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.
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?
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:
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!
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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!