5 not-so-scary movies for kids

Basti Olaguera
After reading our '10 must-see horror flicks' story, a young boy decides to write this piece for the children who also get a thrill out of kiddie suspense!

JOHNNY DEPP IS WILLY Wonka in 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' Image from Facebook

MANILA, Philippines – I love watching movies, either for the story or the music, or both.

I also love watching movies that make me think, or that make me want to read the books that inspired them.

It’s Halloween season, and we are now on our sembreak. We have all the time to read books and watch movies.

Scary movies are being shown on TV for adults; but what about us, kids?

Here’s a list of my favorite not-so-scary movies for kids, and the lessons we can learn from each — so that our parents will allow us to watch them again or for the first time:

1) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

This movie is based on the 1964 children’s book of the same title by British author Roald Dahl. It has a sense of suspense and a touch of comedy; plus it stars one of my favorite actors, Johnny Depp.

The story is about a boy named Charlie (Freddie Highmore) who loves candy and buys a chocolate bar that contains a winning ticket to the chocolate factory of the famous candy-maker, Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp). 4 other kids win a golden ticket, almost all of them bullies in their own way.

While inside Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory with the other kids and their parents (Charlie was with his fellow candy-loving Grandpa Joe, played by David Kelly), they meet Willy’s singing minions (The Oompa-Loompas) and see how the different types of candy are made. Whenever one of them starts acting like a bully, Willy “punishes” them by giving them a consequence after eating their favorite candy in the factory.

It is obvious that Willy hates bullies and will not tolerate bullying. Towards the end of the tour in his chocolate factory, he shares with Charlie how — when Willy was a little kid — his dentist-dad would not allow him to eat candy. But he loved candy; and so when Willy grew up, making candy became his way of life.

The lesson you can learn from this movie: Don’t be a bully and don’t be a glutton.

Watch the Oompa Loompas sing for the kid Augustus Gloop:

2) Mirrormask (2002)

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This movie is also based on a book of the same title, by one of my favorite British authors, Neil Gaiman. The flick has a bit of suspense although it is an adventure movie.

The story begins with a girl named Helena (Stephanie Leonidas) who is taking care of her mom (Joanne Campbell) in the hospital. Her parents own a circus; her father (Bob Brydon) is the manager and her mother is the one who worked in the ticket booth. Not wanting the idea of becoming a “circus freak,” Helena runs away to a parallel universe where the inhabitants wear different masks.

A young man named Valentine (Jason Barry) helps Helena navigate the strange world. While travelling, she learns about the fabled Mirrormask that will help her find her way back to the real world. But finding the Mirrormask is not easy, and Helena is tempted several times to stay in the surreal new world. Eventually, she finds the Mirrormask and her way back home. When she does, she learns to love her parents a little more. 

The lesson you can learn from this movie: Love your parents for who they really are and be proud of them.

Watch one of my favorite parts of the “Mirrormask” movie:

 

3. Ghostbusters (1984)  

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This is a comedy movie with adventure and horror, because it has ghosts.

The movie is about 4 friends who put together a ghost-capturing service. Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) is the leader of the group. Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) is the nerdy one who invents their proton packs. Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) is sort of the right-hand man of Venkman. Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson), a man who was looking for a job with the “right payment” later joins the group.

Together, the Ghostbusters help people with ghost problems by getting rid of them, capturing them in their proton packs. Soon, the group becomes popular. But Agent Walter Peck (William Atherton) is not convinced, thinking the Ghostbusters are a bunch of frauds. He commands that they be put to jail. But when the city is attacked by a ghost named Gozer, Peck has the Ghostbusters released so they may fight the menacing ghost. 

The lesson you can learn from this movie: Nothing is impossible with good teamwork. 

Listen here for the “Ghosbusters” theme song:

4. Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009)

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For a children’s movie, this one has suspense. Like “Ghostbusters,” it has ghosts. And like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Mirrormask,” it is based on a book of the same title. This one is written by Charles Dickens in 1858. 

Set in England, the film is about an elderly man named Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey), who owns a bank and is very selfish about money. He doesn’t pay his one employee properly. Because of his stinginess, one night, he is haunted by 3 ghosts: the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas present and the ghost of Christmas what-will-be.

My favorite of the 3 ghosts is the dementor-like ghost of Christmas what-will-be who shows Scrooge what will be of him the next Christmas if he doesn’t change his selfish, miser ways. After the haunting, Scrooge is a changed man; he becomes generous and nice to the people he mistreated.

The lesson you can learn from this movie: Never be selfish and always try to be nice.

Watch the spooky trailer of Disney’s “A Christmas Carol” here:

 

5.  Monster House (2006)

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This is an animated “horror” movie that had pretty funny parts.

“Monster House” is about a teenager named DJ (voiced by Mitchel Muso) who always spies on his suspicious neighbor, Mr. Nebbercracker (voiced by Steve Buscemi), who confiscates the bikes and toys of children that end up on his lawn. DJ is very curious to find out why the old man acts like this, so he calls his chubby friend Chowder (voiced by Sam Lerner) to find out the reason for Nebbercracker’s behavior.

An intelligent girl scout named Jenny (voiced by Spencer Locke) helps them uncover the mystery: they find out that Nebbercracker’s dead wife is buried in the house’s basement. Out of curiosity, DJ, Chowder and Jenny go inside the house without permission and find out that the spirit of Nebbercracker’s wife turns the wooden house into a raging monster. When Nebbercracker realizes that the children already know his secret, he decides to help them defeat the monster.

The lesson you can learn from this movie: Always respect other people’s property. 

Watch the trailer of “Monster House” here:

I am going trick or treating this week. How about you? Happy Halloween! – Rappler.com


Patrice Sebastien “Basti” Olaguera is 10 years old and is a grade 5 pupil of Claret School of Quezon City. He loves reading (currently obsessed with Gaiman and Edgar Allan Poe), watching movies and toy reviews (by FXFranz and his son on YouTube) and listening to music (The Beatles, The Care and Human League, among others). He loves watching movies with his mom, Rappler’s Kai Magsanoc. Their daily nightcap is reading their favorite books, side by side.

What is your kid into? Rappler welcomes contributions from kids, for kids. Send us your child’s artwork, poetry, short story or even YouTube video to desk@rappler.com with subject heading RAPPLER KIDS.