Top 5 Coming of Age Horror Films
Growing up is hard, but it can be especially hard when you and your friends must battle an ancient spider clown, or if your neighbor turns out to be a vampire. It’s through these tests, though, that we become the men and women we are destined to be. Or, at least, that’s how it is in the movies. Horror movies can tell a lot of different stories. Some are made just to scare audiences. Others require audiences to think a little harder. Some horror movies, however, tell stories about kids growing up, facing their fears and fighting their monsters. These movies are coming-of-age tales and they teach audiences to stand up to forces that are bigger than themselves, to look inside themselves to find their own hero and to face the world and all that comes with it.
5) Pet Sematary 2 (1992)
There were no feel-good moments in the original Pet Sematary. It was a dark, scary, mean-spirited movie that told audiences that sometimes, “dead is better.” Its follow up, while equally dark and disturbing, had a bit of a brighter ending at least. While essentially ignoring the events of the first film, the story of Pet Sematary 2 focused on Jeff Matthews (played by Edward Furlong) and his father, Chase. After the sudden death of Jeff’s mother, the Matthews boys move back to their hometown, which just so happens to include the infamous cemetery for pets. Jeff befriends another outcast who tells him about the power of Pet Sematary. The film deals with friendship, grieving, bullying, and fate. While not as popular as the original film, some might argue that it has even more heart.
4) Let the Right One In (2008)
Oskar is a sensitive little boy, who lives with his mother in a Sweden neighborhood. Often bullied, Oskar forms a friendship with the proverbial “girl next door.” This girl is anything but wholesome, though, and she eventually tells Oskar about her dark secrets — the biggest of which is that she’s a vampire. Despite those secrets, Oskar and Eli form a close bond that neither darkness nor light can separate. Let the Right One in comes from a 2004 novel of the same name and the themes are less subtext than just actual text. Friendship, regret, love, loss and more are all explored, as we all come face to face with the same question Oskar does — what if the person we love is really a monster?
3) Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Sometimes, people don’t come-of-age until their mid-30’s. That’s the case with Shaun, a hapless service worker who lives with his best friend and is content with life just passing him by. That is, until the zombie apocalypse occurs and now Shaun must protect those he cares deepest about, while fending off an army of the undead. Like it or not, sometimes it takes us a while to really grow up. Often, it takes a life-changing event to help us move forward on the road to maturity. Such is the case with Shaun. He’s a grown man that has yet to grow up and it takes the end of the world for Shaun to finally realize who he is and what he is capable of. Shaun of the Dead is a comedy, above all. But when looked at as a coming-of-age film, it shows audiences that, sometimes, it takes a while for ages to come.
2) The Good Son (1993)
Similar in theme to Pet Sematary 2, The Good Son tells the story of Mark (played by Elijah Wood), a young boy who loses his mother and is left with his extended family while his father goes away on business. Mark meets his cousin Henry (played by Macaulay Culkin) and the two instantly become friends. There is more to Henry than meets the eye, however. Evil wears many faces and Mark, it seems, is the only one who sees Henry for what he really is; a monster. The Good Son shows how the death of a close loved one, especially one’s mother, can be life-changing. Evil wears many faces, but so does grief, and Mark experiences each one of its steps, while also dealing with a homicidal cousin. The scariest part of The Good Son is the fact that, eventually, death takes us all.
1) IT (1990/2017)
Both versions of Stephen King’s IT are at the top of this list because, while vastly different in many areas, both films share similar themes about friendship, loss and battling the monster in the cellar. IT very easily could have merely been a “killer clown movie.” That is not the story Stephen King wanted to tell in his novel, though, and it’s not the story that was told in the films. IT did feature a killer clown, but the movies were about being an outcast and finding friendship in the midst of tragedy. They were about coming face-to-face with our monsters and tackling them head-on, even when the odds seem insurmountable. More than anything, IT was about the relationships that we build and the love of between friends is stronger than life, than death, than time. It’s also stronger than a Demon Alien Clown, turns out. IT deals with a lot of grown-up themes, but it reminds us that, even as we get older, we can still believe in magic. It also teaches us that, sometimes, the strength of a promise is the most powerful tool of all.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.