Family Friendly Horror Movies
Derek Ciapala: Gremlins, hands down for me. I grew up watching Gizmo face off with the Gremlins, and both the original movie and it’s sequel have stuck with me for years. Who can forget the havoc wreaked by Stripe and his cohorts? Gremlins is still it for me.
Caliber Winfield: Honestly, simply saying the name, I feel like I could go without a blurb. Ghostbusters isn’t just the best family themed, or safe-for-work esq horror film, it’s one of the greatest films of all time. Not to mention the fact you have a blast with the franchise as a kid, and then as you get older you appreciate so much of the humor that you didn’t get as a kid. Truly a film you enjoy more and more as you get older.
Shawn S. Lealos: I have to agree with Caliber here. Ghostbusters is just a fantastic family friendly horror movie, with great comedy for adults, some fun moments for the kids, and just enough scares to keep everyone on the edge of their seat without being too much to scar anyone.
Drag Me to Hell
Patricia Márquez: It’s a toss up between Gremlins and Drag Me to Hell. I saw both movies with my family and both experiences were so fun! With Gremlins (during Christmas, of course), my 8 year old cousin was visibly mesmerized and alternated between utter shock and awe (like, “I can not believe what I am seeing) and revulsion. But ultimately, she came around and ending up loving the movie, most likely because of the pacifying affects of cute little Gizmo. Drag Me to Hell doesn’t seem like a family movie, but I watched it one Thanksgiving with my extended family and it was great. It’s just over-the-top enough to not be taken too seriously (I.e scary and disturbing) but it has an engaging, fast-moving plot and plenty of wtf moments to keep everyone interested and not chatting throughout the whole thing. I highly recommend both for the upcoming holidays!
Caleb Masters: When I was a young lad not even able to write, I fell in love with a super cheesy B-movie homage called Tremors. It’s got all the makings of an old school monster movie with just enough smarts for some great meta-humor. It’s one of the very few horror movies I watched with my family thanks to its on point sense of humor, Kevin Bacon led cast, and lighthearted tone. It may not have the depth as some of the other flicks on this list, but I think it brings a great deal of fun for the right families.
Derek Johns: Even well into my 20s this one still has the ability to give me the willies. This is thanks in large part to the Other Mother who I’ve always found to be a greatly underrated villain. Also, her minions all have buttons for eyes. How can you not find that creepy?
Ruby Le Rouge: I Choose Coraline as well. I’m a sucker for stop motion animation, and this one is so beautifully done. The story by Neil Gaiman was creepy, even to adults, and the animation is as creepy for adults as well as children.
Nightmare Before Christmas
Bethany Lewis: Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorite Halloween movies as well as one of my favorite Christmas movies. I love it because it’s simply magnificent, in its production, it’s story, it’s detail, it’s atmosphere, it’s characters, it’s music, it’s acting, everything about it is magnificently done. And while it is fun and family friendly, there is something profoundly creepy about the world and it’s characters. Oogie Boogie was always complete nightmare fuel for me, especially the fact that he was just a burlap sack filled with living bugs. And that dynamic, between enchanting and frightening, is a big part of what makes the film and it’s world so memorable.
Derick ‘d-rock’ Dotson: Poltergeist – I remember seeing this as a kid and questioning why my parents would let me watch such a disturbing ghost film. Many years later I realized it was a PG rated horror movie. The tension and scares maintained through the story are impressive with so little gore delivered. Poltergeist to this day still has moments that stick with me even as a grown up. All I can say is I will never allow a clown doll in my house.