R.L. Stine‘s Goosebumps has finally hit theaters, meshing together dozens of hellions from the popular kids’ book series into one monstrous smorgasbord, with only Jack Black and a few teens to stop them. The movie promises to be a lot of fun, while delivering the signature, and sometimes silly scares that fans have come to expect from both the books and the short-lived TV show.
In case you’ve already seen the movie, or maybe you want to get prepared, we’ve dug into the archive to find six ideal comedy/horror movies that are perfect for all ages to get you all set. Even if they do deliver a jolt or two or occasionally let loose with a little blood (or in some cases, slime), they’re ideal when it comes to putting you in a spooked out, but not scared stiff state of mind.
Of course, Ghostbusters. Even 30 years after its release, it remains an unbridled classic, mainly because of how director Ivan Reitman and his cast mix together spooky scares with laughs. Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Dan Aykroyd team up to create a paranormal-battling business enterprise, bringing Ernie Hudson along for the ride as they uncover an ancient ritual that could very well be the undoing of New York City as we know it. The film has plenty of classic moments (and an amazing theme song) and it’s perfect for both old and new generation alike. Besides, how can you deny a movie that features a fat green ghost that eats everything in sight? Gotta love Slimer.
The Monster Squad (1987)
Although The Monster Squad didn’t quite hit it off at the box office like The Goonies did a couple of years prior, it remains every bit a cult classic, and despite a few tense moments, it’s the perfect adventure to set up for your kids on a Friday night. The film features a gaggle of kids who find themselves pitted against the vicious Dracula (and, of course, his monster squad) as they try to recover an amulet. Director Fred Dekker keeps the film light and entertaining, and, in some ways, a little sweet. This is a monster mash you shouldn’t miss.
Although Beetlejuice is more silly than scary, and that Halloween vibe–along with the direction of a young Tim Burton–makes it a necessity when it comes to getting in a ghoulish mood. A newly deceased couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) find the afterlife a little hard to get used to. Despite warnings, they can’t help but call upon Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton, pre-Batman) to see what he can do. Between Danny Elfman’s upbeat music score, solid performances all around (including a young Winona Ryder) and goofy 80’s special effects out the wazoo, Beetlejuice is definitely worth conjuring.
Monster House (2006)
We all know about that creepy house in our neighborhood. The one that we won’t dare go near, especially on Halloween. Gil Kenan’s Monster House computer-animated romp pits three neighborhood kids against such a house, which, (surprise!) is alive and definitely not well. Even though the film didn’t light up the box office as expected, it’s still a fun mixture of scares and chuckles, especially when the trio somehow ends up inside the house. Kids will definitely enjoy it, and adults will get a kick out of it, too.
Movie studios haven’t had the best record with Christmas-themed horror movies, although that isn’t stopping studios from trying, with A Christmas Horror Story and Krampus on the way. But still, it’s going to take a lot to top Joe Dante’s Gremlins, which has just the right amount of mirth and malice. The story revolves around Gizmo, a mysterious Mogwai who sits in the center of a devastating invasion that could overthrow an entire small town during the holiday season. There are some great moments sprinkled throughout this one, in pure Dante style. However, for those parents who believe it could be a wee bit too violent, there’s always the goofy sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch.
The Witches (1990)
Finally, there’s The Witches, the last film Jim Henson worked on before his death. This whimsical adventure definitely has some scary moments–particularly with the transformation of a young boy into a little mouse–but it’s a whimsical adventure that viewers of all ages will enjoy. On top of that, Anjelica Huston’s performance as the head witch is about as good as it gets, and it would prep her for her role as Morticia Adams in The Addams Family a year later. Dig in and enjoy this Nicolas Roeg-directed treat.
Bonus: Hocus Pocus (1990)
For good measure, here’s one more Halloween treat that fans can’t get enough of. Even though it didn’t do big box office with its release in 1993, Hocus Pocus still delivered a musical treat, with three witches attempting to wreak havoc on a trio of children. Plenty of goofy moments happen throughout the film, with Bette Midler delivering a show stealing performance as the head witch. Throw in plenty of humorous moments and a wonderful take of “I Put a Spell On You”, and you have a winner that will delight kids of all ages. “BOOOOOOK!”
Cover image source: Warner Bros. via Variety