Movie review by Berit Kjos <>


A sweet, lonely ghost befriends a motherless girl. He models the ultimate in selflessness -- the willingness to give his life (or rather, his return to life) -- for someone he loves. What could be wrong with someone so good?

Plenty. Casper may be a computer-generated wonder who tugs at heartstrings and draws sell-out crowds, but he's still a ghost--a supernatural being who is not one of God's angels. Since the dead have no power to participate in human activities, the Bible leaves no option other than to call him a demon--and there are no good demons.

"But," you may argue, "this is just fantasy! Poor Casper is only make-believe. Don't take him so seriously. Most children know the difference between fact and fantasy. Casper can't hurt them!

Yes he can. Fantasies like this help form a child's world view--their mental frame of reference for all they think and learn. Children may know the difference between truth and myths in their minds, but when they identify with the movie's occult personalities, their feelings about spiritual realities will follow those expressed in the movie. Later, objective information can be explained away, but images and feelings often defy rational arguments.

Produced by Universal Studios, this movie is full of occult impressions that stretch a child's world view to include more pluralistic and universal beliefs. All fit into the world's pagan religions. All are common themes in today's politically correct textbooks as well as movies. As you read the following summary, ponder its suggestions:

Ghost psychiatrist Dr. Harvey has been hired to rid the spooky old Whipstaff Manor of its nasty ghosts. Prepared to counsel the "living impaired", Harvey and his 12-year-old daughter Kat move into the haunted old mansion. After a brief encounter with gentle Casper, the three ghastly uncles appear. Dr. Harvey faints, and the spirits dive into his mouth. He awakens and looks in mirror. The demons inside him take turns contorting his face. One moment it looks like Clint Eastwood; the next moment it shows the skull of death. Done with their fun, the three exit and disappear. (Impression #1: Demon possession is no big deal)

The next morning, kind Casper serves Kat a breakfast he made using magic. She senses his loneliness. In mystical ET-fashion, they touch hands as a sign of friendship. (Impressions #2 and #3: Ghosts can be good. They have feelings, just like humans)

Harvey starts therapy for the three wretched ghosts who suffer from "unfinished business." But the doctor has some unfinished business of his own: finding the ghost of his deceased wife. The three patients promise to help him: "We have a ghost network..." They usually work "through the channels", but they would make an exception. (Impression #4: It's okay to befriend demons)

Casper shows Kat his father's cavernous laboratory under the mansion. At the push of a button, Lazarus -- a huge invention made to restore life -- rises from a pool of water. There's just enough magic elixir for one person.

Meanwhile Dr. Harvey and the ghosts are having a jolly time singing, drinking and wondering if a ghostly foursome wouldn't be more fun than a threesome. Just when Casper starts floating into Lazarus for his resurrection, Dr. Harvey's ghost arrives. Casper, in a demonstration of pure love, yields his place to Kat's father. (Impression #5: Unholy spirits can show Christ-like love)

While Kat joins a Halloween party upstairs, her deceased mother appears to Casper and commends him for his unselfish choice. Like a fairy godmother, she offers him a reward: to return to life as a boy--until 10 pm. (Impression #6: The spirits of the deceased have power over life and death)

Casper joins the party, and Kat's mother appears to the resurrected Harvey, her former husband. "You were looking for me." she says. After some loving exchanges, motherly advice, and assurance that she watches from above, she disappears. (Impression #7, #8 and #9: Ancestral spirits watch over us. The dead continue life in an age-less, more mobile state. No need for the cross.)

This seductive Spielburg movie offers sweet sentiments and impressive technology, but its context is occult and its characters model the kind of spirituality that is fast replacing Christianity throughout the western world. That it makes evil look good only adds to the danger. Few know God's timeless warning in Isaiah 5:20: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil."

To see Casper from God's perspective, review Deuteronomy 18:9-13. Most of the occult practices it lists are demonstrated in this movie. As Paul wrote, "Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil." (1 Thess. 5:21-22)

To understand today's social and spiritual transformation and to equip your child for spiritual warfare, read Brave New Schools (Harvest House Publishers). 

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