Audiences love a good ghost story, but the characters who never get enough credit are the ghosts themselves. They’re the all-stars who keep the story moving with a frightening arsenal of tricks: making doors open by themselves, creating footsteps in an empty house, causing walls to drip blood — you know, the subtle things. With “Paranormal Activity 4″ set to hit theaters this weekend, moviegoers are giddy with the thought of getting scared out of their minds once again by evil spirits like these.
So, to get in the haunting mood, Moviefone is taking a look at the scariest ghosts in movie history. From classic black-and-white horrors to modern blockbuster freaks, these spirits are sure to send a chill down your spine. And if you get too creeped out by their cinematic scares, just keep telling yourself: it’s only a movie. (Warning: Spoilers ahead)
RELATED: The most ridiculous horror movies in history
18. The Mom from ‘The Sixth Sense’
It’s just safer to wet the bed.
17. The Shadow Demons from ‘Ghost’
Everyone remembers “Ghost” for its sweet romance, but let’s not forget the genuinely unnerving creatures that wail in terror as they drag your soul to eternal damnation. Totally ’90s!
16. Katie in ‘Paranormal Activity’
The mystery surrounding Katie and Kristi’s hauntings are still being unraveled, but in the meantime, it’s best to never go back to sleep. Ever.
15. Blake and the Pirates from ‘The Fog’
One of John Carpenter’s most-underrated movies is an old-school tribute to every creepy campfire tale you’ve ever heard.
14. The Headless Horseman from ‘The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad’
Disney: frightening children everywhere since your grandparents were little.
13. Tomas from ‘The Orphanage’
Tomas was a little boy with a deformed face who drowned after being tormented by his peers. Just like Jason Voorhees! He’s off to a great start!
12. Joseph from ‘The Changeling’
Joseph has a valid reason for being so vengeful, so it’s best to stay on his good side.
11. The Minion from ‘The Sentinel’
<em>What did she think was going to happen when she walked up to him?</em>
10. The Librarian from ‘Ghostbusters’
Even if the movie is a comedy classic, that first ghostly experience is terrifying jolt.
9. Hill House from ‘The Haunting’
Every movie that uses the “less is more” approach for scares takes it cues from this gothic masterpiece.
8. The Daughter from ‘The Others’ ‘
Nicole Kidman is a far braver person than we could ever be. Sorry daughter, but the moment we see the wrinkly hand, you’re on your own.
7. The Old Woman from ‘House on Haunted Hill’ (1959)
This might be the jumpiest of all “jump” scares.
6. The Lamia from ‘Drag Me to Hell’
That’s the drawback with gypsy curses: they’re just as horrific in broad daylight.
5. The Candyman from ‘Candyman’
If our choice is either the Candyman or a swarm of bees… we’ll take the Candyman.
4. The Man from ‘Carnival of Souls’
This moody, dream-like cult hit from the ’60s proves that the only downside to surviving a near-death accident is being chased by a ghoulish weirdo that only you can see.
3. Sadako from ‘Ringu’
Sure Samara may have freaked people out in the big-budget Hollywood remake, but the Japanese originator is spine-shivering.
2. The Beast from ‘Poltergeist’
1. The Twins from ‘The Shining’