Hypothically it’s Halloween day and you’re sitting there ready, the pumpkins are carved, the beers are in the fridge, the pork rinds are in the cupboard, and your horror movie marathon is lined up on the dvd player and ready to go. However there’s a problem, for some you’ve got the little ones around with their sensitive eyes and for others elderly relatives with their elderly sensibilities have come over for lunch. So before you get the couch to yourself you’re going to have to come up with a plan. And here at Deadly Movies lightbulb moments are our specialty. So here’s our Top 5 horror alternatives to get you through the daylight hours and any PG13 guests.
5. The Ghost Breakers (1940): A little Bob Hope to appease any oldies. The Ghost Breakers is one of many horror/comedies turned out by studios in the 40s (The Abbott and Costello efforts being of note). This is a great example of this sub-genre and one I hold in particular esteem. The somewhat Captain Bizarreo plot involves Hope and Goddard on an isolated Cuban island complete with mafia, zombies, ghosts, man servants, and cuban government officials. Hope delivers the one liners but the asset that makes this film a superior horror comedy is the genuine spooky atmosphere that accompanies the humor.
4. The Monster Squad (1987): A great kids-kids film, enjoyable for adults and suitable for all. Essentially it’s as if someone came up with the idea of The Universal Monsters meet The Goonies. And tell me what the hell is wrong with that? You get the full compliment of Dracula, Fankenstein’s Monster, The Wolfman, The Mummy, and The Gill Man mixed in with that 80s sensibility that produced so many fantastic children’s movies that are still enjoyed today.
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993): Arguably the greatest stop-motion film of all time. Featuring something for everyone; great songs, great characters, romance, Santa Claus, Tim Burton’s beautiful designs and humor, and enough festive sparkle and Halloween gloom to please fans of both camps. I’m always slightly saddened by the over commercialization of TNBC by Disney over the past decade, especially ironic given that Disney didn’t want to touch this project back in the early 90s, pushing it out to Touchstone instead. Saying that it’s still a delightful experience that comfortably suits either Halloween or Christmas viewing.
2. Ghostbusters (1984): Totally amazing. One of the finest comedies of all time and the finest sci-fi comedy period. The great thing about Ghostbusters is that it is genuinely scary in places. The pink lady, the hands that tear through Dana’a armchair, Dana’s Exorcist style possessed voice, and the hell hounds are all enough to give kids everywhere nightmares. Ghostbusters invented more iconic images than a host of movies put together, and kids still identify with it today. And what would any Halloween be without ‘that’ song.., so let me ask you this, ‘who ya gonna call?’
1. Watership Down (1978): This makes the number one spot for one indisputable reason, it is the most brutal children’s animation ever committed to paper. Yes there are plenty of far more violent Anime films out there, but as a children’s tale about rabbits (RABBITS!) this is a savage affair. Voiced perfectly by John Hurt of legendary Alien status, and featuring a flesh and fur tearing finale main event so savage that Bugs had to spend six months in therapy just to get his eyes clean again. The simplified animation successfully conveys pain, anguish, visceral body impact, and emotion in a way seldomly achieved by animated movies.
Want more Halloween alternatives? Try these puppies: Dark Crystal (1982), Labyrinth (1986), The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987), Ghostbusters 2 (1989), Batman: Mast of the Phantasm (1993), The Batman vs Dracula (2005),