1) Hocus Pocus – Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker star as the Sanderson sisters, three witches out to catch children and absorb their youth. They are accidentally revived by a young Halloween-hater after a 300-year sleep, and must be stopped before they take over Salem once and for all.
300 years can do a lot to a sleepy town, and Salem is no exception. Halloween, which was a day of fear and reckoning for its 17th-century residents, is now a colourful kid-friendly celebration where costumes, candy, and good-natured fun are plentiful. This, coupled with the wonders of modern technology (such as buses and television), amaze the sisters. Hilarity ensues. Ms. Parker also has a presence that cannot be ignored. Her portrayal as a zany cloudcuckoolander witch is enough to send you rolling down the aisles.
2) The Nightmare Before Christmas – Jack Skellington, a respected resident of Halloween Town given the title of the “Pumpkin King”, opens a portal and stumbles into Christmas Town. Fascinated by a new world of lights, warmth, and cheer, Jack decides to take over Christmas and give the rest of the world a Yule they’ll never forget.
This movie musical is created entirely in stop motion, directed by Henry Selick and produced by Tim Burton. It presents the distinct charms and flavours of both holidays, and its songs and visuals really get you into the spirit of things. (No pun intended.) If you want a movie that transitions well from Halloween to Christmas, this would be it.
3) Coraline – Coraline Jones and her parents move into a new-old home. Making friends proves strange when her neighbours are a beet-and-cheese-loving Russian acrobat, two old ladies who stuff their deceased pets and used to be sexy starlets, and a boy her age who has the weirdest interests. Her relationship with her mother is also in a rough spot, as she resents leaving her close friends behind with the move. The house itself bores her to tears. That is, until she finds a tiny door hidden behind the wallpaper in one of the sitting rooms, leading to a mirror image of her home. This brighter, more colorful place comes with an Other Mother, a doting woman who looks just like her own mother – save for the buttons she wears as eyes. This Other Mother crafts a world to please and thrill Coraline, but a cat warns the little girl that things are not always what they seem…
Another stop-motion masterpiece, Coraline was directed by Henry Selick and adapted for the silver screen from one of Neil Gaiman’s most celebrated stories. This film employed hundreds of artisans that painstakingly created the puppets, clothes, and props. The sweaters Coraline herself wears are all hand-knitted with miniscule needles.
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The story and concepts of the movie might scare younger children, but it also teaches what it is to be brave and conquer fear, even when fear itself is the enemy.
4) Wallace & Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit – Tottington Hall is abuzz with the annual vegetable competition, and our dynamic duo cash in with their “Anti-Pesto” humane pest control service. Lady Tottington takes a shine to Wallace’s gentle ways with the animals. Lord Victor Quartermaine, a rake vying for the heiress’ affections, believes guns are best in getting rid of rodents and has pitted himself against Wallace. Night falls, and the townsfolk’s prize vegetables are ruthlessly massacred by what they believe is a “were-rabbit”. It’s the Anti-Pesto team to the rescue, and they do indeed capture a suspected rabbit, but Grommit may be in for a terrible surprise…
This claymation horror comedy film was created by Aardman Productions in partnership with DreamWorks Animation. It features quirky suspense that’s just right for Halloween, as well as the witty wordplay and quirky humor that so characterizes Wallace and Grommit’s adventures. If you love claymation with your puns, this one’s for you.
5) The Addams Family — America’s best-loved wholesomely macabre family comes to the silver screen (or in this case, your television sets) from the comics created by Charles Addams.
Gomez bemoans his estrangement from his brother Fester, who has been absent from the family for the last 25 years. Gomez’ lawyer Tully Alford and loan shark Abigail Craven notice that Craven’s son Gordon looks just like Fester. They hatch a scheme to have Gordon pose as Fester to be accepted into the Addams family and find out what hidden treasure lies within their vault. Wednesday and Pugsley become privy to their plans, and will stop at nothing to ensure the family’s secrets are safe. After all, Gomez just might find out his brother has been hiding under his nose all this time.
Aside from the torture devices, the dreary décor, and the intent to kill, what’s more family-friendly than a movie featuring a family? The Addams is one of the closest ideal families media has to offer: Gomez and Morticia are passionate for each other through the years, and are doting parents to Wednesday and Pugsley. Their children constantly do them proud, and bond with each other hours on end – employing guillotines, electric chairs and graveyards, sure, but they’re staying true to their Addams blood. Cousin Itt, Thing, and Lurch may all look very different, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less loved or accepted as kin. This movie is heart-warming as it is ghoulish, and makes for a sure year-round family favourite.
Jonette Valenciano loves movies, and makes it a point to catch the hottest movie trailers.
Photo credits: WxMom, B Rosen, joanneteh_32(loving Laduree) and quicheisinsane via photopin cc.
wg_heretheycome by JacobMetcalf.