Halloween is nearly here, and with making costumes, carving jack-o-lanterns, and spookifying the yard for trick-or-treaters, you might not have time to pick out the perfect movie for the children to watch while they devour all the candy they’ve collected.
Have no fear (okay, have a little fear).
The Des Plaines Public Library has a creepy collection of frightening films that will do just the trick (or treat)!
We carry plenty of flicks that are creepy enough to appeal to adults but won’t upset younger viewers. There is no better way to get yourself and your family in the holiday spirit than cuddling up with a (mildly) scary movie.
So, what are you waiting for?
Whip up a big bowl of popcorn, dim the lights, and prepare to be spooked.
This horror comedy starring Jeff Daniels and John Goodman is a valentine to vintage creature features. The story revolves around a rare species of killer spiders that wreak havoc on a small California town until a group of doctors and an insect exterminator wage war on the eight-legged freaks. Arachnophobia is old-fashioned, skin-crawling fun chocked full of creepy-crawly shocks sure to make you jump.
The Witches, a fantasy horror film based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel of the same name, tells the tale of a coven of witches who want to rid the world of children. The twist is that the only person who knows about their wicked scheme is an orphan boy that the witches have turned into a mouse. Like Dahl’s book, the film adaptation is laced with dark, morbid humor and is extremely entertaining. The movie is perhaps most memorable for Anjelica Huston’s tour de force performance as the evil Grand High Witch.
Gremlins is a punchy PG treat that centers on the character of Billy Peltzer who is given a small, cuddly creature called a Mogawai, who he names Gizmo. Unaware of the three important rules that must be followed to properly care for his new pet (no bright light, don't get it wet, and never feed it after midnight), Billy accidentally dampens Gizmo, consequently spawning a horde of mischievous green monsters. These evil little beasts go on an all-out rampage destroying much of the film’s Capra-esque setting of Kingston Falls before they are thwarted in a final showdown with Billy and Gizmo. A truly terrifying roller-coaster ride of hilarious mischief, Gremlins is great for older kids who like their thrills mixed in with lots of laughs.
The Addams Family is a ghoulishly gothic comedy based on the “creepy, kooky, and altogether spooky” characters from the cartoon by Charles Addams. This cinematic adaptation stars Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston as the deliciously creepy Gomez and Morticia Addams. The plot follows the eccentric family as they are swindled by a con artist claiming to be their beloved Uncle Fester, who disappeared twenty-five years earlier. In the end, it is up to the Addams clan to prove whether or not this mysterious man is really who he says he is. The film has less fright and more fun as it romps its way through the graveyard. A gleefully macabre movie for the whole family!
Hocus Pocus stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as a trio of villainous 300-year-old witches who are accidentally resurrected in Salem, Massachusetts by a group of young pranksters. Hilarity ensues as two teens, a young girl, and a talking cat set out to foil the witch’s sinister plot to steal the lives of the town’s children to become immortal. The film is a zany comedy that is spooky but never scary—making it a terrific treat for all ages.
It wouldn’t be a holiday without a Charlie Brown special to commemorate it and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the much-beloved primetime animated Halloween special. The plot finds the Peanuts gang attending a Halloween costume party while Linus waits in a pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin, a counterpart to Santa Claus that only he believes is real. Clocking in at a zippy 25 minutes, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is well-suited for younger viewers with a short attention span.