Reel Girl’s Halloween List of Monster Movies For Kids Starring Females

My 8 year old daughter is home sick today, and we were looking for a Halloween movie to watch starring a girl. This depressing task reminded me that once again it’s time to post the annual Reel Girl’s Halloween List of Monster Movies Starring Females. I started creating this list in my head when in 2012 no less than 3 Halloween movies came out– “Hotel Transylvania,” “ParaNorman,” and “Frankenweenie”— each with males front and center.

This afternoon, my daughter and I opted for “Hocus Pocus” which was on Reel Girl’s list, but I hadn’t seen it yet. The good news is “Hocus Pocus” has more females than males. The witches are played by Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Penny Marshall is in the movie too, which was a nice surprise for me. Vinessa Shaw plays a smart, brave girl and Thora Birch is the 8 year old little sister who gets into trouble. (My daughter really liked seeing a movie with a kid the same age as she is.)

The not-so-good is that the 3 witches are obsessed with being young and beautiful. I am so over this cliche. Recently, I saw it in “Tangled” and “Snow White and the Huntsman,” both stories obviously recycled fairy tales with this tired theme (not to mention any women’s magazine you open, full of ads for potions, spells of eternal youth.) What these women are after is not beauty but power, which is what beauty has represented and signified for women in narratives for thousands of years. I wish writers today could be a little more creative in depicting stories where women are seeking power without relying on the dull and done youth and beauty cliche.

Another thing that annoyed me about “Hocus Pocus” is that in order for a spell to work, a candle had to be lit by a virgin. While I appreciated that the virgin was a boy, the word came up again and again with my daughter wanting to know its meaning. I told her it’s another word for child, but I was irritated the movie put me in that position for no important reason as far as the plot is concerned.

Finally, while there are many girls and women in this movie, the protagonist is a boy. He’s just moved to Salem from LA, and he doesn’t believe in witches. Vinessa Shaw plays his girlfriend and Thora Birch plays his little sister. It is this guy that goes through the transition of coming to believe. Still, he is a Minority Feisty of sorts, and I can’t actually recall another movie where I have seen a gender flip where the male plays this role.

Reel Girl’s list of Monster Movies Starring Females is short. It is almost the same as last year’s list, except I’ve added the wonderful “Maleficent.” My list is so pathetically short that I have included movies just recommended to me, that I have not seen myself. Those are “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and “Series of Unfortunate Events” (which I may watch today with my daughter….) We complain, rightly so, about how sexist Halloween costumes are for girl. It would sure help things out if there were more scary stories starring cool or evil powerful females. Of course, we’d still have the problem of Hermione morphing into the sexy school girl. But I digress. As I asked you in 2013, if you have any monster movies for little kids starring females, to add to my list. please let me know. Here’s the list of 10 movies. Please try to watch girl-centered films with your daughters and sons.









13 thoughts on “Reel Girl’s Halloween List of Monster Movies For Kids Starring Females

  1. “While I appreciated that the virgin was a boy, the word came up again and again with my daughter wanting to know its meaning. I told her it’s another word for child, but I was irritated the movie put me in that position for no important reason as far as the plot is concerned.”

    While I agree that it was bad that the movie put you in that position, I think you shouldn’t have lied to your daughter. At eight years,she is old enough to know about sex, and you could just have explained her that a virgin is someone who never had sex.
    The word “virgin” is used very often (just think of “virgin Mary” and so on), and your daughter will soon find out that it does not exactly mean “child” – I hope you plan to explain to her what it really means before she gets into an embarassing situation because she “knows” a wrong meaning.

  2. Drop Dead Fred, available on youtube now i think. So worth it, its a really fun look at a girl growing up stuck with her imaginary friend but finally over throwing everything and getting better. Its fun, funny and so worth it. it has an unnecessarily bas reputation but really worth it as i said completely on youtube.

  3. What about Bedknobs and Broomsticks the story of children at wartime being looked after by a witch and they go on an adventure. It’s an excellent cast and really watchable with Angela Lansbery.

    Also worth a try “A Monster in Paris” whilst there are a lot of male characters the girl really is the hero. plus she is the best out of all of them. and
    “The Hole” although that is pretty scary my 10 year old brother ran out from it.

    Also Halloweentown High was the film i grew up with so seconding this, its a really good one. aldso if you haven’t done “Labyrinth” then why not, its the perfect kids film, monsters cool heroines and really good songs.

    I love Hocus Pocus so am completely biased.

  4. Not a monster movie, but a great Halloween flick for girls is The Worst Witch. I loved it growing up. Starring a young Fairuza Balk. 🙂

  5. There are also other great Miyazaki movies that you should check out. There are princess mononoke, nausicaa valley of the wind, and spirited away. They all have young female characters that play major roles in the films.

    • Hi Thu,

      I LOVE Miyazaki but I don’t think he has anything else I could call a Monster movie, maybe “Spirited Away” because of the ghosts?


  6. We tried Coraline and my kids (8 and 6) got too scared so we didn’t get to the end! I think it was the button eyes that did it… maybe they have a low tolerance, but it was kind of dark. I think we will try monsters v aliens next as I think they may like that.

    My kids all love Scooby Doo – I know the females in it are fairly gender stereotyped though, although when I watch it, it often seems to be Fred and Shaggy being rescued by Velma and Daphne…..

    • Hi Jane,

      Try the book Coraline, get them to read that if they like it, and then watch the movie. The book is so good and it drew my kids. They knew what would happen so they weren’t too terrified. The button eyes are creepy! And the other mother…


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