Kids are fascinated with monsters and scary stuff, so why aren't there more good kid-friendly horror movies? With the exception of TV, I only found a handful, including such gems as Ernest Scared Stupid (1991), Hocus Pocus (1993) and The Haunted Mansion (2003). On the plus side, there's The Watcher in the Woods (1980), Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) and The Witches (1990). The problem is pretty obvious: these movies are either too scary or too stupid, and the middle ground is a very thin line. So if nothing else, writer Chris McKenna and director Anthony Leondis, both making their big-screen debut with Igor, have conjured an uneasy way to pull it off, even if the experience will be radically different for both parents and kids.

Igor is set in a perpetually cloudy kingdom where mad scientists compete in the annual "evil science fair." The winner's diabolical creation will be used to blackmail the rest of the world so that the kingdom can continue to support itself. John Cusack voices the hunchbacked title hero, an assistant who dreams of inventing his own creations. When his master (voiced by John Cleese) meets with an accident, he gets his chance. The first thing off his workbench is a giant monster called Eva (voiced by Molly Shannon), who accidentally turns out to be good. There's a whole subplot about another evil scientist Dr. Schadenfreude (voiced by Eddie Izzard) who wants to steal Eva so that he can win the competition and overthrow the king (voiced by, of all people, Jay Leno!).