Fright­en­ingly good

Bangor Mail - - NEWS -

ONE of my ear­li­est child­hood mem­o­ries is of watch­ing Franken­stein Meets The Wolf Man with my Mum in front of a roar­ing fire one cold Hal­loween in the early 1980s.

I was trans­fixed by it all, but thanks to my Mum chuck­ling away at the ter­ri­ble act­ing, not too fright­ened. It started an ob­ses­sion with horror movies that’s still with me today.

It be­gan with the old Uni­ver­sal films like Bride of Franken­stein and The In­vis­i­ble Man. Later on came the bright­ly­coloured Ham­mer films that I had to creep out of my room to watch down­stairs, be­fore run­ning back up to my bed when they got too scary.

When I was about 11 year­sold, among my peers it was con­sid­ered a rite of pas­sage, much like a na­tive Amer­i­can ‘ Vi­sion Quest,’ to claim to have ac­tu­ally seen films like The Thing or An Amer­i­can Were­wolf in Lon­don. Th­ese films were thought to be so ter­ri­fy­ing that you might go mad if you watched them, and so when we even­tu­ally did, they had to be watched in groups of at least four.

Now that I have my own chil­dren, I quite like the idea of watch­ing some­thing ghoul­ish with them on Hal­loween, but the prob­lem with horror movies is that they tend to be, well, hor­ri­ble and there’s only so much a re­spon­si­ble par­ent would rea­son­ably want their kids to go through, even in th­ese days of jaded youths be­com­ing de­sen­si­tised on a daily ba­sis by YouTube videos and the like.

If you want a Hol­ly­wood Horror ex­pe­ri­ence for all the fam­ily on Hal­loween that won’t lead to emo­tional trauma, here are a few rec­om­men­da­tions. Beetle­juice, with Michael Keaton as a ghostly ex­or­cist of un­wanted hu­mans is a hoot. On a sim­i­larly spec­tral theme, any­one dis­mayed at the re­cent Ghost­busters re­make would do well to in­tro­duce their young ones to the 1984 orig­i­nal, though you might be amazed at how many of the char­ac­ters smoke!

The first two Ad­dams Fam­ily films are enor­mous fun, laced with a poi­sonously funny satir­i­cal thread aimed straight at the grownups. Any chil­dren of the ‘80s might want to reac­quaint them­selves with Grem­lins (though the end­ing is still sur­pris­ingly scary) or even the slightly for­got­ten 1988 film The Mon­ster Squad, which feels now like an episode of Stranger Things.

Some of the best re­cent horror films for kids have been an­i­mated. Para­nor­man was im­pres­sive, as was Franken­wee­nie, but best of all is Mon­ster House which is an in­ge­nious ghostride of a film. Or you could try Franken­stein Meets The Wolf Man, but be­ware the act­ing re­ally is ter­ri­ble.

Your kids will be full of sweets by now, but what about you? And what are you sup­posed to do with all that pump­kin you were forced to spoon out into a bowl today? It needn’t go to waste. Read on…

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