Kids Horror Movies

Are you a parent looking for horror movies to show your kids? Are you a kid with an appetite for scariness? Then perhaps you’d enjoy this informative list of creepy horror flicks for kids to teens.

And no namby-pamby G-rated stuff like Scooby Doo. These are films that could scare a grown adult. 

Courage the Cowardly Dog

A pretty frightening 90s Cartoon Network show, Courage the Cowardly Dog is a pretty funny show that has some pretty impressive scares and excellent creativity. Unlike most of the other items on this list, Courage’s episodes have good morals, and luckily they aren’t heavy handed. The colorful visuals are ideal for kids who have grown out of Scooby Doo but aren’t ready for more heavy-handed fare like Poltergeist. The show inventively combines claymation, CGI, and traditional animation styles for an always entertaining multimedia experience.

Ghostbusters

A great entry point. Ghostbusters is a gateway film into horror, as its primarily a comedy with heavy horror elements at times. In particular, the cab driver and the hands emerging from the ground come to mind as the most frightening. These scenes have given children of the 80s and onward a strange feeling of exhilarating fear combined with happiness that manifested into a love of horror.

Gremlins

A similar film to Ghostbusters in that it expertly combines comedy and horror effectively. In this case, however, it focuses more on horror than comedy, with smoke machines and gooey creatures aplenty. Gremlins is a charming romp, but it also has some social commentary on capitalism, apparently. I never picked up on that, but at least that’s what this strangely in depth analysis says. Produced by Stephen Spielberg and directed by Joe Dante, it has Dante’s trademark love of zany comedy, along with Spielberg’s more emotional and syrupy tendencies. The movies best strength is combining both in a delicious horror comedy stew.

The Gate

I’ve already talked about this one in my article about Underrated Horror Movies, so if you’d like to know about this little-seen gem you can read it here, but here’s what I said about its kid-friendly aspects:

The film is PG-13, and is considered part of the “kid horror” of the late ’80s, along with Monster Squad and Gremlins. But for a supposed family-friendly movie, it’s pretty violent and intense in places. Glen grows an eye on his hand after an encounter with a beast, which is a fantastic visual and then stabs the eye on his own hand with a shard of glass.

Coraline

This is one that scarred many kids my age when they were young. It was animated using clay, giving it a strange, otherworldly feel. Personally, I think this animation style elevates the film to a whole other level. It gives it a surreal, handmade charm. Images such as the Other Mother, the cockroach furniture, and the unnerving button eyes of the characters are ingrained into the memory of many kids, including me. While I was slightly older than most when I first saw the movie, it nonetheless freaked me out.

Poltergeist

The holy grail of kid-friendly horror. This classic is yet another Stephen Spielberg produced joint, but it has much rawer scares than Gremlins, including a pretty gory face-tearing scene. Poltergeist is the rare horror classic that is suitable for kids as well, being directed by genre king Tobe Hooper and all. It’s really a must-see for both fans and beginners in the horror genre.

So these are the must-see horror movies and shows for kids. Whether you’re young or old, these are the rare movies that can be enjoyed by every age group.