Halloweek: 5 Favorite Ghosts

Throw a sheet on and let's play spooky-scary ghosts! This is a fun list of my favorite revenants, and I hope you'll make the planchette move in the comments and tell us who YOU'RE favorite apparitions are, whether from folklore, literature, TV, movies or games. Here are some of my top choices...
Pac-Man's Blinky (red), Pinky (pink), Inky (blue) and Clyde (orange). Starting with something light, but basically to ask someone where I can find the ultimate arcade fanfic with the definitive stories of each of these ghosts and how they were murdered then condemned to be eternally eaten by the yellow pie chart inhabiting their neon maze afterlife. I find it entirely amusing that these guys are each programmed with their own personalities: Blinky is a chaser, Pinky an ambusher, Clyde dumb as rocks, and fickle Inky randomly switches between these behaviors. Outside the game, like in various cartoons, their personalities have varied because, well, cartoon writers are heathens.
Gentleman Ghost. This Hawkman villain may have made my list based on his look alone. So cool. But although I don't care about Hawkman and Hawkwoman being repeat reincarnations and all that Egyptian jazz, I think G.G. actually makes it worthwhile. See, he's been cursed to walk this Earth until his killers pass to the Other Side(TM). But since these are Nighthawk and Cinnamon, western heroes who justifiably killed him when he was a 19th-Century highwayman, and THEY were actually the Hawks, themselves doomed to be perpetually reincarnated, his curse is a lasting one! No wonder he's cranky. Just look at a list of Hawkpeople villains some time, then tell me Gentleman Ghost isn't easily the best of all of them.
Hamlet's Father. If I rated MacBeth as highly as I do Hamlet, you might have seen Banquo in this spot, but my Hamlet fetish is well known and unavoidable. I've seen many interpretations of the character (which indeed has two interpretations within the play - the demonic warrior and the kind shade), and if I had to pick just one, it would probably have to be Sam Shepard in Hamlet 2000; there's just a real melancholy to him, and a very real sense that this was Hamlet's father. I've liked others, but none have affected me as much. Stagings don't often get the pathos of the character right.
Annie Sawyer. I really liked Being Human, a drama-comedy about three roommates who just happen to be a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost, and Lenora Crichlow's Annie was essential to my interest. She's full of quirks which have to do with her ghostly condition, including being trapped in the same clothes, but also making tea obsessively. The four seasons she participated in track her evolution as a character and a spirit, and the mythology surrounding her is more original than that of the vampires and werewolves, creatures we're perhaps more familiar with at this point. Sweet and vulnerable at first, she grows into the den mother of the cast, and ultimately saves the world.
Chinese ghosts - Nü gui. In the folklore category, there's an embarrassment of riches. Every culture has their ghosts, whether specific or generic, but for me, the most intriguing are Chinese female ghosts that visit you in the night to make love to you and suck out your yang. These entrancing succubi are very effective in films, at that rate, and were young women wronged or sexually abused in life, seeking righteous revenge on the living. Legend goes that if such a woman commits suicide wearing a red dress, she will become Nü gui, and be perceived as a beautiful, long-haired woman in white, at least until it's too late. It's possible for the family of a murdered girl to wear red at the funeral to force her soul to become its own avenger. China has a particularly varied take on ghosts, if you care to research it.

Obviously, there are a lot of potential honorary mentions. I've been thinking about The Ghost & Mrs. Muir lately, wondering what I'd think of that show today and its ghostly Captain Daniel Gregg, for example. But perhaps you're a big fan of Slimer. Or the Headless Horseman makes your hair stand on end. Or you're all about Casper, or Patrick Swayze's pottery maker, or Beetlejuice, or the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future, or... well, I'm sure you can cast your write-in votes without my help.

3 comments:

Toby'c said...

First that comes to mind for me is Sayo Aisaka, a minor character from my favourite manga series Mahou Sensei Negima. Despite being dead for over sixty years, she still has a place in Negi's class list and a permanent seat in the classroom, yet no one finds this strange or even notices until she starts trying to appear to them in chapter 74 (one of my favourites). Her day in the limelight episode of the first anime series was likewise a favourite.

A few runners-up include Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington in the Harry Potter books, the various ghosts in the first two series of Round the Twist (and, by extension, Paul Jennings' short stories - A Good Tip For Ghosts is a standout), and Mia Fey and Dahlia Hawthorne in the Ace Attorney games.

Shotgun Godin said...

My 5 favorites in no particuliar order:

Boo - Been a big part of my gaming life since the very beginning. With the two Luigi's Mansion on top of the classic Mario Bros game, I learned to just love this bad guy!

Gengar - Hands down my favorite ghost type Pokémon! It definitely have something to do with nostalgia. Always been a fan of the 1st gen but I also love the new one. Chandelure is my number two.

Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense - Did this movie popped in my head because I really enjoyed it or because I've been listening to way too much Lonely Island in the last couple of days? Your guess is as good as mine!

Ghost army in LOTR - I mean the Ring Wraith are pretty cool, but they're super evil. The ghost army that joins Aragorn at the end... well middle, this movie is so long!... of The King Return are just kick ass. Loved them in the book, loved them in the movie. Glad that the extended cut gave them more screen time.

Ghost - Jon Snow's direwolf just because it's a god damn direwolf! Who doesn't want one?!

Toby'c said...

Oh, and LeChuck from The Secret of Monkey Island.

 

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