Tagline: Bill Murray is back among the ghosts. Only this time, it’s three against one.
Although it has been adapted countless times (and then some), most people forget that Charles Dickens’ beloved novel, A Christmas Carol is a ghost story. It is a tale of a man who has lost his way, and is heading down a path of self-destruction, until he is given a second shot at life, thanks to the intervention of four spirits who haunt him on Christmas Eve and show him a better way to be.
While most movie audiences wouldn’t define A Christmas Carol as horror, there are certain elements of the story which lend themselves to the genre very well; most notably, the four ghosts. And, if you peel back some of the cheer, crank up the ghoulish ideas, and add lashings of black comedy into the mix, then A Christmas Carol quickly morphs into Scrooged – a twisted and hilarious fantasy picture from director Richard Donner.
Scrooged follows the story of television executive, Frank Cross, who is played to irascible perfection by Bill Murray. Frank is sarcastic and selfish, and due to his cold-heart and uncaring nature, is heading for an early grave. He is also the Ebenezer Scrooge of this particular tale and just like his literary counterpart, Frank is in desperate need of a do-over before it is too late.
As the story progresses, Frank is then visited by four ghosts, each bringing a dire warning. He is shown his past, his present, and his future, with each ghost more disturbing than the last.
The first ghost is that of Frank’s old boss, Lew Hayward who appears in Frank’s office in the form of a rotting corpse. Lew is falling apart, a mouse lives in his head, and he is clearly long past his use by date.
The second ghost takes the appearance of a grubby, lecherous taxi driver, who is one step away from a sexual harassment law suit. He is someone you wouldn’t want to meet down a dark alley, and you certainly wouldn’t want to step foot in his cab.
Ghost number three is a psychotic fairy, who gives the impression of sweetness and light, but suffers from aggressive tendencies. Meanwhile, the final apparition is a hooded figure, not too dissimilar from the Grim Reaper, and arguably the scariest of them all.
The ghosts who appear in Scrooged are pure nightmare fuel, and are easily some of the most imaginative spectres to ever grace the screen. They also ensure that Scrooged is one of the best adaptations of A Christmas Carol ever committed to film.
Charles Dickens may have wanted to terrify Ebenezer Scrooge in his classic novel, but it is Richard Donner who brings the real terror. And it is hidden in plain sight, in the form of a horror movie masquerading as a festive comedy, that I insist you watch… each and every year.
Frank Cross – “The bitch hit me with a toaster!”
Cast and crew
Scrooged is directed by Richard Donner, from a screenplay by Mitch Glazer and Michael O’Donoghue. As well as direct, Donner was also a producer on the movie, alongside Art Linson.
Danny Elfman provided the music for Scrooged, while the cast included Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, Bobcat Goldthwait, Carol Kane, Robert Mitchum, and Alfre Woodard.
Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this spotlight post focusing on a must-see horror movie. This ‘spotlight’ on Scrooged is the final entry in a series of eight posts looking at superb horror movies and shorts which you may or may not have seen.
Other posts in this series include: Child’s Play (1988), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Babysitter (2017), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Best Worst Movie (2010), Final Destination (2000), and Drag Me To Hell (2009).
The aim of these posts is to spread some horror love around the internet, and possibly introduce you to a slice of horror that you may have overlooked. So, make sure to add this film to your next horror movie marathon.
And for more horror-related content, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.
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