Before watching the 1997 film, "Ghosts", you should watch the music video to the song "Ghost" by Michael Jackson. It is three minutes and fifty-seven seconds long, and it gives a taster of what the film is like.
An ordinary large town has a creepy, old, dark, mysterious mansion on the outskirts. The Maestro (Michael Jackson
) is an elusive young man who lives in the old mansion. All the children of the town go to the mansion every day, and the Maestro entertains them with his wonderful, supernatural powers. The children end up telling their parents about all the fun they have at the Maestro's home. Gradually, all the adults of the town hear about this, and none of them trust the Maestro, especially the Mayor (Michael Jackson
), who is a pompous, old, fat man, who dresses smartly. Despite what the kids say, the people of the town get together, and agree that that night, they would banish the Maestro from the town, remove everything he owned, and destroy his house.
Late that night, there is a storm. All the townspeople have arrived outside the Maestro's house. The further they get into the house, the more frightened the people become. It's only the children who show excitement at what they may experience on this particular trip.
When they reach the main hall of the house, they hear an odd noise from a dark corner and the Mayor nominates himself to investigate.
A skeleton wearing a long black robe appears from the darkness, scaring all in the room. The Maestro emerges from behind what is revealed to be a skull mask, and asks if he scared anybody. In a forced brave tone the Mayor insists that the Maestro may have scared everybody else but he didn't scare him, and the Maestro states that he must try harder next time.
Bucking up some courage, the Mayor begins to tell the Maestro that a quiet and normal town like his doesn't need a "freaky boy" like him, and demands that he leave town. A small argument follows, with the Maestro admitting that although he does like to frighten people, he only does it for fun, and the children agree that they enjoy their experiences in his house. However, the Mayor refuses to accept this, threatening that he will use force if need be. Taking this as a challenge, the Maestro attempts to scare the Mayor - first mockingly, pulling faces, which getting stranger as he stretches the skin around his eyes and mouth by inches, and then he means business.
Having scared everybody, the Maestro shifts his face back to normal, and summons his 'family' of ghosts. Once all twelve ghosts are present, he and all the ghosts proceed with their challenge by performing an elaborate dance routine. ["2 Bad", from the album "HIStory"]
Once this is finished, the Maestro stands at the back, and the twelve ghosts dance. [Instrumental version of "You Win Again" by the Bee Gees]
Once that is over, the Maestro goes to the centre of the hall once more, and very quickly removes all his clothes, skin, and muscle until he is just a skeleton. The skeleton then performs "Is It Scary?" [by Michael Jackson, from the album "Blood On The Dance Floor"]
Once this is over, he steps aside once more, and all the ghosts mock and haunt the Mayor. When they have had their fun, the Maestro's skeleton transforms into a large devil.
The devil slowly disappears, and in doing so, he has possessed the Mayor. Now that the Mayor has been possessed, he goes to the centre of the hall, and performs "Ghost". [by Michael Jackson, from the album, "Blood On The Dance Floor"]
When he is finished, the Mayor regains sanity, and has just about had enough, when an arm plunges out of his stomach. The arm holds a mirror. The Mayor looks in the mirror, and when he does so, he transforms into a beast.
After all this, the Maestro stands before the Mayor and asks if he still wants him to leave, to which the Mayor responds with a desperate "yes!" Giving in almost easily, the Maestro throws himself to the floor, smashing his hands and head to the stone, crumbling until he's just dust, and the breeze blows him away.
Almost triumphantly, yet still with the mark of terror, the Mayor turns on the spot and marches straight to the door. Upon opening it he sees the Maestro's demonic face blocking the entire exit. Petrified, the Mayor runs through the glass windows and out of sight.
The people, who have been watching in both horror and awe, turn to see the Maestro smiling.
"Did I scare you?" asks the Maestro, sounding exceptionally pleased. The people nod furiously, having never been more terrified in their lives. "Did we have a good time here?" the Maestro enquires. After a moment of silence, he urges the people to answer, and they respond feverishly. Then their faces drop. The Maestro asks what the matter is, spinning slowly around once realising that there is someone behind him. The skeleton in a black robe is standing there, causing the Maestro to step back in shock. It's revealed that two of the children have teamed up with the skull mask to try to frighten the Maestro. Admitting that they maybe scared him a little, the Maestro begins to laugh.
The final scare of the movie is when the third child begs the attention of all in the room, asks "is this scary?" and begins to pull at his face...