Ghost Ship - 2002

Ships Passing In The Night

This week I flipped through to see if something could find anything movie wise that was new to me and of course watchable. 

Movies Of Ships

Two of my favorite horror movies that I feel I could rewatch time and time again and never tire of are Thir13en Ghosts (2001) and Ghost Ship (2002). This week I flipped through to see if something could find anything movie wise that was new to me and of course watchable. 

Death Ship (1980) caught my eye and you can guess which of my two favorites it led me to rewatch. In doing so it made me compare the two films, and even take a look at the reviews of both since both didn’t get the best of scores on their releases. So let’s take a look at them and kick back with ghosts on the high seas. 

Death Ship

Let’s start with the movie that came first. Death Ship tells the tale of a cruise ship marked for disaster. The Captain, Ashland, is leading his final voyage with his replacement Trevor Marshall and his family aboard to see Ashland off. 

In the middle of the night during their normal voyage, a blip shows up on their radar showing another ship set on a collision course with them. Despite pulling every trick they could to avoid the collision it happens and the ships collide taking down most of the staff and passengers aboard the cruise ship. 

Death Ship
Death Ship

As the next morning dawns, that is when the fun really begins. The survivors find a black freighter with a ladder down the side of the boat beckoning for them to come on board. But after more accidents and deaths, weird things begin to happen to Ashland…almost like he is possessed. 

Music playing, videos projecting on their own. Those left alive soon realize this black frieghter is not a normal ship but once was a floating torture ship for the Nazi regime and those spirits are still around looking for blood to fuel their ship!

Ghost Ship

In 1962 the luxury ocean liner MS Antonia Graza went missing. Years later a crew of scavengers, Captain Sean Murphy, Maureen Epps, Greer, Dodge, Munder, and Santos are offered the find of a lifetime from a weather service pilot named Jack Ferriman. In the 

Bering Strait he has found a floating ship that appears to be a ghost ship, ready for the taking by the right crew. With the money being too much to say no to, each member of the crew signs on and the journey to find this mystery ship is on. Even Jack manages to make his way onto the crew for this voyage, he leaves them with no choice but to take him. 

Ghost Ship - 2002
Ghost Ship – 2002

As they make their way to the coordinates, the crew begins to share with Jack pieces of themselves. All is going well until a blip of a ship ahead causes Santos to call the Captain to the bridge to show him…nothing. Nothing until it is right in front of them and they bump into the  MS Antonia Graza, a boat that Captain Sean Murphy knows the lore of.

Ghost Ship - 2002
Ghost Ship – 2002

As the crew makes their way through the ship Maureen sees a ghost of a little girl intent on telling her something but she shakes it from her mind. There are hints all over the ship that something absolutely horrible happened here and that they are not the first crew to have stumbled upon the floating ship. 

Once the decision is made to fix the ship or leave with the millions of dollars in gold bars they find in the mail hold…the malice behind the ship becomes known and it is not wanting to let any of the crew leave alive and unmarked. 


Both of these movies have one thing in common, when they were released they were welcomed with low reviews. Death Ship from the Rotten Tomatoes site garnered a 20% rating but this was based on 5 reviews. Ghost Ship didn’t fare much better from the same site getting a rating of only 16% based on at that time 127 reviews. 

But even with the low ratings, each of the films were still applauded for concepts or sequences that improved and heightened the level of horror. For Death Ship it came down to the concept that hadn’t been seen before with a Nazi Torture Ship sailing the sees with a ghost crew in search of blood that made the ship run. 

Death Ship
Death Ship

With Ghost Ship it was the opening scene which was unlike anything viewers had ever seen. A complex and well executed scene that sent chills down viewers’ spines. 

Something that can be agreed upon though is that each of these movies have a cult following, and a loyal fanbase. 

So What Makes Horror? 

Or better stated, what makes horror good? It all depends on what your personal preference is. Different things press different buttons to scare people and each of these movies do in fact make their viewers think of things beyond this world. 

They each have details built in to make things more in your face. For Death Ship you have the medical cabin with hidden drawers of not only jewelry but also human teeth, these let viewers know…if they didn’t by this point exactly what this ship had been and later scenes absolutely confirm in once the characters enter the torture chamber itself.  

With Ghost Ship, it is the background itself as well as our little girl ghost Katie Harwood. Seeing the horrors that happened through her eyes and all of the intricacies of the relationships of the other ghosts aboard with the crew members makes for a memorable experience. 


Both of these films hold their own sense of charm and as stated above have their own cult followings. They have each left an imprint on the horror genre and caught the attention of the public. 

Death Ship
Death Ship

I recommend a watch of both if you are a fan of horror films though when it comes to Death Ship one watch was enough for me. But the similarities are there to be seen, especially when looking at the movie posters for the two films. Either way prepare for the ghosts to take the helm and set the course to your demise. 

Kendra Hale

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