In the recent article, “Fright Features: On the ‘The Monster Squad,’ and It’s Badass Prince of Darkness,” by Larry Taylor, he talked about a family-friendly -and at moments creepy- film that everyone can enjoy and it got me thinking. Monkey’s should provide some recommendation for the who gang to watching during the month of October.
Here are some Halloween favorites of my own you should give a look:
Probably my favorite Halloween film to watch, EVER! It’s one of the earliest sightings of Fairuza Balk on film. She stars as Mildred Hubble a not so stellar example of a witch in training. This TV movie takes place in an all girls school which happens to double as a prestigious witch academy – think Harry Potter but with only skirts. Mildred can’t seem to do anything right and is constantly the brunt of her peers and teachers torment. But in the end this black sheep and hopeless little witch saves the day. Also in the cast: the Facts of Life’s Charlotte Rae doing double duty as the headmistress Miss Cackle and her evil twin Agatha; Diana Rigg as Miss Hardbroom (Snape in a dress); and Tim Curry as The Grand Wizard (poor choice of a title). It’s silly and sweet and worth watching. Growing up isn’t easy!
You can’t go wrong with a gang of imaginative kids who have their own club dedicated to horror films, monster, ghouls, AND they meat in a tree clubhouse. That’s the Monster Squad. It’s a film about a group of kids who find themselves stuck in the middle of battle between good and evil. All the classic monster are present – Count Dracula, the Wolfman, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein’s Monster, A mummy, and a vampire bride – and they all want to see the world overtaken by evil. The kids discover The Count’s plan and set about to thwart him and his gang of ghouls. Did you know that, “Wolfman’s got nards?” Andre Gower, Stephen Macht, Tom Noonan, Ryan Lambert, Jon Gries, and Mary Ellen Trainer star is this classic teeny-bopper horror is NOT for the faint at heart or for pussies. Dracula has a bite.
Robyn Lively is Louise Miller an unpopular, nerdy, sweet 15 year old girl who has a crush on the hottest, most popular guy in school. One night while riding her bike she gets into an accident and knocks on the door of a strange house. She encounters Madame Serena, Zelda Rubenstein, who is a seer, and it is revealed to her that she is reincarnated witch and old friend of Serena’s. On her 16th birthday she is due to come into her powers and she takes advantage of her new-found talents. She wants the hottest guy in school to like her and she realizes that the only way to do this is for her to become popular. She casts a spell, she becomes popular, and then the spell gets out of hand. Her admirers turn stalkers! She realizes that popularity isn’t everything and that true friendship and being who you are is more important. It is soooo 80s, so cheesy, and fantastic.
The WITCHES! This is an incredibly creepy film that all kids who are not afraid of their own shadows, and that like horror films, will love. This film is based on the Roald Dahl’s novel by the same name. It is the story of a a young boy, Luke Evesham, a precocious child on holiday with his grandmother Helga. He has a vivid imagination and, she [Luke’s grandmother] plays into it with her stories of witches and their dislike of children. Luke, the inquisitive child that he is, becomes preoccupied with the idea of witches and female demons that hate children and want to destroy them. While on holiday he stumbles across a group of such women, in disguise, attending a convention for like-minded others. Luke discovers their plan to exterminate children and must thwart their efforts in order to save the world’s children from imminent demise. Angelica Houston is the Grand High Witch!
This is one of two films starring Christina Ricci to make the list and the second for Angelica Houston.
Duh duh duh duh duh! *snap, snap* Duh duh duh duh duh! The Addams Family is great film to watch with the kids. The cult classic comic and TV series from the 1960s is brought to life and given a bit of polish to delight audiences of all ages. Morticia (Angelica Houston), Gomez (the late Raul Julia), Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd), Wednesday (Christina Ricci), Thing, and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman), make their way to the big screen. Twenty-five years after the disappearance of Fester. Gomez laments about his disappearance and how much he would like his brother back in his life. His lawyer -Gomez’s- who owes a lot of money to a loan shark notices that her son, Gordon, resembles his missing brother. They hatch a plan to have him pose as Fester and steal the Addams’ fortune. Little does everyone know that Gordon is the true Fester Addams after all. Check it out!
Another kid-centric film that will thrill the family. We meet 300 years after the Sanderson sisters are executed for practicing the dark arts. A spell is broken by a new kid in town and the sisters come back to life. The brood have just one night, Halloween night, to ensure that they will continue to walk amongst the living. Three kids and a cat with a human soul must save the town’s children from the wicked witches who plan to lure them in and drink their life essence to remain young and nubile. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy star as the Sanderson sister backed up by a cast of virtual unknowns and Thora Birch. It is a great film to catch during the Halloween season and super family friendly.
Who doesn’t love Casper? Where most references to ghosts paint them as scary characters, Casper is a sweetheart. Carrigan Crittenden, Cathy Moriarty, inherits a haunted house from her late father. She discovers that within the house lies hidden treasures but every attempt to find the goods is thwarted by the ghosts of Casper’s mischievous uncles, Fatso, Stretch, and Stinkie. She hires a paranormal therapist, James Harvey, Bill Pullman, to rid her house of the spirits. Harvey, along with his young daughter Kat (Christina Ricci), move into the house and get to work. The shenanigans that transpire will entertain the entire family.
The made for TV movie is another one from Disney. Now generally I do not easily recommend Disney channel things, but I just like this movie. It stars the legendary Debbie Reynolds as Aggie Cromwell, a lovable grandmother who comes to visit her daughter and grandchildren on Halloween. The children don’t know much about her, but she has always been an eccentric character. What her grandkids don’t know is that they she is a very powerful witch from an old-established and so are they. She has come to them on the holy night of All Hallows Even with the intent to get her daughter to agree to reveal that they are witches and to start training her eldest daughter, Marnie, in the craft. Mom says, “No,” grandma leaves, and the kids follow her home to Halloweentown. Upon entering the town the realize that something is terribly wrong and the Cromwell/Piper clan must save the day.
What are you favorite family Halloween films?