horror movies killer klowns from outer space

9 Horror Films Perfect for Younger Audiences

Here are some movies that younger audiences can enjoy without pulling the sheets over their eyes.
September 1, 2022
13 mins read

Halloween is still over a month away, but you can feel its presence in the air. The leaves are changing to familiar autumnal colors, the air is growing chillier by the day, and the stores are starting to pull out their spooky masks and decorations. When October rolls around, you’ll probably have your collection of horror films ready for the Halloween season, most likely “The Shining,” “Nightmare On Elm Street,” “Hereditary” — the works. But what if you have somebody young who isn’t quite ready for a film like “The Shining”? What horror movie will they watch during the Halloween season?

1. “Goosebumps”

The works of R.L. Stine have terrified fans for years. Now, his works come to life in this celebration of the author’s most famous series. Even those unfamiliar with his works will enjoy the film for its diverse cast of monsters and fun, spooky story.

Zach Cooper is a boy who’s just moved to Madison, Delaware. After making friends with his next-door neighbor Hannah, he makes a surprising discovery about her mysterious father: He is R.L. Stine, author of the famous “Goosebumps” books. One day, while looking through the author’s secret manuscripts, he cracks open a story and accidentally unleashes a monster into the real world. When more begin to arrive, he, Hannah and Stine must band together and stop them. 

2. “Monster House”

“Monster House” follows D.J. Walters, a young boy who spends his time watching old man Nebbercracker from across the street. One day, D.J.’s basketball rolls into his yard, and when he tries to retrieve it, Nebbercracker attacks. His failing heart causes him to double over and he’s taken away by ambulance, but the horror’s only started. Now D.J. has a new problem: The rickety old home of Nebbercracker seems to watch him with vengeful eyes. It might even be alive, and to D.J’s shock, that’s just what it is: alive. Alive and very hungry. While he’s able to convince his best friend Chowder and a girl scout named Jenny, nobody else believes him. It’s up to the trio to destroy the house before Halloween, where it will feast upon all trick-or-treaters who arrive at its waiting doorstep.

3. “Gremlins”

“Gremlins” could be considered both a Halloween and a Christmas film because, while it has monsters, it takes place during the holidays. The film tells the story of Billy Peltzer, a boy who receives a strange Christmas present from his father: Gizmo, a small, furry creature known as a “mogwai.” His dad also gives his son three rules to follow: Don’t expose him to sunlight, don’t submerge him in water and don’t feed him after midnight. After a friend accidentally spills water on Gizmo, five new mogwai pop out of his back. And when he’s tricked into feeding them after midnight, things go from inconvenient to very bad. This will be one winter Billy won’t forget.

4. “Killer Clowns From Outer Space” 

While making love outside the town of Crescent Cove, Mike Tobacco and his girlfriend, Debbie Stone, witness an object fall from the sky. When searching for it in the woods, they come across a massive, glowing circus tent. Inside, they find a maze of multicolored halls and bizarre rooms before stumbling upon a massive chamber stocked with cotton candy cocoons. To their horror, they discover these cocoons aren’t housing caterpillars; they’re storing humans for consumption. And the culprits? Misshapen, horrible clowns only seen in nightmares. The clowns spot the couple and attempt to catch them, but they escape. No matter. Crescent Cove is filled with humans, and while the couple tries to notify the authorities, the clowns put their wacky tricks to use and begin abducting as many as possible.

5. “Coraline”

Neil Gaiman’s dark fantasy novel about a young girl who finds a portal to a “perfect” world comes to life in this stop-motion masterpiece. Coraline Jones has just moved from Minnesota to the Pink Palace Apartments in Oregon with her work-obsessed parents. The place is dirty, her neighbors are weird, and everyone pays her little attention except the landlady’s creepy son. She only wishes her life had a little more color, a little more whimsy, and one night, that’s just what she gets. Behind a small door in the living room is a tunnel leading to the “Other World,” a place where everything is the same but better. There’s only one small issue: Everybody’s eyes are sewn-in buttons. But that won’t stop Coraline from having a blast in the Other World. The food is excellent, the neighbors are all fantastically talented, and her parents actually pay her attention. As the old saying goes, it’s all too good to be true — and it is. The longer Coraline stays, the more she learns about the Other World, and soon she realizes this perfect place may be more sinister than she thought.

6. “Beetlejuice”

Tim Burton is no stranger to the weird and the insane, and this film takes “weird and insane” to the next level. Expect freakish sandworms, ghostly waiting rooms, and shrimp cocktails from hell.

Adam and Barbara Maitland are a happy couple living in the Connecticut countryside. While driving home from town, they barely miss a stray puppy on the road and swerve into a river. When they arrive, the Maitlands discover that their reflections are gone, doors outside lead to a strange desert world, and a new book has come into their possession: “Handbook For The Recently Deceased.” As it turns out, the Maitlands died in the accident, and they watch helplessly as their beloved home is transformed into a hideous art piece by the uppity Deetz clan. The couple attempts to scare them off, but their efforts end in vain. Not all is lost, however — Beetlejuice, the self-proclaimed “ghost with the most,” offers up his “bio-exorcist” services, and the couple hires him on the spot. But Beetlejuice turns out to be more troublesome than they initially hoped, and his unruly antics quickly spiral out of control.

7. “Twilight Zone: The Movie”

Witness four tales of magic, mystery and horror unfold in this adaptation of Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone,” considered to be one of the greatest shows ever made. Three of the tales are remakes of famous “Twilight Zone” episodes, while one is only partially. In the first tale, “A Quality Of Mercy,” a man with ignorant thoughts is thrown into the shoes of the oppressed. In the second, “Kick The Can,” a group of retirement home residents find themselves decades younger with the magic of mysterious Mr. Bloom. The third, “It’s A Good Life,” involves a woman visiting the home of young Anthony, whose God-like powers can manipulate everything and everyone around him. And last but not least is “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” where a paranoid man attempts to convince the passengers of an airplane that a monster is on the loose outside.

8. “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” 

“Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” is a trilogy of books consisting of, you guessed it, scary stories to tell in the dark. The books have terrified children for decades, and even adults have laid awake at night after turning a few pages. Accompanying each story are nightmare-inducing illustrations by Stephen Gammell.

Similar to “Goosebumps,” the horror movie “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” pulls the classic stories out of the books and sets them loose in the real world. Four friends — Stella, Augie, Chuck and Ramón — find themselves at the abandoned Bellows house after pranking a bully. Inside, they discover an old book belonging to the long-dead Sarah Bellows filled with scary stories (the ones seen in the trilogy). After taking the book home, Stella watches in disbelief as a new story writes itself in blood on a blank page. Soon, other stories write themselves, and it doesn’t take her long to realize that each of these stories is becoming all too real.

9. “Poltergeist” 

The Freelings are your average middle-class family living an idyllic life in the planned community of Cuesta Verde. They have three children, one of whom is the sweet Carol Anne. One night, while everyone is fast asleep, Carol Anne hears voices coming from the TV and approaches it. A ghostly hand lunges at her from the screen and a small earthquake ensues. After it finishes, Carol Anne tells her startled parents two ominous words: “They’re here!”

Over the next few days, strange occurrences happen around the house. Glasses break, chairs stack themselves, and furniture moves on its own. When a storm hits Cuesta Verde, Carol Anne’s brother is suddenly abducted by a gnarled old tree brought to life by unseen forces and his parents rush to save him. All alone, Carol Anne is left at the mercy of these forces, who drag her into an otherworldly dimension. Desperate to save her, the Freelings contact parapsychologist Dr. Martha Lesh for help, who in turn contacts spiritual medium Tangina Barrons, who attributes the occurrences to restless ghosts. The ghosts simply wish to pass over, but something is preventing them, something evil. Whatever this evil is, it has Carol Anne and intends on keeping her.

Braden Beck, California State Channel Islands

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Braden Beck

California State Channel Islands

I grew up in Bakersfield and moved to Ventura after I graduated high school in 2019. I got into writing during high school, and my goal is to one day write a book and hopefully get it published.

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