Sunday, October 25, 2015

HALLOWEEN- Movies for the kids

It is October and time for us to get ready for Halloween. This is my favorite time of the year; I like the costumes and the decorations. It is the love of horror and fantasy that I wrote my novel, “Legend of theMystic Knights”.

There are two types of horror/monster movies, the ones for younger kids and young adults, and the ones for mature audiences.  At one time, all of these movies were geared for the younger audiences, but over time, they have evolved into more adult themes. I grew up on most of the following movies; so besides the insomnia, the uncontrollable screams, not to mention the drooling, I turned out OK.

On this post, I am going to include the movies geared toward the younger-medium aged audiences. These are the movies I saw as a kid and were instrumental in my development. These movies usually showed good vs, evil, and no matter what happened to the hero in the film, good always won in the end. Some of these might be too gruesome for the very young, but overall these movies are not that terrifying, especially by today’s standards.

Horror of Dracula- Peter Cushing as Van Helsing, and Christopher Lee as Dracula. I believe this may be one of the first movies I ever saw as a kid.  It is a wonderful adaption of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

The Brides of Dracula- Peter Cushing reprises his role as Van Helsing. Although, the title may indicate it, there is no Christopher Lee, or Dracula in the film.  This movie was more about Van Helsing, showing him in to be more heroic than with its predecessor.

The Wolfman- Lon Channing Jr. as a cursed man who turns into a werewolf during a full moon. Lon Channing Jr. is one of the most underrated actors ever. His was overshadowed by his famous father, and I believe he was never given the roles he deserved. His role in this move as Lawrence Talbot rivals his performance as Lenny in “Of Mice and Men”

The Green Slime (1968)- Ok, this movie is goofy, but for some reason I like it. It features a space station that is infested by a green one eyed monster that can multiply.

Ernest Scarred Stupid- I liked Ernest P Worrell (Jim Varney), and his exploits. This movie also stars the great Eartha Kitt. Ernest accidently releases trolls upon an unsuspecting town. When this movie first came out, there was criticism that it was too scary for younger children.

The Nightmare before Christmas- A great Tim Burton movie. However, when it first came out, who was the marketing wizard that thought it would better as a Christmas movie?

Hotel Transylvania- This is my favorite of the new genre of monster movies for kids. It is very enjoyable by younger audiences while still entertaining the older ones.

The Thing from Another World- Based loosely on the book, “Who Goes there” by John W. Campbell. The original dealt more with the isolation of being in the artic when an alien body is discovered in the snow. Many people do not know that James Arness, star of Gunsmoke played the alien in this movie.

THEM!- One of the best giant creatures movies that came out of the 50’s. When the little girl begins screaming “them” it will give you chills down your spin. Another movie starring James Arness.

The Last Man on Earth (1964)- Based on “I am Legend” by my favorite author, Richard Matheson. Vampires take over the earth. If you want to see the beginning of the zombie genre, watch this movie. Also, no list of Halloween movies would be complete without including at least one staring Vincent Price.

Count Dracula (1977)- Staring Louis Jordan as the count. Original aired on PBS; if you can find this gem you will not be disappointed. Although, it does not have graphic scenes as some of today’s horror movies, its intensity is unmatched.

Frankenstein-Another great Universal horror movie. No one will ever match Boris Karloff as the monster.

Horror at Party Beach- A crazy, hip movie of the 1960’s. Creatures attacking a beach full of bikini clad teenagers. Not a great movie, but I enjoyed it when I was a kid.

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) another movie based on a Richard Matheson screenplay and novel. A man who skinks down to nothing from being exposed to radiation and insecticide. The ending speech of this movie is inspirational.

13 Ghosts (1960) Again the original. Directed by William Castle, who had done tons of scary cheap movies over the years, some of them are gems. A pair of glasses allows the viewer to see ghosts. Margaret Brainard Hamilton who is most famous for the wicked witch of the west in The Wizard of Oz (1939) and as Morticia Addams' mother in the TV show “The Addams Family”, gives a wonderful performance as the housekeeper.  It also stars Martin Milner, famous for Adam 12 and Route 66, in an unusual role as the villain.

I would include to the above any movie with large monsters, including Godzilla, King Kong and Gamera. These movies are usually not that scary, but are entertaining and fun. 

I have to talk about the recent news that they are remaking, or rebooting the movie, “King Kong vs. Godzilla”.  Godzilla is a 400 feet tall monster with radiative breath; King Kong is 30 feet tall with banana breath, do the math. That fight would last as long as the short movie, “Bambi meets Godzilla.”

You may have noticed that I included many of the “original” versions of the movies. This is because today Hollywood does not know the difference between horror and just plain gore. Today, remakes have just a bunch of special effects scattered in them, with lots of blood and these movie makers think it is a better version. I hope that we can get back to more to telling simpler stories of good vs. evil, and without special effects, just for the sake of special effects.

I hope you like my list of movie for kids.

Next Time: Will be movies for us adults, who still are kids at heart.

Have a safe and enjoyable HALLOWEEN.


  1. Oh my! For kids? Half of these would keep me up at night:) I'm such a light weight!

  2. wow, what a great list, but like Jacquie, my thought was also -for kids!! Ooh you are a brave soul:-)

  3. Watched Count Dracula and Frankenstein when I was a kid and loved them.

  4. Great list, although I agree that most would be a bit much for my 8 and 10 year old. I bet they'd love the green slime, though! :)

  5. I am not necessarily a fan of horror movies but I do appreciate some of the classics you mentioned like Wolfman and Frankenstein, the latter of which I would say is my favorite. More recently I saw Hotel Transylvania and it was pretty funny. Even though it didn't make me drool.

  6. Good point about Burton's movie being released at Christmas rather than Halloween. I remember the Bone Daddy T-shirt I wore in high school well ;)

  7. Great list and I actually have several of these in my collection - THEM! has always been a favorite of mine. :-)

  8. Christopher Lee's Dracula was always a favorite. You prompted me to try to track it down for this year's Halloween flick!

  9. I think most of these movies for kids are too scary for me! I don't do well with scary movies. I wwatched the movie Saw and I was huddled in a ball for a week!

    1. I am not a big fan of Saw movies. It is more of a snuff film. This is where I mentioned modern movie makers do not know the difference between horror and gore. Try "The Incredible Shrinking Man", or "The Last Man on Earth", these are more about humans being put into a bad situation and trying to survive.

  10. I like the Lon Chaney movie, BUt my absolute favorite Halloween flicks are ANYTHING with Abbott and Costello . Especially, "Hold That Ghost". I watch it every year.

    1. I had not seen that movie until recently. A monster/horror movie host named Svengoolie had it on. I mentioned it in my comment on the blog I did couple weeks ago:
      They did not think audiences would like the pair doing comedy in a monster type movie, of course later that is all they did.

  11. Great list William, I have actually seen some of them.
    I love horror films lol

  12. Excellent list. I've seen a few of these movies.