This honestly isn’t the movie I thought I’d be doing as part of the October movies, but it’s one I grew up with. I remember when I first saw it on Cartoon Network, I was actually kind of surprised that it was allowed to air, considering the time it came out. I wasn’t used to seeing more than typically safe programs on that channel at the time. Monster House is….interesting. To start off, yeah, it’s creepy-looking. It was made by the same people who did the Polar Express movie, which was kind of known for it’s creepy cgi. This movie does a little better in that department, but it’s still a little uncanny to look at. The story, however, is still actually really good for a movie for it’s animation. The story follows a boy named DJ, who, after he believes he’s killed his crotchety old neighbor, finds the man’s house seems to have come alive and is out for revenge. Without spoiling too much of the plot, I can say that it is a fairly entertaining movie to watch at Halloween, and the plot may genuinely surprise you. There are a few issues I have with the movie, namely the presence of an annoying fat sidekick, a concept that was kind of outdated in the early 2000s, and really feels dated now. It wouldn’t be such an issue, except the character contributes very little to the overall plot, until the very end, and it honestly would have been extremely easy to just replace him with a different character. As far as potential triggers for the movie, I think the overall concept of the plot may cause a lot of concern for viewers. The house itself comes alive, eating those who trespass on it’s lawn or territory. If you feel anxious about scary imagery, which is very prevalent throughout the film, you might have a bit of trouble with this. The shots of the inside of the house are extremely creepy, and can be unsettling for some viewers. The house’s backstory, which involves the gruesome death of a woman drowning in cement, may also cause some problems as well. As I stated before, the CG is very creepy, and may take some getting used to, and certainly doesn’t help the unsettling images. However, like I said before, the story, as well as most of the characters are genuinely engaging, and if you’re a fan of Steve Buschemi, he does a fairly good job as the elderly neighbor. Overall, it’s an interesting movie, to say the least.
Holes, remembered by many as a classic adaptation of the classic book, has is well-known for it’s compelling plot, and likable characters. As far as anxious moments, Disney takes a few more risks with this movie in order to keep it more faithful to the book. Included in this movie is the yellow spotted lizards, which could creep out younger viewers, especially due to the buildup to what they’re capable of. There’s also an extremely distressing scene that discusses late 1800s racism, which results in the murder of a character onscreen. A character also commits suicide onscreen by poisoning themselves with one of the lizards mentioned earlier. The theme of children suffering through the movie can be a little difficult to take as well, even with the overall happy ending. Overall, the film has very few scares throughout, and can be very safe for anxious viewers.
Coraline, the stop motion movie adaptation of the classic Neil Gaiman book, is one of the single most horrifying PG movies I’ve ever seen. The film, following a young girl slowly becoming trapped in a magical world determined to destroy her. This film is filled with scary imagery which, depending on the type of child, may scare younger viewers. The movie doesn’t have any blood or gore, in it, but the themes of abduction and abuse prevalent throughout most of the movie may raise some uncomfortable feelings or memories for certain viewers. Not only that, but it also has quite a bit of body horror, including a character midway through a transformation into a pumpkin, a child character with their mouth stitched open into a forced smile, and two characters turned into putty and being mushed together. There is also a scene involving the ghosts of murdered children, which ramps up the intensity by including themes of child death to the story. Coraline is meant for children, but it is by far one of the most intense children films I’ve seen since Secret of Nimh. And at least that one didn’t actually kill any kids. However, while there are several scenes with uncomfortable situations and disturbing situations, the animation and story are both fantastic, with a compelling style. If you’re able to handle the darkness, I strongly recommend the film, especially if you want to see more from Nightmare before Christmas’ director, Henry Selick.
The Goosebumps movie, while based on a surprisingly creepy book series, is very light on the violence and gore. In the spirit of the original books, most of the disaster is aimed at how kids would view something on the scale of the climax. Scenes where characters are frozen, attacked by werewolves, and zombies all stay completely bloodless, while still managing to translate the fear well enough. However, it should be noted that, completely out of the blue at the halfway point, a teenage character very suddenly appears to have been eaten onscreen. While he turns out to be fine, it can be very jarring if you’re not expecting it. Overall, the film has a lot of bloodless carnage, but some very scary imagery. As a whole, if you feel anxious about zombies, monsters, puppets, and an unexpected scene that seems as if a child is being killed. However, due to the fact that there’s a lot of carnage with various scary creatures, I probably wouldn’t recommend that younger viewers watch this without a parent nearby, or unless they’re prepared and don’t mind this kind of imagery.
As expected of a Pixar movie, Toy Story 3 is completely bloodless, focusing exclusively on toys who cannot bleed. However, there are many scenes in this film that could startle or even scare both younger and older viewers. One particular character I feel requires attention would be a cymbal-playing monkey who appears occasionally in a darkened room. While the monkey itself is exceptionally creepy, one animator probably had a field day designing exactly what his childhood nightmares looked like, the monkey also has a jumpscare midway through the movie that would probably give any viewer a shock. Also, there is a baby doll that acts as the main villain’s bodyguard that certainly made me look at my American Girl baby doll awkwardly for the rest of the month. Near the end of the film as well, there is a very disturbing scene that tackles the fears of a fiery death with no escape. Viewers who aren’t used to, or aren’t expecting such imagery, may find issue with the scene, as the threat of an agonizing death is present, but all characters involved clearly accept it in a way that may cause some to associate it with suicide. As for the other scenes, most are tame, as long as you’re used to seeing exaggeration of the behaviors of children, but please be warned that some of these scenes can be startling on their own. Pixar has always been very good at startling their audiences, and I truly believe that Toy Story 3 is no exception.
Moana is almost completely non-violent through and through. Like most disney movies nowadays, there are a few action scenes, but due to the PG rating, none of the scenes include blood, gore, or concerning themes. The scenes are largely non-violent, and the ones that include violence are completely safe for children. There are transformation scenes, but they are cartoony, without any hint of pain. Overall, Moana is very safe and nonviolent, but still has an interesting story that should pull viewers in.