Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Ghost [1990]

US movie (1990). Paramount/Howard W Koch. Pr Lisa Weinstein. Exec pr Steven-Charles Jaffe. Dir Jerry Zucker. Vfx Laura Buff, Richard Edlund, Terry Frazee, Industrial Light & Magic, Kathy Kean, Bruce Nicholson, John Van Vliet. Screenplay Bruce Joel Rubin. Starring Rick Aviles (Willie Lopez), Whoopi Goldberg (Oda Mae Brown), Tony Goldwyn (Carl Bruner), Demi Moore (Molly Jensen), Vincent Schiavelli (Subway Ghost), Patrick Swayze (Sam Wheat). 127 mins. Colour.

Not long after discovering a financial fraud, yuppie Sam is killed by a "mugger", Lopez. As a Ghost he haunts the apartment he and lover Molly shared. He sees the "mugger" searching there for something and planning to kill Molly. He enlists fake medium Oda Mae (> Spiritualism) – who is aghast to discover she can actually hear a spirit voice – to warn Molly of the danger. Molly, reluctantly persuaded, tells all to Sam's quondam best friend Carl, in fact the criminal behind it all. Thereafter the tale is a fairly orthodox thriller, its fantasy interest lying primarily in: the lessons, given to Sam by a paranoid ghost haunting the subway, on how to manipulate matter; the appearance of Demons to take the Souls of the dead to Hell; Oda Mae's suddenly increased clientele among the spirits with whom she is now able to converse freely; and the discovery by Sam and Oda Mae alike of the phenomenon of Possession, whereby Sam can briefly adopt her body but at great penalty in terms of his own exhaustion.

The spfx are generally splendid and G was hugely successful; it sparked off a small subgenre of dead-lover movies, including Truly Madly Deeply (1990 tvm), Ghosts Can't Do It (1990) and Dead Again (1991). Notable among precursors to them all were The Ghost and Mrs Muir (1947) and The Dead Can't Lie (1988). [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.