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Three family friendly frightening films
Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn in "Wait Until Dark" (1967) - photo by mptvimages.com

With Halloween just around the corner, here are three films that will give viewers a fright without gratuitous violence.

“Wait Until Dark”

In “Wait Until Dark,” the iconic Audrey Hepburn plays a woman named Susy Hendrix who has recently gone blind. When her photographer husband returns home from a photo shoot, he brings with him a doll that was given to him by a stranger on an airplane. Unbeknownst to either he or his wife, the doll contains heroin. The crooks behind the drug scheme find out who has the doll and go to extreme lengths to get the doll back by trying to take advantage of Susy’s blindness. The final scene is particularly thrilling and unforgettable. Check out “Wait Until Dark” if you want to shriek with horror without seeing any blood or guts.

“Vertigo”

In what many consider as Alfred Hitchcock’s finest film, the legendary Jimmy Stewart plays a detective in San Francisco named Scottie Ferguson. In the opening scene of the film, Ferguson is running along a roof when he tragically experiences vertigo and is unable to save a policeman because of it. Shaken by the incident, Ferguson decides to retire until he is approached by an old colleague who wants him to keep tabs on his wife. The friend informs Ferguson that his wife appears to be “possessed” by the spirit of her late great grandmother who committed suicide. In ways that only Hitchcock could pull off, the film has terrific twists and turns. Throw on “Vertigo” if you want a truly haunting psychological film that will stay with you for weeks on end.

“The Sixth Sense”

In “The Sixth Sense,” Bruce Willis plays a renowned child psychologist in Philadelphia named Malcolm Crowe. In the first scene of the movie, Crowe is confronted and shot by a former patient. After the harrowing incident, Crowe becomes increasingly distant from his wife. During this time, Crowe meets a new patient named Cole Sear who claims to be able to see ghosts. Crowe originally minimizes these claims until he listens to past audiotapes from sessions with the patient who eventually shot him. In the audiotapes, Crowe hears disembodied voices speaking to the patient. Believing Sear’s claims with this newfound information, Crowe seeks to help Sear with his ghost problems. As with any M. Night Shyamalan film, there are some twists along the way. Consider watching “The Sixth Sense” this holiday season and see if you, like the Ghostbusters, can honestly say “I ain’t afraid of no ghost.”

What are your favorite family friendly Halloween films?

(Dylan Cannon can be reached at DylanCannon86@gmail.com or via twitter @DylanCannon11.)