Binge Watch: Animated Scares


My Mama Coco loved “Coco” – People's World

Halloween is right around the corner, taking place next Saturday in fact. And you might be looking for something to fill that time. In the first of two weeks of looking at spooky stories, I’m turning my attention to some animated films that are right for the season.

Animated films aren’t my favorite, but there are a few beauties that people think of this time of year. In fact, one of these I got to check out in theaters again last week. So, if you’re looking for some more family-friendly fare, here’s a few suggestions.

Modern Additions

The Addams Family (2019)
About: Stories of the family that’s mysterious and spooky have been around for years. It’s been on the small screen and in different live action films. Last year, an animated film was made, one with an all-star cast. I think the film was pretty much as expected, with some fun moments and decent performances. It works as a spooky, family-friendly film during this season, but little more.

Rating: 2 out of 4.

The Hotel Transylvania (2012)
About:
This one kicked off a film franchise that has three entries so far. It stars Adam Sandler as Count Dracula, who runs a hotel getaway for ghouls and goblins. All that’s threatened when a human, stumbles upon them, a human voiced by Andy Samberg no less. Hilarity ensues, and this one mostly works and is good fun. I liked the sequels OK, too. But this first one is where you should start.

Rating: 2 out of 4.

Tim Burton Entries

Corpse Bride (2005)
About:
Burton has long been known as a master of creepy and interesting visuals. He’s also delivered a couple animated films that tell horror tales, the first of which was Corpse Bride, which features the voices of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. This one has an interesting story and look, which is partially why it was nominated for Best Animated Feature. Like many Burton stories, this one’s also a little weird.

Rating: 2 out of 4.

Frankenweenie (2012)
About:
This is Burton’s second animated adventure, featuring a similar style as Corpse Bride but with black-and-white. This one is about a little boy’s dog who died and the experiment he undertakes to bring him back to life. This isn’t as good or as interesting as his other film, but if you like the Burton style and want a more kid-friendly take, these animated films give you just that.

Rating: 2 out of 4.

Classic Offerings

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
About:
This is often confused as a Tim Burton film, and while he worked on the screenplay and story, he didn’t direct this one. Henry Selick directed this one and it’s become a multi-seasonal classic. If you’re like my wife and like to move straight from Halloween to Christmas, this one’s a great bridge. That’s in part why Disneyland transforms the Haunted Mansion into a Nightmare Before Christmas ride during the holidays. This has some classic music and sequences, and it’s a bit of holiday fun.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
About
: There is never a bad time for Charlie Brown stories, and I love their holiday specials. This is probably the second best of the season specials, and centers on Linus and his devotion to the concept of The Great Pumpkin. This is a delightful Halloween-themed special, and one that I make a point to watch each year, whether on its annual showing on ABC or on my DVD. It’s a can’t miss.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Pixar

Coco (2017)
About:
Pixar is the gold standard in animation, and Coco is one of their best. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and highlights a different cultural celebration, Day of the Dead. This one has some great music and some incredible visuals, and also celebrates a unique aspect of the season. For those that enjoy the medium of animated films, this feels like the Gold Standard for the Halloween season.

Rating: 4 out of 4.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.

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