While there are a lot of spooky ghost movies out there, things are not always as they seem in the world of horror. This means that while our main characters may come face-to-face with ghosts, the undead are not always the bad guys.
In fact, sometimes, the ghosts are there to offer some helpful hints, tips, and advice from the other side, giving a unique perspective that a living person would be incapable of. Here are some of the best examples of ghostly guides who lend a helping hand and dish out advice to the living.
10. The Orphanage (2007)
The ghosts in The Orphanage are more than a little mischievous, and when Laura moves back to the orphanage she grew up in, the spirits take a liking to her son, Simón. While Simón claims he has made friends with a little boy called Tomás, Laura doesn’t believe him, but she starts to question that when Simón goes missing.
After months of searching, Laura eventually decides to give the ghosts what she thinks they want and play the games they used to play together as children. Now that the ghosts are able to have a little fun and welcome Laura back to her childhood home, they use a game to help show her what happened to Simón, so she can finally be at peace.
9. Thirteen Ghosts (2001)
Dennis is a psychic who ends up getting trapped in a ghost-powered death machine of a house after he tries to get payment from his old employer, Cyrus. Trapped with him are Cyrus’ nephew, Arthur, and his family.
Arthur and Dennis team up in a bid to save Arthur’s children, but Dennis ends up sacrificing himself to the ghosts, the Hammer and the Juggernaut, so that Arthur will be safe. In a house already full of ghosts, Dennis returns after his death to give Arthur the encouragement he needs to make a terrifying leap into the heart of the machine and be with his children.
8. House on Haunted Hill (1999)
The 1999 remake of House on Haunted Hill sees a group of money-hungry party guests locked in an abandoned psychiatric hospital with a bunch of murderous spirits. The promise of a million dollars each is enough to keep the partygoers quiet for a little while, but when guests start dying, they are soon looking for a way out.
In the film’s climax, only Eddie and Sara are left alive. Sara manages to make a break out one of the windows, but Eddie remains trapped inside. Luckily for him, the ghost of Pritchett is on hand to save the day. While Pritchett has been quite cowardly and only caring for himself until now, after he dies, he stands up to the mass of spirits to ensure Eddie survives.
7. Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers (1987)
Over the years, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy have come up against a healthy mix of real monsters and criminals pretending to be monsters to cover up their crimes. Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers manages to give us both when Shaggy inherits a house from his deceased uncle. The property seems to be haunted by a headless horseman and the ghost of Shaggy’s uncle, warning them to leave the plantation immediately. The gang decides to call some ghost exterminators, who turn out to be ghosts themselves – the Boo Brothers. After all, who better to get rid of the undead than a real bunch of ghosts?
The Boo Brothers are based on the Marx Brothers, and they’re not very good at their jobs, but they prove extremely helpful allies to Scooby, Shaggy, and Scrappy as they solve their latest mystery.
6. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
When Jack is killed by a werewolf that then infects his friend David as they backpack across England, you would think things couldn’t get any worse for him. But it turns out that if a werewolf kills you, you are stuck in limbo, unable to find peace until the werewolf’s bloodline has been wiped out.
While Jack constantly following David around telling him to kill himself may not seem like the most helpful course of action, Jack is actually doing everything possible to save his friend. He wants David to end this whole thing before he hurts anyone and has to deal with that guilt. He’s also giving David the chance to save his soul rather than live as a blood-thirsty monster.
5. Idle Hands (1999)
Pnub and Mick are perhaps two of the best friends in horror. When Anton accidentally murders both of them after one of his hands becomes possessed with a demon, they decide to ditch Heaven to continue hanging out with him, and even forgive him pretty quickly for the whole murder thing.
While this is largely due to their laziness, the friends do their best to help Anton as he battles with his evil hand, and eventually ends up chasing it to the Halloween dance at the high school. The friends even return after they’re crossed over to Heaven as Anton’s guardian angels, to ensure he continues to live a happy life.
4. Doctor Sleep (2019)
If there’s someone who knows the difference between helpful ghosts and straight-up terrifying ghosts, it’s Danny Torrance. After the events of The Shining (1980), Danny is still plagued by the ghosts from the Overlook Hotel.
Luckily for Danny, Dick Hallorann has managed to stay in Danny’s life even after he dies and can still pass on some life-saving advice to Danny. Dick tells Danny how he can lock away the ghosts from the Overlook in boxes in his mind so they can’t trouble him any longer. Not only does this make it easier for Danny to live his life, but it also arms him with the just the weapon he needs to defeat Rose the Hat.
3. Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004)
Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed picks up right where Ginger Snaps (2000) left off. Ginger is dead, and Brigitte is still infected with the werewolf virus, though she has been staving off the infection with regular doses of monkshood. You could argue that the Ginger that appears to Brigitte as her condition worsens is simply a symptom of Brigitte’s slipping grasp on reality, but I like to think it’s definitely the ghost of her big sister coming back to look after her. Ginger tries to give her little sister advice on her rapid changing and hopes that Brigitte now understands some of Ginger’s actions in the first movie.
While Ginger’s advice may not seem incredibly helpful, it seems that she is mainly trying to get Brigitte to come to terms with her inevitable transformation, rather than constantly fighting it. Brigitte thought she could save Ginger, and she was wrong, so Ginger wants her sister to stop running and accept her fate.
2. Ghost Ship (2002)
Katie is perhaps one of the most helpful ghosts in horror ever, as she’s sick of seeing people die on the cruise liner she’s been trapped on since she was murdered. When a salvage crew comes aboard the abandoned ship, Katie tries her best to help them escape and avoid the same fate as her.
She takes a particular liking to Epps, who is the only member of the crew who seems able to see Katie. She tries to stop the team from accidentally blowing up their own boat, and gives Epps a handy ghost flashback to show her everything that happened on the ship the day everyone died. Finally, when Epps is forced to blow the boat up, Katie guides her out of the wreckage to ensure she survives.
1. Pet Sematary (1989)
When Louis Creed sees college student Victor Pascow die in Pet Sematary (1989), Louis is left more than a little spooked by the encounter. However, that’s not the last time he sees Victor, as the student’s ghost appears in the Creed house and leads Louis to the Pet Sematary to warn him against ever using it. Louis, of course, doesn’t listen to Victor, and so Victor takes matters into his own hands.
Victor appears in a dream to their young daughter Ellie, and Ellie’s distress is enough to send her mother, Rachel, back across to the country to check on her husband. He even helps Rachel on her journey, in the hopes it will enable her to reach Louis in time.
Sometimes dead advice is better, amiright? Let us know what ghost you get your helpful tips from over on Twitter, in the official Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club, and be sure to check out all of our Fantasia 2020 coverage HERE