We may finally be in the month of October but the animated films that have been released so far made it feel like we were already in the spookiest part of the year. In August we got ParaNorman, September Hotel Transylvania and now the animated scary movie trifecta is completed with Tim Burton‘s Frankenweenie.
This may be the biggest year for animated features that lean heavily on the horror genre, but these aren’t the only three that have been placed in this sub-genre. So in celebration of this horror animation trifecta, we present to you our top five that families can see with their kids. What makes this list even cooler is that most of these movies are stop-motion animated films.
#5: Monster House
Motion capture animation has improved enormously since The Polar Express, but audiences weren’t always pleased that Robert Zemeckis and company made us pay to watch them improve the technique.That said, the Zemeckis-produced 2006 movie Monster House was surprisingly fun even if it was a little rough around the edges. It plays on the classic haunted house tales that freak children out and expands on it: How would you like it if you found out that the house just a couple of doors away from you is a terrifying creature that will stop at nothing to gobble you up? We’d be a little scared too. But with a great cast and a warm heart, it’s a charmer.
#4: Mad Monster Party
One of the most underrated stop-motion animation movies under the Rankin/Bass Productions label is Mad Monster Party. Does Rankin/Bass sound familiar? It should. These are the same folks who made Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Year Without a Santa Claus. Shortly after they burst on the scene with Rudolph, they decided to dip their feet into the Halloween sector with Mad Monster Party. The story is about how all the classic monsters gather for a meeting to find out who will be the successor to Dr. Frankenstein. The fun ghoulish tale just recently popped up for the first time on Blu-ray, so check it out if you can.
#3: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Aardman Animation, we love you. For decades they’ve been making plenty of fantastic animated shorts and features including Chicken Run, Creature Comforts and the beloved Wallace & Gromit. A few years ago they brought our favorite man and dog duo on the big screen in Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. In the movie our heroes are faced against an unspeakable terror that’s shaken up the village. Our heroes must be able to save everyone from the unknown threat that may destroy the town’s beloved giant vegetable growing contest. If you enjoy Aardman Animation’s humor then you’ll love The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Seriously, why aren’t you watching this already?
Out of all of the movies we have on this list, Coraline is the one film most likely to freak out your kids at some point. Why? Let’s see, there is that part of the film where the mother transforms into a crazy giant spider and goes after Coraline . At the same time Coraline is an amazing movie, not only because of Laika’s attention to detail with stop-motion animation but because of the great fantasy story. It centers on Coraline, our young heroine who doesn’t quite fit into the new town her family moved to. When she discovers an alternate world that frees her from her reality, she quickly finds out things aren’t quite as they appear. It’s too bad this isn’t still out in theaters because we’d highly recommend watching it in 3D.
#1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
All right, this may be an obvious choice for the number one spot, but there are reasons behind this! The Nightmare Before Christmas has withstood the test of time for a variety of reasons including the sweet story of finding one’s identity, the catchy music and vibrant animation. It’s a staple of the Halloween season for a good reason and is a film many of us watch at least once every year. (It should be noted that we’re tickled to have two Henry Selick-directed movies in our top two spots)
Lastly we’d like to honorably mention Disney’s short film Runaway Brain. Some of you may remember this if you theatrically saw A Goofy Movie, but as for the rest of you, watch the cute horror short below.
What are your favorite kinda-scary movies?