For the past two years, Audiences Everywhere has compiled a list of relatively tame and child-friendly horror movies to watch on Halloween. This year, we’ve decided to up the scariness factor on these movies just a little in order to help you overcome your fears and maybe learn a few life lessons along the way.
Shaun of the Dead
Depicted through the eyes of our frivolous main characters, Shaun of the Dead’s zombie apocalypse is perhaps so terrifying because of the way it catches our main characters by surprise, even though the signs were right in front of them. Here, Director Edgar Wright is able to prove that his ability to enhance his narratives with his unique visual language and knack for foreshadowing works really well with horror. Shaun of the Dead isn’t scary (Wright’s sensibilities actually make its romantic-comedy elements shine the brighter than the horror elements), but it does provide a sincere story and purpose for those too afraid to find their value.
Fright Night (2011)
High school is that weird stage in life where one finds their true self, makes their closest friends, and goes on bat-shit crazy adventures. In the world of Director Craig Gillespie’s 2011 Fright Night remake, high school is exactly that for Charley (Anton Yelchin), who is dating a popular girl, is friends with eclectic people, and who also happens to live next door to a vampire. The film’s tone is best encapsulated in the character of Jerry the Vampire (Colin Farrell), a charismatic version of the shark from Jaws. While the film does feature some thrilling sequences, it’s perfectly balanced by the juvenile humor and unabashed love for vampire mythos.
The Monster Squad
Director Fred Dekker and co-writer Shane Black’s The Monster Squad is the cinematic equivalent of encountering a child in a scary monster outfit. The charm is irresistible to all. In the film, we follow a group of kids who set out to protect the suburbs from supernatural threats. From the writers of movies such as Lethal Weapon and Night of the Creeps, Monster Squad is a sharp and witty family feature that shows a sincere love for the monsters of cinema. It should be exposed to children for horror/comedy film education.
This Halloween, let Krampus teach you of the true meaning of Christmas. The true question at the heart of Krampus is “what would it mean for Christmas if Santa Claus was a demonic beast set out to punish those who have lost the Christmas spirit?” While the film excels at going to extreme levels of Holiday-themed absurdity, director/writer Michael Dougherty makes sure not to take focus away from how losing Christmas to material attachments and dreary spirits is the true horror of the season. It’s horrific enough to work as a Halloween film and as a reminder not to lose the Christmas spirit.
What We Do in the Shadows
An integral part to the Halloween culture and tradition is the act of going out in costume, with your friends. This act of creativity and camaraderie is put on display in directors Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s horror mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows. The audience is shown the everyday nightlife of a common vampire, and it’s hilarious in its mundaneness. The deadpan delivery of the humor and the irreverence to traditional vampire narratives certainly make it a standout in the realm of subgenre comedy, but what truly makes it special is how the film anchors itself on the friendship (or familial bond, even) between the vampire flatmates. It’s friends having fun as vampires, and on Halloween, nothing could be more fun than that.
Featured Image: Madman Entertainment