Ah, Fall! That time of year when the heat of summer fades away into cooler nights. We drag out our scarves, sweaters, and boots, and start consuming all things pumpkin. Along with football season, this is also the time of year when we celebrate one of Americans’ favorite holidays – Halloween.
Halloween is generally associated with witches, ghosts, and goblins and maintains an air of otherworldliness. Although the majority of films tend to focus on the spooky and scary side of the supernatural, I’ve never been a big fan. As usual, I much prefer my supernatural with a side of romance and a dash of humor.
So, for those who are more like me or who are looking for a different type of Halloween film, I present you with this list.
Stars: Gene Tierney & Rex Harrison
Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) has just broken free of her deceased husband’s overbearing family. Determined to prove her independence, she rents a seaside cottage for herself and her daughter only to be confronted by a hostile presence. Captain Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison of My Fair Lady fame) is the previous (and very dead) owner of the home who has managed to scare away all other renters. But he isn’t able to rid himself of the stubborn Lucy even with all his angry blustering. They strike an agreement to share the home and eventually forge a unique friendship in spite of the fact that she is mortal and he is a ghost.
Where to Watch: DVD, rent/buy Amazon
RELATED POST: My Journey Into Old Movies -The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Kyra Sedgewick & Alfre Woodard
On the night Thomas is born, four people die in a bus accident. Their souls detach from their bodies and become attached to the newly born infant. As a child, Thomas is the only one who can see his four friends which is a cause of concern to his parents. Harrison, Penny, Julia, and Milo decide to disappear for Thomas’ good. Years later they learn that they were assigned to Thomas so that he could help them complete one final task for each of them before they passed on. So, much to Thomas’ (Robert Downey Jr.) shock and dismay, these four souls suddenly reappear in his life demanding his help.
Where to Watch: DVD
Stars: Cary Grant, Constance Bennett & Roland Young
George and Marion Kirby are part of the idle rich. When they crash their car into a tree after a night of drinking, they find themselves dead but still attached to earth. They determine to do one good deed to pave their way into Heaven. Marion decides that poor, hen-pecked Mr. Topper is in desperate need of their brand of freedom. Toppy (as Marion names him) is a banker whose life runs on a very strict schedule managed by his wife. But George and Marion’s interference in his life creates chaos and reveals his secret desire for a little fun.
Where to Watch: DVD, occasionally airs on TCM
Stars: Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore & Whoopi Goldberg
Sam and Molly are very much in love. Sam works at a bank where he discovers some fishy financial activity. Shortly thereafter he is killed right in front of Molly. Even in death, Sam remains to watch over Molly. After a break-in at Molly’s apartment, Sam realizes that she is in danger. He turns to Oda Mae (Whoopi Goldberg) for help as she is the only human who can hear him. Oda’s past as a con-artist leaves Molly and the police doubting Oda’s claims that Molly is in danger. But Sam refuses to give up until he is assured of Molly’s safety.
Content Note: Rated PG-13 for sensuality, violence, and language
Where to Watch: DVD, rent/buy Amazon & iTunes
Stars: Brendan Fraser & Rachel Weisz
Siblings Jonathan and Evelyn Carnahan engage adventurer Rick O’Connor to be their guide to the ancient Egyptian city of Hamunaptra. Evie is in search of a certain artifact. While there, their group accidentally unleashes an ancient curse which awakens a vengeful mummy. Evie and company must then stop the mummy from wreaking his vengeance on the world.
Content Note: Rated PG-13 for adventure violence and some partial nudity.
Where to Watch: DVD
RELATED POST: The Mummy (1999) A Romantic Adventure Reborn
Stars: Robert Montgomery, Claude Raines & Evelyn Keyes
Amateur boxer Joe Pendleton dies in an airplane crash. When he arrives in the afterlife, Mr. Jordan informs him that it wasn’t yet his time to die. His death was an accident. But his earthly body has already been cremated so Mr. Jordan gives Joe the choice of what newly dead body he wants to inhabit. With some misgivings, Joe chooses the body of corrupt and wealthy banker Bruce Farnsworth. Though he inhabits Farnsworth’s body, he is still very much Joe Pendleton and proceeds setting right the things Farnsworth had done wrong during his life. At the same time, he falls for Miss Logan (a victim of the original Farnsworth’s schemes) and also tries to convince his original boxing manager Corkle, that he is still Joe.
This film has been remade a couple times; Heaven Can Wait (1978) starring Warren Beatty and as Down to Earth (2001) starring Chris Rock. Drop Dead Diva is also loosely based on this story.
Where to Watch: DVD, rent/buy Amazon, GooglePlay & iTunes
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter & John Goodman
A modern remake of the classic film A Man Named Joe which starred Spencer Tracy and Irene Dunne. This update follows the original storyline fairly closely. Pete is a pilot who fights forest fires from the air. His best friend Al and girlfriend Dorinda also work as pilots for the same company. Worried for his safety, both Al and Dorinda urge Pete to take fewer risks in the air. During a job, Al finds himself in trouble. Pete comes to his rescue but ends up dying in the attempt. He returns as a guardian angel of sorts to a new firefighting pilot only to discover that his charge Ted is in love with Dorinda. Pete must learn to let go of his life on earth while acting as a protector for both Ted and Dorinda.
Where to Watch: DVD, stream Netflix, rent/buy GooglePlay & iTunes
Stars: Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn & Bruce Willis
This one is based on a Tennessee Williams play and has a somewhat convoluted plot. Helen and Madeline are longtime frenemies who are constantly in competition with each other. Madeline marries Helen’s fiancé Ernest even though she doesn’t love him, sending Helen into a binge eating, revenge plotting spiral. Years pass and the two women run into each other again, each surprised by the other’s well-kept appearance. They soon learn that they have both taken the same potion making them the immortal undead. Ernest just wants to be free of them both, but they realize they can’t maintain their mortal facades without him. Their love/hate triangle is full of double crosses, betrayals, and unhappy alliances.
Content Note: Rated PG-13 for some nudity and off-color humor
Where to Watch: DVD, stream Showtime, rent/buy Amazon & iTunes
Stars: Frederic March & Veronica Lake
Daniel and his daughter Jennifer are burned at the stake in Salem by a Puritan by the name of Wooley. Their spirits end up imprisoned in a tree. In revenge, Jennifer curses all the men of the Wooley line to marry unhappily. Centuries go by and a storm damages the tree and releases Daniel and Jennifer’s spirits. Jennifer decides she wants to torment the current Wooley, Wallace, by making him fall in love with her even though he is already engaged to another woman. But thanks to a potion gone awry, she ends up falling in love with him instead! This angers her father so much that he strips her of her powers and promises to return her to her tree prison. But Jennifer still has a few tricks up her sleeve.
Where to Watch: DVD, stream FilmStruck, rent/buy iTunes
10. Bewitched (2005)
Stars: Will Ferrell & Nicole Kidman & a host of other famous faces!
While I prefer the original television series, this list is focusing on films. This version of Bewitched is still fun, just not quite as charming. It’s a bit meta as it tells the story of cocky, arrogant actor Jack Wyatt, who plays Darrin in a remake of the Bewitched TV series. Isabel is a witch who just wants to live as a normal woman, but then she is cast as the fictional witch Samantha. After overhearing a conversation Jack has regarding her, Isabel decides to cast a spell causing Jack to fall in love with her. But the course of true (or coerced love) never did run smooth and these two endure numerous misunderstandings before the truth is finally revealed.
Content Note: Rated PG-13 for some language, including sex and drug references, and partial nudity.
Where to Watch: DVD, rent/buy Amazon, GooglePlay, iTunes
Stars: Ricky Gervais, Tea Leoni & Greg Kinnear
“I see dead people.” Oh wait, wrong film. Grumpy, pessimistic dentist Bertram has a near-death experience while under anesthetic for a dental procedure. When he awakens he has the ability to see ghosts. But Bertram is not happy about his new ability because these ghosts continue to ask him for assistance completing unfinished earthly tasks. Frank is one such ghost, who asks Bertram to break up his widow Gwen’s new engagement. Bertram decides to do this by wooing her away from her fiancé, but her past experiences with Bertram (they live in the same building) have not endeared him to her. Eventually, Gwen warms up to him and Bertram begins to fall in love with her. But how will Gwen respond when she learns that Bertram has been communicating with her dead husband?
Content Note: Rated PG-13 for some strong language, sexual humor, and drug references
Where to Watch: DVD, stream Starz, rent/buy Amazon
Stars: Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings, Margaret Rutherford
Based on a play by Noel Coward, this British film introduces us to Charles and Ruth Condomine. Ruth is Charles’ second wife, his first wife having passed away. Charles and Ruth host a séance at their home one evening. The medium goes into a trance and suddenly Charles hears the voice of his first wife Elvira. But none of their guests, nor his wife or the medium can hear Elvira. Later she appears to Charles, but he is the only one who can see her. Suddenly Charles is living with two very demanding wives, one living and one dead. But when Ruth is finally convinced that Elvira’s ghost self is manifesting herself to Charles, she realizes that Elvira wants Charles to die so that he can be with her. It’s a battle between two wives to the death!
Where to Watch: DVD, stream on FilmStruck, rent/buy from iTunes
13. Stardust (2007)
Stars: Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer & more
Tristan Thorn is in love with Victoria, but she is interested in another man. At her request and seeking to impress her, he crosses the mysterious Wall to retrieve a fallen star. When he arrives at the site of impact, he meets the beautiful Yvaine who happens to be the fallen star. Tristan sets off to bring Yvaine back to Victoria, not realizing that they are being pursued by three witches who desire Yvaine for their own evil purpose. At the same time the king of Stormheld, a magical kingdom, dies leaving his sons a task to complete to determine who will be the next king. The desires of the witches and the princes impact Tristan’s quest to return home with Yvaine and they find themselves on a magical journey with a surprising conclusion.
Where to Watch: DVD, stream Amazon, rent/buy Amazon & iTunes
RELATED POST: Stardust Film Review -An Epic Fantasy Adventure
Stars: Jodie Foster & Barbara Harris
Yes, there is a newer version of this film starring Lindsey Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, but I prefer this less cutesy version. Annabel and her mother Ellen constantly butt heads. Neither one of them understands the other and each thinks she is the misunderstood party. So, when they happen to express the desire to trade places with the other for one day at the exact time, their wish comes true. Annabel and Ellen’s souls end up in each others’ bodies. Suddenly both of them experience life from a different perspective. This leads to some awkward and comical moments. Through this experience, both Annabel and Ellen are able to understand each other better.
Where to Watch: DVD, stream on Hulu, rent/buy Amazon or iTunes
Stars: Robert Donat, Eugene Pallette & Jean Parker
Due to his lustful and cowardly actions during a battle in which he is killed, Murdoch Glourie has his fate tied to the family castle until he is able to redeem the family honor. Centuries pass and the family manor falls into bad repair. The current owner Donald Glourie is deep in debt and is forced to sell his ancestral home, Young American heiress Peggy Martin convinces her father to purchase the castle. Peggy and her father decide to dismantle the monstrosity and ship it piece by piece to Florida where it will be reassembled in an effort to flaunt their wealth. The Martins hire Donald to travel with them to help rebuild the castle. But little do any of them know that Murdoch’s ghost is tagging along. Chaos and mischief ensue when Peggy and others start seeing Murdoch thinking it is Donald.
Where to Watch: DVD or stream on FilmStruck or YouTube
Stars: Cybill Shepherd, Robert Downey Jr., Ryan O’Neal & Mary Stuart Masterson
Corinne Jeffries’ young husband Louie is killed in an auto accident leaving her to raise their daughter Miranda with the help of Louie’s best friend Phillip. Years later Miranda meets Alex Finch in their college library where they experience instant attraction. Through a series of events Alex also meets Phillip who invites him to dinner with Corinne and Miranda. During dinner, Alex starts having flashback memories which occurred in the Jeffries home. He realizes that he is actually Louie and has been reincarnated into the body of Alex. Disgusted with his attraction to his own daughter, Louie/Alex begins romancing Corinne instead whom he must convince that he is the spirit of her dead husband in a young man’s body.
Where to Watch: DVD, Rent/Buy Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes
Have you seen any of these films? Do you have any favorite funny or romantic supernatural films?Pin this article to read later! And make sure to follow us on Pinterest.