It’s that time of year again where Christian parents try to find some scary movies to share with their kids on Halloween that won’t compromise their youngsters moral development or traumatize them into needing years of therapy. Over at the NCR, Simcha Fisher has a post up addressing the topic entitled Twelve Movies To Terrify Your Kids, and she has some nice suggestions such as Arachnophobia, Tremors, and The Birds. But of course, this blog being what it is, I couldn’t help but think of a few more PG rated goodies that fit the bill.
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
Fans of the original Bradbury story are usually a little let down by this Walt Disney adaptation and even non-fans will spot plenty of flaws, but for the little ones this is a pretty decent creepfest. You’ve got a bed full of spiders, the devilish Mr. Dark and his spooky lady friend The Dust Witch, and even some glimpses into the terrors of old age. And it’s all set in the month of October, so the timing is just right. (Disney’s The Watcher In the Woods makes a fine double feature with this, by the way.)
TWILIGHT ZONE THE MOVIE
Oh sure, if you can get your kids to watch the classic black and white television series, then by all means do so. Their IQ’s will thank you later. But if the little darlings just have to have color in their movies, then this Spielberg produced homage is the next best thing. Sufferers of ADHD may zone out (slight pun intended) a little during the first couple of segments (old people kicking a can, zzzzzz), but if you can get them to hang in there until Joe Dante’s cartoonish It’s A Good Life and George Miller’s over the top Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, you’re guaranteed to get some shrieks and laughs from them.
Based on the book by Roald Dahl (who knows a thing or two about creepy things), this is the kind of movie that parents find amusing and entertaining, but which gives many kids the absolute heebie jeebies. Anjelica Huston in full nose and warts makeup… pure nightmare fuel.
I know, a late 70’s ecological horror movie may sound like a weird choice (okay, it is a weird choice), but hear me out. The monsters are icky, some of the bad hairdos are back in fashion, and the film has a surprisingly pro-life undertone. And besides, once your kids see the sleeping bag scene, they’ll thank you for the rest of their lives.
KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE
Okay, so this one’s rated PG-13, but come on, it’s Killer Klowns. The whole setup is like Goosebumps on steroids. Space aliens resembling circus clowns descend upon a town and begin collecting the citizenry in order to turn them into cotton candy. They’re armed with carnivorous popcorn ray guns, flesh dissolving ice cream, and a very lethal version of the old spring loaded boxing glove in a gift box gag. Plus, did I mention that they’re clowns. Haven’t you people ever heard of coulrophobia?
Another PG-13 goodie, this time just because it’s probably a little too creepy to be PG. Not many kids will be able to resist this tale of some young pre-teens who get left at home by themselves for the weekend and accidentally end up unleashing a pants load of pint-sized demons from a hole in their backyard. The effects are top notch for such a low budget movie and there are some genuine scares (most notably the dead workman living in between the walls), but the big surprise is that all of the kids are actually likable. Try and find that in more recent films.
And to close things out, it’s hard to go wrong with a classic. Now if your kids are old enough to handle extreme gore, I would almost suggest the 1988 remake, but it’s really unnecessary as the original is just fine the way it is. The Blob is one of those monsters that kids laugh until later when they’re alone. That’s when they start thinking about it seeping out of a faucet into their bath or oozing underneath the window seal next to their bed. Yes kiddies, it creeps and leaps and glides and slides…
So there you have it. My suggestions for a fun and creepy Halloween movie night with the kids. No torture porn, no bare breasts, nothing to confess to but the thrills and chills that come with things that go bump in the night. You know, like a head rolling down the stairs. So, any other suggestions out there?