Kid-Friendly Horror MoviesNew Line Cinema

It's the third week of October, which means one thing: Halloween, costume parties, and horror programming are headed your way fast. This year, I have a middle schooler who's not so interested in dressing up for the first time (sniff!), so I'm letting him have a sleep over with a few friends and setting up the streaming queue with a few scary (but not so scary the boys will throw up, have nightmares, and need therapy on Nov. 1) movies.

Here's a list of eight R or NR-rated streamable horror movies that should appeal to your teens.

"The Cabin in the Woods" (2011)
Rated R, 94 minutes

This Joss Whedon-penned horror flick is clever and funny and, yes fairly gory. A group of five college pals heads to a remote cabin for a weekend away, only to discover that the property is not only cursed, but they're each being picked off one by one. Unlike any other horror movie you've ever seen, "The Cabin in the Woods" is for veterans of the genre, who will get the in-jokes and the sophistication of the two plotlines.
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"Carrie" (1976)
Rated R, 98 minutes

Now that the remake is in theaters, there's no better time to check out Brian De Palma's original bloody prom classic. Sissy Spacek is the titular Carrie, a character straight out of bestselling horror master Stephen King's imagination: she's a social misfit with a looney zealot of a mother (the awesomely over-the-top Piper Laurie), and when that pig's blood drips all over her, she unleashes good old fashioned fury on everyone at her high school dance.
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"Children of the Corn" (1984)
Rated R, 92 minutes

That Stephen King, he sure can create freaky environments. Based on his short story, the movie is like a "Twilight Zone" episode on steroids: a young couple accidentally hits a boy while driving through Nebraska and ends up in his rural hometown searching for help. But instead of his family, they find a death cult of tow-headed children that ritually sacrifices all adults who dare enter the town. Nowhere else have Midwestern farm kids been as frightening.
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"The Evil Dead" (1981)
Rated NR, 85 minutes

Still playing in midnight screenings, "The Evil Dead" is a must-see for any teen seriously interested in horror. Another example of a group of people stuck somewhere remote with nothing to do but kill or wait to be killed, this is the goriest of our eight suggestions, and only for teens with a strong affinity for the genre. Director Sam Raimi's gorefest about 5 college friends trapped in a possessed cabin would make an excellent double feature with "Cabin in the Woods."
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"House on Haunted Hill" (1959)
Rated NR, 74 minutes

An actor whose name is synonymous with horror is the late, great Vincent Price. In "House on Haunted Hill," eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren hosts a party for his young wife by inviting five seemingly random guests to spend the night locked into a mansion he's rented. Mr. Loren has promised each of the guests $10,000 (then a whole lot of money) to stay the night, but of course the house has a way of offing the guests one by one.
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"Let the Right One In" (2008)
Rated R, 114 minutes

Part vampire movie, part surprisingly touching relationship drama, this Swedish horror film is undeniably gripping. Based on a novel, the movie follows the unlikely relationship between Oskar, a 12-year-old outcast who's routinely bullied, and mysterious Eli, the newest arrival to his apartment complex. Of course Eli's not your typical Swedish girl; she's a vampire. There's an American adaptation ("Let Me In") starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee, but the original is better (and creepier).
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"Nosferatu" (1929)
Rated NR, 94 minutes

If your kids are open-minded and curious enough to see where the entire genre started, they should see "Nosferatu," one of the very first horror films. An unofficial adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," F.W. Murnau's black-and-white silent film is widely considered a cinematic masterpiece. Not only is the movie legendary (and the story familiar to teens who've heard of "Dracula"), but it is definitely scary without being gory; a great pick for teens mature enough to handle a black and white selection.
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"Scream" (1996)
Rated R, 111 minutes

You don't have to be a horror aficionado to get all of the meta jokes in "Scream," because writer Kevin Williamson spells them out for viewers. Directed by Wes Craven, the movie helped make horror mainstream again in the late '90s by mixing in humor, pop-culture references and attractive casts. There's blood, but this is by no means a slasher flick and should be a perfect pick for a high school Halloween get together.
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