A Series of 90s ghost films. Still from Ghost in the Machine a SciFi Horror film.

I’ve been trying to think of a way to incorporate movies into this project as I don’t generally select by era. I could focus on special effects achievements which the decade pioneered (Jurassic Park) but the technical side alone I don’t think is enough. Vertigo is one of my all time favorite films and has ground breaking special effects yet a few of the scenes show the limits of the 1950s. If I can enjoy something so much when every aspect hasn’t reached absolute perfection should that be the criteria in which I measure the 90s?

This week I watched “Ghost in the Machine” (1993) that is about a killer who travels through the internet to find his victims. Many reviewers criticized the film as being dated but in this case it actually works in its favor. There is a scene were the lead character and his friend go to an arcade to play a 3D virtual reality game with the very unrealistic polygonal graphics. When the boy playing the game notices the killer running off in the distance of the game he stood out vividly against his surroundings. When he snuck up to him it was really shocking because he contrasted so much to his low tech environment he was placed in.

Ghost in the Shell 2017 Still based on the 1995 Anime.

This would have only worked in 1993 because 80s graphics were more 2D side scrollers or downward perspective Zelda type games. It would be the better part of a decade until we would see Playstation 2 type realistic 3D graphics although very realistic 2D graphics just came out (Mortal Kombat.)

YouTube movie reviewers Frightfully Forgotten (@frightfullyforgotten on IG) make the great point that it plays as if someone today where to make a parody of the decade cramming in as many things from then that stood out as possible. Yet there seems to be no clear indication that this is what the director was going for it just came through. From “In Living Color” on TV (sort of a hip hop SNL) to the style of rap and R&B characteristic of the time to Josh’s stupid fashion of wearing his boxers over his shirt! For a horror film it mixes in some good comedy as well. When the family is busy unplugging everything electoral and covering the outlets grandma gasps as Josh tries to dispose of her curling iron; “not my curling iron!” There is another sci-fi movie from the mid 90s that has a similar name and it makes me wonder what influence one may have had on the other.

Ghost World based on the 90s Comic Book of the same name.

As I write about it I keep confusing the titles and the yet similarities don’t seem to just end at their names. “Ghost in the Shell” released two years later was popular enough to receive two remakes. While yes, it is a pretty different movie the two are akin through their use of main characters who can disappear. I like both the original and the 2.0 remake. Some people trash 2.0 but really the only problem was the lead character’s skin looks a little plastic like in the opening scene. It was likely that 2000s era CGI was a lot better at making objects than people. Perhaps there needs to be a Ghost in the Shell 2.1 which attends just making the people more lifelike!

The live action remake in 2017 stars Scarlett Johansson who is also in “Ghost World” that is based on a 90s comic. It’s very “Daria” like yet unique at the same time and hysterical! It flew way under the radar! I highly recommend the Criterion version that comes with comic books and extras. While it is expensive you can pick up a copy during Barnes and Nobles bi-annual sales and numerous other flash sales through the Criterion website. The 50% off price of $20 is a very good deal for the package that you get.

Trailers and other info about the films and actors.
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Terry Zwigoff also directed another movie that was related to comics with 1995's "Crumb." The MTV show "Daria" has a strong resemblance to Ghost World as well.

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My only acting knowledge I had of Wil Horneff in the 90s was his bit role in the excellent “The Sandlot” which came out in 1993 just like “Ghost in the Machine.” Then just last year I came across the 1994 remake of “The Yearling” that he also stared in and I decided to check out his other films. Next was his 1995 film “Born to be Wild” which coincided with other ape films like “Congo” and the remake of “The Mighty Joe Young.”

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I watched Ghost (1990) this year all the way through and was surprised how great it was! Previously I think I only watched bits and pieces of it.

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Music and soundtracks that are related to ghosts.
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The 90s alt rock band called "Live" had this ghost music video off their album Secret Samadhi.

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This choice is probably the least literal when it comes to ghosts. It is similar to the Melville classic Le Samourai. This one features rap music through out and several booklets in the Criterion edition. Which reminds me I need to read through those!

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Kristen Hersh does this great duet with REM's Michael Stripe. I loved listening to this gentle ballad in between the other rock songs on the radio. Such good memories!

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Michael Jackson teamed up with Steven King to so a half hour horror music video. Many of the special effects don’t stand up to a much earlier work like Thriller and the reaction shots from the crowd get way over played. There should be a reason to be constantly reminded that this is scary or cool for the entire half hour.

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Kids movies about ghosts.
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The movie which the famous line
“I see dead people” is from.

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Every year Scarecrow Video does a list of movies that are on a particular subject each day throughout October. You can see the posts in the #scvpsychochallenge hashtag. My day one watch is the 1998 version of Jack Frost. Believe it or not there was not only one but two movies from around this year that were named Jack Frost that are about a man dying in a car crash and being reincarinated as a snowman! That’s Nuts! (One from 1997 and the other from 1998) The middle of the movie has a great snowball fight and snowboard chase scene.

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The popular CGI version of Casper from 1995. Movie opens with Dan Aykroyd in his ghost uniform. Has other cameos too.

The child actor in A Perfect World, which was released two years before this film, spends much of the movie in a Casper halloween costume. The outfit plays a big role in the plot of the film.

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1997 Prequel to the 1995 film.

The child actor in A Perfect World, which was released four years before this film, spends much of the movie in a Casper halloween costume. The outfit plays a big role in the plot of the film.

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My Ghost Dog also known as my Magic Dog. When a boy's dog gets hit by a car only he can see him and the two give a helping hand to his Dad and his love interest.

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Ghost Dad

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