Horror movies are often thought of as gore and guts galore, but it’s actually anything that is designed to scare you or, at least, make you shiver. People who love horror want to share it with their children, but I don’t think anyone is going to receive a Parent of the Year Award for introducing little Suzie Q to “Cabin Fever.”
If you want to get your children hooked on the spine-tingling thrills of horror and supernatural cinema, then try out these 5 family-friendly movies for kids. Just for clarification, I won’t include cartoons, because we want the whole family to enjoy them, and most adults aren’t huge fans (or, at least won’t admit it).
In 1984, Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd created a movie that will go down in the annals of horror history. Three down on their luck scientists open up their own ghost hunting business just as New York gets overrun. Ray, Peter, Egon and Winston end up defeating the evil Gozer and saving the day. The movie has a little violence and sporadic curse words, but as a horror comedy goes, it’s pretty tame. What makes this a great movie for everyone is the comedy. Ramis and Aykroyd are comedy gold, and when you mix in the antics of Bill Murray, it becomes a classic.
At the height of the Buffy the Vampire phase, everyone’s favorite karate-chopping vampire killer was tapped to play Daphne in a brand new Scooby Doo movie. The movie continued the narrative from the original series, where the amateur detectives’ team was disbanded because of in-fighting. Without their knowledge, they were individually invited to a curious island resort to solve a mystery. The movie is filled with the same fast-paced chase scenes and fun that made the cartoon a must-see for kids.
R.L. Stine has been creating kid-friendly scary books for decades, and recently Goosebumps was turned into a movie starring Jack Black. The film is about a teenager who moves to a new town and accidentally lets loose all of Stine’s creepy characters. The classic stories all kids know and love come to life and invade the town. It’s up to the boy and R.L. Stine to defeat the evil forces and bring peace to the town once again. There’s plenty of action to keep the kids interest and the scares are kept tame. It’s also great to listen to them talk about the stories they’ve read as they appear on the screen.
Classic Movies from the Golden Age of Horror
Kids are used to high quality computer generated graphics, so when you play them The Creature from the Black Lagoon or the original The Blob, they’ll be more likely to laugh than be scared. Special effects were awful, dialogue was even worse and the acting was over the top. You can even see the strings on the bats as they fly in Dracula. They’re guaranteed not to scare, but will give kids an appreciation for how far today’s movies have come.
Gremlins is a Christmas tale gone terribly wrong. This is one of those movies that will give mom and dad just as many thrills as the kids. When an inventor brings a small animal called a Mogwai home as a pet for his son, he inadvertently sets in motion events that will lead to the entire town being invaded by little green monsters. There’s quite a bit of death in this movie, as well as smoking and drinking, but it’s a fun flick that shouldn’t give children nightmares. Maybe.