Peter Plunkett (O'Toole) is almost Driven to Suicide when he's unable to pay the bills on his family castle, which he's turned into a hotel/theatre because of said bills. Until his seemingly Cloudcuckoolander mother informs him that she's been having conversations with his father — who's been dead for years.
Plunkett gets the idea to attract American tourists by advertising the hotel as haunted and gets the castle's thespians and employees to pretend to be ghosts. The Special Effect Failure by the actors tips off the Americans that the hauntings are fake, if it wasn't already obvious by the time they were heading towards the castle, and Plunkett plans to return to his suicide attempts until the real ghosts of his ancestors show up.
A married couple, Jack and Sharon (Guttenberg and D'Angelo), are having problems, and are only there because Sharon's father is trying to get the deed to the castle, and having the castle's hauntings revealed as fake would benefit this greatly. Things don't go as planned, though, because Jack and Sharon begin individual romances with a pair of ghosts, Mary Plunkett and Martin Brogan (Hannah and Neeson), who are stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop with Mary repeatedly being murdered by Martin, because he believes her to be unfaithful because she doesn't sleep with him on their wedding night.
This movie provides examples of:
- The Alleged Car: The hotel's bus.
- Beta Couple: Martin and Sharon.
- Brainy Brunette: Completely averted with Miranda.
- Bratty Half-Pint: The parapsychologist's children.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Mrs. Plunkett. Good grief. Miranda also qualifies.
- Daddy's Girl: Sharon.
- Driven to Suicide: Martin, when he regretted killing Mary in a fit of rage.
- The Ditz: Miranda.
- '80s Hair: Well, it was made in 1988.
- Fiery Redhead: Martin is something of a male example. He sure as hell has a Hair-Trigger Temper for most of the movie, though it's Played for Laughs.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Mary.
- Henpecked Husband: Jack.
- Hot for Preacher: Miranda, for Brother Tony.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Martin and Sharon. Happens when your actor is 6'4" and your actress is 5'2".
- Love at First Punch: Martin really starts to fall for Sharon when she kicks him "in the ba-hoogies" and punches him in the nose.
- Mistaken for Cheating: Martin with Mary. She wasn't sleeping with anyone else; she just didn't want to sleep with him.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Peter Seamus O'Toole really failed to affect an Irish accent, despite being half Irish (he was born and grew up in Leeds though.) Liz Smith likewise doesn't bother trying for an Irish accent as Mrs. Plunkett.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Daryl Hannah's Irish accent is pretty terrible. It's all the more jarring because the other Irish characters are played by actual Irish actors.
- Pair the Spares: Martin and Sharon, who are much more suited for each other than their respective partners.
- Rich Bitch: Sharon.
- Shirtless Scene: Liam Neeson gets a couple.
- Special Effects Failure: In-Universe example. The hotel staff's attempts at pretending the hotel is haunted are cringe worthy.
- Stalker with a Crush: Martin for Sharon, albeit briefly.
- There Is a God!: The lord of a castle fails to make it a tourist attraction. He's so depressed he's thinking of hanging himself (again) but a storm means the guests have to stay, so he says this.
- Title Drop: Of sorts. Jack is handed a book titled "The Book of High Spirits".
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: All Peter ever wanted was some encouragement from his Daddy. He finally gets some, even if Daddy's a ghost.
- You Have to Believe Me!: Jack is very, very insistent that he's seen ghosts. Sharon is understandably skeptical, until she meets one herself.