead couple Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis hire Michael Keaton’s insane “bio-exorcist” to rid their house of the living. Tim Burton masterfully inverts the haunted house story.

Classic Ghost Movies Blithe Spirit

Blithe Spirit

Blithe Spirit 1945
David Lean directs Noël Coward’s supernatural comedy about a husband tormented by the ghost of his first wife.

The Changeling 1979
Widower George C Scott moves into a house that has been unoccupied for 12 years. But if it’s unoccupied, what is all that noise upstairs, and whose is that ball that bouncing down the stairs?

Ghost 1990
Ethereal Patrick Swayze helps his grieving widow, Demi Moore, with a spot of therapeutic potting, providing erotic experiences from beyond the grave into the bargain.

Classic Ghost Movies Ghostbusters


Ghostbusters 1984
“Who you gonna call?” A bunch of ‘Saturday Night Live’ alumni in their prime, of course.

The Ghost And Mrs Muir 1947
A lonely widow strikes up a relationship with the ghost of a sea captain. Another tale of romance from beyond the grave.

The Haunting 1963
“Can’t you feel it? It’s alive… watching.” The house that is. Not a place you’d like to spend an evening in.

The Haunting 1999
Can’t you feel it? It’s dead… at the box office. Dubious remake of the above.

House On Haunted Hill 1999
Another ridiculous remake. But with added Geoffrey Rush, camping it up exquisitely.

Classic Ghost Movies The Innocents

The Innocents

The Innocents 1961
Highly influential adaptation of Henry James’ seminal story ‘The Turn Of The Screw’. Are they ghosts or is naive young governess Deborah Kerr simply going doolally?

The Others 2001
More than a fleeting nod to The Innocents in this eerie, stylish film starring Nicole Kidman.

Poltergeist 1982
“They’re heee-er!” Spooks in the telly.

Classic Ghost Movies The Shining

The Shining

The Shining 1980
“Here’s Johnny!” Writer’s block turns into something far worse as Jack Nicholson loses it at the isolated, midwinter Overlook Hotel.

The Sixth Sense 1999
Haley Joel Osment sees dead people. Bruce Willis whispers reassurance.

Truly Madly Deeply 1991
Dead husband and his ghostly buddies start to become unwelcome as living wife falls for living boyfriend in this popular British film from Anthony Minghella.

Classic Ghost Movies The Uninvited

The Uninvited

The Uninvited (1944)
Spookiness by the sea in this vintage chiller.

What Lies Beneath (2000)
There’s a ghost in the bath! No there isn’t! Am I losing it? Michelle Pfeiffer, ignored wife of high-flying doctor Harrison Ford, starts freaking out in Zemeckis’ supernatural mystery.



Kick-Ass TV Heroines: Xena – Warrior Princess




Xena Warrior Princess

What was not to love about Xena? As Lucy Lawless says: “Xena is a bad-ass, kick-ass, pre-Mycenaean girl.” Evildoers, clearly, must stand down, but not only bad guys (and girls) have Xena-phobia. Even heroes quake when she swings her broadsword.

Originally created as a syndicated complement to Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena pretty much kicked Herc to the curb. It was like when the Bionic Woman made us lose interest in the Six Million Dollar Man–only more so.

Unlike Lindsay Wagner’s early half-woman, half-machine, Xena wasn’t prone to frailty. Nor did she need robot parts. In fact, the Warrior Princess never lost. If she’s down, it’s not for long.

Plus, she was in touch with the dark side: This big-boned bruiser had definite moments of blood lust, as well as lust of some other varieties. Garbed in a leather miniskirt and armed with her trademark razor-edged, boomerang-action chakram, we watched Xena single-leggedly kick down entire platoons of Roman soldiers.

Sure, there were murmurings about Xena and her softer female sidekick, Gabrielle (actress Renée O’Connor). So what if they liked to conserve bathwater by doubling up? And what’s wrong with close friends frenching once in a while?

Then again, maybe it was true–and there’s anything wrong with that.

Actress: Lucy Lawless
Show: Xena: Warrior Princess
Character: Xena

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Classic TV Revisited: McMillan And Wife




McMillan And Wife

Starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James, McMillan and Wife was a super cute crime-solving saga from the 1970s made for the NBC’s Mystery Movie series.

Who were they?
Hubby was the debonair San Francisco police commissioner Stewart McMillan.

And wifey?
Sally was a foxy, rather scatterbrained dame with a knack for finding corpses.

Worked down the morgue did she?
Hardly. Sally’s finds were usually in some glitzy mansion which the couple were frequenting for a weekend cocktail party. She also had a habit of getting her life threatened or being kidnapped.

Who was in it?
Tragic Hollywood star Rock Hudson no less. He took on Stewart McMillan in his first TV role, after years as a matinee idol with movies such as Giant.

Fans of the lantern-jawed star were dismayed when he went public about having Aids. He had long kept his homosexuality secret. He carried on working in ’80s glam drama Dynasty, but make-up could not disguise the deterioration of this once-statuesque man. He died in 1985, aged 59.

What about Sally?
That role fell to raven-locked Susan Saint James. The Ali MacGraw lookalike was previously in shows such as Alias Smith And Jones and The Name of the Game.

Other characters
A vital ingredient to McMillan And Wife was sharp-tongued housekeeper Mildred, played by Nancy Walker. Somebody needed to keep the place tidy while they gallivanted about solving crime.

Famous guest stars?
Kim Basinger

The couple’s conception?
Like Hart To Hart, the idea was borrowed from Dashiell Hammett’s Thin Man books of the ’30s.

Gritty crime drama?
Hardly. These were cosy whodunnit cases, where the brutality of murder was never portrayed. The show was more about the interplay between McMillan and Sally.

Had viewers arrested?
Certainly in the US. It was the fifth highest-rated show in 1972 and 1973.

Fate of the golden couple?
Susan Saint James quit in 1976 over a contractual dispute. Nancy Walker also packed away her duster as housekeeper Mildred.

The dame’s exit was a fatal blow?
Certainly for the character of Sally – she was killed off in a plane crash. But Rock soldiered on with new assistant Sgt Steve DiMaggio (Richard Gilliland). The show became McMillan.

A winner?
Audiences dwindled and the plug was pulled.

Distinguishing features?
Cosy pillow talk, cocktail parties, Rock Hudson, pyjamas and numerous corpses.

Do say
Let’s go to bed. Turn the light out, darling.

Don’t say
Must you eat toast in bed, darling. Apologies, but I’ve got terrible flatulence. Separate bedrooms.

Not to be confused with
My Wife Next Door, Harold Macmillan, The Merry Wives Of Windsor and Mr And Mrs.

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Classic TV Revisited: The Royal




The Royal

The Royal was an ITV drama commission and was inspired by its sister programme Heartbeat.

The lowdown: This nostalgic family drama is set in the swinging 1960s and centres on the staff of a cottage hospital in Yorkshire. Newly qualified doctor David Cheriton (Julian Ovenden) is determined to make a difference to the world and arrives at St Aidan’s Royal Free Hospital in Elinsby full of big ideas. But he clashes with the hospital’s secretary TJ Middleditch (Ian Carmichael) who is determined to run things his way. Then there is the Matron (Wendy Craig) who rules her nurses with a rod of iron and tries in vain to stop them being distracted by the handsome arrival.

Memorable moments: Watch out for former Heartbeat favourite Bill Maynard who crosses dramas and continents as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass. Greengrass has returned from a Caribbean holiday with a mystery illness but that doesn’t stop him trying to earn a fast buck. It doesn’t take long before Claude attracts Matron’s ire.

Trivia: The Royal is a family affair for real life husband and wife Robert Daws (Ormerod) and Amy Robbins (Weatherill). No fewer than seven members of their clan have appeared in the series including their daughters and stepson.

Michelle Hardwick, who played receptionist Lizzie, says her favourite moment in the whole series didn’t come on screen but in the actors’ green room. She says: “I was sitting in there with Wendy Craig and Honor Blackman and we were having a lovely conversation. I sat back and thought ‘Wow, this is great, I can’t wait to tell my gran’.”

A modern day set version called The Royal Today aired 7 January – 14 March 2008.

First broadcast: 2003

Starred: Wendy Craig, Ian Carmichael, Michael Starke, Robert Daws and Julian Ovenden

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