Ghosts have really gotten a bad rap in the movies ― in Poltergeist, The Shining, and Paranormal Activity, to name just a few. It’s totally unfair to all the benevolent supernatural beings out there who just want to live their afterlives without being exorcised or screamed at.
Come to think of it, being haunted by our favorite cinematic specters doesn’t sound so unappealing ― it comes complete with friendship, song and dance routines, and, if you're lucky, a little otherworldly romance. Here are nine movie ghosts we wouldn’t mind hanging around.
9. Cyrus & Stuart from The Frighteners
Everybody needs a solid circle of friends, and yes, it’s probably preferable if they’re alive. But since Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox) sees ghosts, what’s the difference? Stuart is a nerd who died in the 50’s, Cyrus a gangster from the 70’s. Both provide comic relief before proving useful in the fight against a supernatural serial killer in Peter Jackson’s 1996 thriller. They're loyal, funny, and they've got your back ― so who really cares if they're corporeal?
8. Shoeless Joe from Field of Dreams
If a ghost asked you to build a baseball diamond in your cornfield, would you do it? What if it was the ghost of famous Black Sox player Shoeless Joe Jackson? What if it was going to ultimately lead you to play baseball and get closure with your dead father? As ghostly missions go, this one is pretty feel-good and unselfish. Aw! Heartwarming!
7. Slimer from Ghostbusters
Okay, so he’s not exactly easy on the eyes. And it's true, feeding his enormous appetite could get expensive. Plus he gets his name from the trail of goo he leaves everywhere he goes, so you may want to cover the furniture. Still, like a dopey pet dog, Slimer would always be good for a laugh when you're blue ― how can you keep a straight face with this guy around?
6. Dr. Malcolm Crowe from The Sixth Sense
Spoiler alert ― Bruce Willis is not alive. Seeing dead people has got to be pretty traumatic for a little kid like Haley Joel Osment, so how convenient is it that one of the ghosts he sees is a child psychologist? Ghosts can’t cash a check, so he's basically looking at free therapy for life. Jackpot!
5. Elliot from Ghost Dad
Bill Cosby plays a father of three who tricks a devil-worshipping cab driver into thinking he’s Satan, causing him to drive off a bridge. (Don’t you just hate it when that happens?) But you can’t call him a deadbeat ghost dad, because he returns to his kids even after he’s died ― and even goes back to work as a ghost in order to provide for them! Now that’s responsible. Fortunately, the funnyman is able to reverse his fate by jumping back into his body, but even if things hadn’t worked out that way, it's nice to know even a deceased parents can keep the paychecks coming. Funerals are expensive, you know.
4. Casper from Casper
Sure, that roly-poly CGI spook is cute, in its own way, but the real reason Casper the Friendly Ghost makes this list is because when he’s granted a wish to turn human for one night, he turns into 90’s teen heartthrob Devon Sawa! The end of the film, when Casper kisses Christina Ricci just before the clock strikes ten and he turns into a translucent blob again, is one of those awesomely cheesy movie moments that defined our childhood ideal of romance. Thanks to Devon Sawa, no suitor will ever be quite good enough for us. Gee, thanks, Casper.
3. Betelgeuse from Beetlejuice
Now imagine that you’re a happy young couple (played by Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin!) who’s had a stroke of bad luck ― now you’re dead, and there’s an obnoxious new family in your house. Who do you turn to for help? Betelgeuse! With his crude humor and some disgusting habits, Betelgeuse may be a bit of an acquired taste personality-wise, but he knows his stuff when it comes to the afterlife. Michael Keaton's zany performance ensures that there's never a dull moment, and if you ever wanted to force your enemies into a spontaneous rendition of "Day Oh," Betelgeuse is your man.
2. Harrison, Penny, Julia, & Milo from Heart & Souls
These four, who all perished in the same bus accident, have unfinished business. But they don’t get all mean and poltergeisty about it like some ghosts do. Instead, they hang around Robert Downey Jr., who was born at the exact moment they all died, partaking in the occasional musical number (which, apparently, is kind of a thing when you're dead). Admit it ― haven’t you always wished for a secret quartet of backup dancers that only you can see?
1. Sam from Ghost
Obviously #1. We only hope that real-life Patrick Swayze’s afterlife is as awesome as the one from this movie, where he teans up with hilarious fake-psychic Whoopi Goldberg to solve a mystery, then helps Demi Moore make the sexiest pottery ever. “Unchained Melody” will forever remind us of dreamy, deceased Patrick and one of the greatest film love stories of all time. When it comes to romance, this is one case when being dead isn't quite a dealbreaker.
Did we miss any of your favorite movie ghosts? Let us know in the comments!