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Annual Horror Movie Survey- With a Twist

Every year I ask for your movie suggestions for my annual Halloween horrot-thon. This year is a bit different. I'm letting the kids have a Halloween party (the evening before). They each invited invite five friends over to watch horror movies. I'll be setting the living room up in a haunted house/movie theater hybrid to set the tone. Now, here's the difficulty: Nat's friends are fourteen years old, DJ's friends are eleven. I need to find at least three movies that will satisfy all. I've checked with the kids' parents and they are all ok with blood and guts and gore. The only thing we have to nix is any overt sex. Also, I think that over the top horror - especially anything with zombies or vampires (think Lost Boys) will leave less mental damage (read: nightmares) than movies that deal out psychological horror (i.e., Lady in White). So, in short, I need a few titles that will entertain and scare both age groups, without the eleven year olds asking me awkward sex questions and without the fourteen year olds complaining that the movie is for babies. Ideally, I'd like to scare the shit out of all them because while they talk big when it comes to watching horror movies (nothing scares me!), I know they would all practically piss their pants if I started scratching on the window while holding up a Chucky doll. [Speaking of horror, check this out. I'm still laughing.]


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With Halloween fast approaching, here are some recommendations for horror movies that a pre-teen will enjoy. Horrordvds.com Michele I am... [Read More]


I'm not a huge horror fan, but I love 28 days Later. And, of course, The Shining.

I'm too sensitive. I always hated horror films - my favorites are the the old, man in a rubber godzilla costume, movies. I like monster movies that were fun because the special effects were so horrible that they became comedies - stuff with some poor camera man crawling around on his knees in a futile attempt to make the guy in the rubber costume stepping on model railroads look big. Give me a spark gun to shoot at the screen and I was happy.

I know, I'm too wimpy to suggest anything for your kids.

The odd thing is that Godzilla etc. weren't meant to be funny probably, but they sure were to me.

Creepshow might be a good film to counter two all-horror fests.

If you can find it, Haunting of Hill House (the early 60's version). Not one monster or drop of blood, but still one of the scariest movies ever made. (Saw it when I was in the target demographic age....)

Godzilla - either the original or the Matthew Broderick re-make. If the kids are fairly sophisticated about f/x, go with the re-make.

Independence Day ('ID-4')

Jumanji might work.


For comic relief, either of the Adam's Family movies w/ raul Julia & Anjelica Houston

I agree on the Haunting.

Abbott & Costello Meet Dracula Frankenstein & The Werewolf.

And BTVS - Hush.

Scary movie without sex?

Top two choices for bedwetting nightmares would be The Exorcist and Poltergeist though the Exorcist may be abit much for the younger ones.

For scary fun, try "House"(though you see corpse boobs) or "The Frighteners. On the Frighteners, I thought it would stink but it was very enjoyable while giving me the willies. R Lee Emery's reprise as the ghost of his Full Metal Jacket character is hilarious.

I loved the Adam's Family movies. They're anti horror comedies in the same way that monsters from Sesaeme Street are anti monsters.

Children of the Corn....watched that when I was twelve at a friends house and had to walk home two blocks that night afterwards...I doubt if my feet hit the ground.

The second Evil Dead movie might work. After all, it's basically the first movie, only funnier and it's not got the scene where the woman gets raped by the forest.

I think the first 3 Friday the 13th movies might also be something to look into. Plenty of gore, not a whole lot of sex, and I remember #2 & #3 really creeping me out for days.

I wouldn't recommend it for young kids, but if you REALLY wanna freak people out with schlocky horror films, Sleep Away Camp is still pretty hard to beat.

the ring - no gore, no guts, no boobies.

Stephen King's IT. Great movie for the kids. Nothing R rated, and in the end, King reveals this monster to be nothing more than a giant-ass spider.

What about hitchcock? Birds might be cool.

This is gonna sound weird, but I remember the first time I saw Stand By Me, I was kinda scared. Maybe it was just me, but there was always a lingering scary element; the tough older kids, the leeches, the barf scene, the junkyard, and of course the search for the dead kid. Plus, it's probably another movie whose cast they can relate to.

The B/W 1960's version of The Haunting. Excellent film. I also liked the remake of The House on Haunted Hill. If they were older, I would recommend The Ring, but I leave that one in your hands...

On a more humorous note, Waxworks I & II are also good goofy horror movies with a minimum of realistic gore and no nudity that I can remember...

Speaking of Children of the Corn, did anyone think it tremendously unwise for Patrick Dempsey to shit on Malachi's house in Can't Buy me Love. Things like that bother me....

Over the top? Army of Darkness.

young frankenstein (for yuks)
the hills have eyes
don't look now

"I wouldn't recommend it for young kids, but if you REALLY wanna freak people out with schlocky horror films, Sleep Away Camp is still pretty hard to beat."

I wouldn't even recommend that for 14 year olds, between the curling iron rape scene and the gender confusion. Also I am still scared by that final scene....15 years later

I'll second The Haunting (1963) and The Ring.

Trilogy of Terror--the one with the little voodoo doll that chases Karen Black around her apartment.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a good one, I think.

Did Candyman have any sex in it? I can't remember, but I remember it completely creeped me out.

I have to second The Frighteners.

Nothing else is really coming to mind that hasn't been mentioned though.

When my brother was 10, he had a party like this and my dad supervised while they watched the horror movies. When a sex scene came up, my dad fumbled in the dark for the remote to stop and fast-forward. Well, he only hit fast-forward. There's almost nothing that gets 10 y.o. boys riled up like super-fast monster movie sex.

Already mentioned above, but: Alien. I still can't watch that movie without shuddering and wanting to run and hide.

Also already mentioned: The Ring. Very creepy, and more Halloween-y, since it's an actual ghost story.

The Sound Of Music always sends chills up my spine.

Oddly enough, the chills never go back down my spine.

That might explain my skull being full of chills.

Weeeeeellll, the scariest movie I ever saw was Harmony Korine's "Kids," but I'm not sure if that's what you're after, what with the drugs, AIDS, drugs, date-rape plus AIDS, etc. etc. etc.

I gotta second (third?) "Aliens" and highly recommend "Evil Dead II" for being BOTH legitimately funny and scary, and I think just the right amount of both for the two age groups.

Finally, you're SO right about "The Lost Boys." The kids gotta see it. I still can't look at Ed Herrman without thinking 'Head vampire! Kill it! Kill it!'

I'm a wimp too when it comes to gore, but the original version of The Thing is still pretty damn scary.

"Dog Soldiers" has tremendous amounts of over-the-top blood, as well as a bunch of British soldiers cursing left and right and shooting at everything with machine guns, but it's a surprisingly good werewolf/survival-standoff movie. It's even got a few clever laffs. However, younger ones may get bored trying to decipher the British accents and slang.

Er... and another werewolf suggestion would have to be "The Howling." A classic. I still think it's scary as hell. Although... it's got the husband banging the crazy werewolf lady out in the woods. Not super explicit, but...

As soon as I started to write this comment, my mind went blank. There are about seven thousand horror movie suggestions I'd love to give you, but my brain is failing me at the moment.

I'd agree with Young Frankenstein, the Addamms Family flicks, and the Lost Boys.

I'd also suggest Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands - both not too scary for the younger ones, but both good movies with the right atmosphere.

Beetlejuice - more for the yucks than scary - but it should work for both age groups.

BTW - great idea - I think we might borrow it.

Alien, the Birds, and Evil Dead II would make an ideal combo.

Don't do the Birds last, though, because it's possibly the scariest movie ever made.

"Also I am still scared by that final scene....15 years later."

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one. After I saw that movie, my friends left a message on my answering machine doing that same noise she was. Yeah. Guess who didn't go to bed without double-checking the doors, windows and closets?

I'll second (third, fourth?) Poltergeist, Alien/Aliens, and IT and add in anything by M Night Shamalan (sp?).

How about Fright Night (funny and gross - all at the same time!), An American Werewolf in London (although the porn theater scene may raise some questions), and Misery

I was going to suggest Phantasm, but the opening scene rules it out. Oh well.

I definitely second The Shining.

Blair Witch, maybe, if it's not all filtered down to them via cultural references by now.

1) Alien (the original) - "here kitty, kitty..."

2) Pet Sematary. go away, kitty, kitty.

3) The Thing (1982, John Carpenter).

4) The Blob (the original, 1958).

Another pair of votes for Evil Dead II and Alien. Army of Darkness is also a good one and honestly, I'd substitute that for Evil Dead II for smaller kids like the ones you're hosting. They'll love it, even if they get only half of the jokes...

I think they'll get bored by the Shining, the Exorcist, and the rest of the "truly creepy" canon. Probably also true of the Sixth Sense. Definitely true of "The Birds", which I've never thought was scary. Definitely funny though...

Gremlins might be a good one too. I loved that movie when I was that age.

I think the most scared I ever got as a kid (via a movie) was at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark when the Nazis faces melt and explode... Still gives me the creeps...

"The Others" is one I don't think anyone mentioned that I thought was pretty good and non-gratuitous.

If you really want to test their meddle though ... lights off, no distractions, and roll "The Exorcist" (insert creepy staccato music). Pause the film once or twice and say, "did you hear something?" for best results.

Hmm, in no particular order:

- John Carpenter's The Thing

- George Romero's Day of the Dead

- Night of the Living Dead, 1990 version with Tony Todd

- The Return of the Living Dead, written and directed by Dan O'Bannon (although the scene with Trash in the cemetery may be too much for young kids)

- Dead Alive by Peter Jackson

- Hellbound: Hellraiser II

- Near Dark by Kathryn Bigelow, although it's been a while so I can't remember if it's kid-safe by your criteria

- Poltergeist, a true classic

- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 by Tobe Hooper. Best of the 'chainsaw' series.

- Re-animator and From Beyond are high on my list, but are also probably not kid-safe

Fright Night
Lost Boys
The Shining

You know, "The Omen" was nice and creepy. I love all those 70's Suburban Slippage movies("The Exorcist", "Halloween"), where the people with Perfect Lives are beset by the forces of eeeeeeeeeeeevil.

"Rosemary's Baby" is great, but not really all that exciting for DJ and his friends, probably.

For extra Hip Mom points, you could possibly show them the original "The Ring" in Japanese with subtitles.

Almost forgot my childhood favorite:

Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Great film

Oh man, I totally forgot "They Live"!

op cit. on the Fright Night reccomendation. Great film. Stars Roddy McDowell in the Creature Double Feature Emcee role.

'X-Files TV show DVD' the Suckerman episode, or the one where the guy uses electricity to fry the cows.

Poltergeist - replace a hallway bulb with a 500watt one and have them run towards the light.

Pull together a montage of 'death scenes of semi-famous people' from a variety of movies - sort of like 'The Many Faces of Death' but only funnier. Some examples include:

1. Kevin Bacon - Halloween
2. Paul Reiser - Aliens
3. Samuel L. Jackson - Deep Blue
4. Brad Pitt - Fight Club
5. Bridget Fonda - Jackie Brown
6. Young Bridget Fonda - Aria

Nomads scared the willies out of me. Might be to ethereal for younger kids though.


Gee BumperStickerist, I've had people spoil the ends of movies for me before, but never so many at once! :p

Sheesh, I think I'm going to compile my own list from the suggests here!! :-)

Great titles!

Also from the 70's (and hasn't yet been mentioned) The Legend of Hell House (Roddy McDowell, Pam Franklin, Clive Revill). A great turn on the haunted house by Richard Matheson.

The only two movies to ever truly frighten me were The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.

Neither are appropriate for children for that age group, so feel free to ignore this post haha.

Psycho II scared the hell out of me at age 11. I led a sheltered childhood.

I'm back because I just pulled something really weird out of the recesses of my brain: Bad Ronald.

A really bad one, "Silver Bullet" should be good for a few laughs. 'American Werewolf in London' is much better, but the shower scene is pretty hot.

For good creepy animal fun, The Birds, Frogs, or Willard.

If you could get them to sit still long enough, Wait Until Dark is great. And for some reason I still remember being freaked out by 'The Vampire Hunters' when I was 9 or 10. I haven't seen it since so I'm not sure if it would hold up to well.

I'd urge you to reconsider showing The Lost Boys.

My nieces loved that movie and asked my brother and I to play it for them all the time when we babysat for them.

You are missing the point of horror films with sex in them - their message is "if you have sex, a lunatic will kill you".

That's a good thing for our kids to fret about.

Oh, and Laurence, "The Sound of Music"! Haa

The hills are alive, and it makes me nervous...

Creepshow... I was around 11 or 12 when I first saw this one and spent many-a-night afterwards filling up a spiral notebook with my own lame attempts at creating a sequel Creepshow comic book. The short film format is great for short attention spans too... er... I had something else to add, but I just lost my train of thought...

Dave in TX--You're right, just like Camper Van Beethoven's "Axe Murderer Song" reminds us.

And, I'm sure it's not kid-safe, but has anyone seen Frankenhooker? A video store I always went to growing up had a copy with a display box that said "Wanna date?" in some weird monsterish hooker voice when you pushed a button.

You know that Janet Leigh died Sunday, didn't you? Would Psycho work for you? At least, show Alfred Hitchcock's trailer for the film. It's a classic.

I have to add my vote for Poltergeist. I saw that movie the first time at age 22 and almost levitated three feet into the air when...well, you know when. And am I the only one who thought the little girl was just plain creepy from the get-go?

Also, the original Halloween by John Carpenter. I can't remember if it meets the "no awkward sex" test though. We took a college professor to see it and he was all, "Oh, how interesting, he stole that device from Hitchcock...YAAAAHHHhhhh!"

One day, many many years ago, I was ten or eleven years old and the Bullets game was blacked out, so the local affiliate showed an old Vincent Price movie, The Tingler, instead. The next day, it seems none of the male sixth-grade got any sleep because we had all had the pants scared off of us.

I've seen it recently, and I must've been pretty naive back then...OTOH, a ten year old, late at night? It might still work.

BTW, that was the Baltimore Bullets game I missed. Told ya it was many years ago.


Was that movie "hosted" by Count Gore De Val? (sp?)

AKA Captain 20?

Edward Scissorhands. Directed by Burton, Music by Danny Elfman, Uncle Vinnie's last film, plus the DVD has Burton's "Frankenweenie" made for TV short as an extra.

Did someone say "Bad Ronald"? I thought I was the only one who remembered that TV-Movie. Scared the crap outta me when I was a kid. For years afterward I was sure someone was living in the walls of our house. If anyone knows how to get ahold of this film, I have to see it again.

I don't get it - gore/violence is ok, but sex is out? What's up with these people? Why are their priorities so backwards?

As for relevant content, the manuscript typing scene in "The Shining" was even worse than anything else in the movie for me, though I can't say why. It just creeped me out.

As well, the scene in the escape craft in Alien, after Ripley's down to her underwear...

I think the best horror movies are the creepy ones that make you believe they just might be possible. Along those lines anything having to do with Voo Doo is impossibly scary. Therefore I heartily nominate The Rainbow and the Serpent for your film fest. A US pharma researcher travels to Haiti to investigate the anesthesiologic properties of voo doo dust and ends up finding more than he ever imagined.

Hmmm, I'm thinking the Fog - scared the crap outta me for weeks afterward. Of course what's a good All Hallows' Eve celebration without HPL? So I recommend either The Resurrected or Re-Animator. The former is more horror based while the latter is definitely something a group of 11 year old boys will enjoy.

Just my .02

Session 9...the movie just twists your head in the wrong directions

In the Mouth of Madness...watching the world twist into a nightmare around you.

For comedic relief, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Nothin' says funny like a cup of fresh chili.

Rent some survival horror games for them to play...the Silent Hill series is as scary to watch as it is to play.

Oh, man, I almost forgot:

Nightlife. You want the 1990 version.

NOT scary, for the most part, but in my mind one of the most intelligent, and funniest, vampire flicks ever made. I think it was made for cable, so although there's some eroticism (hell, it's got Maryam d'Abo in it, of course there's some eroticism), there's no overt sex.

Perfect for a bit of comic relief.

"The Changeling" with George C. Scott. Scary damn film. No gore, no violence, just scary.

Fright Night
Lost Boys
House of the Long Shadows

I think all these are ok for kids that young.

(The Shining is TOO scary for kids that age!)