The top five Halloween movies for scaredy-cats

Arts and culture reporter Brandon King ranks his top five Halloween movies for people who don't enjoy horror

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays: the candy, costumes and excitement — I love it all. However, I’m also a self-proclaimed scaredy-cat, and while I love some of the more goofy and “spoopy” aspects of the holiday, I get scared way too easily by horror movies. 

With that being said, here are my top five Halloween movies for scaredy-cats and the faint of heart. While these films might have some scary scenes, they're guaranteed to be a hit for all audiences. 

5. Zombieland (2009)

In a post-apocalyptic America, zombies control the landscape, but a few humans still remain. Columbus (played by Jesse Eisenberg) is a young college student living by a manual of rules on how to survive in “Zombieland” when he comes across Tallahassee (played by Woody Harrelson), a tough-as-nails survivalist. Together, they come across two sisters, Wichita (played by Emma Stone) and Little Rock (played by Abigail Breslin). Together the four of them must traverse this new landscape to find new lives for themselves and hopefully evade death in the process.

"Zombieland" boasts a cast of leads with good chemistry, with each bringing a unique facet to the environment they live in. The zombies themselves are unique, never too scary, and they are killed off in creative ways that director Ruben Fleischer relishes (in contrast to his recent work in "Venom"). At its core, it's a pretty simple road trip story, but you can't help but root for the characters and laugh the whole way through. 

4. Hotel Transylvania (2012)

Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) built a hotel for monsters in the mountains of Transylvania, which doubles as a home to keep his daughter Mavis (voiced by Selena Gomez) safe from the human world. One day, a tourist named Jonathan (voiced by Andy Samberg) makes his way to the hotel, and Dracula can’t get him out without anyone noticing he’s a human. So he disguises Jonathan as a monster and tries to keep him out of trouble and away from his daughter, while Jonathan and Mavis may or may not be falling in love. 

Genndy Tartakovsky, best known for his work on "Samurai Jack" and "Star Wars: Clone Wars," directs this movie. He elevates a rather simple idea with some unique, fast-paced animation that makes every frame feel alive and zany. The film is clearly meant for kids, but the cast full of well-known comedic talent brings a sense of camaraderie to the old-fashioned imagery of the universal monsters. Add to that what might be one of Adam Sandler's best performances in recent memory, and you've got yourself a monster of a film.

3. Young Frankenstein (1974)

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (played by Gene Wilder) is the grandson of the legendary Victor Frankenstein but resents everything about it. When his great-grandfather passes away, Frederick inherits his grandfather’s castle and, as a result, his research. Whether through madness or genius, Frederick decides to continue his grandfather’s research with the assistance of his servant Igor (played by Marty Feldman) and assistant Inga (played by Teri Garr).

If you are at all a fan of anything regarding Frankenstein mythology, this movie is very clever. Director Mel Brooks uses both visual callbacks to the classic adaptations of the story and new twists in its narrative. Wilder fits effortlessly into the role of Dr. Frankenstein, with a great mix of insanity and charm and has excellent chemistry with the rest of the cast, including Peter Boyle as The Monster. 

In a move that is nothing new for Mel Brooks, this movie is gut-bustingly funny at every turn, from Frederick's familial mannerisms to the musical numbers. It's a comedy that does more than it really needs to with a classic story, and I truly admire that. 

2. Paranorman (2012)

Norman Babcock (voiced by Kodi-Smit McPhee) is a young boy living in Blithe Hollow, Massachusetts. The problem is that he can see and talk with dead people, who happen to surround him, resulting in ridicule from his family and schoolmates. But as a town celebration draws near, Norman is haunted by visions of a witch trial from centuries ago and is warned by his uncle, Mr. Prenderghast (voiced by John Goodman), that he must save the town from a witch's curse. As things get stranger and creepier, it’s up to Norman and anyone who will help to save the town.

In my personal opinion, "Paranorman" is one of the best animated films of the last ten years, the best film that Laika Studios have ever put out so far and to top it all off, a very good flick for the holiday too. A film that perfectly utilizes its environment, the stop-motion animation feels real, and the characters, all with unique designs, fit in wonderfully. 

But the true reason this film endures is its emotional powerhouse of a third act, with a message that is important for adults and kids alike. 

1. Ghostbusters (1984)

After losing their jobs at Columbia University, Dr. Peter Venkman (played by Bill Murray), Dr. Egon Spengler (played by Harold Ramis) and Dr. Raymond Stantz (played by Dan Aykroyd) establish a service dedicated to paranormal investigations, pegging themselves the Ghostbusters. When a cellist named Dana Barrett (played by Sigourney Weaver) begins to be haunted by demons, the Ghostbusters have to handle their biggest case yet.

This is the classic of the bunch — the one on this list everyone has likely seen and, if you're anything like me, a Halloween classic as well. Sure, it doesn't actually take place on Halloween, but there's an energy and tone that just fits with the spirit of the holiday. It has some creepy energy but always treats it as the punchline for it's jokes, which are legendary at this point. 

Its characters are memorable, and the way they actually convince the city of their so-called "necessity" only adds to the ridiculousness. Having this is as your go-to film is a great way to have fun with Halloween. 


 Reach the reporter at brandon.D.King@asu.edu or follow @TheMovieKing45 on Twitter.

 Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.


Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.