My husband’s interest in ghost stories and horror movies peaks this time of year with Halloween looming on the horizon. We discussed getting some appropriately creepy movies to watch as the holiday is now less than a week away. I had been encouraging him for several months to watch Ghost with me, a now classic film from 1990 starring the beloved Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. The film brought screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin an Academy Award win for Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen). My husband kept saying it was a chick flick, but finally consented to give it a try, so we turned the TV on to Netflix streaming, and Ghost began with a BAM!
I remembered this film as being a romantic story, not all that scary, with a famous scene between Sam (Patrick Swayze), and Molly (Demi Moore) at the pottery wheel, very sensuous if somewhat tame. (The film is rated PG-13 for some strong thematic and sexual material, language, and some bloody violence.) But I found I hadn’t remembered all the nuances of the story after having only seen it once, 25 years ago!
Molly and Sam are prematurely separated when a mugger kills Sam late one night on a deserted street. Sam, however, chooses not to go to the light/heaven/another dimension, and his spirit remains on earth. He is initially confused by his transformation, and as he lurks around his house where Molly continues to live, he becomes convinced she is in danger.
He stumbles upon a spiritualist/psychic named Oda Mae Brown, famously played by Whoopi Goldberg in her Academy Award winning performance for best actress in a supporting role (she also won a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA award for this role). She lends some humor to what could have otherwise been a very sad, depressing film.
Sam appearing to Oda Mae, or rather speaking to her, throws her for a loop. He’s the first spirit she has had contact with. Sam eventually convinces her to help him speak to Molly.
There’s a hilarious scene of other ghosts visiting Oda Mae; Sam’s coming to her opened the floodgates for other departed souls who haven’t yet left earth, and she is none too happy about it.
All does not go smoothly for Sam in his efforts to protect Molly, and he takes a mentor, a scary, unstable ghost (Vincent Schiavelli) who inhabits the subway. Sam learns about the powers waiting to be harnessed by him now that he is a ghost.
The suspense is good throughout, and Patrick gives a wonderfully emotional performance as a soul yearning to make a connection with his still living true love. The ending is a tearjerker, at least for a woman, and I did shed a tear or two. My husband enjoyed the film, and his only negative comment was about the disposition of evil souls versus good souls depicted.
If you’re searching for a good film for Halloween, something metaphysical, not pure horror, Ghost is the one for you.