Scary movies can be great fun to watch, especially on Halloween when it's dark out and you're all stocked up on candy from trick or treating, but sometimes it can be hard to find an entertaining one that is suitable for the whole family to watch. Well, fear no more, because if you're looking for a scream we have a few of the best Halloween films that are fun for everyone!
1. Hocus Pocus
What seems to be a pretty standard Halloween story about evil, child-hating witches brought back to life by a curse and a magical book, this Disney movie for the ages features Bette Middler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimi as the gloriously over the top cackling witches. Featuring an immortal cat and some teen romance, it covers all the bases of a good Disney film.
Critically panned, the film actually has a horrendously loyal fan following and that's all because it is cliched and a well-worn formula but these are also its strengths. A perfect, kitschy, lovable movie for All Hallows Eve with some top quality comedic moments thrown into the mix for good measure.
2. Silver Bullet
When people in their town start to die in droves, Marty and Megan set out to find out why and they soon discover something terrible. A Stephen King screenplay that is driven by suspense, this is one of his few thrillers that is suitable for the family with mostly implied violence and light on profanity.
Although taking place throughout the summer, the content and the fact it climaxes on Halloween make it a perfect watch for this time of year.
3. 13 Ghosts
This classic 1960 horror film is actually pretty good fun if the kids can get past how aged it is. There was a 2001 remake but it pales in comparison to this story of a family who inherits a haunted house and has to get past the 13 ghosts within its walls to try and find the fortune hidden within it. Sure it's perilous and filled with thrills but in a quirky manner.
The effects don't hold up to much these days but they are still pretty cool and it's a fun family film about a family and it can be great fun to laugh at all the hamminess and dodgy SFX.
Granted, it is not your standard Halloween film but it is scary as heck, gruesome and has absolutely no swearing in it. It may be a little too much for very young children but this story of a massive great white shark terrorizing the coastline holds up as a great piece of cinema with real footage of sharks interspersed with the use of an animatronic one.
Chilling, action-packed and full of top-quality one-liners, you may have trouble getting your kids going swimming after this but they'll enjoy the watch all the same.
5. The Thing From Another World
The 1951 original of this film has not aged well. In a time post-moon landings and with HD TVs this film about an alien that looks a bit like a man/flower hybrid is brilliant in just how naff it is and it is kind of hard to be scared by such a ridiculous looking alien monster but that is where its strength lies.
The 1982 remake of this was a far scarier, far gorier film with harsher language but the original is your best option for family entertainment.
6. Don't Be Afraid of The Dark
A 70s made for TV movie that also got a remake by Guillermo Del Torro in 2011, both are pretty creepy and well worth a watch as a family moves into a new home only to find certain parts of it locked off and that they are living in there with something else as well. Solidly scary for everyone.
Despite being a straight up horror, there's no real gore or swearing and its just plain creeps and jump scares.
As the name suggests, this film is all about the supernatural and has held up well since its 1982 release. There was a remake in 2015 but give that a miss for the original which is creepy as heck and uses a fantastic interplay between light and dark to create tension and fear throughout the piece with a real sense of peril.
There's minimal gore and one rude hand gesture but for the most part, this film holds up well as a family scare fest.
8. House of Wax
Vincent Price is the one true king of horror with his precision timing and elongated speech and he shows off his masterful chops to perfection in the 1953 classic horror that is scary as it is clean just showing that you don't need gore to get people on the edge of their seats. Charles Bronson also crops up in a solid early role.
2005 saw an abysmal remake featuring Paris Hilton but that's got more gore and less entertainment value so stick to the classic, especially since there's has been a meticulous HD remastering of it recently released.
9. Something Wicked This Way Comes
Although not making its money back at the box office at the time, Something Wicked This Way Comes has become something of a cult classic as a mysterious carnival rolls into town with a strange ring leader luring in poorly behaved children to watch his shows. Strangely sinister and wonderfully acted this film still holds water with its philosophical questions.
Although it hasn't aged to perfection, that shouldn't be a factor in considering to watch this off-beat film full of unnerving and dark moments.
Based on the wonderfully dark children's book by Neil Gaiman, it takes to the(il)logical conclusion the desire to sometimes have nicer parents. It is a twisted tale of pre-teen torment played out in stop motion with gorgeous character design that makes it a tantalizing treat for both older and younger viewers.
As is always the case, there are some differences between the book and the film but it is a fairly loyal adaptation and is almost Burton-esque in its calculated creepiness.
11. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Such an immensely popular movie we're sure it's already on your 'to watch' list this year but the question remains, do you view it at Halloween or Christmas? The answer, of course, being, both! A fantastically original story from Tim Burton about the Mayor of Halloween town (where all the goings of Halloween are dreamed up and created) wants to try his hand at Christmas.
Witty, creepy and beautiful in equal measure, it plays with the concepts of holidays as well as gently lampooning the American obsession with them in this ultimate classic of a film.
12. The Addams Family
The creepy and kooky Addams family started out as a comic strip that inverted the idyllic notion of the American family setup with a group of macabre weirdos functioning as a family unit. The 1991 film and subsequent sequel were a brilliant transfer from page to screen and have set the Halloween aesthetic for generations now.
Although they may seem a little strange, the movie gives the family a strong moral compass which permeated through with messages about acceptance and being yourself and is a brilliant and immersing watch from start to finish.
13. Invasion of The Body Snatchers
In a very rare turn of events, the remake of this film actually tops the original but if you do get a chance to watch the 1956 version, don't pass it up. However, 1978s is brilliant in its depiction of body stealing monsters with the amazing ensemble cast of Leonard Nimoy, Donald Sutherland and Jeff Goldblum it motors about at a brilliant pace.
A touch of light nudity and cursing, for the most part, it is pretty family friendly but may be objectionable to too young a viewer. Still, a great watch.
14. The Birds
The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock made the horror and thriller genres his own but so many of his films have complex plot twists or convoluted storylines that they can be hard to follow for kids but The Birds is a straightforward tale of tense fear as birds gather in massive flocks and start to attack.
Pretty clean in most senses, with a couple of the later attacks erring on the side of gruesome but otherwise family-friendly viewing and younger viewers may find a laugh or two in watching stuffed puppets on strings as the effects have aged.
Another brilliant stop-motion adventure to add to the list, Paranorman is about a young lad named Norman who has the eerie ability to see dead people, including his recently deceased grandmother. Although it sounds creepy as heck, it actually is a kid's film and hit all the right notes in great design and being full of laughs.
This emotionally poignant film centers around strange things happening in a small town and Norman's abilities suddenly having to be called upon.