Throwback Thursday: “Casper”

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.

Instead, I had a cat.
Instead, I had a cat.

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!

I'll let you guess how they got their names.
I’ll let you guess how they got their names.

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.

I think this is meant to be sweet, but it kind of comes off as a red flag.
I think this is meant to be sweet, but it kind of comes off as a red flag.

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.

Curious red kitten
“You’re adorable and precious like a kitty! TAKE THAT!”

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.

I'm sure he won't notice.
I’m sure he won’t notice.

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!

Kat's already wearing his mom's wedding dress, it's pretty much a done deal.
Kat’s already wearing his mom’s wedding dress, it’s pretty much a done deal at this point.

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.

"I'm going to take my treasure and by the Castle of Aaarrrgggh!"
“I’m going to take my treasure and buy the Castle of Aaarrrgggh!”

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.

He died by drunkenly falling into an open construction pit directly in front of the bar doors. Really? No one could’ve locked those?

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.

"We promise to stop shoving you in your locker for at least a week.
“Because of this, we promise to stop shoving you in your locker for at least a week!”

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.

At least he got to come back as Devon Sawa.
At least he got to come back as Devon Sawa.

He comes downstairs, dances with Kat, and gives her her very first kiss in a moment that caused every pre-pubescent girl to swoon.

If you weren't in love with human Casper, you were a filthy fucking liar.
True story, when I re-watched this movie with my husband, he tried to make joke during this scene and I actually snapped at him to shut the fuck up because he was ruining the best part of the movie. I can’t believe I’m still married.

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.

Picture not available for obvious reasons.
Picture not available for obvious reasons.

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?

There's no way this could end badly.
“Now if the doorbell rings, you just hide in your room until CPS goes away.”

Happy Halloween!

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Emily Regan is the author of several books, including "What's an Adult?: No One Knows Anything and We're All Going to Die." She is an avid fan of reality TV, an unironic Hanson fan, and currently resides in Arizona with her family.

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