Common Sense Media has a guide to Halloween Movies for Every Age. I think only Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban qualifies as a Halloween movie and The Birds is my least favorite Hitchcock movie. Just so you know.

Their list was just for kids but a lot of adult don’t like gore or the gotcha kind of scares in movies. I decided to add a few more movies that have Halloween flare.

Classic Spooky Movies

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) Cary Grant plays a man who has just secretly married. He goes to his aunts to break the news. He stumbles across a bigger surprise about his sweet, elderly aunts.

The Spiral Staircase (1945) A serial killer is targeting young women with disabilities. A woman who can’t speak for psychological reasons comes to believe that she may be next on the list. Creepy but closer to suspense than horror.

Suspicion (1941) A young woman comes to believe that her doting husband might be plotting her murder. Again, more of a suspense movie.

Cat People (1942) – A young woman married but can’t consummate her marriage lest she turn into a panther. There was a remake in the 1980s which is generally described as worthless. I’ve never seen it. The original 1942 version is directed by Tourneur and has oodles of atmosphere.

The Mummy (1932) – This is the Universal one, not the delightful version with Brendan Frasier. This one is more about wistful, long-lost love than about monsters.

Others That Might Work:

Ghostbusters (1984)
The Addams Family (1991)
Young Frankenstein (1974) – “YES. YES. Say it. He vas my… BOYFRIEND.” *snickers*
Monster House (2006) – I loved the concept and execution of the haunted house but it is a little scary.
Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were Rabbit (2005) I can’t believe they didn’t add this one. Except for some scary music and a few jokes aimed at grownups, it seems perfect for most ages.

I have a few more suggestions here.


3 thoughts on “not-too-scary Halloween Movies

  1. Arsenic and Old Lace is ridiculous fun.

    “Insanity runs in my family…It practically gallops.”

    I would have loved to have seen the play with its original cast, as Boris Karloff played Jonathan, which must have made the line about Jonathan looking like Karloff a howler for audiences back then. He couldn’t make the filming apparently because he was still busy with the actual play. Anyway: good recommendation.

  2. Hi Widgett Walls,

    I didn’t know that Karloff was asked to play the role. What a shame that his performance wasn’t captured!

    Cary Grant is nearly perfect in this role and the movie is one of my all time favorites.

    I’m enjoying the “32 days of Halloween,” and I haven’t heard of most of the movies so I’m taking notes for next Halloween.

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