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.

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