#HateFilms: Ghost

In 2014 Michael Owen tweeted that he’d only seen 8 films. And if you think that’s weird you should see Ghost.

The late Patrick Swayze is a ghost in this 1990 supernatural romance or “creepy weepy” if you prefer. When he discovers his corporeal girlfriend’s (Demi Moore) life is in danger, he must send her a message through a psychic (Whoopi Goldberg) whose phoney communion with spirits turns out to be 100 proof. It’s odd that a genuine medium would go several decades before encountering a ghost, but it’s also odd that the director of Airplane! would make an erotic thriller about a dead bloke so let’s put it down to a sign of the times.

It seems necessary for films of this era to incorporate crime storylines regardless of genre: family comedies like Three Men and a Baby and romantic movies like Desperately Seeking Susan include mysteries with a level of intricacy missing from modern comedies. Here the thriller plot is more engaging than the cheesy romance, and the broad comedy is confidently handled by Jerry Zucker. While these generic elements feel mismatched and often creepy, the movie remains watchable not in spite but because of this weirdness.

With its strange mixture of wacky comedy, special effects set pieces and iconic erotic pottery scene, Ghost is a unique picture if you forget about Ricky Gervais’ Ghost Town (and you have). It works better than it should on paper, even if some of the ghost cheese has gone off.

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