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Caleb Bailey

Creature Features: 8 Vampire Movies to Watch This Halloween

peter otoole ghost movie

All sorts of things go bump in the night. Ghosts, ghouls, werewolves, witches — creatures that haunt our nightmares and ignite our imaginations. Then, there are vampires. These denizens of the dark hold a special place in human history; our ancestors were genuinely afraid to travel when the sun was down, lest vampires bleed them dry. Entire communities feared bats and wolves, believing them to be bloodsuckers in disguise. Vampire hunting  became a legitimate profession in 18th century Europe. We really can’t overstate how much these monsters have messed with our minds over the years.

Maybe that’s why vampires have experienced so much success on the big screen. Vampires have frightened and excited audiences for decades — changing with the times and reflecting some of our darkest desires. As much as we dread these creatures of the night, there’s a small part of us that’s utterly fascinated with them.

Spooky season is in full swing this year, and many of us will participate in the festivities at home. Looking for a way to liven up the night? Here are eight iconic vampire movies to watch this Halloween.

Nosferatu (1922)

peter otoole ghost movie

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror  (or Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens  in German) is a staple of the horror genre. This German Expressionist masterpiece was helmed by director F. W. Murnau and stars Max Schreck as the infamous Count Orlok.

Special effects and robust film sets weren’t exactly a thing in the early 20th century. Murnau instead relied on mind-bending camera angles, striking shadows and innovative set design to scare audiences. This film’s impact on the history of cinema can’t be exaggerated — many horror film franchises likely wouldn’t exist if Nosferatu  hadn’t crept onto the scene and paved the way.

Dracula (1931)

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Nosferatu’s  popularity spread across Europe like wildfire. It didn’t take long for American filmmakers to catch wind of F.W. Murnau’s success either. But here’s the thing: Nosferatu was essentially an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula   — one that Murnau filmed without permission. Stoker’s wife successfully sued Murnau and Nosferatu  was pulled from theaters. Enter Universal Pictures, which paid approximately $40,000 for the rights to adapt Dracula . Garrett Fort penned the script while Tod Browning took the director’s chair. Bela Lugosi was cast as the titular prince of darkness, and the rest is cinematic history.

Dracula  is a genuinely terrifying landmark film. When many people think of Count Dracula, they think about Lugosi’s chilling performance. Universal’s adaptation takes plenty of inspiration from Nosferatu . However, Dracula is not a silent film; characters deliver their lines either with palpable dread or devilish delight. “Talkies” had only recently hit theaters in the early 1900s. Dracula helped legitimize sound films and reshape the movie industry.

Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958)

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Similar to sound films, Technicolor movies were also relative rarities in the early 20th century. Films were primarily shot on black and white stock, and filmgoers were accustomed to greyscale pictures. The opposite was true by the 1950s, which is when The Horror of Dracula  hit the scene. Hammer Films spared no expense when it adapted Bram Stoker’s timeless tale; special effects and ornate gothic sets were specifically created for this film. The Horror of Dracula  is also a much more visceral visual experience due to being shot in color.

We’d be remiss not to praise Christopher Lee’s performance as Count Dracula; he aimed to play the character as a “heroic, erotic and romantic”  figure — one that was just as mystifying as he was terrifying. Lee’s good friend Peter Cushing starred as Doctor Van Helsing, further elevating the film. And The Horror of Dracula  revealed something truly harrowing about vampires: they were dark reflections  of human nature.

Blacula (1972)

peter otoole ghost movie

The United States’ counterculture movement gathered momentum in the 1960s and persisted well into the 1970s. People vocalized dissatisfaction with the government, civil rights initiatives swept the nation and artists used their platforms to critique the powers that be. The Blaxploitation films of the 1970s echoed these sentiments, challenging decades-old stereotypes  that were (and still are) imposed on the Black community. Blacula  is precisely what its name implies; an adaptation of Stoker’s tale made primarily for Black people by Black people.

The late William Marshall portrays Prince Mamuwalde, a Nigerian man who asked the original Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) to intervene during the transatlantic slave trade. For his trouble, Prince Mamuwalde was transformed into Blacula, sealed in a coffin and transported to America. Indeed, Count Blacula is a tragic anti-villain; he was stripped of his identity, taken from his homeland and left to fend for himself in a hostile environment. Allegorical, innovative and genuinely frightening, Blacula is worth a watch — and post-screening analysis.

The Lost Boys (1987)

peter otoole ghost movie

Drugs, sex, rock n’ roll and excess are hallmarks of the 1980s  — hallmarks that naturally found their way into ’80s cinema. The Lost Boys  epitomizes this trend; “It’s fun to be a vampire” is the film’s tagline, and that sentiment is more than reinforced throughout its runtime. Vampires are ageless, powerful, beautiful beings who live by their own rules and party like rockstars in The Lost Boys. That’s the scariest part about this film — how enticing vampirism can seem on the surface.

The Lost Boys can also be viewed as a metacommentary of the 1980s. Vampirism is an analogy for the excess and hedonism of the decade. Just like it seemed “fun to be a vampire,” it also seemed fun to be a hard-partying rockstar. Spellbinding performances by a committed cast, strong directing by Joel Schumacher and a compelling script helped The Lost Boys break new ground. Vampires weren’t just creepy anymore. They were also undeniably cool.

Blade (1998)

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You can’t talk about cool vampire movies without giving Blade  its due. The 1990s were an incredibly experimental time for the film industry; spec scripts were being produced by the dozens and comic book adaptations were becoming much more prevalent. Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan created Blade in 1973 for Marvel Comics. At last, in 1998, Wesley Snipes would bring the Daywalker to life on the big screen. Directed by Stephen Norrington and written by David S. Goyer, Blade  redefined what superhero movies  and vampire films could be. Action, horror, pathos and even a bit of comedy are seamlessly woven into this film.

Though Blade  was initially overlooked when it premiered, the film has since been recognized for setting several precedents. It’s one of the first Black superhero movies to achieve widespread critical and commercial success, grossing $131.2 million off of a $45 million budget. Blade  also paved the way for many of the superhero films that have become commonplace today; it’s not a stretch to suggest that Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man  trilogy, the Underworld franchise and even the Marvel Cinematic Universe wouldn’t exist if Blade  hadn’t resonated with audiences. Lastly, this film proved that vampires could transcend genres; Blade  is more of an action film than a horror flick, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Twilight (2008)

peter otoole ghost movie

Hate it or love it, Twilight’s  impact on cinema is undeniable. This adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s 2005 novel was an international phenomenon in its heyday. It focused solely on the romantic aspects of vampirism  — living forever, being young forever and loving forever. If reading that sentence was painful for you, imagine how excruciating it was to write. 

Personal feelings aside, Twilight is an iconic film in its own right. It spawned four sequels, launched numerous careers and kept vampires at the forefront of our collective imagination from 2008 to 2012. Even Burger King  got in on the Team Edward vs. Team Jacob debacle. Twilight  ultimately proved that there was still a thriving, thirsting market for vampire films in the 21st century.

Blood Red Sky (2021)

peter otoole ghost movie

We end with Blood Red Sky, a British-German Netflix film  that’s equal parts graphic, terrifying and heart-wrenching. The film follows Nadja and her son Elias as they try to survive aboard a hijacked airplane. Discussing this film in detail without spoiling it is virtually impossible, but we can say this: Blood Red Sky  focuses on the toll that vampirism would exact on a person’s family, community and mental state. Scenes unfold at an intentionally deliberate pace. Minor characters and extras are treated with a degree of respect that we don’t often see.

In many ways, Blood Red Sky is the culmination of the vampire films that precede it; there are genuine scares here, alongside meta-commentary, dazzling action scenes and genuine pathos. Blood Red Sky  proves that vampire films can make viewers cry — not out of fear, but out of true remorse.


peter otoole ghost movie

peter otoole ghost movie

The Scariest Movies to Stream This Month

It’s October, and you know what that means—it’s time to stuff that Netflix queue full of zombies, creepy dolls, ghosts, slashers, and psychological torment.

True to the spirit of the season, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and Amazon Prime Video are adding spooky new titles seemingly every day, with each platform featuring a different sub-genre. If you’re overwhelmed by the selection, here’s a rundown of the best offerings to help you narrow down the options.

Modern Classics: Netflix

Just about every recent movie that your horror buff friends won’t shut up about is on Netflix right now. The Witch (2015), The Babadook (2014) , and O.G. m odern h orror c lassic The Shining (1980) are terrifying looks into familial dysfunction. Gore fiends can enjoy Raw (2017) or Teeth (2007) , while The Conjuring (2013) has ghost- story fans covered. Finally, even weenies can appreciate It Follows (2015) , which is tightly plotted, suspenseful, and light on jump scares .

Cult Classics: Hulu

Huluween season is upon us, and cult classics feature heavily in this year’s lineup. If you’re in the mood for blood, there’s plenty of movies to choose from, including The Fly (1986) , Hellraiser (1987) , Hellraiser II (1988) , The Amityville Horror (1979) , The Hills Have Eyes (1977) , American Psycho (2000) , and Child’s Play (1988) . Found-footage cult favorite The Blair Witch Project (1999) —plus both of its sequels—and its spiritual successor Paranormal Activity (2007) round out the offerings.

Sequels and Remakes: HBO Go

A horror double feature is a great way to kill a gloomy fall afternoon, and HBO Go has several two-parters guaranteed to freak you out. The Omen (1976) and Damien: Omen II (1978) are devil-spawn classics, while claustrophobes will grit their teeth through The Descent (2006) and The Descent: Part 2 (2010) . If you’re in more of a slasher flick mood, HBO Go has House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and its sequel The Devil’s Rejects (2005). Even though it’s not technically a sequel, I think It (2017) is worth a mention—especially if you’re into creepy clowns.  

Old-School Horror: Amazon Prime Video

Every film genre got its start somewhere, and Amazon Prime has a huge selection of horror trailblazers. There’s psychological thriller Les Diaboliques (1955) —which some say inspired Psycho—plus the original Night of the Living Dead (1968) and The House on Haunted Hill (1958). Don’t count out silent films, either: Nosferatu (1922) and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) are available in a two-part bundle.

High Spirits (1988)

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Haunted Honeymoon (1986)

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Daryl Hannah, Peter O'Toole and Steve Guttenberg star in this gleefully ghoulish comedy sparkling with romance and rollicking with supernatural special effects. Written and directed by Neil Jordan (Interview With the Vampire) and co-starring Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Tilly, Peter Gallagher and Liam Neeson, High Spirits is the most fun you'll have in this world or the next!Impoverished Peter Plunkett (O'Toole) hatches the perfect plan to save his debt-ridden Irish castle: lure American tourists by advertising the place as haunted. But when Peter and his staff don sheets and chains to go a-haunting, they scare up more than paying guests'they arouse the real ghosts of Castle Plunkett! And when American tourist Jack (Guttenberg) spies a gorgeous ghost named Mary (Hannah), it's love at first sighting. Now all Jack has to worry about is Mary's murderous spook of a husband and their 200-year age difference!

Peter O'Toole ( Lawrence of Arabia , My Favorite Year ) gives an exuberant performance in High Spirits . Peter Plunkett (O'Toole) hopes to save his mortgaged castle by turning it into a tourist attraction--the most haunted castle in Ireland. When American tourists arrive--among them Jack (Steve Guttenberg) and Sharon (Beverly D'Angelo), a couple whose marriage is rapidly disintegrating--Plunkett's tomfoolery arouses the real ghosts, who decide to give these interlopers everything they're asking for. But when Jack accidentally helps a beautiful ghost named Mary (Daryl Hannah), she decides he's the man to help her break the curse she's been suffering for 200 years. High Spirits is an odd foray into comedy by director Neil Jordan ( The Crying Game , Interview with the Vampire ). The special effects are clumsy, but the strong supporting cast includes Jennifer Tilly, Peter Gallagher, and Liam Neeson as Mary's murderous 200-year-old husband. --Bret Fetzer

Product details

  • Aspect Ratio ‏ : ‎ 1.85:1
  • Is Discontinued By Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ No
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
  • Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 7.2 Ounces
  • Director ‏ : ‎ Neil Jordan
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Anamorphic, Widescreen, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, DVD, Color, Subtitled, NTSC, Dolby
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 39 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ June 4, 2002
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Peter O'Toole, Daryl Hannah, Steve Guttenberg, Donal McCann, Mary Coughlan
  • Subtitles: ‏ : ‎ English, Spanish, French
  • Language ‏ : ‎ Unqualified, English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ MGM (Video & DVD)
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B000063JDK
  • Writers ‏ : ‎ Neil Jordan
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • #290 in Fantasy DVDs
  • #737 in Romance (Movies & TV)
  • #2,332 in Comedy (Movies & TV)

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High Spirits

1988, Mystery & thriller/Comedy, 1h 39m

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High spirits   photos.

Irish hotelier Peter Plunkett (Peter O'Toole) attempts to fill the chronic vacancies at his castle by launching an advertising campaign that wrongly portrays the property as haunted. Unfortunately, he fails to scare a single American tourist with his hokey and dreadfully unconvincing effects. When two actual ghosts, Mary (Daryl Hannah) and Martin (Liam Neeson), show up to add some authenticity, they end up falling for two guests, Sharon (Beverly D'Angelo) and Jack (Steve Guttenberg).

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Mystery & thriller, Comedy

Original Language: English

Director: Neil Jordan

Producer: Stephen Woolley , David Saunders

Writer: Neil Jordan

Release Date (Streaming): Dec 13, 2016

Box Office (Gross USA): $7.9M

Runtime: 1h 39m

Production Co: Vision PDG, Palace

Sound Mix: Stereo, Surround

Cast & Crew

Daryl Hannah

Mary Plunkett Brogan

Peter O'Toole

Peter Plunkett

Steve Guttenberg

Jack Crawford

Beverly D'Angelo

Sharon Brogan Crawford

Liam Neeson

Martin Brogan

Peter Gallagher

Brother Tony

Jennifer Tilly

Ray McAnally

Plunkett Senior

Donal McCann

Connie Booth

Mrs. Plunkett

Neil Jordan


Stephen Woolley

David Saunders

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  • Cast & Crew

High Spirits

  • 47   Metascore
  • 1 hr 39 mins
  • Fantasy, Comedy, Action & Adventure

Ghosts rendezvous with the guests at a haunted Irish castle-hotel. Peter O'Toole, Daryl Hannah, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D'Angelo. Martin: Liam Neeson. Miranda: Jennifer Tilly. Brother Tony: Peter Gallagher. Malcolm: Martin Ferrero. Directed by Neal Jordan.

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High Spirits

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Peter O'Toole

Peter plunkett.

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Daryl Hannah

Mary plunkett brogan.

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High Spirits – Peter O’Toole DVD

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When a hotelier attempts to fill the chronic vacancies at his castle by launching an advertising campaign that falsely portrays the property as haunted, two actual ghosts show up and end up falling for two guests.

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Additional information.

When Peter Plunkett’s Irish castle turned hotel is about to be repossesed, he decides to spice up the attraction a bit for the ‘Yanks’ by having his staff pretend to haunt the castle. The trouble begins when a busload of American tourists arrive – along with some real ghosts. Among the tourists are married couple Jack and Sharon. Sharon’s father holds the mortgage on Castle Plunkett, so she’s hoping to debunk the ghosts. Jack, on the other hand, after meeting pretty ghost Mary, is very eager to believe. Can there be love between a human and ghost? Jack and Mary are going to try and find out.


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    High Spirits (1988) is a movie my daughter and I watched together on Amazon Prime. The storyline follows a struggling castle that decides to remarket itself as

  8. Amazon.com: High Spirits [DVD]

    Impoverished Peter Plunkett (O'Toole) hatches the perfect plan to save his debt-ridden Irish castle: lure American tourists by advertising the place as haunted.

  9. High Spirits (1988)

    High Spirits (1988) Liam Neeson,Peter O'Toole,Steve Guttenberg,Daryl Hannah. ... The Canterville Ghost - Full Movie starring Patrick Stewart.

  10. High Spirits

    Movie Info. Irish hotelier Peter Plunkett (Peter O'Toole) attempts to fill the chronic vacancies at his castle by launching an advertising campaign that

  11. High Spirits

    Ghosts rendezvous with the guests at a haunted Irish castle-hotel. Peter O'Toole, Daryl Hannah, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D'Angelo. Martin: Liam Neeson. Miranda

  12. High Spirits

    CAN'T FIND A MOVIE? If you can't find a title on the website, we may still

  13. High Spirits (Film, Haunted House): Reviews, Ratings, Cast and Crew

    High Spirits. Directed by: Neil Jordan. Starring: Daryl Hannah, Peter O'Toole, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Tilly, Peter Gallagher

  14. High Spirits Movie (1988)

    ... ghost Mary, is very eager to believe. Can there be love between a ... High Spirits Movie (1988) - Daryl Hannah, Peter O'Toole, Steve Guttenberg.