Frightful Films to Suit All Ages
A blog piece for Lengro Magazine, 27/10/2020
Frightful Family Films
The Addams Family – A Halloween classic! Netflix has blessed us with not 1, not 2, but 3 different adaptations of this fictional family. Start off your spooky season with the original 1991 film, the sequel, Addams Family Values, and the 2019 animated remake, with Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, and Chloë Grace Moretz.
A Series of Unfortunate Events – Based on books, this series moves through the entire storyline in just 3 seasons. It is perfect for both kids and adults, as, although some of the storylines are quite dark, it is portrayed within a type of humour you will only understand if you watch it. This adaption is much more detailed than its 2004 sister film, however, both should be on your list. Jim Carrey or Neil Patrick Harris; who’s your favourite?
Dark Shadows – This family film is Tim Burton’s take on the cult gothic soap that follows a centuries-old vampire who returns to his home only to find his insufferable modern descendants. It’s Tim Burton so of course, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are in it!
Monster House – A favourite of mine as a kid! This animated horror looks at 3 friends who uncover the terrifying truth about the abandoned house across the road that seems to be eating people! Perfect for a Halloween family film night with young kids.
Corpse Bride – Another Tim Burton classic. The tale follows Victor, a young man who is about to get married, who, while practicing his vows, accidentally marries the skeleton-like creature Emily, who promptly whisks him off to the land of the dead. The Nightmare Before Christmas is also another Halloween favourite, but unfortunately, it’s not on Netflix, but on Disney+.
Dreadful Dramas 🔞
Mindhunter – This psychological show is based on the true story of the frightening new term: serial killer. We follow FBI agent Holden Ford on his journey into some of the most perverse minds in the ‘70s.
Black Mirror – Arguably one of the best series’ that Netflix has ever made, this show follows a new psychological thriller in each episode. In a future where technology has advanced to the point where it has perhaps gotten out of control, some storylines look at the horrors of technology and society. It is a must-see!
Dracula – Everyone is familiar with this Gothic classic, and if you’ve read the book, you know it is very deserving of that title. The 2020 BBC adaptation took that story and completely modernised it, something that can be extremely difficult to get right, but they did it well. Keep an eye out for the many easter eggs and references to the original plot!
American Horror Story – AHS is one of my all-time favourite series. Each season follows a different storyline, but feature the same actors, including Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Emma Roberts, and Lady Gaga! Follow these creepy characters through seasons such as Murder House, Coven, Hotel, Cult, and Apocalypse, where they take classic horror tropes and mix in drama, brilliant acting, and factual storylines.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – This remake of Sabrina the Teenage Witch is a modern-day masterpiece. As one of my favourite series, it follows Sabrina Spellman and her kooky family, normal friends, and new school, Academy of Unseen Arts. As a half-witch, we see her experiment with magic whilst trying to navigate a “normal” teenage upbringing. Although it could be seen as a teenage series, it tackles a lot of real life issues and features a dark storyline. Season 4 is to be released December 31st!
Stranger Things – This one goes without saying. I’m not even going to bother writing a description for this one! Just know that it’s a must-see.
Mortifying Movies 🔞
The First Purge – If you loved the Purge films, you’ll love the origin story. Set in 2022, the film goes through the decision making behind the yearly crime fest. Along with thrill and violence, the film also looks at racial and class biases and can be read as jabs to Trump’s America and his ‘alleged’ white-supremacist roots. Both an interesting and enjoyable watch.
Bird Box – The 2018 phenomenon is definitely one to watch. Sandra Bullock steals the show in this apocalyptic nightmare where an ominous unseen presence drives everyone who lays eyes on it to suicide. Follow her and her children’s desperate journey to safety in this action-filled horror.
The Prodigy – This horror film follows a mother and her young son who isn’t at all what he seems. When he starts to show signs of extreme intelligence, their family’s happiness turns sour when his mother realises that her beloved prodigy appears to be under the influence of a horrific supernatural power.
Insidious – What’s a horror film list without some proper horror? The Insidious films focus on dark, supernatural hauntings, featuring astral projection, psychics, ghosts, and demons. Not a franchise to be missed!
American Psycho – This world-renowned film is an absolute classic. Based on the book, American Pyscho follows Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale!!!) and his ongoing psychosis, homicidal urges, and raging narcissism. But is everything as it seems?
The Devil All The Time – This brand new film is perfect to get you in a spooky mood. Although it doesn’t have anything necessarily supernatural about it, it’s sinister characters and vicious acts can have you questioning your sanity at the end. Based on the book, the multiple plots revolve around Arvin Russell who is devoted to protecting those he loves in his corrupt and vicious town. Star-studded cast includes Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgård, Robert Pattinson, and Sebastian Stan.
“Horrors” to avoid at all costs
The Open House – A terrible, drawn-out movie with almost nothing scary in it. This film had a lot of potential, many opportunities for a jump scare, and a plot that could have really gone somewhere, but instead it was just 90 minutes of build-up with a 5-minute resolution. Avoid like the plague!
Black Mirror S1E1 The National Anthem – Although I mentioned this show as one of the best on Netflix, this episode scarred me for life. Not necessarily scary, but downright horrific, it follows the fictional Prime Minister dealing with the disappearance of Princess Susannah, and what he has to do in order to get her back. If you have the stomach for it, go ahead, but I will never be re-watching this one!
What's your favourite scary movie? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next time,