New movies for family movie night
October 13, 2015 11:59 AM   Subscribe

Help me find some new movies for family movie night - with an important detail.

When I was a kid, my mom, a nurse, worked a few Saturdays a month - the 3 to 11 shift at the hospital. My dad took this opportunity to bring me and my two younger sisters to the video rental store and we would pick out a movie to watch.

One of my sisters once said she liked "funny-scary movies" and that became our quest - to watch a "funny-scary movie" on Saturdays when my mom worked.

Now I have kids of my own and I mentioned the "funny-scary" thing to my 6-year-old - and she's into it. So I'd like to add to our family movie night roster movies of this specific type.

What is a funny-scary movie, you ask? A great example is The Princess Bride, or The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

A few notes:
* We have watched every Miyazaki movie in existence. This also applies to Disney and Pixar.

* My kids (6 & 3) are not easily scared by movies but I am a huge wuss.

* We have access to Netflix and Amazon Prime.

* PG-13 is ok as long as it's not too full of boobs or guns. I'm making a list in Evernote so may as well add stuff for the future as well.
posted by sutel to Media & Arts (67 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ghostbusters seems like the most obvious example. Would stuff like Indiana Jones count? kind of adventure/comedy?
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:04 PM on October 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Goonies.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:04 PM on October 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


The Spy Kids movies might appeal to the 6-year-old. Maybe not the 3-year-old.

The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl, too.
posted by kuanes at 12:04 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would think that Arachnophobia and Gremlins would be too much for 6 and 3 year olds, but they are both PG-13 and PG (respectively), and exactly what I think of when I hear the term "funny-scary"
posted by sparklemotion at 12:04 PM on October 13, 2015


The three "Night at the Museum" movies. Not that scary, but a few surprises the first time you watch them.
posted by GuyZero at 12:09 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some suggestions in this old thread.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:11 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pirates of the Caribbean maybe?
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:11 PM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ernest Scared Stupid is one of my favorites ever.

Also, Tremors.
posted by witchen at 12:12 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jumanji
posted by blueberrypuffin at 12:14 PM on October 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Stardust?
posted by wintersweet at 12:15 PM on October 13, 2015


Beetlejuice!
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:16 PM on October 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


This is the context under which I was introduced to Star Wars.

E.T. also seems apropos.

Other childhood video store faves:

- Labyrinth
- The Dark Crystal
- My Stepmother Is An Alien (I *think* this might have a short and non-graphic sex scene, though?)
- Gremlins
- Goonies
- All the various Muppet movies, though they're not really "scary" at all.
- Adventures In Babysitting
posted by Sara C. at 12:17 PM on October 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


Home Alone and Labyrinth also seem like they'd fit.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:17 PM on October 13, 2015


Goonies was too scary for my 7 year old (she freaked out when Chester Copperpot's remains showed up), but she really enjoyed the Box Trolls (which wasn't half bad at all).

I liked the Peanut Butter Solution as a kid, but it's a pretty hard to find movie and a little closer to weird than scary.
posted by mattamatic at 12:18 PM on October 13, 2015


Response by poster: >>Would stuff like Indiana Jones count? kind of adventure/comedy?

Yes definitely! There's funny/comedic elements, and also a bit of scary stuff.
posted by sutel at 12:21 PM on October 13, 2015


Shaun of the Dead
The Host
Black Sheep (this is an indy New Zealand film, and I don't know if it's available on netflix)
posted by janey47 at 12:23 PM on October 13, 2015


Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein!
posted by Hanuman1960 at 12:25 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Little Shop of Horrors
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 12:30 PM on October 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


How about the Scooby Doo cartoon movies?
posted by bitteroldman at 12:38 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


How am I the first to mention The Addams Family?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:40 PM on October 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


How am I the first to mention The Addams Family?

Ooo, yes. Both of them actually.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:42 PM on October 13, 2015


Time Bandits.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:49 PM on October 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I will second Time Bandits. Maybe not great for the 3-year-old, though.

The Last Unicorn may be a good one too. Not so much "funny" but it has some funny parts.
posted by darksong at 12:51 PM on October 13, 2015


Over the Garden Wall? It's technically a TV show, but all 10 episodes viewed together are basically an animated feature film. Maybe pre-screen for your 3 year-old though, there are a couple scary monsters.
posted by yasaman at 1:01 PM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Saturday the 14th is probably juvenile enough, if you can find it.
posted by rhizome at 1:06 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would pass up Gremlins in favor of the much goofier Gremlins 2—it's essentially the MAD magazine version of the original.

If they're not severely allergic to black and white, "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein" is a regular Halloween rodeo. And by modern standards it was pretty much written and performed at that age level.

"Monster House" and "Mad Monster Party" are both animated, so might be more easily identified as make-believe by the little ones.
posted by Flexagon at 1:07 PM on October 13, 2015


Shaun of the Dead
The Host


Dude. Seriously?

For the love of God, OP, do not show these films to a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old. I mean I love them both dearly, but I'm an adult.

It's at times like these I like to recommend The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec. The scary parts aren't really scary. The dinosaur is just misunderstood, and even the mummies turn out to be pretty decent folks in the end.
posted by Naberius at 1:10 PM on October 13, 2015 [16 favorites]


Pee Wee's Big Adventure has Large Marge who routinely scared the crap out of me as a small child, yet the rest of the movie is still pretty delightful.
posted by jillithd at 1:11 PM on October 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


There were several Disney channel Halloween Town movies that might work for you.
posted by BoscosMom at 1:30 PM on October 13, 2015


1. Casper (PG)

2. Maybe add this to your future list, but Young Frankenstein was a favorite of mine as a kid. (PG)

3. Hocus Pocus (PG)
posted by cecic at 1:57 PM on October 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


The original Jurrasic Park? I took a four year old to see it and she laughed the whole time, especially during the potty scene.
posted by cairnoflore at 2:14 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


it miiiiiiight be a little too intense for your 3 year old, but The Witches is a total blast. They don't make 'em like that anymore!
posted by cakelite at 2:16 PM on October 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


And, I might be going a little off the deep end with this suggestion, but I was obsessed with Twilight Zone: The Movie when I was a kid precisely because it scared the living shit out of me. It might be ok for your six year old? I was probably around six when I was first delightfully traumatized by that movie.
posted by cakelite at 2:19 PM on October 13, 2015


The Man Who Would be King

The Secret of Roan Inish

Both not exactly funny or scary, but wonderful adventure tales.
posted by TDIpod at 2:20 PM on October 13, 2015


Oh yeah, Song of the Sea!
posted by wintersweet at 2:39 PM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The earlier Wallace and Gromit short films are great too; my favorite is The Wrong Trousers.
posted by mbrubeck at 3:07 PM on October 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Nightmare Before Christmas. Also, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has the scariest villain ever.
posted by ogooglebar at 3:12 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


ParaNorman is one of my faves!!!
posted by Crystalinne at 3:12 PM on October 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh and both Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (1 and 2) fit the bill in terms of "action-scary" and are so, so, so funny. (Also my faves and we quote them regularly in my house.)
posted by Crystalinne at 3:17 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


How about unintentionally funny? Plan 9 From Outer Space is generally considered the worst movie ever made. Kids might enjoy finding all the inconsistencies: cars change colors; because Bella Lugosi was dead and they used footage of him, one character changes height by a foot; it constantly moves from day to night and back; you can see the string the spaceship is hanging from. Robot Monster is similarly funny. They didn't have enough money for a robot costume, so they used a gorilla suit from the neck down. The zipper is clearly visible.
posted by FencingGal at 3:18 PM on October 13, 2015


Matilda, Home Alone
posted by ouke at 3:21 PM on October 13, 2015


Monster House.

I'd recommend The Iron Giant except it has plenty of guns.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:21 PM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Worst Witch.
posted by ilovewinter at 3:36 PM on October 13, 2015


My kids are four and eight. Funny/scary is my eight year old's favorite genre (but my four year old gets scared easily). Some of the suggestions here would not work for either of my kids, because the plot lines are aimed at adults and bore the crap out of the kids, or because the humor is sarcastic adult humor, which tends not to translate to very young kids. (We tried Ghostbusters when my kid was six and she didn't think it was funny at all, for instance.)

I imagine you've seen Paranorman and the Box Trolls, but if not, those are both perfect. Two of my kids' favorite movies. Indiana Jones turned out to be the wrong kind of scary when they were younger, although my eight year old loved it when we tried again this year.

We've been having some luck with the tamer Marvel movies: Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, Thor. Some of them are too much for this age but we'll work our way up.

Also, not a movie, but Doctor Who is great for kids who like funny and scary. They won't get all of the humor but your older kid will get a lot of it. It scares the pants off my kids but they ask to see Blink over and over. And there is nothing -- NOTHING -- funnier than a three year old pretending to be a Dalek.
posted by xeney at 4:05 PM on October 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


As an anecdote, my 3-year-old, 5-year-old, and 8-year-old all enjoyed Gremlins (both movies) and the Jurassic Park movies, but were bored by Ghostbusters.

We watched them together with the lights on in daylight, which seemed helpful.
posted by tacodave at 4:13 PM on October 13, 2015


Oh, if you haven't seen Book of Life, definitely try that one!
posted by xeney at 4:20 PM on October 13, 2015


Time Bandits scared the bejeezus out of me when I was a kid, but I honestly don't remember why.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:28 PM on October 13, 2015


Coraline!
posted by heathrowga at 5:40 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


My kids loved all the old Ray Harryhausen movies at that age. They still do, actually. Their favorites were probably Jason and the Argonauts and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T was another popular one.
posted by 2N2222 at 6:20 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


The original Rescuers cartoon actually holds up really well, and was my favorite movie from 3-6, though the skull with the diamond in it and the little girl trapped in a sinkhole with the water rising would literally make me run around the house from nerves. The Secret of NIMH is similar, though didn't hold up as well to recent re-viewing.

'Nthing both Time Bandits and Song of the Sea.
posted by theweasel at 7:08 PM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Willow.
posted by Adridne at 7:46 PM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Time Bandits scared the bejeezus out of me when I was a kid, but I honestly don't remember why.

Yep, as a 5 or so year old it gave me serious nightmares. There's lots of creepy bits, but the kids parents are exploded at the end and do not come back. I would maybe avoid it.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:07 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I watched Time Bandits for the first time at three and LOVED it, especially the kid's parents exploding at the end. Then again, I had nightmares about Ernest Scared Stupid. You know your kids best.
posted by theweasel at 8:14 PM on October 13, 2015


The Great Muppet Caper!
posted by daisystomper at 8:50 PM on October 13, 2015


The Pirates, in an Adventure With Scientists! Or in the stupid US rebranding, The Pirates! Band of Misfits. (Because scientists are too scary for American audiences, I guess.)
posted by wintersweet at 9:13 PM on October 13, 2015


Zathura. I'm surprised to see that it was only rated PG - I thought it had some pretty scary moments (I must be a wuss too).
posted by kbar1 at 9:18 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jumanji might work for you. It didn't get great ratings, but it wasn't dreadful either, and Robin Williams is in it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:31 AM on October 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


To me, Time Bandits is WAY too disturbing for kids that young. But it's your call.

I'll add The Little Vampire to the list, which my kids loved at those ages.
posted by jbickers at 2:39 AM on October 14, 2015


The Secret of Kells, Willy Wonka/Charlie and The ChocolatexFactory, Babe, Charlotte's Web, The Iron Giant, Brave Little Toaster, Modern Times, Miracle on 34th Street, The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Indian in the Cupboard, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, The Muppet Movie (2001 and the recent one, watch them in order) Neverending Story, ET

Most of these work well with six year olds, some, like HP, I would not recommend for the 3 year old.
posted by childofTethys at 4:12 AM on October 14, 2015


My kids fell in love with Murder By Death. It really surprised me. But it is a classic.
posted by valkane at 5:27 AM on October 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Krull
Galaxy Quest
Labyrinth
The Secret of NIMH
The Dark Crystal
Twice Upon a Time
Legend
Saturday the 14th Strikes Back
Transylvania 6-5000
Haunted Honeymoon
Young Frankenstein
Ghostbusters
Adventure Time
posted by ostranenie at 6:48 AM on October 14, 2015


Neverending Story
Explorers
Space Camp
Annie (the one with Carol Burnett)
posted by ostranenie at 6:50 AM on October 14, 2015


Super 8
posted by ostranenie at 6:51 AM on October 14, 2015


John Carter (Don't let the reviews sway you. It's fun. Plus, green space puppy!)
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 2:21 PM on October 14, 2015


Who Framed Roger Rabbit is an A++++++ movie and a total must-watch, flawlessly done.

An American Tail and An American Tail 2 were some of my all-time favorites as a 6 year old. Yay Jewish immigrant mice making their way to the New World! I have not watched it since though, so I don't know if there are bad stereotypes that would not be good or educational.

I also vote for Free Willy. I always got really freaked out when he was trying to free Willy the whale, but teaching people about the evils of forced captivity is always good!

Space Jam is funny and a little scary/weird.
posted by yueliang at 9:38 PM on October 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Holes
posted by Melsky at 12:30 AM on October 18, 2015


Response by poster: Ask MeFi! You rock. I don't want to favorite because I'd favorite everything but this list is awesome. Our family movie nights are about to get 100 percent better.
posted by sutel at 5:51 AM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


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