The Horror Honeys: Growing up Horror! - Horror films to watch with your kids!

Growing up Horror! - Horror films to watch with your kids!

A Head Honey Special Feature - Kat

Like many horror fans, my love of the genre started before I even knew what it really was. At age four I knew that I was head over heels in love with that dashing man on The Muppet Show, and I was going to marry someone like him someday. That dashing man just so happened to be Vincent Price, and while I didn't end up married to him (damn), my love affair with the genre that was going to dominate my life was begun.


While no one sets out to brainwash their children into liking something, gentle nudges to help them on their path to becoming awesome human beings is the job of caregivers. Besides, despite the energy and efforts of my own parents, I turned out however the fuck I wanted anyway.  

I personally really enjoy being "the weird aunt" who always brings creepy movies, superhero or Star Wars toys and sour candies when I come to visit.

Disclaimer: While there are darker elements to most "kid oriented" films and shows these days, when sharing horror with the little ones, ALWAYS be mindful of how they are feeling and reacting. If they're scared, be respectful of that, and do what my dad used to do, explain why it's NOT scary (it's makeup, or a costume, or a puppet). And don't forget, monsters need hugs too.

The Dark Crystal (1982)I saw the Dark Crystal at a VERY young age, the Emperor scared the ever loving shit out of me and I refused to watch the rest of it from anywhere closer than the hallway. Pretty soon, it became my favorite film, and it's still right up there on my list. The puppetry is incredible, the story (and moral lesson) is simple enough for children to understand, the characters are loveable and honest, and the artwork and world of Froud have kept me devoted into my adult years.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - The Nightmare Before Christmas has been a double year special event for me for a very long time, and I know I'm not the only one who throws this film on at Christmas AND Hallowe'en, and multiple other times per year because awesome. With the right amount of musical/horror/puppets/cute/horror/animation/awesome thrown in at every turn, The Nightmare Before Christmas should be on every horror fans' list. EVER. NO excuses.
The Witches (1990) - Based on the novel by Roald Dahl which I read obsessively (he also wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), when I was a kid I thought this was what witches were all about! Square feet, bald itchy scalps, clawed hands, violet eyes, children that disappear in terrifying ways! Gimmie more! What I wasn't ready for, was how amazing these things would look on screen! The Witches also features one of my favorite Anjelica Huston roles - she's STUNNING and disturbing all at the same time. The Witches is on my Top 20 film list, and it's never leaving! Reason: Gross witch-rats. Seriously.

ParaNorman (2012) - A really wonderful addition to the world of creepy animated films is ParaNorman - with lessons about being yourself and all that other mooshy goodness, it's a creepy film with some brilliant animation (and some super gross zombies) and is something that while scary in it's own way, has a lesson that kids can identify with, which is also what helps to make it LESS of a scary film. This is where the "monsters need hugs" part comes in.

Hotel Transylvania (2012) - Now, full disclosure here - I was NOT a fan of this film. With a horrifyingly annoying lesson that is essentially: "there is only one person in the world who is right for you and that you're nothing unless you're in a relationship" completely ruffled my feathers. All of that aside, I really enjoyed the concept of the film, and it definitely appeals to kids who like to see that monsters can have feelings too and are "just like them" - so I let a lot of the stuff that annoyed me about Hotel Transylvania slide, including the "Adam Sandler and his gang of loveable best friends" casting.

Coraline (2009) - Another of my favorite creepy films for kids is the super adorable Coraline - based on the Neil Gaiman book, Coraline has some truly terrifying moments, beautiful stop-motion animation - and most importantly, a serious dark side lurking under all of those bright colors and happy button eyes. Since movies for kids are all about lessons - Coraline's lesson is to make the most out of life and appreciate what you have, something all kids should be able to relate to. I also personally LOVE "The Other Mother", she's just beautiful.

Gremlins (1984) - Now, granted that it seems to elude most parents that "if a movie contains a puppet then it must be for kids" - not quite in this case. Gremlins is a film that has been on our Christmas movie list for many years - but only after I was able to handle the fact that these cute furry puppets changed into awful lizard things with spikes and teeth who tortured poor Gizmo and something about a blender and some other awfulness that the littler ones who are into the furry things just won't be able to take. Recommended for slightly older kids for sure.

Beetlejuice (1988) - Having grown up on the cartoon version of Beetlejuice, it seemed like a natural progression for me to love the film version of the same name. Although, it goes without saying that the film and the cartoon have only three things in common, Sandworms, a character named Lydia and a character named Beetlejuice. Definitely a film for older kids (early teens), they'll dig the amazing makeup, the funnier bits (Day-O!), and can appreciate the darker side of things without getting freaked out. Mini-goths unite!

Ghostbusters (1989) - Again, hitting for the older kids, Ghostbusters needs a bit more focus from it's watchers because it's a little slow to keep the attention of younger kids. Unless you're planning to get them started with the 90's cartoon version (which is also awesome, and if you find it, please tell me where you got it!), maybe wait until you've got some kids around who know what ghosts are and who can pick up what you're going to be putting down for them. They don't have to get Bill Murray yet, but it's good to start them on that path.

Tales from the Crypt (1989) - Tales from the Crypt is DEFINITELY for the older crowd, the Cryptkeeper is all kinds of freaky to younger viewers and the humor goes over a lot of little heads. If you want to start an appreciation for "Crypty" earlier, start with the bad puns, and "lessons learned" in cartoon version with "Tales from the Cryptkeeper" which are also highly entertaining.

These are just a few of my favorite horror themed films to watch with the little ones, there are obviously more that I totally adore - Hocus PocusAddams Family (tv show and films), the Munsters...the list is practically endless.

Do you have favorites that you like to share with the younger generation? Tell me on twitter!