As Hallowe’en creeps ever closer, families have the perfect excuse to buy in some popcorn, dim the lights, and huddle close together on the sofa to watch a scary movie.
By Gary FlockhartThere are, of course, plenty of great films to choose from - and here we've picked out five we think you'll enjoy. Just don’t be surprised if the kids ask to sleep in your bed afterwards.
A big hit at the box office when it was released in time for Hallowe’en 2015, Goosebumps is a horror/comedy based on the hugely-popular children’s book series of the same name by RL Stine.
What’s it about?
Teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) is upset about moving from a big city to a small town, but he stops moaning when he meets beautiful girl-next-door Hannah (Odeya Rush), who just so happens to be the daughter of bestselling author RL Stine (Jack Black). It turns out that the monsters in Stine’s books are real, and the author protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their manuscripts. Until Zach accidently unleashes them, that is. Zach, Hannah and Stine then set off on a mission to get the monsters back inside the books.
Forget this year’s big-budget remake and grab a copy of the 1984 original - better still, go and see it at the cinema, if you can. Ghostbusters is a real classic, with a stellar cast that includes Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. To say it did well at the box office is an understatement. Ghostbusters was the top-grossing comedy of the '80s and, until Home Alone knocked it off its perch in the '90s, it was the top-grossing comedy of all time. Who you gonna call?
What’s it about?
A group of eccentric parapsychologists go into business together - think Rentokil, but with ghosts instead of rats. Anyway, before long, they are tasked with saving New York City from all manner of spooky spirits. Granted, the special effects are dated now and the plot is a bit of an afterthought - but this is all about the humour - and there's plenty of it. Kids and adults will love it.
The Addams Family
The big screen transfer of the cult TV series is notable for some great performances from its cast. Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston are excellent as the heads of the oddball family, while Christopher Lloyd does a great turn as Uncle Fester. That said, it’s Christina Ricci, as the wonderfully dark Wednesday, who steals the show.
What’s it about?
The plot about a Fester lookalike attempting to fleece the Addams family out of their fortune is a little lame - but the jokes and one-liners come thick and fast and, as mentioned above, the casting is absolutely spot on. The 1993 sequel, Adams Family Values, is a better film on almost every level, but you should still start with the 1991 original.
Far and away the creepiest film on the list, Sleepy Hollow is as stylish and atmospheric as you’d expect from Tim Burton. The acclaimed director’s take on Washington Irving’s short story is a dark, eerie visual treat. Johnny Depp - Burton’s go-to guy for oddball roles - and Christina Ricci star.
What’s it about
Ichabod Crane (Depp) is a New York City detective who is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of gruesome murders. It soon becomes apparent that the culprit is the legendary Headless Horseman (Christopher Walken) and, after falling in love with the enigmatic Katrina Van Tassel (Ricci), Crane sticks around to investigate. All the while, heads continue to roll.
Tim Burton again, but this time in the animated style of his earlier classic The Nightmare Before Christmas. As you'd expect from a Burton movie, Corpse Bride is a another visual treat. It's a romantic yet creepy movie that didn't do as well at the box office as expected, but it's since become a real cult favourite. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter provide excellent voice work, backed by an all-star supporting cast that includes Emily Watson, Tracey Ullman, Joanna Lumley, Richard E Grant and Christopher Lee.
What's it about?
Victor (Depp) and Victoria (Watson) are headed for an arranged marriage. When the nervous Victor makes a hash of his vows at the wedding rehearsal, he heads off into the forest to practice and accidently places the wedding ring on the finger of a corpse, thinking it to be a twig. Suddenly, he finds himself married to a creepy corpse bride named Emily (Bonham Carter), who drags him off to the land of the dead. Victor must get back above ground before Victoria gets hitched to the villainous Barkis Bittern (Richard E. Grant).