Movies + TV

Ghostly Worlds

Movies and TV shows about haunted people, places, and things.

My_Mad_Fat_Diary_titleMy Mad Fat Diary (January 2013–present, E4)
If there’s one thing Rookies understand, it’s the need to confide your deepest, darkest, silliest, most shameful secrets in a diary. In the British comedy series My Mad Fat Diary, Rae Earl, recently released from a psychiatric facility, takes comfort in pouring out her heart in her own private journal when she rejoins the world and has to deal with her mother, her seemingly perfect childhood best friend, and a suite of dreamy boys. Rae has a really complicated relationship with Chloe, her lifelong friend, who alternates between encouraging Rae to join Chloe’s new group of buddies and going out of her way to make sure Rae doesn’t get too close. Rae also has to cope with her feelings of guilt over her friend Tix, who is still struggling with anorexia inside the hospital. My Mad Fat Diary is great—not only does it give us a fat female protagonist I would have related to as a teenager (and still kind of do), but it also allows Rae a sexuality, a courtesy that fictional fat people rarely get. When she’s writing in her diary, Rae obsesses over boys and details what she likes about them, what they make her feel, and what she wants to do with them. She has fleeting crushes on many if not most of the boys she meets and pines over Finn, a moody dreamboat who’s into Morrissey—be still, my heart and loins—and when he invites Rae over to listen to records in his room, it’s hard not to have flashbacks to every single time your stomach flipped while talking to a crush. —Brodie

MV5BNjUyOTEzMzI5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTY0MzQyMQ@@._V1._SX325_SY475_Beloved (1998)
When I was a freshman in college, my boyfriend took me to see Beloved on a chilly Halloween night in Washington, DC. I’d read Toni Morrison’s book in high school, so I knew I was in for a fright, but I didn’t realize that its painful themes of slavery, sexual assault, and betrayal would cut even deeper when brought to life on the big screen. Like the novel, the movie focuses on the life of Sethe, a former slave (played by Oprah Winfrey) living in rural Ohio in the Civil War’s aftermath. A wrathful ghost who turns out to be Sethe’s reincarnated daughter frightens Sethe’s family and causes all hell to break loose. My heart remained heavy throughout the film as the title character (played by Thandie Newton, whose name coincidentally means “beloved” in Zulu and Xhosa!) wreaked havoc as a forlorn orphaned poltergeist in human form. I slept with the lights on for several nights after seeing this film, my mind filled with thoughts about the painful historic ghosts of slavery and genocide still swirling around me. This scary film will freak you out for days. —Jamia

Blair_Witch_ProjectThe Blair Witch Project (1999)
Before one million Paranormal Activity movies came out, there was The Blair Witch Project, a mockumentary about three student filmmakers who set out to make a movie about the witch that is said to haunt the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland. If you know nothing about this movie and might watch it, stop reading this paragraph right now! The thing you might know, and that most people in 1999 knew by the time the movie hit theaters, is that it was not actually made from culled-together found footage, as you’re told at the beginning of the film, but it is no less terrifying just because it’s fake. The students head into the woods full of skepticism, but they grow more and more wary as the days pass and weird shit keeps happening: noises, things that mess with their perception, and members of the group disappearing. It’s all shaky camera footage and first-person points of view, so it’s super easy to get lost in the story and forget that it’s all fiction. There’s no gore or monsters or ghosts—just the unknown, which is even scarier because the fear is totally psychological. I have never been into scary movies, but Blair Witch is different, because it leaves all the scary parts to your imagination, and what’s scarier than that? —Laia

The Addams FamilyThe Addams Family (1991)
I always wished I was part of the Addams Family. My family is weird, but The Addams Family was my kind of weird—there’s a goth mom, a funny dad, a crazy uncle, a sweet witch of an aunt, an annoying, creepy little brother, and CHRISTINA RICCI, forever the spookiest sister. Even though the outside world thought they were freaks, the Addams family had a bond that I always envied. For sure the best creepy family out there. —Dana

CANP_1210059_REVENANTS_COUTEAU_SS_DATE_Abribus.indd_NjpgLes Revenants (2012, UK Channel 4)
The first season of Les Revenants (The Returned) has just finished on British TV, and I’m counting down the days until the next one. The plot is simple: Various dead people come back as zombies in a little French village. But this isn’t the usual, gory kind of zombie fare that I hate. These are just normal people of different ages trying to fit back into a place where everyone thought they were dead—and they are. (As you might expect, people’s reactions to their returns are mixed.) What I love about this show is that you’re never sure what’s going to happen next. It is so haunting—but not in a spooky way—and it really gets you thinking. There’s also a really gripping soundtrack done by the Scottish band Mogwai, which you should totally get even if you don’t watch the show—it’s dark, atmospheric, and very haunting. —Caitlin

-homeland-season-1-dvd-B212P_SP761_30_27YVLHomeland (2011–present, Showtime)
Be warned, Homeland novices: I’m gonna spoil a few things for you here if you’re not up to date! Starting…now. Homeland is a show about terrorism that also deals with how our pasts can come back to haunt us. If you ask me (and I always assume people do), Carrie Mathison is one of TV’s greatest female characters, and Claire Danes plays her as someone who is damaged and talented and sick and lively and incredible at her job, but also kind of a huge failure. Homeland exists in this gray space between the real world and a fictional reality. Carrie is haunted by guilt over something that can’t be repaired and hides her lifelong battle with bipolar disorder from her employers, the CIA (kind of a huge deal). She starts the series on the trail of Sergeant Nicholas Brody, a returned prisoner of war, who she believes is working with Al Qaeda on a plan to attack the United States. Brody is also dealing with some pretty heavy shit, including returning to his family after eight years away, manscaping, the death of a child he grew close to while in captivity and, oh yeah, being held captive for almost a decade! When Claire and Brody are together, I get so tense I tend to eat my feelings and sleep fitfully for days. —Brodie

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch season 1Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996–2000, ABC; 2000–2003, the WB)
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch is one of my favorite TV series ever! When Sabrina, who lives with her two witch aunts and a black cat named Salem, turns 16, she discovers that she is a witch, too. She had to learn to use her powers wisely and ethically, like all teenage girls do, and her problems were similarly universal: a first pimple, talking to her crush, and dealing with a high school Mean Girl. Even though she had magical powers, she always seemed to solve her problems the way every teenage girl does: by facing her fears and working through them using nothing more than her inner strength. —Dana

crucibleThe Crucible (1996)
This movie, adapted from the 1953 play by Arthur Miller, is about the Salem witch trials, its main goal is really to deliver a long moral message about the dangers of slut-shaming. A pastor catches a group of innocent pilgrim girls crucifying a chicken while they say the names of the guys they have crushes on, and then all hell breaks loose. In order to protect their secrets—which range from “I like a boy” to “I’m an adulterer who drank blood in a ritual with the hopes of killing my crush’s wife”—a few of them go catatonic, and the rest start lying and accusing people in the village of witchcraft. No one is immune—old men, all the women, and various slaves are gathered up, tried, and hanged as the village suffers a sort of mass hysteria. The cast is stunning: Winona Ryder plays the girl gang’s ringleader, Abigail Williams, who starts all of this so she can keep banging John Proctor, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. Since Day-Lewis is a method actor, I got a kick out of imagining him doing some deep scything and living in a pilgrim-y shack as he prepared for the role. Miller originally wrote the play to challenge McCarthyism, but the message applies today: Stop telling teenage girls they can’t be sexual, or they might rally together and make the adults start murdering one another in the name of the lord. —Danielle ♦

30 Comments

  • lydiamerida October 10th, 2013 11:38 PM

    Ummm what about American Horror Story!!!!! It’s da bomb

    • Anaheed October 10th, 2013 11:46 PM

      http://rookiemag.com/2013/03/edge-of-our-seats/

      • mariasnow October 14th, 2013 1:47 PM

        I like to watch American Horror Story and think about what they’re REALLY saying Americans think are scary. The first season has abortions, gay marriage, school shootings, adultery, teenage suicide, etc. The second season had Nazis, racists, women in positions of power in the church, corrupt priests, interracial relationships, polygamy, a strong lesbian couple, breastfeeding, and serial killers.

        I’m disappointed in this season’s main titles being not as mysterious as before except for that twig monster with wings. More like that please.

  • wallflower152 October 10th, 2013 11:42 PM

    The British one, the French one and the Crucible all going on my list. : )

  • October 11th, 2013 1:18 AM

    i love my mad fat diary!! they’ve confirmed a season 2 coming out sometime soon :) cant wait!

  • Manda October 11th, 2013 1:37 AM

    Why would you put a spoiler alert for The Blair Witch Project if it’s already been referred to as a mockumentary? And hasn’t it been used as a movie recommendation before?

  • Isobelley October 11th, 2013 1:42 AM

    I like the crucible because in the movie it looks like Abigail is manipulative and John is well-meaning, but when it really happened John had 2 previous wives when his current wife started dying, so he had an affair with his 11-year-old servant.

  • Maryse89 October 11th, 2013 7:23 AM

    oh my god…Les Revenants! I have never heard anyone talk about this besides me, so I’m so happy to see it on Rookie!!!

    Little Victor has to be one of the creepiest children ever on TV…I’m getting chills just thinking about him

    • soretudaaa October 11th, 2013 3:18 PM

      ohhh but his backstory made my heart explode with sadness D:

      • Maryse89 October 11th, 2013 8:53 PM

        yeah I know…he like alternates from adorable to creepy in a matter of seconds haha

        but I do love his relationship with Julie, it’s very sweet…I hope nothing bad happens to separate them in the second series! :)

        • Caitlin H. October 13th, 2013 11:33 AM

          Julie/Victor/Laure forever <3

  • Rebdomine October 11th, 2013 7:25 AM

    I read the Crucible and seriously, is it really a “long moral message about the dangers of slut-shaming?” There’s a lot of themes in that play but I don’t think slut-shaming is the main one.

    • ungrula November 28th, 2013 2:04 AM

      Mmmm not the main and intended message perhaps but in the movie Abigail does say “I never knew what pretence Salem was. All these Christian women and their covenanted men! And all of them boiling in lust! And now you bid me go dead to all you taught me?” which is her kinda calling out the slut-shaming in the common culture? But mostly just trying to get in John’s pants again. And she’s referred to so many times as a whore and shown as the/an antagonist that it might all cancel itself out
      ((Ok so I rewatched part of the movie to find that quote to argue your same point but whatever I like arguing and I like the Crucible))

  • saramarit October 11th, 2013 8:21 AM

    Eerie Indianna! My name is Marshall Teller…

    Beetlejuice had the Handbook for the Recently Deceased so I think it has to be my favourite film about ghosts.

  • iamrachii October 11th, 2013 8:32 AM

    I’ve been reading the Crucible and I’m almost done, so I’m excited to see the movie (as I am with all Winona movies). Also I watched all of My Mad Fat Diary one day when I was putting off a big essay and I really liked it so thank you for reminding me that I’d like to watch it again in a less-stressed state!

  • catpower44 October 11th, 2013 9:24 AM

    Oooooo yay I love homeland! I’m only on season two though!

  • elliecp October 11th, 2013 11:27 AM

    I love all of these! My mad fat diary is incredible…also Wednesday Addams is my style icon forever <3

    http://roseandvintage.blogspot.com/

  • monkshood October 11th, 2013 12:15 PM

    If you like the first Addams Family movie, you should definitely see Addams Family Values. “Values” is one of my favorite movies, period. There are soooo many priceless quotes:
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Addams_Family_Values

  • Wolfhing October 11th, 2013 1:59 PM

    My Mad Fat Diary is such a good programme I would recommend it to anyone! Finn is so hot <3

  • camizzle October 11th, 2013 3:12 PM

    I will forever be obsessed with Christina Ricci’s Wednesday Addams!

  • tangratoe October 11th, 2013 3:12 PM

    Love the Crucible! Amazing play.

  • orthopedicsaddleshoes October 11th, 2013 5:00 PM

    brodie wrote about brody

  • daisyauthority October 11th, 2013 6:37 PM

    SABRINA. THE TEENAGE WITCH! I am a bit surprised that I’ve never seen anything else on Rookie about her before because that show literally defined my childhood (cartoon and TV). Sabrina is a style icon forever and Salem’s personality is beyond perfection.

    ~Kanyinsola,
    lestylemonster.blogspot.com

  • spudzine October 11th, 2013 11:28 PM

    OK LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH WAS MENTIONED OK THIS IS A VERY GOOD THING

    http://spudzine.tumblr.com/
    http://emotwins.tumblr.com/
    http://rockogirl.tumblr.com/

  • Elizabete October 12th, 2013 5:56 AM

    Why hadn’t I heard of My Mad Fat Diary before?
    I have a long list of things to watch, but after first five minutes of MMFD it became a priority.

    I am happy there is a TV show with a relatable hero who isn’t perfect in more ways than “ah, I’m so clumsy and sometimes have frizzy hair”. Kinda like My So-Called Life of 21st century (still about 90′s though, haha…).

    http://melodyfairitale.wordpress.com

    • Maisie November 10th, 2013 9:41 AM

      Tell me about it. The thing that gets to me though… Their hair isnt even frizzy

  • Ladymia69 October 12th, 2013 8:40 AM

    Les Revenants is the most amazing, intelligent, truly disturbing series on zombies I have ever seen…if you all like it, please see the British series “In the Flesh” as well! You will love that one too!

  • tweedcoats October 12th, 2013 8:36 PM

    I LOVE My Mad Fat Diary. I can’t wait for the next season. The characters are so strong and it’s easy to relate to Rae in a lot of ways. Plus, Finn <3. I would highly recommend it to anyone really.