We would definitely class ourselves as a movie family. Our DVD library is vast. Friends use it instead of the actual library! We like nothing more than curling up on one sofa under a blanket – dog included – closing all the blinds and pretending we have a home cinema.
So we’ve seen a fair few films. And as the Halloween season is soon upon us I thought we’d share our knowledge/obsession and tell you – in no particular order – our Halloween movies to watch with the kids:
(NOTE: These are NOT suitable for little ones or children of a sensitive disposition!)
1. Nightmare Before Christmas
Jack Skellington is booored of Halloween. He wants a new challenge so he decides to hijack Christmas, kidnap Santa Claus and give the festive season a decidedly more sinister slant.
Made in 1993 and written by Tim Burton, this stop motion animation is beautifully realised, has catchy songs and is quirky and downright weird.
Scary bits: Nothing really grim. Some of the Halloween Town characters are downright bizarre but nothing too macarbe.
2. Monster House
Animated adventure in which three children discover the house opposite literally has a mind of its own! And it all comes to a head at Halloween.
Fun, funny and features the voice of Steve Buscemi who is fab.
Scary bits: When the house reveals itself.
3. The Witches
Roald Dahl’s brilliant book was brought to life way back in 1990 with the wonderful Anjelica Houston as the Grand High Witch who hosts a convention for witches at a seaside hotel. Very dark and definitely not for little ones!
Scary bits: When the witches first ‘reveal’ themselves and shed their uncomfortable disguises. Urgh
4. Hocus Pocus
Three witches return from the dead after 300 years to wreak havoc on the town that executed them all those years ago. Lots of lame overacting from the likes of Bette Midler and a young Sarah Jessica Parker, but my kids love the pantomime daftness of it all.
Scary bits: Not really. It’s a bit jump out of your seat in parts, but in a hammy, over the top fashion.
One of my most favourite movies, Coraline is from the same stable as Nightmare Before Christmas and tells the story of an adventurous girl who finds the doorway to another world in her new home – a parallel world where her ‘other mother’ resides.
Based on the book by Neil Gaiman, it’s a really rather unsettling premise but beautifully realised and you will just adore her eccentric neighbours – a pair of ageing actresses (Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French), and Russian Mr. Bobinsky (Ian McShane).
Scary bits: When the ‘other mother’ gets cross and reveals her true self.
6. The Addams Family
Inspired by the 1960s TV series of the same name, this follows the ghoulish goings on of the family who revel in pain and suffering and boast a house of horrors as their homestead. Stars Anjelica Huston (she likes these spooky roles doesn’t she?!), Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd and a young Christina Ricci. It’s very stylised and mild horrific fun in a very tongue in cheek fashion.
Scary bits: Not really – even Thing, the severed hand which acts as their servant, isn’t remotely scary.
A group of “paranormal investigators” find themselves in huge demand when New York becomes over run with ghosts and ghouls of all shapes and sizes. But why is New York suddenly over run with the unfriendly spirits? Starring the wisecracking Bill Murray, it’s big and daft and became an iconic movie with THAT theme tune.
Also stars Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis. It was made way back in the mid eighties but remains hugely watchable even now.
Scary bits: Right at the start when a female ghost haunts the public library and doesn’t like it when the Ghostbusters come calling.
8. The Frighteners
This one isn’t quite so well known, but is a bit of a hidden gem. Michael J Fox is a
man with psychic powers, but he uses them to stage hauntings in people’s homes so he can go in and make a quick buck. But then a series of real hauntings start plaguing the town.
Quirky and directed by Lord of the Rings man Peter Jackson back in 1997.
Scary bits: Quite a few actually. This might be one for the older kids.
You can’t have a list like this and not include Scooby Doo!
The live-action movie adaptation of the hugely popular Hanna Barbera cartoon features an all-star cast and sees the Mystery Incorporated team called to a pleasure island (run by Rowan Atkinson) to investigate the spooooky goings on.
Scary bits: None. Unless you count the animated Scooby Doo which is all kinds of creepy!