To continue my month of Halloween movies, this week I watched “Casper”, a beloved movie from my childhood that made me wish my house was haunted.
I haven’t seen this movie in at least 15 years and it was possibly even more ridiculous than I remember. For those of you that don’t remember, here’s what happens:
An awful woman named Carrigan is left a giant house apparently designed by Gaudi and Tim Burton called Whipstaff Manor by her recently deceased father. She and her “close, personal friend”, Eric Idle, find out that there might be treasure but unfortunately the manor is haunted! By ghosts! Named Fatso, Stretch, and Stinky!
Casper, the child ghost with the tragic past, also lives there with his three uncles who treat him like an abused stepchild. Casper really wants a friend so when he sees Dr. James Harvey, widower and ghost therapist, on TV and gets the hots for his daughter, Kat, he plants the idea in Carrigan’s head to bring them to Whipstaff. She does and when Dr. Harvey and Kat arrive, Casper befriends Kat.
However, Kat also wants some human friends and tries to make some at school. Unfortunately, the popular blonde decides that Kat drinks blood because she lives in a haunted manor (apparently ghosts=vampires) and meows when Kat says her name.
However, the teacher sees Kat’s residence as an opportunity to throw a killer Halloween party so he asks if the school’s Halloween dance can be held at her house. Kat agrees without considering Casper’s three asshole ghost uncles or, you know, asking her dad for permission to bring 300 people over in a couple days.
Before the party, Dr. Harvey goes out drinking with Casper’s dead uncles uncles so Kat and Casper explore Whipstaff Manor. They discover a machine called the Lazarus that Casper’s inventor father built to bring Casper back to life after he died from pneumonia after a sledding accident at age 12. There’s just enough Lazarus potion to reverse one terrible tragedy and bring Casper back to life!
Carrigan and Eric Idle overhear this and get the great idea that one of them should die, find the hidden treasure, and then use the Lazarus to bring them back so they can enjoy the treasure. Carrigan accidentally falls off a cliff while trying to kill Eric Idle (rude!) but after she finds the treasure chest (which turns out to just hold a baseball, by the way), Eric Idle turns on her and refuses to let her use the Lazarus machine.
Eric Idle ends up getting scared off by ghost Carrigan and she’s is about to use the Lazarus when Kat tricks her into realizing that she doesn’t have any unfinished business and Carrigan passes on to the other side. Finally in possession of both the baseball and the Lazarus machine potion, Casper and Kat are about to use the machine to bring Casper back to life when the uncles return with the still-drunk ghost of Dr. Harvey.
Casper selflessly gives up his dreams of being a real boy and uses the Lazarus machine to bring Dr. Harvey back to life. After Kat and her dad are reunited, everyone realizes that the school dance has been going on the whole time. Kat goes downstairs to enjoy the party, the mean girl is scared off by Casper’s uncles, and everyone thinks Kat orchestrated the whole thing to add theatrics to the party.
Casper is moping upstairs and Kat’s dead mom appears and turns him into a real boy so he can go to the party with Kat–but he can only stay human until 10pm because he’s 12. However, at this point it’s like 9:48 so he only has enough time for one dance which is kind of bullshit considering he brought Kat’s dad back from the dead.
He comes downstairs, dances with Kat, and gives her her very first kiss in a moment that caused every pre-pubescent girl to swoon.
While they’re kissing, he turns back into a ghost and everyone at the party runs out screaming. Kat, Dr. Harvey, and Casper then proceed to dance while Casper’s uncles sing and pretend to be Rick James in what I think might be a ghostly version of blackface.
So I guess Dr. Harvey and Kat are just going to continue to live in the house with Kat’s perpetually 12-years-old ghost boyfriend? Carrigan owned it but now she’s dead. But I think someone’s going to eventually start asking questions and then the house will either go to her next of kin or the bank. I mean, a “ghost therapist” who drives a piece of shit station wagon can’t possibly afford an enormous 30 room mansion. I guess Dr. Harvey and Kat are squatters now?