After covering our ten picks for the best horror movies to watch for Halloween, we thought we would also provide a solid list including some of the best family films to watch on October 31st as well. Straying away from the scary and gory part of the holiday, comes the fun and endearing part of Halloween. For those families that are choosing to stay inside for Halloween this year due to the pandemic and need a good flick to watch with the kids, this is for you.
Based on the Harvey Comic character created by Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo. After the death of her father, Carrigan Crittenden is left only with an old run-down mansion. As she searches the house for her father’s fortune, she quickly discovers it is haunted by ghosts. She hires afterlife therapist Dr. James Harvey to reside in the house in the hopes of exorcising the ghosts. Harvey moves with his daughter Kat who comes in contact with the ghost and befriends Casper “the friendliest ghost you know”. Although this film relied heavily on CGI, it was considered cutting edge for its time and was also the second Halloween themed franchise Christina Ricci starred in after The Addams Family.
Considered culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. Ghostbusters was directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Three paranormal investigators are kicked out of Columbia University and begin their own a paranormal investigation and elimination service. Later, they are thrown in jail by the EPA but are then released when the city becomes overcome with ghosts. Now the busters ban together to save the city from the impending supernatural doom that awaits them. The popularity of this film has garnered pop culture significance to the point it spawned a sequel, reboot, animated series, video games and an upcoming film named Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
A classic in its own right, adding the already established legacy of Mel Brooks and the legendary Gene Wilder. Dr. Fredrick Frankenstein inherits his grandfather’s castle and with it, all of Dr. Victor Von Frankenstein’s belongings. Among it all is his grandfather’s book regarding his reanimation project, convincing Fredrick to picking up where he left off and finishing Victors work. With the help of his hunchback Igor and love interest Elizabeth, Fredrick manages to successfully create Frankenstein’s monster. A total parody of the original film Frankenstein with the use of clever written humor and slapstick comedy, this adaptation of a dark story into something comedic. Not to be taken very seriously, most of the humor manages to hold up even today. Which is what made this such a cult classic and still something a bit more mature for the kids, but just enough humor to go over their heads and make the adults laugh.
Monsters Inc. (2001)
The fourth film to be released from Pixar after the success of Toy Story, A Bugs Life and Toy Story 2. This film explores the world of monsters with scarers James P. Sullivan (Sully) and Mike Wazowski working together at Monsters Incorporated, an organization dedicated with providing power to Monstropolis through scaring young children. While on the job, they discover a little girl named Boo who has decided to enter her closet and into the monster world. Now Mike and Sully must get her back into her room before she is captured by their rival, Randall. One of Pixar’s finest work, as a film that was another stepping stone for computer graphic animation. Although having nothing to do with Halloween, it is still a charming film about the world of monsters and filling the heads of younger audiences a new way to imagine the concept of monsters in their closets. And while the film did manage to produce a prequel, we have yet to see any follow up after the ending of this first film.
The Addams Family (1991)
The directorial debut of Barry Sonnenfield, who later went on to direct Men in Black. This spooky family has been around since their creation in 1938 by Charles Addams and went on to be adapted into a successful television series in 1964. However, we are covering their first theatrical debut with some of the most memorable performances by Raul Julia as Gomez Addams, Angelica Huston as Morticia Addams and Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester. As a couple of con artists use a double to replace Fester, so he may gain access to the Addams vault and their fortune. This film manages to remain faithful to its source material with its black comedy and dark humor, along with its entire cast accurately portraying this kooky family. The movie was so successful it managed to receive a sequel with Addams Family Values, but was later rebooted into an animated film in 2019 which is also getting a sequel scheduled to release in 2021
The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Hoping to bank another film based on a Disneyland ride after Pirates of the Caribbean, came this comedy starring Eddie Murphy. Murphy plays Jim Evers, a determined relator agent set on assisting Edward Gracey sell his mansion. He brings his family along to examine the house but when a surprise thunderstorm floods the streets, they are forced to reside in the home for the time being. Gracey shares ghost stories of the home with Jim and his family, only for Jim to brush them off. However as he starts to explore the home, he quickly begins to start experiencing strange happenings of the home himself. While this film was not widely appreciated by critics, it still managed to gain an audience following and still remains as a fun haunted house movie that can be enjoyed by everybody.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
No other family film screams Halloween more than this Disney classic. Starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker as the Sanderson sisters, witches who have returned after 300 years to continue their hunt for children. At the time of this film’s release, there wasn’t much appreciation for it. With a $28,000,000 budget, it only managed to make back $8,000,000 making this a financial bomb. However, over the years the Disney Channel continued to air it for years. All those children who grew up in the 90’s remember watching this on TV every Halloween, to the point where those kids have kept it close to their hearts and share it with their children. Since the massive following this movie had, it has managed to earn back its budget and bring in a total of $42,000,000 with re-releases. If those number don’t impress you enough, I can’t even imagine the dollar amount when it comes to its merchandising.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Another holiday classic that can be enjoyed on either Halloween or Christmas, we chose to use it for this list since it revolves around Halloween themed characters. The Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, Jack Skellington becomes board with celebrating the same holiday. One day he stumbles across an entrance into a new town, inside is the town of Christmas. Fascinated with everything he is witnessing, he decides to bring Christmas back with him to Halloween town and share it with its citizens. This film has made such a culture impact similar to some of the other entries on this list, to the point where you can find Jack Skellington merchandise just about anywhere. And while this film is considered a “Tim Burton film” it was actually directed by Henry Selick, who went on to also direct James and the Giant Peach and Coraline.
Hotel Transylvania (2012)
Adam Sandler brings back his squad of comedic actors once again for this monster themed animated film. Consistently being hunted by humans, Dracula finally decides to create a hotel as a safe haven for monsters and his daughter Mavis. During his daughters 118th birthday, a young hitchhiker named Johnathan stumbles upon the hotel and is quickly hidden away by Dracula before dressing him up like a monster to conceal his identity. However when Mavis discovers Johnathan she starts to fall in love with him, causing Drac to panic at the idea his daughter might be in love with a human. Crafting an animated comedy about the classic universal monsters like Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Wolfman and the Mummy to bring together a charming Halloween film about acceptance and learning to let go. The film garnered enough popularity is managed to produce two more sequels and a fourth currently in development.
The Monster Squad (1987)
Probably the most underrated film on our list, a film that has picked up as big of a cult following as Hocus Pocus or The Nightmare Before Christmas. The Monster Squad focuses on a group of adolescent boys who are monster enthusiasts that become their towns only hope when Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolfman and The Creature from the Black Lagoon rise to take over the world. Shane Blacks second writing credit after the success of Lethal Weapon, Black went on to direct hits films like Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys. This film has managed to gain such a cult following they have held countless special screenings across the world with the original cast returning to greet the audiences. It has also gained its very own documentary Wolfman’s Got Nards, which explores the production and impact of the film and has been featured at festivals since 2018, but is finally receiving a Blu-ray release on October 27, 2020.
Also Read: 10 Horror Films to Watch for Halloween