Fewer screams and more laughs
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
With the holiday season of Halloween well-underway, horror films have never been more popular. Scary movies play on cable, in the theatres, and all over the Netflix promotions. Many of us love the spirit of Halloween, but some can’t handle movies that seek to make the viewer scared or uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are a lot of movies available that, while scary, are easily suitable to watch with timid friends or anyone who doesn’t want to sleep with the lights on.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Beloved by families and often on cable TV, this spooky comedy follows two teenagers who accidentally resurrect three cackling witches on Halloween night. It’s a definite Halloween tradition.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
Another beloved TV tradition frequently quoted and aired. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, and the whole Peanuts gang celebrate Halloween in their family-friendly, typical animated style. As a kid, I always worried about getting a rock in my candy bag just like our unfortunate hero.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Directed by comedy legend Mel Brooks and starring Gene Wilder (the original Willy Wonka), this hilarious classic filmed in black-and-white follows Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson and his revival of Grandpa’s experiments. If you’re blue and don’t know what to watch this Halloween, then why not try this?
A recently deceased couple find themselves annoyed by the new (living) family occupying their house. They enlist the help of the wisecracking “bio-exorcist” ghost Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), with hijinks ensuing for all. An early film of quirky-master director Tim Burton, this remains one of my favourites.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
In this bizarre rock-and-roll musical, horror comedy, clean-cut young adults Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) find themselves in a castle inhabited by a transvestite scientist, Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry), who’s eager to unleash his handsome “monster” creation. An absolute cult-classic that parodies early horror and science fiction films, this one is even better if you can find a showing at a local theatre.
Scary Movie (2000)
This one is a pioneer of the parody film genre, before they became horrible and unfunny. This flick parodies popular horror movies from the ’90s—everything from Scream to The Blair Witch Project. It should not be confused with its less-than-funny sequels, although Scary Movie 2 is on par with the first.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
This very British zombie film mocks and tributes the zombie genre all the way to the title. Created by the popular team of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright, this is one of the best zombie films ever made, despite its parody. Who says zombies aren’t funny?
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
This Claymation musical masterpiece is one of Tim Burton’s best films. The Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, Jack Skellington, discovers Christmas Town and attempts to bring the two holidays together—but things don’t go so well. For me, this one’s a tradition every Halloween and Christmas.
So if you’re not up for violent slashers or nasty demons, give one of these a try. It’s a sure way to enjoy the holiday season without freaking out.