When I was a kid and you still had to pick movies based on the plastic VHS covers in your local video rental store, I had no better friend than the old-school monster movies. Commonly, these films are known as the “Universal Monsters,” because from the 1930s through roughly the 1950s, they were put out by Universal Pictures. These monsters are the monsters who comprise all the members of the “The Monster Mash,” not to mention every single off-the-rack go-to Halloween costume since our parents were kids.
We’re talking about The Mummy, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, and the guy who is probably most famous for being parodied by the Count on Sesame Street: Dracula. So, what’s the deal? Should you let your kids watch these cheesy old black-and-white movies around Halloween? The answer is an emphatic ‘yes.’ If the kiddos are under five, use your best judgment; but if they’re older and want to explore the OG Universal Monsters, they have one huge parenting benefit going for them: these movies are largely bloodless. The chills and thrills mostly come from the mood rather than anything grotesque. But which films are essential-viewing this Halloween season? Here are our five favorites to revisit with your family.