Last year, I asked my boys to put together a list of Halloween themed-movies. Since they love writing and reviewing movies for their film blog,, they welcomed the challenge to select some films beyond the obvious classics. (It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown–a half-hour special–is still one of our annual traditions.) Not all of their picks are about Halloween but chosen because they are either scary, have a scene with Halloween within, or have a fun yet creepy style that reminds you of the holiday.

Read their list below. The boys tell why you might like them and why they’re chosen for the holiday. Parents decide which is age-appropriate or be prepared to keep the lights on at bedtime and late night bad dreams.

Flick and Flack Halloween Picks:

Monsters Inc. (2001) – Rated G
The scene where Sulley, Mike and Boo are being chased by Randal while clinging onto the doors is so utterly engrossing that you feel like you’re clinging on to the doors with them.  Pete Docter’s direction is pitch perfect and all of the monsters have different characteristics.  Some of the best monsters are the ones that are only on screen for a few seconds.  John Goodman, Billy Crystal, and Steve Buscemi lend great voice talent and the music is catchy, especially the theme and the song, “If I Didn’t Have You.”  This PIXAR gem beats MONSTER HOUSE any day.  Not really for Halloween, except that there’s monsters, it’s still fun and kid appropriate.  Like all PIXAR, adults will love it too and although it seems oddly semi-forgotten there’s a prequel called MONSTERS UNIVERSITY coming out in 2013 (about Mike and Sulley’s hard arguing early days). So hey, it’s time to get watching!!!

Beetlejuice (1988) – Rated PG
Tim Burton has made movies more emotional (BIG FISH) and technically more dazzling (ALICE IN WONDERLAND). But for pure laugh value this one beats ‘em all!!! Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Micheal Keaton as the title character are all hilarious. Burton handles the comedy, spookiness, and drama excellently. Fun, fun, fun!!!!

Monster House (2006) – Rated PG
This film is produced by Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis and uses motion capture animation.  The story doesn’t get interesting until the end, but Steve Buscemi leads a great voice cast.  The story is about a couple of kids and the adventure they have, on Halloween night.  It’s not a classic (don’t forget Spielberg and Zemeckis only produced it), but it’s enjoyable.  Little kids could be scared but there’s nothing too gory.

Ghostbusters (1984) – Rated PG
Ivan Reitman and Bill Murray combine their talents to create this wonderfully hilarious, sci-fi, horror, action, adventure, comedy, romance.  Dan Akroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis help Murray form a fine ensemble cast.  The special effects are fun and while some may think it’s a guilty pleasure, in our thoughts it’s an enjoyable, entertaining movie that will make you laugh.

E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – Rated PG
This is one of our favorite movies!!! The Spielbergian classic may not remind you of Halloween but the best scenes including the bicycle climax (not the one on the poster) are near, if not on the holiday. They actually go trick-or-treating in the movie.  You may not remember the brilliant (Oscar-worthy) performance from Henry Thomas or just how good the special effects are, so it’s a good idea to revisit this classic. Exiting. Funny. Sad. Brilliant. This film manages to be all of those.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – Rated PG
This lively stop-action film has an exhilarating story, fascinating characters and great songs. Although Tim Burton didn’t direct the movie it feels like many of his other films.  The movie is interesting because it merges the two worlds of Halloween and Christmas.

King Kong (1933) – NR
A classic of horror cinema, KING KONG is a film you’ll want to watch again and again.  The story is intriguing.  It is rare to see a movie about movies.  The special effects are dated but think, just think, what it would have been like to have seen the film in 1933 and how an uncountable amount of movies have been inspired by the story and effects.  The actors aren’t that great and it’s a while before Kong is revealed but once he is the film becomes magical.  Classic adventure at it’s best. 
King Kong
(1976) – Rated PG
This film is a horridly unwatchable mix of bad acting, effects, story, length, and direction. 
King Kong
(2005) – Rated PG-13
This film is three hours but it develops the story in a way the others did not.  However there’s a few too many battle scenes not including the awesome climax.
Watching the three films together would be an amazing Halloween festival, even if it would take 7 hours.

Frankenstein (1931) – NR (Recommended for 10 and up)
Horror classic in which an obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.
Read more about this film here on the FlickFlackMovieTalk website.

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) – NR (Recommended for 10 and up)
Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein (goaded by an even madder scientist) builds his monster a mate.
Read more about this film here on the FlickFlackMovieTalk website.

When thinking about pairing movies, how about A KING KONG festival or GHOSTBUSTERS and BEETLEJUICE comedy/ horror double feature? For the little ones, we recommend the animated short classics, IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN CHARLIE BROWN (1966) and CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST. Other film choices (not yet watched or reviewed by Flick and Flack) include: YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974), ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948), and CORPSE BRIDE (2005).