We all know our favorite paranormal films–movies with ghosts, demons, supernatural phenomena, psychic powers, etc. But what is less talked about are popular movies with paranormal elements that slip under the radar, movies that are not considered fantastical in any obvious way but which feature truly paranormal or supernatural plot points. Here are 6 such movies:
The Perfect Storm
After the incredible storm has capsized George Clooney’s ship and all the fishermen are dead, only Mark Wahlberg’s character, Bobby, remains. As he is swept among the tsunami-sized waves, his death imminent, Bobby recites a message to his girlfriend, which is as follows:
“Christina, can you hear me? I don’t know if you can, but I’m talking to ya, baby. Do you know how much I love you? I loved you the moment I saw you. I love you now, and I’ll love you forever. No goodbye. There’s only love, Christina. Only love.”
After his death, Bobby’s girlfriend Christina recounts to his mom a recurring dream she has in which Bobby says that exact message to her. While this isn’t a traditional ghost visitation, somehow those words were transmitted over the ocean, from the depths of one mind to another, in what can only be described as paranormal activity.
Nothing paranormal happens in this Academy Award winning film, unless you count the fact that the entire film is narrated by a dead man. That’s right, the inestimable Lester, played ingeniously by Kevin Spacey, dies at the end of the film, making his subsequent storytelling abilities dubious at best.
Anything David Lynch has ever done–including his actions as an infant–are arguably paranormal, especially his masterful followup to Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive. We rarely get a chance to discuss David Lynch on The Ghost Diaries, and this scene, featuring Robert Blake and Bill Pullman, is easily one of the creepiest, most enigmatic scenes in film history. A man who is seemingly from either a parallel dimension or a figment of an imagination, walks up to the protagonist and says, “I’m in your house. Call me.”
We still remember the first time we saw this Paul Thomas Anderson classic in the theater. An otherwise ‘straight’ ensemble narrative suddenly veers into an absurdist, apocalyptic nightmare when frogs begin to rain from the sky. We still remember our shrill, stunned laughter as thousands of frogs pelt car windshields and backyard diving boards. A literal interpretation of a Biblical story in an otherwise nihilistic film.
The Princess Bride
One of our favorite movies of all time is rife with scenes that show how love can triumph over physical reality. However, the most paranormal scene is the one in which Inigo Montoya calls upon the spirit of his dead father to guide his sword in the right direction. The sword angles into what seems like a random tree, which turns out to be the doorway to hobgoblin Miracle Max’s (played hilariously by Billy Crystal) underground doctor’s office.
That’s right, who can forget the course on miracles offered midway through Quentin Tarantino’s non-linear masterpiece? In the midst of a job that nearly costs them their lives, two hitmen (played by Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta) and soon-to-be-shot-in-the-face Marvin are witnesses to a case of divine intervention, in which every one of the half dozen bullets fired by a “man with a hand cannon” inexplicably misses them in close range. A tense action scene suddenly becomes an existential meditation on the nature of God’s miracles.
We know there are more of these types of movies out there. Let’s make a collection of non-paranormal films with exceedingly paranormal subplots and characters.