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t’s tough not to feel a sense of dread when thinking about trying to entertain on Thanksgiving. Whether you’re going home for the holidays or hosting your family, Hallmark movies or frustrating games of charades seem to be the only recourse. However, FANGORIA wanted to give folks something else to be thankful for: horror movie selections for every relative that might show up to eat and make merry. In addition to carving the turkey, carve out some time to share these selected flicks ensured to be less frightening than hearing Great Uncle Harry’s ‘Nam stories for the fifteenth time.

Zombies, zombies everywhere! Maybe they are just looking for some turkey.

 

Scare the Parents

While most people scare their parents with new tattoos or bad financial decisions, we suggest showing the following films to the people who brought you into this world instead! 

Mom and Dad (2017)

Brian Taylor’s horror comedy about an electronic pulse that makes parents want to murder their kids might be the ultimate horror flick to show your parents. After all, most parents have thought about killing their kids at least once, so the homicidal homemakers in Mom and Dad are ultimately relatable. Then there’s the titular mom and dad, played to perfection by Selma Blair and Nicolas Cage. Cage’s hokey-pokey meltdown alone is guaranteed to give your parents the giggles, and the third-act twist will ensure you get the last laugh. 

Halloween III: The Season of the Witch (1982)

Parents with young children will especially appreciate Halloween III. The film tells the story of Dr. Challis (Tom Atkins), who discovers that toy company Silver Shamrock Novelties is using witchcraft to ensorcel children who watch their commercials for Halloween masks. The children chanting along with the Silver Shamrock jingle are creepy enough, but once they’re all in the masks that ensure their eventual deaths, the parental fear ticks up a notch. Halloween III has attained cult status for a reason, and you’re sure to get cool points for showing your parents the only Halloween flick without the big guy in the Shatner mask. 

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

There’s a little something for every parent in Edgar Wright’s zom-com Shaun of the Dead. The relationship between Shaun (Simon Pegg) and his mom (Penelope Wilton) is sure to win over sentimental parents, while his contentious relationship with his stepfather (Bill Nighy) will win over the more jaded crowd. What’s more, this heartwarming, hilarious horror-comedy features some of the best visual humor in horror history. If your parents don’t laugh during the zombie fight set to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” you might want to check to make sure they’re not zombies. 

Cooties (2014)

Children are already a little bit terrifying, but Cooties makes them into tiny murder machines. After eating infected chicken nuggets, the kids of Fort Chicken Elementary become ravenous zombie-like monsters. Anyone who’s gone through puberty is safe from the virus, but certainly not from the tiny terrors all over the school. Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, and Alison Pill are all at their gut-busting best while they violently decimate kindergarteners. Any parent who helped as a “class mom” or chaperoned a field trip is sure to enjoy this slightly sick slapstick flick. 

Little Monsters (2019)

If zombie kids are just a little too much for your parents, Little Monsters might be the ideal compromise. Featuring the flawless Lupita Nyong’o as a schoolteacher who has to protect her class from a zombie outbreak, Little Monsters is as funny as it is fearsome. Josh Gad is delightfully disturbed as kids show host Teddy McGiggle. While this isn’t exactly a conventional Halloween watch, it’s one that should please even the pickiest parent.

Taissa Farmiga, Nina Dobrev and Thomas Middleditch each express awe in "The Final Girls."

 

Movies for Mom

While motherhood can be a horror story on its own, there are plenty of movies to show Mom that it could have been much, much worse. 

The Final Girls (2015)

There are few horror films one could describe as “sweet,” but The Final Girls fits the bill. This PG-13 slasher comedy has a heart as big as Jason Voorhees and doesn’t have the intense violence associated with the genre. Taissa Farmiga stars as a young woman whose horror actress mother dies in a car accident but comes back into her life when she and her friends literally become trapped in the slasher in which her mother starred. This fourth wall-breaking meta-horror is sentimental and scary and is a great choice for the mom who can’t handle gore. 

Goodnight Mommy (2014)

If your mom is the type who wants to really be scared, Goodnight Mommy is going to fit the bill. Twin boys move with their mother to a remote house after she has plastic surgery. The boys believe the woman beneath the bandages isn't really their mother at all, and things begin to unravel quickly. This dread-filled, deeply disturbing flick is guaranteed to give Mommy the creeps. 

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Pregnancy is its own special form of body horror, but Rosemary’s Baby ups the ante with a satanic cult, gaslighting, and a demonic infant. This horror classic has always been regarded as one of the scariest tales of existing while female for a reason, and Mia Farrow is at the top of her game as the trapped, terrified Rosemary. 

Inside (2007)

Speaking of the horrors of pregnancy, the French take it to new extremes with À l'intérieur, or Inside. After losing her husband in a brutal car crash, Sarah (Alysson Paradis) is forced to go through the rest of her pregnancy alone. The night before her scheduled delivery, a strange woman shows up at her home. The woman wants more than Sarah’s company, however - she wants Sarah’s unborn child. This home-invasion thriller ratchets things up to 11 and never backs down, so make sure your mom can stomach some serious shit before showing her this one. 

Mama (2013)

Not all motherhood horror requires a biological parent connection. In Mama, the aunt and uncle of two little girls adopt them after their father supposedly kills himself in the woods. The girls have become feral and refer to a protective figure they call “Mama.” Adoption of any kind can be fraught with anxieties, but the vengeful spirit protecting these girls makes this adoption story extra frightening.

A man, his car and just a little death.

 

Devious Dad Flicks

Dads can be especially tough customers when it comes to horror flicks because they’re often the villain or butt of the joke. Here are our picks for even the most disinterested dads. 

The Guest (2014)

After losing their eldest son and brother, Caleb, to the war in Afghanistan, the Peterson family has a gaping hole. Handsome stranger David (Dan Stevens) shows up on their doorstep and seems to be the cure for their loss. David claims to have known Caleb and is trying to do right by his dead friend by taking care of his family in his absence. David isn’t as sweet as he seems, however, and the Peterson family will never be the same. The Guest is slick, stylish, and self-aware, making it the perfect pick for a finicky father. 

Dead Snow (2009)

Two words: Nazi zombies. Find me a dad who doesn’t find the idea of killing Nazi zombies fun and funny, and I’ll find you an Ari Aster movie that doesn’t require therapy afterward. When a group of friends discover Nazi gold and accidentally raise the dead, all hell breaks loose in a glorious rain of blood and guts. Dead Snow is a brilliant Norwegian horror-comedy flick with both big laughs and great gore. 

Rear Window (1954)

Dads love the classics, and you can’t get more classic than Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Arguably Hitchcock’s best film, this tale of a wheelchair-bound photographer (James Stewart) is both creepy and easy to identify with. After all, who hasn’t spied on the neighbors when things seemed a little salacious behind their curtains? Stewart puts in one of his career-best performances, and Grace Kelly is sure to delight dads as his socialite girlfriend. 

Death Proof (2007)

Death Proof is the ultimate dad horror movie because it has it all. Muscle cars? Check. Gorgeous, scantily clad women? Check. A killer vintage soundtrack? Check. Kurt Russell? Check! This Tarantino flick about a slasher (Russell) who uses cars as his weapon of choice is sure to delight even the most horror-averse of fathers. The final car chase is one of the greatest ever committed to celluloid, and a last-minute subversion of tropes is sure to entertain. 

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 is a horror movie about solidarity between enemies in times of crisis - the perfect allegory for surviving Thanksgiving! After police kill members of a local gang, the gang swears revenge on the cops by attacking the decrepit Precinct 13 police station. The staff of the closing police station and criminals being held there must band together to survive the onslaught. This stylish re-imagining of the John Wayne classic Rio Bravo is sure to help you and Dad bond and stand against your more troublesome relatives.

Whose family is this? Is it "Us," or is it them? Discuss.

Cinema for the Conspiracy Theorist

Everyone has the relative obsessed with “ancient astronauts,” government cover-ups, and shady websites that peddle both their version of the truth and bogus health supplements. The following films are guaranteed to keep them up at night. 

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Paranoia is the primary motivator for conspiracy theorists, and few films prey on paranoia as well as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Tobe Hooper’s low-budget horror flick about a road-tripping family captured by cannibals derives most of its scares from what you don’t see. Hooper attempted to secure a PG rating by hiding most of the film’s extreme violence, which gives the entire movie a pervasive feeling of dread. 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Imagine that the people you love could be replaced by pod-people. That’s the premise of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which is a remake of the 1956 film of the same name. The remake is considered one of the best of all time, and features a stacked cast including Leonard Nimoy, Donald Sutherland, and Jeff Goldblum. This concept of aliens (or robots, etc.) that replace the ones we love without us even knowing has become a major sci-fi trope and is catnip for conspiracy theorists. 

Us (2019)

The only thing scarier than invaders who look like our loved ones are invaders that look exactly like us. That’s the premise of Jordan Peele’s Us, about a family besieged by doppelgangers of themselves. Their origin is a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream, complete with psychological imprinting based upon a Coca-Cola commercial. Us has moments of twisted humor that make the intense moments that much more haunting. For the conspiracy theorist who likes their theories a little more complex, Us is a fantastic fit. 

Pontypool (2008)

Conspiracy fans are well aware of the power of words, and Pontypool delivers upon that concept in spades. A shock-jock radio host (Stephen McHattie) is shocked himself when a woman barges into his station repeating the word “blood” over and over. The traffic reporter rings in shortly after to inform them of a deadly riot downtown. No one’s quite sure what’s happening but speaking aloud seems to have something to do with the random murderous rampage. Pontypool is an exercise in paranoia and the capacity language has to cause complete mayhem. 

They Live (1988)

John Carpenter’s They Live combines all of the conspiracy theory tropes into an hour-and-a-half journey into psychosis. The rich and powerful are an alien race who have infiltrated humanity. Subliminal messages in advertising and the media keep the populace doing what the aliens want. Humans have become chattel for the aliens, and only a handful of individuals can see what they’re really up to. While They Live has come under some criticism for its acting and relative cheesiness, it’s a cult classic certain to be enjoyed by someone who enjoys finding evil in the mundane.

Whatever "Star Wars" ... we attacked John Boyega first.

 

Keep a Hyperactive Youngster’s Attention

We all know the Fortnite generation isn’t great at paying attention for too long, but these hyperactive horror films are sure to keep them interested! 

Creepshow (1982)

While most Zoomers aren’t thrilled with anything made before they were born, Creepshow is sure to delight. The anthology style of the film means that if kids get bored with one story, the next is sure to pique their interest. Stephen King, who both penned the screenplay and appears in the film, is seeing a resurgence in TV and cinema that appeals to youngsters, including the recently released It films. Creepshow is a great introduction into ‘80s horror and anthology storytelling, and kids who love it will have more to love with Shudder’s Creepshow series! 

Attack the Block (2011)

Appealing to young folks sometimes just means having young folks as the protagonists. Attack the Block features Star Wars hero John Boyega as the leader of a teenage gang in urban London. Along with a young nurse (Jodie Whittaker), the gang must survive the onslaught of alien invasion. The term “turf war” gets taken to a whole new level in this high-energy, high-intensity sci-fi horror. 

Assassination Nation (2018)

This flick starts by skewering trigger warnings and never lets up on its mile-a-minute takedown of fake woke culture. Assassination Nation is a true 21st-century horror story. Four teenage girls become local pariahs after the town’s secrets are released on social media. The violence escalates quickly, and Assassination Nation becomes a meta-narrative on memes, misogyny, and how our lives are shaped by what happens online. 

Feast (2005)

Speaking of meta, you can’t get more self-aware than John Gulager’s Feast. None of the characters are given names but are instead introduced by their role in the story. There’s Boss Man, Drunk Girl, Harley Guy, and a slew of other one-note trope characters intended to be nothing more than fodder for slaughter. Jason Mewes of Jay and Silent Bob fame stands out as Edgy Cat and provides extra humor in this already fiercely funny flick. The plot’s a pretty basic monster-movie survival story, but the dialogue makes up for the basic story. Feast is extremely violent, but the cartoony nature of the gore and meta-commentary on horror tropes takes away a bit of its bite. 

Braindead/Dead Alive (1992)

Peter Jackson is best known for his The Lord of the Rings movies, but his magnum opus of the odious is Braindead (released as Dead Alive in North America). Braindead is the ultimate in gross-out horror, with cartoonish characters doing disgusting deeds. After a Sumatran rat-monkey bites a woman and infects her with a zombie-like plague, her son must kill her and everyone she’s infected in increasingly gruesome ways. Braindead features a priest who kicks ass for the Lord, a baby in a blender, and death by lawnmower. What’s not to love?

John Carroll Lynch, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman, Logan Marshall-Green, and Emayatzy Corinealdi in "The Invitation." (Photo courtesy of imdb.com)

 

Impress Someone’s Haughty Date

If your family’s anything like ours, someone always brings a date that thinks they’re too good for the family shenanigans. The following films will either freak them out or have them join in with the rest of the freaks. 

The Invitation (2016)

Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation is the ultimate in social anxiety horror. A young woman (Emayatzy Corinealdi) is invited with her new boyfriend (Logan Marshall-Green) to a dinner party at his ex-wife’s house. Meeting your new beau’s ex-wife on her turf is stressful enough, but there’s something deeply sinister about this dinner party. The Invitation is a slow-burn certain to make your guest feel a bit better about your family while showing them that it could be so much worse. 

You’re Next (2011)

While The Invitation shows one side of the social horrors of dinner parties, You’re Next goes a very different route. Protagonist Erin (Sharni Vinson) joins her boyfriend (A. J. Bowen) for a family dinner party at his parents’ remote mansion. Like all familial gatherings, tensions rise, but these become deadly when murderers in animal masks interrupt dinner. There are ample twists and turns in this take on Agatha Christie novels and home-invasion horror, making it a true thrill ride. 

Suspiria (1977)

Sometimes all it takes to impress a snob is something European, avant-garde, and from the 1970s. Dario Argento’s Suspiria nails all three. The stunning visuals are impressive enough, but Goblin’s score indulges the senses as well. Suspiria takes place in an elite German ballet school, where a fresh-faced American student (Jessica Harper) feels increasingly isolated after a gruesome series of murders. As one of the final films shot on Technicolor, Suspiria’s visuals are the stuff of cinematic legend. 

The House of the Devil (2009)

Much like Suspiria, Ti West’s The House of the Devil is an exercise in style over substance. This ode to ‘70s and ‘80s slashers is aesthetic gold: Every shot feels steeped in nostalgia without appearing like a cheap copy. The movie was shot on 16mm and features a number of techniques used by horror directors of these decades. The story is a simple one about a woman who accepts a suspicious babysitting job in the middle of nowhere, but the dedication to honoring filmmaking techniques of the past is what makes The House of the Devil truly shine.  

The Witch (2015)

Robert Eggers’ The Witch isn’t for everyone. There are long stretches without dialogue or action, everyone speaks in 16th-century English dialect, and the colors are all but drained from the film. For someone who thinks they’ve seen every kind of art horror, however, The Witch has a world of dread to offer. While everyone’s acting is excellent, it’s Anya Taylor-Joy who truly shines as Thomasin, the eldest daughter of a Puritan family banished from their village. A tale about patriarchy, family, and temptation, The Witch tempts any who watch it to live a bit more deliciously.

Katherine Isabelle is ch-ch-changing in "Ginger Snaps."

 

Entertain the Angsty Teen

Like, ugh. There is no one more challenging to get through to than the angsty teen. Thankfully, there are plenty of flicks tailored to trick and treat a testy teen. 

Scream (1996)

Wes Craven’s Scream was a gigantic hit in 1996 because of its skewering of slasher tropes, and it still feels relevant today. While some of the “teenagers” are clearly played by people in their mid-20s, Scream’s self-aware script and big stars made it more than the average slasher-by-numbers. After a masked killer murders her mother and begins torturing her friends with strange phone calls, Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) tries to unravel the mystery of the “Ghostface” killer. Ghostface became instantly iconic and spawned copycats and parody, including in the Scary Movie spoof films. Scream is a seminal slasher tailored for teens. 

Tragedy Girls (2017)

While there are plenty of teenage girls getting killed in horror history, there aren’t many who truly turn the tables. Thankfully, there’s Tragedy Girls, a razor-sharp satire of social media and just how far teens will go to get a few likes. McKayla (Alexandra Shipp) and Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand) are the titular Tragedy Girls. They secretly kill locals in their small town and then capitalize on the outpouring of grief and attention to further their YouTube channel. Shipp and Hildebrand have marvelous onscreen chemistry, giving the film a layer of authenticity. For any teen who’s a little too plugged in to appreciate something like Heathers, Tragedy Girls is a wicked horror-comedy with plenty to tweet about. 

May (2002)

Both of the aforementioned films rely on the primary character’s friendships to create tension. Some solitary teens might feel left out by their narratives, but Lucky McKee’s May is a disturbing antidote. May (Angela Bettis) is a lonely young woman whose best friend is a doll she keeps behind a glass case. As May tries to make friends and find love, she discovers that the world is much crueler than even her troubled childhood. May is a fascinating character because she is both monster and victim, and her tragic story will strike a chord with many teens. 

Ginger Snaps (2000)

The cult Canadian werewolf classic Ginger Snaps is both a deft allegory for puberty and a funny, scary look at just how nasty teenage girls can be. Sisters Brigitte (Emily Perkins) and Ginger (Katherine Isabelle) are goth girls obsessed with death; they even have a suicide pact. When Ginger is attacked one night and starts changing in ways no one warned her about in health class, Brigitte realizes her sister might be a werewolf. The film launched Isabelle’s career, and she’s gone on to be a horror icon worthy of teenage goth admiration. 

American Mary (2012)

Twelve years after Ginger Snaps, Katherine Isabelle starred in another cult Canadian horror flick, this time directed by the Soska sisters. American Mary is the story of a college student (Isabelle) who longs to be a surgeon. Desperate to find a way to pay for her schooling, she finds work doing unsavory surgeries in the basement of a local strip club. American Mary is a true anti-heroine story with some pretty satisfying sequences of revenge.

Nicolas Cage, on the job in "Mandy."

 

Surprise the Stoner

If you have a relative who loves the jazz cabbage, these flicks are perfect for a puff pass picture show. 

Mandy (2018)

Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy is a crazed drug-trip of a movie. While the first half is sure to incite some serious paranoia and possibly freak a stoner out a little, the second half is pure audiovisual delight. This isn’t a film where the story or dialogue require much attention, and the lush visuals and moments of sheer insanity will feel like the craziest thing your stoner relative has ever seen. This is the second film with a Nic Cage freak-out on the list, but it’s the massive chainsaw battle near the end of the movie that cements Mandy’s place in pothead paradise. 

Freddy vs Jason (2003)

The final film appearance of Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger is a hilarious hot mess that crosses the worlds of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. Krueger is having trouble haunting the minds of local residents, so he raises Jason Voorhees (Ken Kirzinger) from the dead to do his bidding. This goes about as well as you’d expect, with Freddy and Jason battling it out in increasingly ridiculous scenarios. Englund is clearly having a blast, and it’s hard not to laugh along with him. 

The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

The Cabin in the Woods hosts one of horror’s greatest stoner heroes in Fran Kranz’s Marty. Marty is Shaggy from Scooby Doo with surprising intelligence, and his rise to heroism is refreshing. What’s more, this meta horror-comedy is smartly written by big horror nerds Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. There’s a number of absurdly funny moments, and the action horror sequences are full of their own slapstick horror. The less someone knows about The Cabin in the Woods going in, the better. 

Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Technically a pseudo-sequel to Night of the Living Dead, Dan O’Bannon’s Return of the Living Dead is a punk-rock horror comedy that first gave us the concept of zombies hungering for human brains. Return of the Living Dead takes place in a warehouse and the neighboring funeral parlor on one horrible night when the dead come to life. The bumbling actions of the lead characters ultimately lead to catastrophe, but it’s hard not to laugh at their antics. Return of the Living Dead has become a cult classic because of its sick humor, half-naked performers, and one hell of a punk soundtrack. 

Idle Hands (1999)

There might be no greater stoner horror comedy than Idle Hands. Anton (Devon Sawa) is a lazy stoner who would rather watch cartoons than go to class. His hand becomes possessed by a demonic entity, killing anyone who gets too close. The film’s gross-out gags and how-high humor are balanced well by the cast, which includes Seth Green, Jessica Alba,  Elden Henson, and Vivica A. Fox. This is a movie where someone is killed with a giant bong made in shop class, but it never feels like it’s looking down on its stoner characters.

Amelia Kinkade is caught dying on the job in "Night of the Demons."

 

Revolt the Religious Relative

For Great Aunt Biddy who is obsessed with the bible, horror movies might seem like an impossible sell. Religious horror is its own delightful subgenre, however, and there are plenty of flicks that you can enjoy together, even if she’s going to cross herself a few times. 

Signs (2002)

While Signs is ultimately a story about alien invasion, it’s former preacher Graham’s (Mel Gibson) crisis of faith that drives the narrative of the film. Graham lost his wife and faith in God after a tragic car accident. It’s only after experiencing some extraterrestrial events that he begins to question the nature of the universe again, bringing him full circle in his faith. Signs is a surprisingly deep look into spirituality and suffering. 

Red State (2011)

If your relatives are especially devout, Red State might be a little too much. For the more open-minded religious relative, however, this look at how faith can go to extremes is one helluva horror story. Based loosely on the tragic events at a religious cult compound in Waco, Texas, Red State is a warning about the dangers of belief. Michael Parks is terrifying as Pastor Abin Cooper, and he meets his match in John Goodman as an ATF Special Agent. Few films end as rapturously as this one. 

The Exorcist (1973)

Demonic possession is a big source of fear in certain Christian denominations, and The Exorcist plays on those fears nicely. Directed by William Friedkin and penned by the novel’s author, William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist is one of the scariest religious horror films of all time. Young Regan (Linda Blair) becomes possessed by the demon Pazuzu. Her body contorts, she screams profanities, and there’s an infamous scene with a crucifix that might get you banned from Thanksgiving forever. The only thing standing between Regan and eternal damnation is two priests who seem to be in over their heads. Every performance in The Exorcist is exhilarating, as long as your relatives don’t try to exorcise you afterward. 

The Omen (1976)

Perhaps the only thing scarier than your child being possessed by a demon is your child being the devil himself. That’s the premise of The Omen, in which the antichrist is switched at birth with the son of an American ambassador and his wife. Young Damien’s parents begin to suspect that something isn’t quite right when the boy’s nanny hangs herself during his fifth birthday party. The Omen is a meditation on the nature of true evil and just how innocent it can seem. 

Night of the Demons (1988)

Night of the Demons is a fictional confirmation of Christian urban legends about teens trying to summon demonic forces. A group of teens go to an abandoned funeral parlor on Halloween night to perform a seance. One by one they are possessed by demons, forcing them to do increasingly horrible acts. For the relative that enjoys watching the wicked get their just desserts, Night of the Demons is a wonderful exercise in schadenfreude.

 

Michael Keaton is a snazzy dresser. Just don't say his name three times.

 

Have a Ball of Fun with Pretty Much Everyone

Once everyone’s full of turkey and fighting off a tryptophan-induced coma, put on one of these (mostly) family friendly flicks guaranteed to keep everyone laughing, screaming, and having a horrifically good time. 

Beetlejuice (1988)

In terms of family friendly fare, Beetlejuice is about as good as it gets. There’s a bit of swearing and some minimal violence, but this PG-rated horror comedy is pretty tame by today’s standards. A deceased couple is trapped in their home when a new family moves in, and they essentially become haunted by the living. There’s plenty of humor for kids and adults alike, and Michael Keaton as the titular ghost with the most is an absolute blast to watch. Danny Elfman’s score is one of his best, and the cast is full of all-time greats including Catherine O’Hara, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Winona Ryder. 

Gremlins (1984)

Joe Dante’s Gremlins has become the stuff of legend, inspiring a multitude of copycats and spoofs that exist to this day. The film is pure Amblin goodness, though some of the depictions of violence earned criticism from parents. (The film’s PG rating was considered too light, and the PG-13 rating was created shortly after its release.) The titular gremlins are actually mogwai, tiny furry critters that are cute and fun unless you happen to feed them after midnight. Break that rule, and they turn into little monsters that destroy anything and everything within their reach. Kids will love the mogwai, parents will delight in the film’s clever storytelling. It’s a win-win, as long as your kid doesn’t expect a mogwai for Christmas. 

The Frighteners (1996)

While The Frighteners isn’t exactly family friendly because of some vulgar language and intense violence, it is a delight for all. Michael J. Fox stars as Frank Bannister, a talented architect who gives up on his dreams after losing his wife in a car accident. The same accident injures Frank and gives him the ability to communicate with the dead. He eventually decides to put his newfound talents to good use, enlisting the help of some friendly spirits to help him finish his dream home. When the Grim Reaper shows up, however, these friendly ghosts have to help Frank do a lot more than repaint the hallway. The Frighteners is another of Peter Jackson’s classic horror comedies, though this one is significantly less disgusting than Braindead. 

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)

Horror comedies are ideal for introducing folks to horror, and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is one of the best for that purpose. This sweet and silly satire of killer redneck stories, such as Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, has a giant heart and gruesome gore. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine star as the titular Tucker and Dale, two hard-working hillbillies excited about vacationing in Tucker’s new fishing cabin. There they encounter a group of rambunctious 20-somethings who imagine the hillbillies are out to kill them. After Tucker and Dale rescue one of the partiers from drowning, the movie turns into a comedy of errors as the kids accidentally kill themselves one by one. Featuring great gore gags, a lot of sweet-natured humor, and two of the most likable hillbillies in all of horror, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is sure to win over even the grumpiest Thanksgiving guest. 

Evil Dead II (1987)

There’s something for everyone in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II. This sequel/reimagining of Raimi’s The Evil Dead (1981) is sure to delight audiences of all ages, as long as they have a funny bone. Taking cues from the slapstick humor of the Three Stooges, Evil Dead II is pure sadistic fun. Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) is back once more to fight the Deadites unleashed by reading aloud from the book of the dead. This time the budget is higher, the special effects are even more insane, and Raimi embraces the sillier side of things. Evil Dead II is pure camp and it revels in that campiness, which makes it a side-splitting, goo-spewing great time.