Casper the Friendly Ghost has appeared in pop culture for decades, in cartoon shorts, Harvey Comics publications, and even a string of movies. The story of Casper is that of a deceased child who does not want to frighten anyone and would like to spread kindness. This results in the other ghosts criticizing him, which leaves him feeling lonely.
Currently, there are five movies in the Casper franchise, one of which was released theatrically to critical and commercial success. Though some sequel films may be lesser known to others – releasing straight to home video – each movie has been enjoyed for its friendlier take on the standard ghost story. Recently, a live-action series of Casper the Friendly Ghost has been announced and is in the works at Peacock. As we await further details, let’s dive into each of the Casper films, and where they rank.
5 Casper’s Haunted Christmas
Casper’s Haunted Christmas was released in 2000 direct to video and follows the story of the ghost from Harvey Comics. The film’s plot centers around Kibosh, the ruler of the ghost world who declares that Casper has not fulfilled his duties as a ghost and, as a result, must terrify one person on Christmas Eve. If he can not do this, then he will be exiled. The film is a strange one, but if taken at face value can be enjoyed.
4 Casper’s Scare School
The most recent addition to the Casper film franchise is 2006’s Casper’s Scare School, which was an animated TV movie. The plot sees Casper enrolled into a Scare School so that he can learn to be a proper ghost and scare people. However, he quickly uncovers an evil plot and must save the day along with some new friends. The film is enjoyable for its intended audience and has some funny moments.
3 Casper: A Spirited Beginning
1997 saw Casper: A Spirited Beginning being released direct to video, which serves as a prequel to the 1995 film, although it does break continuity with the film. The film explores the origins of Casper as he befriends Chris Carson, a young boy who loves ghosts and the supernatural. They then have to face against Kibosh as he tries to have Casper brought back to the ghost kingdom. The film did not receive positive reviews and failed to live up to the original, however, it’s enjoyable if it’s not taken seriously.
2 Casper Meets Wendy
Shortly after Casper: A Spirited Beginninga 1998 direct-to-video film was released called Casper Meets Wendy. The film is based on the Harvey Comics cartoon characters Casper the Friendly Ghost and Wendy the Good Little Witch. The plot focuses on Wendy the Good Little Witch (played by Hilary Duff) and her aunts, who seek sanctuary in a special resort that caters to the supernatural. There, Wendy meets Casper the Friendly Ghost (Jeremy Foley), who is vacationing with his quarrelsome uncles. They become fast friends and plan to take down an evil warlock. The film is notable for being the first film appearance of Duff, who would go on to enjoy a hugely successful career in entertainment.
The only film that received a theatrical release in the franchise was 1995’s Casper, which was directed by Brad Silberling, in his feature film directorial debut. The film stars Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty, Eric Idle, and features the voices of Joe Nipote, Joe Alaskey, Brad Garrett, and the introduction of Malachi Pearson in the title role. The film follows Casper, who peacefully haunts a mansion in Maine, and after a specialist arrives to communicate with Casper along with his daughter, Kat (Ricci), Casper falls in love with her and this results in a complicated relationship. This movie received the best response and performed exceptionally well at the box office.