Halloween: at what age can my child watch horror movies?

Halloween and its very special atmosphere are about to begin: autumn dresses the leaves of the trees in an almost blood orange, children and adults dress up, sweets are distributed and we joyfully indulge in scary film sessions. ! It is not necessarily easy to remember his first horror film watched during our youth. For me, it’s about Alien, the eighth passenger. I was 8 years old. Suffice to say, at this age, such a work does not leave you indifferent and leaves an indelible imprint to such an extent that I have not been able to look at other horror films before I was 18-19. In contrast, Alien being a classic of cinema, this episode of my life participated in forging my cinephilia so dear to my eyes today. And for that I thank my parents.

Of course, there is no question here of suggesting that parents show horror movies traumatic to their young children but to make the thrill accessible to them so that they can experience a Halloween worthy of the name!

What is a horror movie?

Belonging to the notion of “genre cinema”, namely a feature film attached to a cinematographic genre, horror cinema aims to provide a feeling of fear or anxiety to the public. Moreover, the horror film does not date from yesterday since we have to go back to the dawn of the 20th century to find the first traces of it, which we owe to the filmmaker and illusionist Georges Méliès with his “Devil’s Mansion” released in 1896. Over time, from the 1920s, it was the Germans and their expressionist current who developed horror cinema with two works considered by specialists as pioneers of the genre: The Cabinet of Doctor Cagilari (1920) by Robert Vienna and Nosferatu the Vampire (1922) by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. In the United States, horror cinema came to life in the early 1930s with the production of three films: “Dracula” by Tod Browning whose interpretation of the Hungarian-American Béla Lugosi remains one of the most famous of the Carpathian vampire, “Frankenstein” by James Whale and finally “Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde” by Rouben Mamoulian.

From then on, horror cinema was to be a resounding success with spectators. In the 60s, a certain Alfred Hitchcock will breathe new life into the thrill with the release of Psychosis marked by the mythical shower scene, entry into the Pantheon of the most cult scenes of the Seventh Art. Since then, the genre has never ceased to evolve since, at the end of the 1970s, subgenres like the zombie movie at the initiative of George Romero as well as the slashers which depict a psychopathic serial killer methodically killing his victims, often teenagers. Its golden age is in the 70-80s with films like “Chainsaw Massacre” by Tobe Hooper, “The Night of the Masks“by John Carpenter,”Friday 13” by Sean S. Cunningham, The Claws of the Night or Scream by Wes Craven.

Today, a myriad of horror movies hit theaters. The latest, Boop by Jordan Peele director of get-out and Us which has the will to restore the image of horror cinema largely massacred by works of very variable quality.

At what age should I show my child a horror film?

But then you are certainly saying to yourself: “My child will never see such films, I risk traumatizing him!” Admittedly, horror films are at least prohibited for children under 12 and can go as far as a ban for children under 16. As a general rule, these recommendations should be followed because the films concerned are generally much too violent and do not especially target children. However, remember that each child is different and more or less sensitive than others.

On the other hand, if you do not want to tempt fate by exposing the child to violence, you can always introduce him to genre cinema with many feature films using the codes of horror while being adapted to their young age. Because yes, children also have the right to shiver on Halloween night!

Take for example the filmography of Tim Burton characterized by a dark and gothic aesthetic. The plot unfolds in a macabre and gloomy atmosphere in which monsters or beings with strange physique parade around. However, many of his films can be seen without problem by children aged between 8 and 10 years old. like “Beetlejuice”Edward ScissorhandsMars Attack !” or “Funeral rites”.

What Halloween movies to show my child?

For the little ones, aged between 5 and 8, there are also ideal Halloween movies with monsters of all kinds. Here is a selection:

The beauty and the Beast (1946)

Yes, your child has probably already seen the classic Disney animation released in 1991. But why not introduce him to this masterpiece of the seventh art that is the version of Jean Cocteau sublimated by the unforgettable performance of Jean Swamp ? Admittedly, it’s another era but that doesn’t mean that the quality is lower, on the contrary. Jean Cocteau manages here to transcribe all the poetry and majesty of the tale of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont published in 1756.

The Addams Family (1991)

Classic of the 90s. The film retraces the life of the Addams family, evicted from their dismal mansion and who will do everything to recover it from the hands of Uncle Fetid!

The strange Christmas of Mr. Jack (1993)

“This is Halloween, this is Halloween!”. A catchy credits, unsightly creatures, monsters everywhere, welcome to Halloween town! From a universe imagined by Tim Burton, Henry Selick tells the adventures of Jack Skellington, tired of the annual routine that is the Halloween party. He then decides to take a step back by walking in the forest. And there, he discovers the town of Christmas. From there, he has a bright idea… But then is it a Christmas or Halloween film? You choose !

Hocus Pocus: The Three Witches (1993)

In another 90s classic, Hocus Pocus tells the story of a family moving to Salem. Halloween night, Max, the son, is forced to accompany his little sister who has gone to collect candies. It is then that a macabre event occurs. During their round, they find themselves in the old house of the three Sanderson sisters, killed by hanging three centuries earlier. It was without counting on their return from the dead…

Spirited away (2001)

We are now heading for the Land of the Rising Sun. If in the West, Disney has amazed the eyes of our children with its animated films, Japan and its Ghibli studios are not to be outdone by offering us wonderful animated feature films of a beauty and an almost incomparable. Among his key works, Spirited away by master Hayao Miyazaki. Chihiro, a ten-year-old girl, accompanies her parents to their new home. But their itinerary is somewhat changed when the family finds themselves in a mysterious abandoned amusement park, with a rather mysterious atmosphere…

Monsters and Co. (2001)

A masterpiece from Pixar studios, Monsters and Co. tells the adventures of Bob Razowski and Sully, monsters who learn to become evil. Problem, the creatures don’t scare anyone anymore…

monster house (2006)

Released in 2006 starring Gil Kenan, a group of friends try to convince the neighborhood that an abandoned house is in fact a monster. The objective of the young boys is simple: to destroy the house before it attacks the residents of the district and in particular the children.

Coraline (2009)

In 2009, Henry Selick adapted Coraline, novel by Neil Gaiman published in 2022. And one thing is certain, this film disturbs or will disturb more than one child. Like an Alice in Wonderland, the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas immerses us in the universe of Coraline who, while exploring her new house, discovers a parallel world there which seems more attractive than her own. . An ideal alternative world that quickly turns into a nightmare for the little girl…

Halloween: at what age can my child watch horror movies?