Most ghosts are scary—that’s generally what they’re known for—but some ghosts are more like pests. They barge into your life and instead of giving you nightmares, they give you headaches, so much so that you’d almost rather be spooked instead. Let’s look at some of the most annoying movie ghosts ever.
Slimer is one of the greatest ghost characters ever, but would you really want this “disgusting blob” (credit to Ray Stantz) in your house? Or perhaps rampaging around your swanky hotel hallway, sloppily gobbling up room-service leftovers? Slimer, who didn’t actually get that name until The Real Ghostbusters cartoon came out a couple of years after the hit movie, has since become a lovable fan favorite, with plenty of his own merch and roles in subsequent Ghostbusters movies and games. But even though we adore him, we suspect that Slimer is best experienced in very small doses, and definitely never when food is involved.
Neil Jordan’s 1988 supernatural rom-com, set at a crumbling Irish castle that’s fake-haunted for the benefit of tourists until some actual ghosts pop their heads up, is a magnificently terrible movie. That’s mainly because every character, living or dead, is just instantly unlikable. Liam Neeson and Daryl Hannah play Martin and Mary, High Spirits’ main ghost characters. At first, they’re stuck in a supernatural time loop, doomed to replay Martin’s brutal murder of his new bride Mary—a grim scenario that’s quickly brushed aside (and later joked about) when Jack (Steve Guttenberg), an American visiting the castle, accidentally intervenes.
While Mary’s falling for Jack, Martin takes a shine to Jack’s shrill wife, Sharon (Beverly D’Angelo). Many off-putting shenanigans ensure, but Martin showing off his giant ghost dong, pursuing Sharon around the castle grounds in a haunted bus, and then tricking her into killing herself so they can be together forever (something that’s, again, played for laughs) is stone-cold obnoxious.
This 2008 comedy begins as philandering husband Frank (Greg Kinnear) gets squashed by a bus, and self-loathing dentist Bertram (Ricky Gervais) almost expires during a colonoscopy. Bertram’s near-death experience carries a strange side effect: he’s able to communicate with NYC’s resident population of very needy ghosts. Jealous from beyond the grave despite his own wandering eye, Frank starts incessantly pestering Bertram to sabotage the new relationship his widow, Gwen (Tea Leoni), has sparked with a do-gooder lawyer; things get even more complicated when the dentist starts to fall for Gwen himself. Despite his asshole behavior on Earth, Frank eventually redeems himself and finally finds the peace he’s so desperately seeking (see: his inclusion on our very different sort of ghost list). But he is downright unbearable to be around until he gets to that point.
Casper’s rude, boisterous uncles treat their nephew like garbage and delight in tormenting ghost expert Dr. Harvey (Bill Pullman) with pranks galore—until they take a shine to the guy and plot to off him so he can join their ghost gang. Then, when he accidentally causes his own death, they delight in their good fortune even as Harvey’s daughter, Kat (Christina Ricci), despairs at her father’s ecto-form. Fortunately, Harvey’s able to revive thanks to an invention left behind by Casper’s own long-deceased father—and the Ghostly Trio eventually ends up putting their troublemaking skills to good use for once, scaring off the middle-school bullies who’re plotting to ruin Kat’s Halloween party.
The Haunted Mansion is nobody’s favorite Eddie Murphy movie, and also nobody’s favorite movie based on a Disney theme park ride. But amid all its ostensibly humorous cackling, harmonizing, and disembodied apparitions, the 2003 comedy does have one exceptionally frustrating specter, in the form of Ramsley (Terence Stamp). He’s the ghostly butler who’s the reason the mansion is haunted in the first place—and also not above committing additional murders to finally secure his place in the afterlife. He’s not just annoying, he’s also a condescending, manipulative, evil-plan-making jerkface.
This fizzy riff on A Christmas Carol, the most timeless ghost story of them all, stars Matthew McConaughey (several years prior to his career refurbish via True Detective and Oscar gold) as a toxic womanizer named Connor who starts to regret his life choices when he reconnects with his first love, played by Jennifer Garner. Then, he really sees the error of his ways thanks to ghosts from his past, present, and future, plus a bonus apparition: his dearly departed Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), a lifelong lothario who pops up à la Jacob Marley (except wearing sunglasses indoors), gleefully warning Connor about the humiliations he’ll be forced to endure. He’s creepy as hell (he calls his car “the stabbin’ wagon”) and though he’s full of advice for Connor, he hasn’t changed his ways even in the afterlife—hitting on a ghost teen played by Emma Stone! To quote her character’s response, ewwwww.
Workaholic ER doctor Elizabeth (Reese Witherspoon) isn’t even a real ghost—her earthly form is still alive, albeit comatose—but that doesn’t stop her from haunting the recently widowed landscape architect (Mark Ruffalo) who moves into her former apartment. And by “haunting,” we mean forcing the guy, who is already emotionally fragile enough, along on her quest to find out who the hell she is and what the hell happened to her, not really caring if other people think he’s crazy for claiming to be communicating with a ghost. Which they do. A lot.
You love to hate him almost as much as you hate to love him, right?
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