Macabre Month 2 Part I: Casper (1995)

Few ghosts have had as Many adventures as Casper, the friendly ghost has seen his fair share of adaptations and has had his fair scrapes. But the welcoming ghost’s origin is rarely touched upon. In 1995, a whole new generation got reintroduced to the concepts of civility in the great beyond as Casper made his rightful return to the cultural landscape.

In the aptly named town of Friendship Maine, lies a grand house, the recent inheritance of one Carrigan Crittenden, she and her assistant, Dibs, soon find the place haunted by a mysterious treasure and the Ghostly Trio. Determined they call in a paranormal living impaired investigator to deal with the trio, His daughter, however, struggling to settle, makes friends with the friendly ghost, Casper, who is smitten with her. The Ghost and Mortals must get along while Carrigan tries to get her treasure.

In the aptly named town of Friendship Maine, lies a grand house, the recent inheritance of one Carrigan Crittenden, she and her assistant, Dibs, soon find the place haunted by a mysterious treasure and the Ghostly Trio. Determined they call in a paranormal living impaired investigator to deal with the trio, His daughter, however, struggling to settle, makes friends with the friendly ghost, Casper, who is smitten with her. The Ghost and Mortals must get along while Carrigan tries to get her treasure.

In the aptly named town of Friendship Maine, lies a grand house, the recent inheritance of one Carrigan Crittenden, she and her assistant, Dibs, soon find the place haunted by a mysterious treasure and the Ghostly Trio. Determined they call in a paranormal living impaired investigator to deal with the trio, His daughter, however, struggling to settle, makes friends with the friendly ghost, Casper, who is smitten with her. The Ghost and Mortals must get along while Carrigan tries to get her treasure.

Bill Pullman’s character has to balance bereavement, his job, moving, and raising his teenage daughter, in one of the more grounded plot threads of the film.

In the aptly named town of Friendship Maine, lies a grand house, the recent inheritance of one Carrigan Crittenden, she and her assistant, Dibs, soon find the place haunted by a mysterious treasure and the Ghostly Trio. Determined they call in a paranormal living impaired investigator to deal with the trio, His daughter, however, struggling to settle, makes friends with the friendly ghost, Casper, who is smitten with her. The Ghost and Mortals must get along while Carrigan tries to get her treasure.

The film manages to bring in an impressive amount oi cameos!

The film is a cameo collection and sports some big names. You have Bill Pullman as Dr. Harvey trying to be a good father while dealing with his ghostly occupants and his wife’s passing, while a young Christina Ricci plays the grieving Kathy (who prefers Kat) and is finding it difficult to fit in. Cathy Moriarty makes a strong debut to the franchise here, as spoiled heiress Carrigan. Monty Python alumni Eric Idle plays her assistant, he has some good lines but doesn’t steal the show. Those who do are the ghosts themselves. Brad Garrett known for emulating voices of wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan provides the fitting voice of Fatso and Stretch’s thick New York accent is an excellent choice for his character.

EVERYBODY! Backstreet’s back alright! (I had too!)

The home of Casper and the Ghostly Trio is an ambience-laden gothic mansion that would eventually go on to see fame in the Backstreet Boys video. Like that video, the film employs some good effects and creepy house dressing to render both the ghosts and the spooky atmosphere on the screen. Steampunk=inspired chairs and boobytraps and the eerily translucent ghosts. Sharing the bittersweet origins of the titular friendly ghost is a bold step, but it feels necessary for the grandiose nature of the big screen. The film does an extra step of framing this event from essentially a young child’s point of view. But most of the film deals with the interaction between Casper and mortal Kathy.

Casper’s family must have been big to afford front page attention.

Casper is a cute jumping-off point, that lends itself well to subsequent ghostly tales of the affable ghost, but in itself is a relatable tale about a widowed family trying to fit in. Casper’s in-jokes and references will appeal to horror aficionados who might like a nice break from the macabre gore. And comedy fans will enjoy not only the jokes but the interactions between the family and the ghosts. New or old, fresh or experienced fans of the friendly ghost will be able to enjoy what’s on-screen here. To be able to be entertaining after so many years shows that Casper is less of a fair-weather friend and more of an ever-green companion.

Carrigan and Dibs make a great double act, its a shame they’re not together in the sequels.

If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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