When this time of year comes around, serial killers, murderous clowns and terrifying demons run amuck, spreading blood, guts, and gore into every corner of our screens. What about those who are not fans of horror or gore, but still like to be spooked? What about those who want to get into the Halloween spirit but at the same time don’t want to be stuck with children’s films? Don’t worry, I understand you. Halloween is my favourite holiday and I hate horror films. I am so skittish a black cat’s sudden meow could scare me.
Where these films occur on Halloween night, or are just fantastic to watch this time of year, they will get you into the Halloween spirit without being afraid too sleep afterward. Here are my Top 5 Non-Horror Halloween films.
Honourable Mentions: Casper, ParaNorman, Corpse Bride, Addams Family Values, Halloweentown
5) The Book of Life (2014)
Okay, let’s get one children’s film on this list. The Book of Life is a colourful and fanciful take on the Mexican Day of the Dead with Guillermo del Toro as a producer. La Muerte (Kate de Castillo) and Xibalba (Ron Perlman) make a bet in which young boy – Manolo (Diego Luna) or Joaquin (Channing Tatum) – will steal the heart of Maria (Zoe Saldana), a pig recusing, strong willed girl. Xibalba kills Manolo so he will win the bet and be King of the Land of the Remembered. A good chunk of the film occurs in Manolo’s death and most of its characters are dead as well. Think of a Mexican Corpse Bride but with a lot more colour and lightheartedness. On top of that, it’s beautifully animated and the music is a great mix of hits with an acoustic flair.
4) Young Frankenstein (1974)
Young Frankenstein is a Mel Brooks classic featuring the late Gene Wilder as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein– oops. “Fronk-en-steen.” Dr.Frankenstein returns to his ancestral home to discover his grandfather’s works and decides to continue where he left off, producing a stage show with his new creature. Young Frankenstein features a classic movie monster that we should all hold dear, but his savagery in past horror films is turned into something a little more quaint and charming. If you have not seen this film, you should, but make sure no kids are in the room; the black and white picture may already scare them off.
3) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Tim Burton has got to be somewhere on this list, right? Despite the debate on whether this film is a Halloween or Christmas film, it has become a holiday classic. With the end of another Halloween in Halloweentown, Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon/Danny Elfman) believes that there is a part of him that is missing. Upon finding Christmastown, he recruits his townsfolk to bring Christmas cheer to all. We have many films about the true spirit of Christmas, so here is one for the true spirit of Halloween (unfortunately the spirit’s name is not Zero). With spooky elements in this stop-motion musical, you are sure to get your Halloween fix.
2) Beetlejuice (1988)
This one happens to be the scariest on our list, and it’s a comedy. I should mention it was difficult to make this list without every spot being Tim Burton, but you have to include Beetlejuice. The Deetz’ move into a home in which the recently deceased owners have not yet left, and they recruit Betelguese (Michael Keaton) to scare away the family. With crude sexual humour, ample cursing, a coupld dance numbers, and some good scares, it’s amazing that this was rated PG. Yeah, PG. So if you need a good fright – not gore – offset by some good humor, Beetlejuice has to be your Halloween film go-to.
1) Hocus Pocus (1993)
Is it really a Halloween list if you don’t include Hocus Pocus? Hocus Pocus is a good mix of everything. Max (Omri Katz) accidentally summons the Sanderson Sisters (Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker), three witches from Salem, and they kidnap his sister intent on stealing her youth. It has comedy suited for all ages, some spooky moments, and provides a fantasy with classic Halloween monsters. Plus, if the Sanderson Sister didn’t scare you even the slightest bit as a kid, you’re lying. They gave me nightmares, but now, they are classic Halloween icons to get you into the holiday mood without being scared like a little kid again.
Did we forget any Non-Horror Halloween films that you love? Want more of our Road to Halloween Top 5s? Keep your eye on We Eat Films as we will be releasing more to get you into the Halloween spirit.