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The Scariest Ghost Movies

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20. The Others (2001)

The Others DVD
© Buena Vista

The Others mines the vintage gothic setting of a World War II-era mansion for spooky thrills in this tale of a mother and her two young photosensitive children stuck in their house as they await the return of their soldier father. Of course, the house just happens to be haunted. Marvelously paced with a delicious twist ending, this is the kind of high-end cinema that appeals to viewers who don't even like horror movies.

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19. Mama (2013)

'Mama' movie poster.
© Universal
It's one thing to say that Mama is creepy, but what's surprising is how dramatic and, frankly, heartwrenching it is. Drama and horror combine with stunning visuals and assured direction in this uncompromising hit.

18. The Haunting (1963)

The Haunting DVD
© Warner Bros.

This old-fashioned ghost story about experts investigating a haunted house delivers scares without the sight of a single ghost. Instead, director Robert Wise expertly manipulates sounds and shadows to convey the sense of being surrounded by malevolent forces. Even in black and white, The Haunting still manages to have an impact today -- much more so than the bland 1999 remake.

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17. Ghostwatch (1992)

Ghostwatch
© BBC
This groundbreaking British TV movie is one of the earliest POV/"found footage" horror movies, purporting to be a live broadcast of a supposedly haunted house. Utilizing techniques that would later gain widespread notoriety in films like Paranormal Activity, The Blair Witch Project and REC, this superbly executed "mockumentary" proves terrifying because it's so realistic and because it plays so cleverly on our fears by inserting almost subliminal imagery to mess with our minds.
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16. The Baby's Room (2006)

6 films to keep you awake
© Lionsgate

In this frantic entry in the Spanish series Six Films to Keep You Awake, a couple discovers that they can view ghosts in their new home through a baby cam.

15. The Conjuring (2013)

'The Conjuring' movie poster.
© Warner Bros.
The Conjuring is a haunted house pic in the classic tradition of The Amityville Horror, The Haunting and The Innocents: a low-key fright flick focusing on atmosphere more than dazzling effects or blood 'n guts. It's also unusually emotional for a horror movie, even as it scares the pants off us.

14. The Sixth Sense (1999)

The Sixth Sense DVD
© Buena Vista

Like Lady in White, The Sixth Sense generates scares by putting you in the position of a helpless child who discovers that there really are monsters in his closet...and under his bed...and hanging from his ceiling. Its now-clichéd "I see dead people" line and well-worn twist ending make people forget how many terrifying moments the film has: the tent scene, the boy who wants to show him his father's gun, the hanged ghosts, the angry closet ghost and more.

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13. The Pact (2012)

'The Pact' movie poster.
© IFC Midnight
This refreshingly restrained, muted little haunted house tale about a young woman's spooky experience in her childhood home following the death of her mother builds terror within a fascinating mystery as the woman uncovers the secrets in her mother's past.

12. Ju-on: The Grudge (2003)

Ju-on: The Grudge DVD
© Lions Gate

If Ringu introduced much of the world to the "yūrei" figure (the long-haired Japanese female ghost), then Ju-on: The Grudge took it to a new level of fear by making her more animalistic, sadistic, unstoppable, irredeemable and really, really clingy.

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11. Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist DVD
© Warner Bros.

It's easy to forget how scary this PG-rated movie about a suburban family's house haunting was in its day, especially to little kids with clown dolls in their rooms.

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