High Spirits (film)

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High Spirits
High spirits.jpg
Original theatrical poster
Directed byNeil Jordan
Produced byDavid Saunders
Stephen Woolley
Written byNeil Jordan
Michael McDowell
Music byGeorge Fenton
CinematographyAlex Thomson
Edited byMichael Bradsell
Vision PDG
Distributed byPalace Pictures (UK and Ireland)
TriStar Pictures (North America)
Release date
18 November 1988 (1988-11-18)
Running time
99 minutes
United Kingdom
United States
Budget$17 million
Box office$8,578,231 (USA)

High Spirits is a 1988 fantasy comedy film directed by Neil Jordan and starring Steve Guttenberg, Daryl Hannah, Beverly D'Angelo, Liam Neeson and Peter O'Toole. It is an Irish, British and American co-production.

Set in a remote Irish castle called Dromore Castle, Co. Limerick, High Spirits is a topsy-turvy comedy with thematic leanings towards Ireland's rich folklore regarding ghosts and spirits, where the castle starts to come to life with the help of such denizens.


Peter O'Toole is Peter Plunkett, the owner of a dilapidated Irish castle which has been converted to a bed and breakfast supplying the only employment for the local villagers. Owing money to an Irish-American businessman by the name of Brogan, Plunkett has the idea to turn the castle into "the most haunted castle in Europe" for the tourist trade, inspired by his mother's stories of the castle's history of ghosts. He and his wacky staff of Irish characters set about creating ghost costumes and effects for their first group of American lodgers.

At first annoyed by the inept hauntings, the American guests (including Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D'Angelo, Connie Booth, Peter Gallagher and Jennifer Tilly) soon get what they paid for as the genuine ghosts of Castle Plunkett take umbrage with being cheaply exploited and stage a full-scale paranormal event.

The ghosts of two dead people, Mary Plunkett and Martin Brogan (played by Daryl Hannah and Liam Neeson), become romantically entangled with Guttenberg and D'Angelo's characters. This romantic twist is the focus of most of the plot.



The film received negative reviews from critics, as it currently holds a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 14 reviews.[1] Daryl Hannah was nominated for a Razzie Award as Worst Supporting Actress, but lost to Kristy McNichol for Two Moon Junction.

Director Neil Jordan has always maintained that the release version of this film is very different from the one he shot. He was more or less excluded from the editing process of the final cut. He insists that his version is still locked away in a vault.


Scream Factory released the film for the first time on Blu-ray Disc in 2015.[2] It was packaged as a double feature with Vampire's Kiss on February 13, 2015.[3]

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