When A Spook Isn't Spooky
The Walking Dead
The Day Will Come When You Won't Be
By Tammie Parker
Part of the House of Tortured Souls
Staff Pick October 2016
By Kev B.
So, this year for Halloween we were asked to list five films we feel are essential viewing for the season, and, as usual, I find a way to bend the rules. But really, how we gonna do just five?! First, my picks are family friendly, as my daughter turns one year old this month and we are on our way to creating our new family traditions. Second, a lot of my picks are Halloween episodes of television shows with a run time of 30 minutes minus commercials. And third, I’m not much for rules...
Since she was born, I’ve been straining my brain to remember the stuff I grew up on and loved. The shows, movies, and specials that I couldn’t wait for every year. We have been watching Scooby-Doo since day one, as I think that is probably where most of us horror addicts start out. I even enjoy the newer incarnation of Mystery Inc.: Be Cool, Scooby-Doo which first aired in 2015 and features the voice talents of Mathew Lillard (Scream, SLC Punk) as Shaggy, Frank Welker (The voice of Fred since the original episodes in 1969), and Kate Micucci (You would know her if you saw her) as Velma. Interesting side note: Velma has also been voiced by actress Mindy Kohn (Natalie from The Facts of Life), which leads me into my first movie pick.
The Worst Witch (1986)
Speaking of The Facts of Life, remember Charlotte Rae (Mrs. Garrett). Back in 1986 she starred in The Worst Witch as the headmistress of a school for witches. Its like Suspiria for kids, not really, it’s a family horror fantasy musical. And ol’ Charlotte can sing! It also stars a young Fairuza Balk (The Craft, American History X) as the title character, Liz May Brice (the first to die in the laser scene from Resident Evil), and former Bond girl Diana Rigg. The only male actor in the cast is the immensely talented Tim Curry as the Grand Wizard. It’s rated G and should be appropriate for all audiences.
Boo for You Fridays
While I’m on the appropriate for all audiences vibe, I offer you Boo for You Fridays on Disney Jr. All of your favorite Disney Jr. shows Halloween episodes aired all day Fridays leading up to Halloween. Sophia the First, Doc McStuffins, Sheriff Callie and my daughter’s new favorite Elana of Avalor (the Latina princess) along with Tigger and Pooh, Mickey Mouse Club, and many others all have Halloween episodes… And Elana honors her loved ones who have passed on in a “Dia De La Muertos” episode.
The Book of Life (2014)
Speaking of the day of the dead, have you seen The Book of Life? It’s a Guillermo del Toro produced musical fantasy horror love story for the whole family featuring the voices of Channing Tatum and Zoe Saldana. It’s not the greatest children’s movie, but it does have del Toro’s visual flair, a cool story, and some good musical numbers.
Corpse Bride (2005) and A Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Now before I go all old school on you, let me throw in some more stuff for the new generation. Without wasting too much time, what’s Halloween without Tim Burton? Corpse Bride and, of course, A Nightmare Before Christmas are essential viewing for kids of all ages. My daughter loves music (I think she will really love the almost operatic quality of this classic) and I can’t wait to sit down with her and watch the Pumpkin King hi-jack Christmas.
The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror”
If you let your kids watch The Simpsons, the annual "Treehouse of Horror" episodes are always classics. I used to be a die-hard Simpsons fan, but I felt it lost something over the years, and now only occasionally visit Springfield on Halloween.
Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)
Do you remember Ernest P. Worrell? The yokel with the catch phrase “KnowhutImean?” I think he started out in commercials for 7-UP soda… Well, Jim Varney parlayed that character into a career spanning 10 films (some straight to video) and I doubt anyone born after the year 1995 has any clue what I’m talking about… But Ernest Scared Stupid is a fun little flick where Ernest battles trolls and defeats a family curse to save Halloween and the world.
The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t (1979)
And since I’m in the realm of movies so old nobody knows what I’m talking about, does anyone remember The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t aka The Night that Dracula Saved The World starring Judd Hirsch from Taxi as a surprisingly good Dracula? I’m not sure how easily available it is, but you can catch it on YouTube just to get some nostalgia on. Dracula, Frankenstein, and all the other famous monsters must convince the witch to fly over the moon to save Halloween. Sound familiar? It was 1979, so maybe not.
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
Okay. Last call, get the kids in their jammies and lets watch a solid gold Halloween classic. Originally aired in 1966 (before even I was born), It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! The Halloween special is celebrating its 50th year.. Lucy spends the night in the pumpkin patch with Linus waiting on a legend he swears is real while the others go trick or treating and stock up on candy.
Except Charlie Brown, “I got a rock”!
Family Guy “Peternormal Activity” (2015)
So, are the kids ready for bed yet? Because my next recomendation is a little too much for the little ones. Back in 2015 Family Guy aired an episode called “Peternormal Activity” that I thought was instant classic material, that ranks right up there with the best “Treehouse of Horror” episodes.
Night of the Demons (1988)
Now that the kids are all asleep, lets crank up the Bauhaus, chug some brews, and party it up with Angela and Suzanne at Hull House! Its adults only, and shit gets crazy real quick on Halloween night when 10 horny teens hold a séance at the old abandoned funeral home… Night of the Demons is one of my favorite Halloween movies, but as I said, make sure your little monsters are in a deep sleep before you go there… And have a happy and safe Halloween!