Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
Rated: Not rated Year: 1948 Cast: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello
It's a monster mash when Abbott and Costello meet Count Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman. The hapless duo are baggage handlers who encounter more than one classic screen monster in McDougal's House of Horrors and become part of a plot to give Frankenstein a new and feebler brain -- Costello's.
What Parents Like: Look for vintage performances from Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Glenn Strange, and the voice of Vincent Price as the Invisible Man.
What Kids Like: It's fun to see a grown man cry. Kids will relate to the hysteric antics of scaredy-cat Costello: "ABBOTT!"
The Addams Family, Addams Family Values
Rated: PG-13 Year: 1991, 1993 Cast: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci
Sure they wear black and revel in tragedy and death, but the Addamses are a creative, loving, and protective family. They also are affectionate. As the new nanny says, "I just adore little babies. I want to grab them and squeeze them until there's not a breath left in their tiny little bodies."
What Parents Like: Huston is wickedly delicious as Morticia, the slinky and elegant matriarch. When she gives birth, she enjoys the pain.
What Kids Like: As Wednesday, Ricci is a droll moppet, especially when she wonders aloud if Girl Scout cookies are made from real Scouts.
Animaniacs: Spooky Stuff
Rated: Not rated Year: 1993 Cast: Voices of Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Tress MacNeille
Inkblot sibs Wakko, Yakko, and Dot run amok in six skits featuring Frankenstein, the Grim Reaper, and the big baddie himself, Satan.
What Parents Like: You've gotta love a cartoon that intones: "Beyond these doors is an agony worse than all others...whiny protest songs from the 60s!"
What Kids Like: Zany slapstick that pokes fun at typical fright-night fare. In one scene, the kids ask Count Dracula, "Didn't you used to teach math on Sesame Street?"
Rated: PG Year: 1988 Cast: Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder
A young couple dies in a car accident and discovers unwelcome pests in their home: the new owners. They summon supernatural help to scare the pesky newcomers away, but then need help getting rid of the hired hand.
What Parents Like: And you thought calling the exterminator was a chore! Baldwin and Davis shine as a happily married couple in life and in death.
What Kids Like: Lavishly surreal sets and a devilish Keaton make this a breathlessly quirky and edgy film. Ryder is a Goth girl who wears her gloom like a charm bracelet.
Casper, Casper Meets Wendy
Rated: PG, G Year: 1995, 1999 Cast: Bill Pullman, Christina Ricci, Hilary Duff, Cathy Moriarty
Ghost for tweens: Ghost meets girl, ghost saves girl. Can ghosts and girls, or ghosts and witches, really be friends, or (gulp) more? In the first film, Ricci is the daughter of a paranormal psychiatrist who makes house calls to the mansion where Casper and his uncles haunt. In the second, Duff is a fledgling witch, who must flee to a Catskills resort with her three aunts to escape a warlock.
What Parents Like: Parents may cringe at the filmy dialogue until they see their preteen staring dreamily at the screen. Ghosts really do get the best girls, especially with Ricci and Duff along for the ride.
What Kids Like: It's an otherworldly little romance with special effects and screwball relatives.