Classic Monster Movies for Kids

I love movies, and I love sharing great movies with my kids. My kids are all ten years old or younger, and that presents a challenge. They aren’t old enough to appreciate Casablanca or Citizen Kane, and I don’t want them to become budding gangsters by watching The Godfather. So what is a movie-loving parent to do? I have the solution! Classic monster movies for kids!

Many of these classic movies, even those made nearly one-hundred years ago, still have the power to captivate, excite, and provoke deep thoughts. These classic films tell great stories, and are usually straightforward enough not to confuse kids. They have great special effects that are just fake enough not to scare the kids. Bad language is at a minimum. Good always triumphs over evil at the end (although what is evil and what is good can be debatable, even in the movie). They won’t traumatize the kids like more modern horror movies would.

Read on for my list of 1930s-era classic monster movies for kids. As a special treat, you can read what my kids thought about each movie. I was impressed that they remember each movie and had detailed thoughts on each of them.

Continue reading Classic Monster Movies for Kids

Halloween Movie Marathon Ideas from The A.V. Club

Halloween is the closest thing to an annual horror movie marathon holiday. You can’t swing a dead cat during Halloween without hitting a horror movie or a horde of people lunging to consume it. So – if you want to have your own Halloween movie marathon, what the fastest way to conjure up a 24-hour unholy vision of the gaping maw of hell?

If you are a do-it-yourselfer like myself, you probably just want a great list of horror movies to start from. I wrote a Horror Movie Marathon Where-to-Start article a while back.

However, I was surprised to find out the A.V. Club (affiliated with The Onion) are big fans of 24-hour movie marathons – and a 24-hour Halloween movie marathon is one of their annual traditions. Even better, the A.V. Club is well-connected enough to have celebrities put together Halloween movie marathon schedules for them! Check out their Halloween movie marathons from years past:

If assembling one of these schedules sounds like work, maybe channel surfing is more your style. So what’s on TV this Halloween? American Movie Classics seems to be throwing themselves most enthusiastically into the horror fray with their AMC Fearfest. But if you need more options, there are other Halloween Movie Marathons on TV too. Or you can assemble your own marathon from the list of Halloween movies on the Huffington Post. There are a lot.

If bothering to look up showtimes of horror movies on cable TV sounds like work to you, dang, are you one lazy bum! There is yet still a way to stream images of violence and depravity on-demand directly into your ocular receptors. Check out Reel Life with Jane’s 31-day Netflix Halloween Movie Marathon.

I hope one of these horrible options works well for you. Happy Halloween! Don’t turn off the light!

Update 22 July 2017: Updated list of links for mid-2017. All of the other TV schedule references are still from 2014.

Comedy Movie Marathon – Where to Start?

Planning a comedy movie marathon is a special type of challenge.

Every human being has slightly different comedic tastes, resulting in the same movie falling flat for some and knee-slappin’ to others. This variety of taste results in a proliferation of sub-genres. Wikipedia lists about 14 sub-genres of comedy films, while this handy infographic claims 35 comedy sub-genres.

By the way, is it funny to anyone else that British humor is its own comedic sub-genre? Here is a bit of an explanation of what sets it apart, but how come you never hear of Canadian humor? Or Polish humor? Oh wait, I suppose there is a certain form of Polish humor out there.

Anyway, I digress. Another challenge is you have to consider your attendees’ health. You wouldn’t want to have your movie marathon added to this Wikipedia page of documented cases of people dying of laughter.

Oops. I digress again. So there are lots of types of comedies out there, and there are many comedies out there widely regarded as “classics”. Where do you start?

In my opinion, variety is the spice of every movie marathon. If you scheduled a movie marathon consisting of the entire Three Stooges Filmography, I think you would start using Moe‘s signature eye-poke on yourself about halfway through.

So, what I did is take some of the comedy sub-genres out there, and picked a good representative of that sub-genre. 13 sub-genres / movies later, and you have yourself a comedy movie marathon! I also listed a link to further explanation of the comedy sub-genre, in case you’d like delve deeper into the depths of humor in a particular area.

Your mileage may vary. If you successfully pull off this comedy movie marathon schedule or another one of your own devising, I’d love to hear about it!

Comedy Movie Marathon Movies


TootsieCategory: Dramedy

My take: Dustin Hoffman’s character dresses in drag to gain acting success on a soap opera. This comedy is remembered because it is a movie that is running on all cylinders. It is serious, funny, satiric, its characters change, and has great music. In other words, it all comes together for a great final result.


My Cousin Vinny

My Cousin VinnyCategory: Fish out of water

My take: One of my favorite comedies. It exemplifies the fish-out-of-water scenario (New Yorker transplanted to the Deep South) but also has characters and a plot that you can care about (kids falsely accused of murder).


AirplaneCategory: Parody

My take: The comedy that launched a thousand imitators. Take a premise from serious 1970s disaster movies, plant serious actors of the day (Peter Graves, Leslie Nielson) acting very seriously, and then jam every scene with pure ridiculousness. Required viewing for all serious comedy enthusiasts.

Animal House

Animal HouseCategory: Gross out

My take: The template for all subsequent teen / high-school / college comedies. Raunchy, gross, funny. Authority figure villian. Slacker protagonists.  The first movie writing credit of Harold Ramis, and part of the class National Lampoon comedy of the day.

Some Like it Hot

Some Like It HotCategory: Classic

My take: This is a fantastic classic comedy with impossible-to-replicate elements. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon cross-dressing undercover in a girl band which features ukulele-player Marilyn Monroe.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python And The Holy GrailCategory: British humor

My take: The king (ha!) of silly humor, and the most quotable movie by high school boys and other nerds in the last century. Follow King Arthur as he seeks the grail (spoiler alert: he fails in his quest to due the movie running out of money) and faces enemies like a killer rabbit and european vs. african swallow trivia.

When Harry Met Sally

When Harry Met SallyCategory: Romantic comedy

My take: Romantic comedies are a much-maligned category of comedy. They’ve been all but dormant in recent years, after having a boom around the 1990s. Why not try out one of the first, and best?

Dr. Strangelove

Dr StrangeloveCategory: Black comedy

My take:  This movie is a strange, singular experience – but what else would you expect out of Stanley Kubrik? A “comedy” depicting World War III could be started by a single unhinged individual in power. Laugh-out-loud funny? Maybe not so much. Darkly absurd? Yes.

Duck Soup

Duck SoupCategory: Slapstick

My take: The best Marx Brothers film, featuring slapstick, puns, political satire, jokes, and classic vaudeville-style performances. It is a comedy time capsule.

This is Spinal Tap

Spinal TapCategory: Mockumentary

My take: The fake documentary that takes a hard look at the world of Rock and Roll, and reveals what an absurd mess it can be. More dry, quotable humor than laugh-out-loud funny.


Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Breakfast At TiffanysCategory: Sophisticated Comedy

My take: A character-driven, witty comedy, featuring Audrey Hepburn playing a manic-pixie dream girl before that term became a thing. I do appreciate classic cinema’s ability to produce comedy, drama, and emotion just from the dialog of a few individuals.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Fast Times At Ridgemont HighCategory: Teen Comedy

My Take: High-school comedy from the early 1980s, which many laud for capturing the reality of teenage life at the time.

Bringing Up Baby

Bringing Up BabyCategory: Screwball comedy

My take: Goofy, frenetic, and funny. Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant go from one implausible situation to another, mostly driven by Katherine’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl-ness. I guess she beat Audrey Hepburn to that trope.

Comedy Movie Marathon Schedule

Start TimeTitle
12:00 PMTootsie
02:30 PMMy Cousin Vinny
04:45 PMAirplane!
06:15 PMAnimal House
08:30 PMSome Like it Hot
10:45 PMMonty Python and the Holy Grail
12:30 AMWhen Harry Met Sally
02:15 AMDr. Strangelove
04:00 AMDuck Soup
05:15 AMThis is Spinal Tap
06:45 AMBreakfast at Tiffany’s
08:45 AMFast Times at Ridgemont High
10:30 AMBringing Up Baby
12:12 PMFinish

Horror Movie Marathon – Where to start?

Nothing inspires movie marathons quite like the horror genre. Seriously, the movie marathon landscape is littered with them! (for example, see the Ohio 24-hour horror movie marathon, Brookline horror, etc.)

Why is that? There are lots of psychological theories on why we like to watch horror films. Most of them sound like utter malarkey. I like the theory that we enjoy the jolt of adrenaline experienced in a safe environment.

Regardless of the reason, if you want to have a horror movie marathon, you have a lot of material to choose from. Horror movies are cheap, and there are a lot of them. IMDB lists 53,915 entries in the “horror” category (this includes both film and TV) and there are almost 25 horror subgenres out there according to this authoritative-looking infographic. So where do you start?

How about viewing the entire history of horror films in one day? By that, I mean watching the most ground-breaking, influential horror films ever made. The movies that spawned a thousand imitators. At least it gives you a good, horrible foundation of classics to start with. I have a sample schedule for you below. Enjoy 24 hours of sheer terror!

Horror Movie Marathon Movies


NosferatuMy take: The very first monster movie as we think of them today. This silent movie relies on creepy, dreamlike visuals instead of LOUD NOISE! scares.


FrankensteinMy take: The first and one of the best classic Universal studios monster movies. Features heady subjects for the 1930s – like mad scientists, grave robbing, reanimation of life, child killing, etc.


Godzilla 1954 PosterMy take: One of the first and best of the 1950’s “giant monster” / “nuclear threat” movies.


PsychoMy take: The horror movie that deconstructed horror movies by being so violent, sexual, and shocking that it smashed all audience expectations.

Night of the Living Dead

Night Of The Living DeadMy take: The movie that invented zombies as we know them today, plus a gleeful abandonment of good taste and some social satire to boot.

The Exorcist

The ExorcistMy take: So scary and controversial, it caused moviegoers to faint and ruined Linda Blair’s career for no logical reason.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The Texas Chainsaw MassacreMy take: A template for slasher movies to come, shot in realistic-looking documentary style.


JawsMy take: The movie that defined the “summer blockbuster”.


HalloweenMy take: The wildly successful independent film that set off the 1980s trend of “mindless killer slasher” films.


AlienMy take: A perfect mixture of science fiction and realistic horror.

The Shining

The ShiningMy take: The horror movie like no other horror movie. So out there, it was nominated for two Razzie awards, but now is considered one of the best horror films ever.

The Evil Dead

The Evil DeadMy take: One of the first independent horror films on VHS, and the inspiration of many famous directors today.

The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch ProjectMy take: The horror film that started the”found footage” and “shakey cam” style.

Horror Movie Marathon Schedule

Start TimeTitle
12:00 PMNosferatu
01:45 PMFrankenstein
03:00 PMGodzilla
04:45 PMPsycho
07:00 PMNight of the Living Dead
08:45 PMThe Exorcist
11:00 PMTexas Chainsaw Massacre
12:30 AMJaws
02:45 AMHalloween
04:20 AMAlien
06:30 AMThe Shining
09:00 AMThe Evil Dead
10:30 AMThe Blair Witch Project

A Kid-Friendly Horror Movie Marathon?

Something Wicked This Way Comes DVD A 10-movie, kid-friendly, horror movie marathon. Oh Internet, only you could create such a crazy, useless, yet intriguing list.

This list features almost everything you might need for your 24-hour kid-friendly, horror movie marathon, including:


That’s almost everything you need. If the author Jacob Hall truly aspired to movie marathon greatness, he’d provide runtimes and a suggested schedule. I would provide those myself, but I think I’ll save the effort until the day I plan on running this marathon (i.e. never).

But I kid Jacob and his list. If I were in the business of judging useless lists on the internet, I wouldn’t be in the business of writing this weblog!