Best scary 80's movies to watch with kids


I was a kid in the 80's--a time of some epic horror films--and my first introduction to horror cinema was with my older cousin Steve, in our grandma's basement. The cabinet TV had a VCR attached, and we watched Child's Play, the first film in the epic Chuckie franchise. I was 7, and horrified  as the creepy living doll pitter-pattered around and killed people. Not the best introduction for me, but YOU can do better!

When watching or reading something scary with kids, you want them to be scared happy.

To be scared happy is the elation and energy you feel walking out of a haunted house, or getting off a roller coaster. Here's a primer on introducing kids to scary movies that they'll enjoy:

Scared Happy = Fright + Fun


Things to remember:

  1. Every kiddo is different, and you must make an informed decision on what level of scariness they can handle. You can use film ratings as your guide, but its best to screen the film yourself before sharing with kids. Movies of the 80's often include themes or language that we don't deem appropriate today. For example, I was a huge fan of the Monster Squad (1987) as a kid, but watching it as an adult was jarring. I couldn't keep track of the multiple times the kids called each other "faggot." You should decide what content you want to avoid altogether, and what you're willing to have a discussion about during/after the viewing. 
  2. The reaction you're looking for from the kiddos is fright (startling, jumping, curling up closer to you, peeking through hands over eyes) and then fun, happy relief (laughing, talking, smiling, joking, wanting to watch again). If anyone in the group is not having fun, stop watching.

Now, put some Jiffy Pop on the stove, grab an Ecto Cooler, and share one (or all) of these scary flicks from the 80's with your kids. Enjoy being scared happy!

Have a favorite you want to share? Recommendations welcome in the comments below.