Happy October everyone!!!!!!!!! ‘Tis the spookiest month of all and it’s time to wrap ourselves up in it. One of the things I love to do in October is get super nostalgic and watch kids movies. It reminds me of being younger, of watching these flicks and helping my mom make my costume, and eating lots of candy.
So, here’s Horror Bound’s Top 5 Kid’s Horror Films!
NUMBER ONE - HOCUS POCUS (1993)
I actually watched this on October eve (aka September 30th) to officially bring in October and the spooky month.
Released in 1993, Hocus Pocus was written by Neil Cuthbert and Mick Garris and directed by Kenny Ortega. It’s a Disney flick that stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Omri Katz.
The story is about Max and his sister, Dani, who have recently moved from LA to Salem. Max hates Halloween but Dani (and their mom) convinces him to take Dani out trick-or-treating. While out, they run into Max’s new crush, Allison and the three of them end up at the Sanderson house. The Sanderson’s are three witch sisters who love taking the youth from children but eventually got caught and hung for their crimes. But unbeknownst at the time, they left a black flame candle in their house and if it’s ever lit by a virgin the Sanderson sisters come back!
Obviously, Max, a virgin, lights the candle AND CHAOS ENSUES!
Look, there’s not many people out there that haven’t seen Hocus Pocus so you don’t need me to run down this story.
The Sanderson sisters are UTTER PERFECTION. They’re quite scary when you’re little, and basically iconic when you’re older. Who knew I would’ve grown into basically Winifred? Just terrified of children, wearing oversize clothes, and talking to a book. GOALS. Honestly, I’ve made it.
But why is Hocus Pocus so nostalgic for us? Why did it work?
I think it’s because it treats us like grownups. It’s not overly childish – they talk about virgins, and there’s an adult Halloween party, and a few crude jokes. That whole scene with Satan?! But as a kid you don’t really understand that part, you just enjoy what’s happening. And the kid parts aren’t super childish either. Dani is a bad ass young kid who loves her brother and Max doesn’t treat Dani badly, he loves her just as much. It’s nice. It’s realistic.
And I think that’s why most of these kid’s movies stick with us over time because they’re still watchable no matter what age.
Hocus Pocus is perfection, it totally puts me in the Halloween mood, and Max’s bedroom is still the coolest bedroom ever. Don’t @ me.
NUMBER TWO - THE MONSTER SQUAD (1987)
Now, I didn’t actually watch Monster Squad for the first time until about three years ago. But damn I wish I’d seen it young because I would’ve loved it. Not that I didn’t love it as an adult, but my heart ached to have seen it when I was like 12.
Released in 1987, it’s written and directed by Fred Dekker. The Monster Squad is a club of kids who love classic monster movies and Stephen King. Basically, anything spooky. The leader is Sean (Andre Gower) and he’s given the diary of Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. Unfortunately, it’s written in German so the squad reach out to an elderly gentleman to translate.
The diary talks about an amulet that Dracula seeks to take control of the world. He forms his own squad which has The Mummy, The Gill-man, The Wolf Man and three vampiric ladies.
And so, the Monster Squad and the actual squad of monsters go head to head to find the amulet and save the day.
This is much like other great flicks from the 80’s like The Goonies where the kids are like mini adults and it’s much more realistic. They actually act like proper 12-14-year olds.
The Monster Squad still holds up to this day and its just genuinely good spooky fun.
NUMBER THREE - HALLOWEENTOWN (1998)
Another Disney classic for the list, Halloweentown is a little newer as it released in 1998. It was directed by Duwayne Dunham and is the first installment in the Halloweentown series.
Now I’m sure I’m not the only kid out there who dreammmmmed that Halloweentown was real. I kind of still hope it is. This story truly captured the imagination.
Following Marnie Piper (Kimberly J. Brown) who, along with her siblings, are not allowed out on Halloween. When their Grandmother Aggie arrives (Debbie Reynolds) she makes it known she plans to train Marnie to be a witch like herself. She tells the children about a place called Halloweentown where witches, vampires and monsters all live together in peace. Aggie leaves and the kids follow her, they get onto a magical bus that takes them to Halloweentown which turns out to be real!
It's a truly magical movie that’s filled with all sorts of fun characters and brilliant costumes. And it really puts you in the mood for Halloween.
All together there are four Halloweentown movies.
NUMBER FOUR - GOOSEBUMPS (2015)
This is the most modern movie on this list, being released in 2015. While of course it was not released when I was child, Goosebumps books were. So they mean a lot to me and to most people my age who grew up with them. For a lot of us, Goosebumps was a gateway to horror, or a confirmation that we weren’t the only weirdo kids out there.
In 2015, the Goosebumps movie was released, directed by Rob Letterman. It’s an instant classic and one I think kids now will be watching for years to come. Jack Black stars as R.L. Stine and does an incredible job. There’s a sequel being released this month which I’m greatly looking forward to.
Zach (Dylan Minnette) and Gale, his mom (Amy Ryan), move to Delaware from New York after the death of Zach’s father. Zach quickly befriends the neighbor Hannah (Odeya Rush) who has a very overprotective father. After a loud fight between Hannah and her Dad, Zach along with his friend Champ (Ryan Lee) breaks into Hannah’s house to try to save her.
What they find inside is a bookshelf filled with the books from the Goosebumps franchise. Zach unlocks one of the books, The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, and the Abominable Snowman pops out and begins destroying the town.
Turns out Hannah’s Dad is R.L. Stine and the trick with his books is that they can come to life. Now all the Goosebumps characters are running loose and causing havoc around the town.
It’s a lot of fun and really cool to see all the Goosebumps’ characters come to life. There’s a lot of nods to Stephen King which totally crack me up. And if you don’t get super emotional at the end….gurl….you’re dead inside.
NUMBER FIVE - CASPER (1995)
Last on our list is a 90’s classic. Casper was released in 1995 directed by Brad Siberling and stars a young Christina Ricci as Kat and Bill Pullman as her father.
Casper is a ghost who lives with his ghost uncles in a mansion called Whipstaff. Casper is super lonely because his uncles are super mean and chase off anyone that comes near. After watching a TV program that shows a paranormal therapist James Harvey and his daughter Kat, Casper convinces them to move in.
Casper quickly bonds with James and Kat, despite his uncle’s interference. Kat decides to throw a massive Halloween party for the school. There’s also two people who have heard of the treasure buried in Whipstaff and are determined to get to it, culminating in a big dramatic chase to the treasure.
It’s light hearted and super fun. Kat is perfection and total goals, and James is such a sweet kind-hearted Dad. The uncles can be quite scary and gross when you’re watching as a child, and the mansion itself is this gorgeous abandoned slightly rundown building. It’s part of the reason I want to live in a big old abandoned mansion.