Posted on Tuesday, May 26th, 2020 by Marisa Mirabal
The image of a ghost conjures menacing motives and lingering negativity that can harm the otherwise safe, living person. However, a morbid fascination with the afterlife hovers over our culture and has remained present throughout time. This spiderweb of spooky intrigue is intricately woven into our traditions through a facade of cute Halloween decor and scary movies audiences can enjoy from a comfortable distance to make sense of what we wish to understand and accept the most: death.
A refreshing and innovative perspective on phantoms arrived in 1939 with Casper the Friendly Ghost, a young and relentlessly kind protagonist desperate for a friend and longing to be accepted by people who are otherwise scared of his spectral presence. Adapted from a storybook into a Noveltoon in 1945 released by Paramount and comic book appearances first in 1949 by St. John Publications, and later in 1952 by Harvey Comics, the friendly ghost has grown into a robust franchise. It wasn’t until 1995 with Universal Pictures’ release of Casper that the backstory of the lovable character was fleshed out (pun intended). Directed by Brad Silberling, the film features revolutionary CGI animation, contains mature themes of friendship and grief, and serves as a perfect primer for children’s introduction to the horror genre.