It’s time for our first review recap! It was a busy week of decorating, movie watching and getting our Halloween groove on.
While watching our movies, we chose a simple rating system. They have to be 1- spooky, 2- charming, 3- teach a lesson of some sort, 4- have great music and 5- reference Halloween at least ONCE in the film. Additionally, they have to actually ENJOY it; one “harvest moon” is awarded when they decide it’s worth watching again.
Read on to see what we reviewed first!
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, music by Danny Elfman, Warner Bros.
Corpse Bride; a sweet and tragic story about a nervous groom, a gentle bride-to-be and a beautiful dead girl who dreams of love everlasting, is one of my favorites all year ’round. Anxious to share it with my children, I tried several years ago when they were just 2 and 4 and… let’s just say, it did not go well. In fact, this week was first time we’ve successfully watched it all the way through! Up to now, one or both of them would get too scared and beg me to shut it off. They’d run out of the room, refusing to return till the disk was back in the box and put away on the shelf. I was elated to see this opinion had faded and they both truly enjoyed it, even the “spooky parts” because they were also beautiful.
My daughter, age 6, says Emily is pretty but also creepy like a dead ballerina. She’s sweet and nice, but also gross because she’s a zombie, her body falls apart and creatures are living inside her. My son, age 7, thinks the music in the underworld is awesome, LOVES the fact that a black widow spider isn’t scary and Maggot is his favorite character. He says “he’s just so cute and he loves her and wants her to be okay.” My daughter thinks the idea of a maggot in your eye is super gross, but loves it anyway because he’s cute and tries to make Emily feel better when she’s sad.
My son noted something important; Emily is really pushy and grabby and terrifying. He said; “Victor says no a lot of times and she does whatever she wants anyway and makes him feel bad and that’s why he lies”. (He gets in trouble for this, so I’m sure that’s why it’s something he noticed) He said if someone came out of the ground like that, he’d hit her with a brick. In the end, when I ask them if this is a good movie, they both agree that it is and are glad we watched it first. They’ve both asked Alexa repeatedly to play the soundtrack and their favorite track is Danny Elfman’s song; Remains of the Day. The lessons they both learned from this movie were some solid pieces of advice worth sharing:
It teaches you that love is better than money
It teaches you that bad guys need to die so they can get beat up by ghosts and monsters in the underworld
It’s okay to be afraid and it’s mean to make fun of someone who is scared
Even though “it’s not *REALLY* a Halloween movie, mom” I’ve been told… it’s still spooky, sweet and Tim Burton, so it counts.
All in all, we give it 4 out of 5 pumpkins and 2 harvest moons.
Hocus Pocus, Directed by Kenny Ortega, music by John Denby, Walt Disney Studios
This movie… *sigh*… much to my dismay, was a bad idea. Another one of my personal favorites; Hocus Pocus has silly, fun, sassy witches, spooky songs, a cute boy who turns into a talking cat and a magical, black flame candle. When I was in school my friends and I (there were three of us) each identified ourselves with one of the witches and always wore the color of “our” witch. I was Sarah because her power was hypnotizing people with her voice and I am a singer. What’s not to like?? Well, my children were all too ready to answer that question for me…
The witches are “gross and mean and eat children, mom!!” My daughter gave me a cross gaze when I told her I loved the Sanderson Sisters, especially Sarah. It doesn’t matter if they’re funny or silly and sing nice. They’re horrible and need to be destroyed!! Although, she did love that the big brother got turned into a cat, so I don’t think she minded that bit of black magic… I decided to leave out the fact that I had a crush on that kid for like 5 years after the movie came out.
She watched it with me all the way through and did decide it wasn’t THAT bad. My son, however, did not like it one bit and refused to watch it after about 20 minutes. He checked out after they turned Thackery into a cat then refused to come back out into the living room till it was over. According to him, it’s terrifying, gross, mean and it should never have been made. “What was Disney thinking!?!” …He’s ready to file a complaint.
What they learned from this movie:
Sometimes witches really are terrible and should probably die
People should make sure bad witches are really dead and can’t come back
Mom’s taste in movies isn’t always that great
Sometimes Disney movies aren’t for kids after all
So, while this movie hit some of our “pumpkin points”, neither want to see it again. It was spooky and referenced Halloween, but to them, it was not charming, the song was “terrifying, don’t ever sing it!!” and wasn’t worth the time for the nightmares likely to be produced. Only 2 pumpkins on this one. We’ll try again next year…
Mr Boogedy, Directed by Oz Scott, music by John Addison, Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color
A film right out of the pages of my childhood, Mr Boogedy is one of the best children’s Halloween stories, in my opinion. It’s fast-paced, has some clever jump scares, some eerie moments, a genuinely frightening bad guy and a sweet ending with enough closure to not result in nightmares, but leave it open to keep the spooky feelings going after it’s over. It’s incredibly hard to find unless you’re one of those people willing to pay $50+ for a movie that aired free on television 30 years ago. (I am not one of those people)
Mr Boogedy is another personal favorite that I tried sharing with the children a few years ago and it went horribly wrong and got turned off after the first encounter with Mr Boodedy. That was a few years ago, however, so I tried it again and I’m so glad I did! Both the kids loved it this time, as we watched it while making Halloween gingerbread houses, they giggled, got spooked, hid under the table and laughed when it was all over. The fact that this was a made for TV movie, I think, really helps it to appeal to younger children because it moves so quickly. Also, the fact that there are nice ghosts was a HUGE plus for both of them. They loved that there was someone in need, someone to help… and it was a child and his mother. The also loved that the children in the story are the ones who defeated the bad guy AND saved the good ghosts. It’s a sweet story with a good lesson about bullies and trusting your ability to do the right thing even when it’s difficult and adults don’t want to listen. Music isn’t special or particularly memerable, which is a big factor when it comes to scary movies, in my opinion… but it hit all our other points on the pumpkin meter and they both liked it.
We give it 4 pumpkins and 2 harvest moons!
Stay tuned for next week’s movie reviews where we will talk about even more awesome Halloween movies for kids! If you have any suggestions or favorite picks, I’d love to hear it! Drop a line, reply to this blog or post on the FB page!
Until next time, stay spooky!