Why Do the Ghosts of Christmas Haunt People? What is CPM in Spirited?

Directed by Sean Anders, the Apple TV+ comedy film ‘Spirited’ is a loose adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic novella ‘A Christmas Carol.’ The film stars Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds and adds a musical spin to the classic Christmas story. The movie features the Ghosts of Christmas led by Present (Ferrell), who try to redeem the unredeemable Clint Briggs (Reynolds).

Given the peculiar and odd mission the Ghosts undertake in the movie, viewers must be wondering about their motivations behind haunting people. Likewise, “CPMs” are essential in the Ghosts haunting humans. Hence, viewers must also be curious to learn more about the meaning of CPM. In that case, here is why the Ghosts of Christmas haunt people and what CPM means in ‘Spirited.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

Why Do the Ghosts of Christmas Haunt People?

‘Spirited’ is loosely based on ‘A Christmas Carol: In Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas’ (or simply ‘A Christmas Carol’), a novel written by acclaimed author Charles Dickens, first published in 1843. The novella introduces the Ghost of Christmas, three noble spirits assigned the task of turning Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser, into a kinder man. However, in the film, the Ghosts of Christmas are a part of the bureaucratic organization set in the afterlife. The members of this organization are Jacob merely, Present, Past, and Yet-To Come.

Jacob Marley is head of the bureau, while the Ghost of Present is revealed as a transformed version of Scrooge. In the film, Jacob and Present explain the importance of the Ghosts haunting humans during Christmas. They state that the holidays are the perfect time to make one reflect on their past and turn them into kinder people. The acts of kindness from people they haunt have a ripple effect on humanity, making the world a better place. As a result, the more people a “perp” mistreats on a regular basis, the more impact their haunting has on humanity. Ultimately, the Ghosts of Christmas are still the same noble-hearted spirits working for the betterment of mankind introduced by Dickens.

What is CPM?

Present and his associates extensively research their latest perp Clint Briggs in the film. They collect information from his past and build a “screenplay” from the events in his life that likely turned him into the cold ad calculating person we see in the film. When Present arrives to haunt Clint, he shows the businessman moments from his past in an attempt the force Clint into feeling remorseful for his past actions. During this time, Present coordinates with the support team, who pull up these hand-picked scenes from Clint’s past and replay them in real time.

These scenes are referred to as “CPM.” Each CPM has a number and is arranged chronologically according to the script devised to redeem the perp. Actually, CPM stands for – Christmas Past Memory. Thus, it is evident that CPMs are nothing but a carefully constructed recreation of a person’s past. These recreations allow the perps to reflect on their past by reliving excruciating moments. Some of the CPMs are emotionally heartbreaking, such as Clint’s final moments with his sister, Clarie, before her death.

These moments have a unique serial number and are an essential part of the script. Although using CPMs outside the script is unauthorized, they can be used under special circumstances. We see Present using several unauthorized CPMs to redeem Clint and even revisiting his own CPMs during their interactions. Moreover, a CPM often turns into a musical number showcasing a person’s unique perspective on the events from the past. Ultimately, CPMS are just a way for the Ghosts to organize their data on the perps and use them effectively.

Read More: Do Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds Actually Sing in Spirited?