15 decidedly scary films without R-rated content

'House on Haunted Hill' (1959) Next » 1 of 15 « Prev
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The premise is classic: a rich man offers a group of people money if they stay overnight in a supposedly haunted house. “House on Haunted Hill” is directed by William Castle, known for his outlandish gimmicks to get people to see his movies. (Director Joe Dante, in an interview with DVD Savant, mentioned Castle as the basis for the huckster character John Goodman played in “Matinee”). Castle was infamous for hiding buzzers in seats and passing out glasses that revealed hidden images in the movies. Gimmicks aside, the moments of shock and surprise in this film, along with the hammy but effective Vincent Price, make it worthwhile Halloween viewing.

Rating: Unrated

Age recommendation: Some relationship themes in the film make it better viewing for ages 12 and older.
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metamora, IL

The Changeling with George C Scott should also be on this list,

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

What another lame list. Plenty of great Vincent Price flicks and the scariest movie of them all might be Poltergeist. I think that is rated PG.

West Jordan, UT

This list was mostly lame.

The Solution
Dayton, OH

Watcher in the Woods is another excellent Disney scarer. When I was a kid, it really scared me. Years later I watched it with a group of friends, and it didn't have the same effect.

St Louis, MO

I'm sorry, but "Nimh" and "The Black Cauldron" are not going to scare any but the most fragile kids above, say, 8. Kids can take . . and enjoy . . more than many parents think they can. I instilled a love of scary movies in my kids early on, and they can't get enough. I have to actually hold them back, as the creepier the cover on DVD or Netflix, the more they want to see it.

Major thumbs up to metamoracoug . . "The Changeling" is an outstanding haunted-house story that holds up well. "The Others" has become a favorite of all my kids since they turned 8 and is exceptionally well-made and acted. "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" is a solid newer one. Ignore the ludicrous R-rating the MPAA slapped on it; it's about the softest R you'll ever find.

If you don't mind subtitles, "A Tale of Two Sisters" is a creepy yet inoffensive Korean film. It takes some twists and turns, but my daughter loved it at 10 years old.

Ames, IA

Where is Poltergeist? It's one of the scariest movies ever made, and it's only PG, though, the movie was made before the PG-13 rating was created, for movies just like it. Also, Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom and Gremlins should be solidly on this list.

Sandy, UT

The Ring - PG13 They were good

Kaysville, UT

This list is really lame. "Wait Until Dark" is probably the best movie on the this list.

The Ring
The Ring 2
1408 - Awesome
The Fog (2005)
Rose Red

Glendale, AZ

Thanks for the list. It gave me a few ideas for my watchlist.

Glendale, AZ

Unfortunately, neither Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Redbox have any of the titles that I want to watch. For those wanting to watch "House on Haunted Hill," it is available to watch for free online at the legal website, "Black and White Movies." Just do a search for it and you'll find it. The only other option is to buy some of these movies.

Phoenix, AZ

I completely agree with the choices of The Lady in Black and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Many of the rest left me scratching my head.

Where is The Others with Nicole Kidman? A good, old-fashioned ghost story that creeped the heck out of me!

And I second Mightyhunterhaha's recommendation of Rose Red. A great mini-series by Stephen King, it scared me the very first night before the characters had even made it to the house!

Bruce A. Frank
San Jose, CA

I do not understand the desire to scare oneself with such images that tend to persist in one's brain. Years ago while living in SLC and attending the U, I was enthusiastically involved in backpacking the High Unitas and spelunking. I concluded early in those adventures that I did not need the evocation of such horror scenes knocking around in my head caused by the howl of a distant wolf (yes,they were there then and still persist in the Moab area today) or the unexplained "thump" in a deep dark cavern.

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