Books, Movies/Television

Ghostly Love Stories: Three of the Best.

Love is such a powerful emotion and can transcend even time itself. There are stories of spirits visiting loved ones on their wedding day; even the ghosts of beloved pets have been known come back to visit their owners.

As February concentrates on the language of love, what better way than to celebrate with three of the best ghostly love stories?

Ghostmovie

Ghost

What might start off as a romantic movie soon turns to tragedy when Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) is shot and killed.  Finding himself between worlds, his only hope is ‘medium’ Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg). Spirits are said to inhabit our world because they have some unfinished business to attend to, and following this assumption, Sam wants to see justice done. By doing so, he also wishes to ensure the safety of his girlfriend, Molly (Demi Moore).  The movie gets a bit weird and creepy when Sam inhabits Oda Mae Brown’s body in order to touch Molly again, but the audience gets it – it’s Sam’s last and only chance of physically being with Molly.

If not for Oda Mae Brown, Sam would be stuck between worlds and Molly could have been stuck being with Sam’s murderer.  Thank heavens for Whoopi!

The Ghost and Mrs Muir

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Young widow, Lucy Muir rents a house near the beach only to discover it is haunted by the ghost of Captain Daniel Gregg.  He and Lucy soon strike up a relationship, and he allows her to write up his memoir. The memoir is published and helps Lucy out of her financial difficulties.  She then meets a writer of children’s books, who she then begins dating.  It is during this point that Captain Daniel Gregg sees the futility of his relationship with Lucy.  In a completely selfless act, he tells Lucy as she sleeps that he was nothing but a dream.  He wants Lucy to find happiness with a ‘real’ man, however, this leaves nothing but heartache for Lucy.

Certainly, we need to suspend our disbelief in the idea of falling in love with a ghost, but this story demonstrates that ghosts are not always ‘evil’ spirits.

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights

I think we all know this story; the passionate love between childhood sweethearts Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff.  At my book club some years ago, it was a unanimous decision that we disliked Catherine for her selfishness and the way she treated Heathcliff.  Together with her brother, her treatment of him helped bring out his dark side.  When she dies, her ghost torments him.  Some critics believe that her ghostly actions were not meant out of love, but of rage.  This is certainly an opinion that is in the minority, as over the years, the idea of Catherine and Heathcliff being eternally in love proves to be the popular choice.

In the book, at her deathbed, Heathcliff asks Catherine if she would like to live with her soul in the grave.  ‘Wild, spirited Cathy’ clearly does not.

What is your favourite ‘ghostly romance’? Could you love a ghost? Do you believe Catherine haunted Heathcliff out of revenge or for love? Do you think Whoopi saved Ghost?

Images copyright Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox & United Artists.

Writing

Genre Writing – Gothic Fiction.

Recently I have been questioning what my chosen genres as a writer really are.  Then I experienced my ‘light bulb’ moment and wondered why I had not thought of it before.  I was about ten years old when I discovered Anya Seton’s Dragonwyck.  That book really reeled me in and I’ve read it many times since and it inspired me to read more within the genre of gothic fiction.

Gothic fiction combines both horror (psychological and/or physical) and romance.  There is a heavy emphasis on atmosphere in order to help build suspense.  Gothic fiction usually deals with past eras, using medieval settings or in more modern times Victorian England and pre Civil War Southern United States.

Gothic elements usually include some of the following:

  • Medieval setting, usually in a castle or 19th century mansion
  • An atmosphere of mystery and suspense
  • Supernatural or other inexplicable events, which can include ghosts, werewolves and monsters
  • Women in distress
  • An ancient prophecy, omens , visions, dark secrets
  • A tyrannical male, villains and Byronic heroes
  • Mad characters
  • Romance

Stories that are considered gothic fiction include The Mysteries of Udolpho, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Rebecca and of-course Edgar Allan Poe.  Some of the works by Charles Dickens and Stephen King are considered to be that of gothic fiction.  And who could forget Jane Austen’s take on it all in Northanger Abbey?

What I love about gothic fiction is that it combines horror, suspense, mystery/crime, the supernatural, history and romance – all genres I enjoy reading; it all fits under one big umbrella.  So that’s who I am – a writer of gothic fiction.

Do you enjoy gothic fiction?  Do you have a favourite?  If you’re a writer, have you experienced a ‘light bulb’ moment in your chosen genre/s?

Free image by Simon Howden courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net