Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.
Horror is able to succeed in various mediums much easier than other genres. There are not a lot of video games marketed as romantic comedies, for instance. People seem to like to be scared no matter where they can find them. Animated horror movies may be the one exception.
To be clear, I am referring to straight up horror movies. Family friendly dark fantasy like The Black Cauldron and adult fare like whatever the hell Heavy Metal is do not count. I mean straight up blood and guts not suitable for kids scary movies.
Let’s face it: there just is not enough animated horror.
I first reviewed To Your Last Death in March. As a part of 31 Days of Halloween, we covered it for our YouTube show. This is what I mean by animated horror. The movie has an all star cast that includes Ray Wise and William Shatner. It is violent, gory, and definitely not for children. It is not the kind of cartoon to put on while carving pumpkins with the kids. It is the type of movie teenagers watch without their parents’ knowledge.
One of the first movies people will think when animated horror is mentioned is Coraline. And for good reason. It is a great movie that invokes a creepy atmosphere while telling a great story. More than any other similar film, it straddles the line between family friendly and only for an older audiences.
It certainly is nightmare fuel for children (and even adults) but it is suitable for a younger audiences. For lack of a better term, there is a redemptive quality to letting a child watch it. Though it is dark, it is a fairy tale with a positive message for children.
Perfect Blue is one of the greatest animated horror movies of all time. It also builds a great atmosphere while telling a fascinating story. There is also a message regarding image and obsession here. Despite what seems to be many similarities, there is no reason to let a child watch it. There are better suited stories that will deliver the same message.
When trying to step away from family friendly animated horror movies completely, things become more muddled. There are entries like Vampire Hunter D and arguably Watership Down, but there really is not much else. Make no mistake about it; there is a lot of good animated horror. The vast majority of it is for the entire family, however.
This is not a bad thing. Horror is a medium that can and should be experienced by all ages. Watching these movies gives us a chance to confront and even overcome our fears. On the same token, animation and horror would seem to be a great combination. Even the most absent minded doodle usually depicts some form of silly and grotesque violence. There should be more animated movies that fill that need.
Or maybe I am just a degenerate who likes disgusting cartoons.