Little Monsters (1989)

On its surface, Little Monsters is a comedy about the monsters that live under kids’ beds. Over the course of the film, however, the laughs are replaced by screams as Fred Savage is forced to free his kid brother (played by real-life brother Ben Savage) from the grips of Boy, the truly creepy leader of the monsters.

I always enjoyed Little Monsters as a kid, but watching the film from an adult perspective provides a totally different experience . Fred Savage’s character, along with his two friends, face some terrifying obstacles during their rescue attempt, not least of which is the fact that if they don’t escape the monster world by morning, they will be stuck there forever. Of course, they do manage to escape, though not without leaving an interesting unanswered question.

If you’ve seen Little Monsters, you may recall that the kids finally manage to escape the monster world by traveling from the east coast to California where the sun rises later. Every time I watch the movie now, I wonder what Fred Savage’s parents must think when he calls them from a pay phone in Malibu. How is he supposed to explain that? There’s no way they’re going to believe that he was stuck in the monster world, right?

Gremlins (1984)

Whether they’re setting buildings on fire, launching old women out of windows, or driving snow plows into people’s homes, Joe Dante’s Gremlins are among the most delightfully dangerous of all movie villains. Of course, featuring Joe Dante’s 1984 Christmas classic on this list is debatable since the film is a horror movie above all else, but the fact that it was marketed toward children and included a cuddly cute character like Gizmo gives it enough kiddy cred to make the list.

One thing we can all agree on: Gremlins are some seriously nasty little suckers and they don’t go down without a fight.

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