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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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High Spirits is an amusing ghost caper movie from the 80s that somewhat fell into obscurity despite it's noteable cast and half-original (for it's time) storyline. Thankfully High Spirits has at least made it's re-release on DVD. Mixed with obvious bad special effects, bad clothes and costumes and very corny yet predictable dialogue, the movie is something of a blast from the past reminding us strongly of how much the comedy genre has evolved since 1988. Still, with amusing performances from Liam Neeson, Peter O'Tool, and the incredible Liz Smith, it will still provide just the hint of a smile at the corner of your mouth even if the movie is so obviously past it compared to the films of today.


Castle Plunkett, the run-down crumbling stone castle set deep in the country somewhere in Ireland is about to be forceably sold to an American businessman with the intentions of turning the once grand place into an Irish themed amusement park. Peter Punklett (Peter O'Toole), descendent of the family, finds himself in dire straits unable to afford the mortgage and devastated at the imminent foreclosure. Prompted by a brain storm after his whacky and eccentric mother (Liz Smith) advises him there are ghosts in the castle, Peter decides to open the castle up as 'haunted hotel' where he and his staff will use trickery to make the guests believe the castle is truly haunted.

Soon, after some planning and preparation, a bus load of American tourists arrive eager to see some spooks for themselves; amongst the vacationers are Jack Crawford (Steve Guttenberg) and his beautiful but neurotic wife Sharon (Beverly D'Angelo), who are having marital problems further complicated by Sharon's apparent addiction to valium.

It doesn't take very long before Peter Plunkett's plans and trickery begin to go awry, but what he doesn't know is that his mother was truthful in her revelation about the castle and it's spirit life. Angered with the way that Peter has bumbled his way through the ordeal, the spirits begin to revolt and give the vacationers something they really won't forget.

In addition to the chaos beginning to occur around the castle, Jack encounters the troubled spirit of Mary Plunkett (Daryl Hannah), the bride who was done to death by her husband Martin Brogan on her wedding night three hundred years ago. After accidentally setting Mary free from her curse of repeating her murder every night for the rest of eternity, Jack soon finds himself falling impossibly in love while his neurotic and overbearing wife suddenly finds an undeniable attraction to Mary's disgusting but rogueishly handsome husband, the ghostly Martin.
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Excellent old movie (1988)that hasn't dated much since it was filmed.
Peter O'Toole is the castle owner, on the verge of suicide, because his ancestral home is about to be repossessed. He devises a cunning scheme to market it as the ghost capital of Europe, there of course being no ghosts.
He sets about deceiving his paying guests when, guess who turn up, real ghosts!.
Great performances from all the leads and there is a fine supporting cast of British actors. Well worth watching.
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on 10 December 2003
Oh my god...where to start?
This film is brilliant!
I first saw it about 9yrs ago and couldnt stop laughing at Steve Guttenberg and Liam Neeson.
The story takes place in Ireland in a old Castle Plunkett.
The owner is bankrupt and comes up with a great plan to rip everyone off with haunting the castle with help from his staff, but the group of Americans come over..give him a run for his money.
Over the next little while, after hysterical attempts of haunting and near death events, the real ghosts take it into they're own hands.
Thats all ur getting, if u want to see something funny, romantic and chilling, then this is it.
Stars include:
Steve Guttenberg
Peter O'Toole
Liam Neeson
Trust me...its worth it and i cant believe its taken MGM this long to make it into DVD!!!
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on 20 April 2009
High spirts, high jinx, high expectations... with a cast that includes Peter O'Toole, Daryl Hannah, Steve Guttenberg and Liam Neeson there is a lot to recommend about this ghostly rom-com. Directed by Neil Jordan we are introduced to Peter Plunkett (O'Toole) who, to stop his home being dismantled block by block and transported to America, persuades his staff to dress up as ghosts to "haunt" their guests. Unfortunately, after a typically shambolic night when everything goes wrong, the real ghosts decide to give the Yanks exactly what they want and launch a campaign them which leads to a ghostly "wifeswap" between Guttenberg and Neeson.
With a brilliant musical score from George Fenton and a whistling fish, i would recommend this film to anyone.
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on 21 February 2016
Fantastic film that still makes me laugh everytime I watch it. Whistling fish, ghost nuns, a ghost with flatulence and warts, a talking horse, what more could you ask for. A bit dated in parts now but still one of my favourite films.
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on 1 March 2005
I love this film i first saw it when i was a kid and i laughed from start to finish.
But why on earth is a movie set in Ireland on Region 1 DVD and not 2?
I've got it on Video but i'd kill to have it on Region 2 DVD. C'mon what's taking you so long!!!
Overall a great film and probably Steve Guttenburgs only good movie, Peter O'Toole is great, Beverly D'Angelo is Hiliarious and the hotel staff are fantastic.
If you own a multi regional DVD player or you're an American - BUY IT!!!
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on 11 March 2013
There was a time when Halloween meant films. I this used to be on terrestrial television. Okay it is in set it Ireland but Hollywood Ireland which means everyone is Orish. And some of the actors are actually Irish which makes you wonder. Nice story line and location looks like Ireland which is always lovely.

Story line is not scary - unless you have never seen the concept of ghosts before and then yes it is quite scary. A bit of a love story a bit of rights wronged and then righted. A bit of Peter O'Toole doing a master class in being drunk (no one plays drunk better). So it is a bit of a them and us film. Greedy hotelier and the put up on owners. The Sceptics and the believers. The Ghosts and the peopel who are alive.

So not a modern classic that changes you life. But definetly a film that brings back Halloween movies. Bit of mind candy not your favourite chocolate bar but definetly the one you eat before natures candy in your halloween trick and treating bucket.
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on 15 May 2009
A good old fashioned story about well meant but ulitimately doomed ingenuity. Well meant because financial ruin will have you clinging to straws. Doomed because us mortals are no match for our forebears, who have all the real tricks up their ghostly sleeves. A great cast in a little known film. Well worth a look.
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on 6 February 2015
This is a brilliant film. I had the video when my children were a lot younger and I suddenly remembered about it a couple of weeks ago. I was really glad to see I could get the DVD and I am enjoying it very much.
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on 2 February 2014
Haven't watched it yet as it only arrived today.. the delivery was really quite slow as I ordered it weeks ago. Even still.. should be a great night in.. boyfriend enjoys it, so thought it would be nice to own on DVD. Arrived sealed and in a small padded envelope. Can't wait to watch it.. Thanks!
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