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A specter is haunting Hollywood...

As noted below, there doesn’t seem to be a burning desire on the part of fans for another “Poltergeist” movie. And do we really need another “Ghostbusters,” especially after the brilliant remake featured in Michel Gondry’s “Be Kind, Rewind?” Since the 1984 original grossed $292 million and the 1989 sequel took in another $215 mil, Sony Pictures apparently thinks it's the franchise to call.  Bringing it up to date will be the Judd Apatow/ “The Office” writing team of Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg.

So what is it with the spirit world and Hollywood these days? As a character says about New York City in the upcoming “Ghost Town,”  the place is lousy with ghosts. You’ve got the ghosts as avenging spirits as in “Poltergeist” and as embodiments of evil seeking to possess the living as in the Ghostbusters movies. And then you’ve got the “Christmas Carol” template with the ghosts as harbingers of guilt, haunting miscreants with reminders of their misdeeds (see “An American Carol” below ) or deeds undone, which is how it works out in the “Ghost Town” formulation. And sometimes the person haunted and the ghost are one and the same...   

Sounds like the perennial problem of guilty consciences and fear of punishment and the terror of mortality to me. But why does the phenomenon spike periodically? “Poltergeist” came out in 1982 and “Ghostbusters” in 1984, “Poltergeist III,” “Ghostbusters 2,” “Ghost”and “Jacob’s Ladder” all appeared from 1988-90, and “The Sixth Sense” and “The Others” came out in 1999 and 2001. There seem more these days than usual, too — some other recent examples include “Ghost Rider,” “Over Her Dead Body,” “The Life Before Her Eyes.” I’m sure I’m missing some. And don't forget the ghost hunting shows on TV.

Is this cause for spirited discussion? Or just a dead issue?

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