Even the sweetest kid flicks mix in a little scary with the sugarplums (literally, in Fantasia). But ParaNorman's unabashed use of ghosts and suicides makes it one of the few kids' movies that's not just dark-it brazenly insists that children love being morbid. Has Hollywood with its endlessly perky family flicks like Ice Age 4 gotten its audience all wrong? Yes. But at least ParaNorman is upfront about wanted to freak out their preteens. Here's six films that already—and accidentally—proved kids are psyched to be spooked.

1. The Secret Garden

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Premium Rush is a thriller that stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a NYC bike messenger who zooms around town trying to keep a dirty cop from acquiring a vital package. If this sounds a little strange to you, well, it is. Since when is a bike messenger an action hero? What's next, a typist? Maybe. We've given five more wimpy careers a full-throttle thriller makeover.

The Job: Cafeteria Worker
The Film: Revenge of the Lunch Lady

Cookie Stephens (Dame Judi Dench) has spent a lifetime serving tater tots and Hamburger Helper to the brats at Public School 264, and she has had just about enough.

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Whitney Houston's final film, Sparkle, presents the audience with a depressing dilemma. See, the death of a talented artist—whether in or well past their prime—feels like a giant hole has been ripped in the fabric of time and space and pop culture. They're gone. Forever. And not will we never get another product from them, we're forced to consider our own mortality.

But what if they weren't finished creating? What if they were working on a new album, finishing a new TV special, making a film when they died? Do we quietly table their work until enough time has passed that it doesn't feel creepy? Hell no: we release it as soon as possible.

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Five-Minute Film Guide: Every Indie Film Opening August 17th

Add Comment on August 17, 2012 by Sara Maria Vizcarrondo

This teen fast food worker is about to have a terrible day in COMPLIANCE, our favorite flick of the week


Alone in his power-seat, a vampire-like master of consumption, Eric (Robert Pattinson) watches a dystopian New York implode. Shot mostly in a limo during the early and more volatile parts of the Occupy Wall Street protests, this story of a not-so-distant future sees money as a greater threat to our humanity than machinery ever was.
Director/Writer: David Cronenberg
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Juliet Binoche, Sarah Gadon, Mathieu Almaric, Jay Baruchel, Paul Giamatti
Genre: Drama


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Chris Butler [L] and Sam Fell get scary (kinda) for the camera

The upcoming animated film ParaNorman has been scaring critics—including our own—with its zombies, ghosts, and unforgettable deaths. From Laika Studios, the same indie animation team that produced the Academy Award-nominated Coraline, this new horror-comedy features a boy who can see dead people, but who's much more terrified of daily life. Boxoffice spoke with directors Chris Butler (who also wrote the screenplay) and Sam Fell about the importance of making scary movies for kids—and why they had a rule to make sure ParaNorman didn't feel like a Tim Burton film.

How long did the whole thing take?

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Here's what you might know about Randy Couture: he started wrestling in middle school, wrestled through his stint in the Army, kept wrestling through college, and wrestled long enough to become a U.S. Olympic team alternate three times in a row. At 34, he made his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut and over the next 14 years, he entered the ring for 30 televised fights, became a brand name, and even opened his own chain of gyms called Xtreme Couture. Here's what you might not know: Randy Couture is also a smart and sensitive guy who earned himself a degree in German Language and Literature and even speaks some French.

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Movie fans will remember summer 2012 for its big franchise launchers and installments: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus, and Ted. (Sorry, Spider-Man—our senses were less than tingled.) But for industry insiders, this summer will go down in the accounting books for a new movie counter-programming trend: the rise of the olds. This week's The Expendables 2, starring sexagenarians Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, follows on the heels of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel<...

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