Horror movies today are tripping over one another in an attempt to be more bloody, gory, and sadistic than the next one. Think of the Saw series, and its latest rendition Spiral. It’s either a deranged psychopathic serial killer, or supernatural forces at work in modern-day horror films. The paper-thin plots are irrelevant for the most part, since it’s the edge-of-your-seat suspense that viewers are after.

If we strip horror movies bare, removing the murder and mayhem, sex and torture, what’s left? This presents as a challenge for filmmakers. Yet there are plenty of fantastic scary movies that are great fun to watch. You just have to do dig around a little, and perhaps even dredge up the past, if you dare…

Gremlins

Movie number one that comes to mind is one that many folks know all too well – the Gremlins. Released in 1984, by the filmmaking geniuses Chris Columbus, Steven Spielberg, and Joe Dante, the Gremlins was a smash-hit success. It’s about a group of meddlesome little critters that overrun a small town.

The Gremlins spawned from Gizmo, a Mogwai. Just add a little water and watch out!  These evil little critters are capable of murder and mayhem, but they are also comical – especially by today’s standards. Definitely a PG-rated scary film. Just don’t knock over the glass of water…

Poltergeist

A couple years before the Gremlins debuted, Poltergeist hit the scene. It certainly didn’t feel like a PG-rated film, but looking back on it now – perhaps it is?  As you can imagine, it’s about terrifying demonic entities. The film stars Craig T Nelson, Heather O’Rourke, and JoBeth Williams.

You may recognize the lead star from The Right Stuff – a military fighter jet series there was pretty spectacular in its day. Back to Poltergeist, it was written by Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, and Mark Victor. For a Spielberg concept, it definitely is off the charts scary, but it still gets a PG rating. Watch it at your own peril…seriously… it’s scary.

The Goonies

We are still in the 1980s. This time it’s 1985! The Goonies is yet another Steven Spielberg story, and once again, Chris Columbus is in on it too. What’s this one about? Well, it’s a tale of a group of miscreants who find an ancient treasure map. They’re out and about on the wildest adventure of their lives, and there are some pretty scary characters in the form, such as One-eyed Willy, and evil Mama Fratelli – a restaurateur.

The hideously deformed sons of Mama Fratelli will certainly have you shuddering in terror, but this flick definitely deserves your attention. As a pirate-themed adventure, The Goonies is the talk of the town. Its popularity is off the charts, and it has even sailed to another digital platform – Casino.com, where you can play the Goonies slot, while you’re drumming up the courage to watch the scary-good movie.

Jaws

The master filmmaker Steven Spielberg wasted precious little time getting to the meat of the matter in Jaws back in 1975. Everybody knows with this movie is all about, but most of us don’t know that it was a PG-rated film. Jaws instilled a palpable fear in anyone and everyone who ever ventured into the oceans. Shark conservationists complain that Jaws was the worst thing for these alpha predators of the oceans.

Regarded by many movie aficionados as the ultimate horror flick, it’s surprising that Jaws was fit for family viewing. If you can stomach shark attacks, then perhaps you can watch Jaws. Universal Studios featured a Jaws exhibit for many years and only recently removed it. If the ocean scares you, stay the heck away from Jaws… it’s still scary to this day!

NOTE: The PG ratings referenced here refer to their original rating for the US cinema circuit

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