Enjoy These Family Style Halloween Streaming Picks

We miss our Family Style screenings at the AFS Cinema with guest programmer/host Stacy Brick, so we asked her to share some of her best scary-but-not-too-scary movie recommendations so that we can stream them together. Here is Stacy:

Looking for some spooky or just plain fun Halloween movies to watch as a family? We’ve got you covered with some less obvious choices sure to produce laughs and maybe even start some interesting conversations. 

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN

It’s not only Frankenstein’s monster – Dracula, and the Wolf Man are invited to the party, too! By 1948 the character-driven horror films at Universal had petered out – along with the careers of Abbott and Costello. The genius idea to combine the comedy duo (playing for laughs) and the monsters (playing it straight) was a hit. Although it was a swan song for the monsters it was the first in a series of four comedic horror films for Abbott & Costello. You’ll laugh at the monsters and Abbott & Costello’s antics – no nightmares here!

Streaming on: Amazon, YouTube

5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T

This cult classic is the only film written and designed by Theodor S. Geisel – better known as Dr. Seuss. The film is a Technicolor avant-garde musical about an evil piano teacher who holds 500 boys captive and forces them to play a giant piano for eternity. Seuss said he wrote it as revenge on his piano teacher who would rap his knuckles with a pencil when he made a mistake. The film was a flop when it came out in 1953, presumably because it was too dark for most children of that time, making it hard to classify. 

Streaming on: Criterion Channel

RETURN TO OZ

Fairuza Balk is Dorothy in this dark sequel to THE WIZARD OF OZ. This time around, Dorothy has some new friends from other L. Frank Baum stories, including Billina the chicken, Tik Tok the robot, and Jack Pumpkinhead. She must once again muster her courage to overcome evil in the Land of Oz and save her friends who have been turned to stone. In her review, Janet Maslin of The New York Times remarked, “Children are sure to be startled by its bleakness.” As a kid, I remember being terrified by the Wheelers, but as is the case with most 80’s movies, my kids (ages 10 and 12), weren’t disturbed in the least. Instead they thought it was “weird in a cool way.” 

Streaming on: Disney+, Amazon

TEEN WOLF

This teen comedy with a twist opened in the summer of 1985, earning about 10 times less than that other, more well-known Michael J. Fox blockbuster released the same year. In the film, high-schooler Scott Howard (Fox) learns that he shares an interesting gene with his father. He goes to some keggers (relatively mild), plays some basketball, and is forced to decide if he should be his true self or play up his flashy alter ego to get with the in-crowd. 

Streaming on: Amazon, YouTube

INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS

This paranoid sci-fi film has been remade numerous times, but make sure you watch the original 1956 version. Dr. Miles Bennell is set on saving surrounding towns from the fate his small town has suffered. The pod people are taking over, using seed pods to replicate people and stealing their souls. The fast pace of the film is unique for the time and makes it that much better to enjoy with your kids. Keep this one to 10 and over. 

Streaming on: iTunes, Amazon, YouTube

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