Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever come in contact with the unexplainable? Do you wake up at night because you can sense a presence standing over your bed? Or do you have a great aunt who claims that her long-deceased husband still roams the halls at night looking for a midnight snack? Whether you’re a skeptic or your family owns manor house that sits vacant on a foreboding hill, feared by all that have dared step foot inside, you cannot deny that ghost stories are scary. Some of our earliest (spookiest) folk tales concern the dead communicating with the living to warn them of danger, or to seek revenge for a wrongful death. Heck, even Shakespeare used ghosts! Fads come and go but humanity’s obsession with the spirit world is eternal.
We are all haunted in one way or another. We are plagued by visions of the past, tormented by the memory of friends and loved ones that we have lost, cursed by time’s arrow to live life with the pain of regret. Heck, I bet if you close and eyes and concentrate really hard, you can find a childhood memory of being scared by a horror movie. And I bet that same feeling, even if only or just a second, comes rushing back when you revisit that same scary movie as an adult. What is that? Is that nothing more than recollections? Or is that communication between you and the spirit of something that has long since past, reaching out from the beyond.
We don’t need to ever see a ghost to understand the desire to have one last opportunity to speak with some we unexpectedly lost, or to yearn for some sense of what awaits us after we die. Ghost stories, for the believer and non-believer alike, are how we process the unknown. Death awaits us all and we can either come to terms with the fear of that inevitably or find comfort in the idea that we go on. Haunted house movies explore those complicated ideas and help us to shape our own personal beliefs about the mysteries of life. They also happen to be super scary which is a huge bonus if you’re looking to scare the pants off of your friends at a sleepover.
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If you’re looking for answers in the unknown through deep-cut recommendations or looking to reconnect with a loved one by revisiting childhood favorites, let our editorial staff be your spiritual guides. We may all be in different rooms, on different continents, at different times, but we are all sitting down together to celebrate that intangible feeling stirring inside us when we focus all of our attention on the light and color projected to us from the past. If that isn’t a seance than I don’t know what is! Whatever your medium, let our team of ghost-crazed writers curate your early Halloween watchlist like advice conjured from the ether. They have pulled your tarot, they’ve looked into the bottom of your tea cup, and they have read your palm. Okay, maybe they haven’t done those things- but they do have some movie recommendations they think you’re really going to enjoy.
This month to Nightmare on Film Street we’ve got ghosts running through us! Not only are we featuring 4 bone-chilling haunted house films on the podcast, but we’re also highlighting haunted homes we wish were available to rent on Airbnb, from Will Mom LIke This? columnist Riley Cassidy. Our resident expert on all scary things scientific, Nina Nesseth, will be analysing why the brain perceives ghosts and spirits, as well as haunted high school stories perfect for back-to-school season! Julio Ibarra will be breaking down the use of Satanic practices in the entire Paranormal Activity franchise, not to mention an overview of Mexico’s greatest horror filmmakers in a celebration of the country’s independence from Spain.
We’re taking a look at horror’s best depictions of the afterlife and highlighting some of Stephen King’s most kickass female characters for the legendary writer’s birthday, courtesy of Kim Morrison. Joshua Brooks Anderson will be saluting Sarah Michelle Gellar in his Where [sc]Are They Now? column, Emily Gagne is taking a deep dive into the fashions of Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, and Tony Self has risked his eternal soul to let you know which ghosts for friendly enough to call your paranormal pals. Needless to say, this is just the tip of the planchette. September is loaded with ghosty content for you to enjoy! Join ussss.
Spirits above me! Give me a sign! Will we be joyous or will we be damned? Let us know what messages you’re receiving from the other side over on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!