This was a tough one, I’ll admit it. When Mr. Disgusting came to me with the assignment, I thought to myself, “Feel-good horror movies? Isn’t that an oxymoron?” However, with a little effort, I was able to come up with a list I’m confident in. Whereas most of the time, horror movies leave you with a sense of dread and nihilism, these are ones that fill you with a warm and fuzzy feeling through and through. And Lord knows we could all use a bit of that these days, couldn’t we?
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When the two Coreys are involved, a good time is always had by all. This is the ultimate `80s teen movie take on the horror genre, in which our heroes come of age and learn some important lessons about life and love from their brush with the undead. Plus, you have the crotchety-yet-loveable grandpa. I rest my case.
OK, so not as strictly “feel-good” as the rest, so sue me. But Emily is a cute little thing, isn’t she? And her friendship with the not-so-imaginary Charlie is pretty endearing–until the shit hits the proverbial fan, at least.
Inspired by Jane Eyre, this Jacques Tourneur/Val Lewton classic is the poignant of a nurse who falls in love for a guy while trying to cure his wife’s voodoo zombification. The Serpent and the Rainbow meets Awakenings.
An old-fashioned ghost story with a murder mystery spin, centering on a boy haunted by spirits as he hunts the identity of their murderer. Along the way, he discovers that the real menace isn’t quite what he expected.
“Love Never Dies” was the tagline for Coppola’s take on the classic horror tome. Need I say more? The director’s main departure from the original novel, Drac and Mina’s timeless love affair, is exactly what turns the world’s most famous vampire story into one of horror’s great epic romances.
Back when M. Night Shyamalan was a good director, he debuted with this Oscar-nominated film about a little poppet who “sees dead people”, and the struggling child psychologist who sees a chance to redeem himself by curing him. Until, of course, he finds out the boy is right.
See “The Orphanage”. Once again, a potentially horrifying situation is turned into a revelatory bonding of parent and children–although not at all as they expected. Hey, they may be dead, but at least they get to haunt houses together for all eternity.
This one may cause some controversy, since if you read into the ramifications of how Eli and Oskar’s relationship turns out, it is in fact more sinister than it seems at first. But how can the story of the sweet friendship between a 12-year-old loner and a sympathetic little girl vampire be anything but feel-good?
I guess whether or not you consider this movie to have a happy ending may depend on whether or not you’re a parent. Although filled with high tension and disturbing imagery, the mother’s torturous search for her son does end with a happy reunion after all, doesn’t it?
And finally, the number-one feel-good horror movie of all time….
The Spielberg touch (by way of Tobe Hooper). The John Williams score. Cute little Carol Anne. This summer blockbuster horror extravaganza has all the ingredients to make it just about the most heart-warming two hours of terror you’re likely to ever experience. Proof that Satan and his minions are no match for the power of the American family unit.
For more news and opinions on the world of horror, including a three-part look at Godzilla flicks, a commemoration of 25 years of NOES, and shocking news on the Let the Right One In DVD, check out Brian’s daily blog, The Vault of Horror, at thevaultofhorror.net.