6. Beetlejuice. The only reason this brilliant piece of Tim Burton’s brain isn’t higher on the list is because it’s more of a comedy and isn’t terribly scary (until the very end, of course). Still, so good, so entertaining, and such a tour de force by Michael Keaton, it’s a sure thing for this list.
5. The Goonies. Anyone born since 1966 surely understands why this movie is on this list, but just in case, we’ll bring up the concept of kid power, the fantastic cast of child stars like Corey Haim and Corey Feldman (and future adult stars like Josh Brolin, because you forgot he was in it, didn’t you?), and the magical treasure hunt, not to mention the devious villains who were — surprise! — genuinely scary for kids when the film was released almost 25 years ago.
4. The Lost Boys. The first vampire movie any member of Generation X will really identify with, if not actually remember. Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, the Coreys again, it’s smart, it’s funny, it’s genuinely scary and, again, teenage vampires. What else do you need?
3. Monsters, Inc. Silly, charming, hilarious, heart-warming and, yes, at times a bit of an edge-of-your-seat experience. Not the very best Pixar movie, but still awfully good. Plus, it features the voices of Billy Crystal and John Goodman.
2. Gremlins. The rules were simple: don’t get them wet, don’t feed them after midnight, and don’t expose them to bright light. But what did the idiots do? Well, you already know, don’t you? Of course you do. And none of us will EVER be the same …
1. Nightmare Before Christmas. This is so off the charts amazing as to be in a class in and of itself. If you haven’t seen it lately or, for that matter, ever, we beseech you — no, we beg you — to see this little slice of heaven. As much as we enjoy Tim Burton’s work, he has never done anything as front to back awesome as this animated classic. The tops.
Neil Turitz is a screenwriter, freelance journalist and the editor of the entertainment news blog FilmNewsBriefs.com. He knows a lot about movies and TV and is unafraid of sharing his knowledge and opinions with complete strangers.