Y’all ever watch a particularly scary kids movie and wonder how in the heck it only got a PG or G rating?
I usually have no quarrels with the MPAA rating system. I think it’s great and it truly helps me decide if I want to see a movie or not. But there are times when the people devising the ratings must have been stoned off their butt because they really screwed up. And, when it comes to children’s movies, you’d think they’d have a little more care.
BUT APPARENTLY NOT.
Consequently, here are some children’s movies that scarred me as a child (and as an adult) and that I never want to see again. Also, please love me because I hate scary things and this was the hardest thing I’ve had to do for this website. Also also, the 1980s seem to be an especially dark time for scary kids movies.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The Witches (1990)
E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982)
Little Monsters (1989)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
The Care Bears Movie (1985)
Someone Was Watching (2002)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
#10: The NeverEnding Story (1984)
The only redeeming quality about this film is that the child actor that plays Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) is so annoying that it makes everything slightly less horrifying. Basically, this kid, Bastian, is getting bullied (probably because of his stupid name) and one day he escapes into a book shop and finds himself pulled into the absolutely terrifying world called Fantasia where he goes on a magical quest to save the world from the evil darkness called Nothing. If the villain being a figureless entity that consumes like a dark, suffocating plague didn’t scare you enough, there’s also a dragon that’s supposed to be friendly but is no less horrifying than the rest of the movie. Add in dark lighting for basically the whole movie and you get a family-friendly scary kids movie? Right? Friendly for the whole family!
Its eyes pierce my soul.
#9: All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989)
This was one of those horrible movies that the MPAA rated G and no one is quite sure why because it is the scariest thing and gives me no comfort about dogs going to heaven. First of all, the subject matter really isn’t that appropriate to begin with, both with the obvious subject of death and then the whole double-crossing, gangster plot. Of course kids have to learn about death at some point but watching this movie is like taking the family hound out and shooting them in the head — unnecessary and more mentally scarring than anything else. Who decided depicting a “Dog Devil” was a good idea for children? Who decided to give the main character a nightmare involving “Dog Hell”? I like Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise’s voice acting, but I hate the rest of this film.
#8: Monster House (2006)
This movie is overly horrifying and it’s only number eight on my list. The story is that the house across the street from a boy named DJ is actually a scary monster and it eats people. After the man who owns the house unexpectedly dies (in equally scary fashion, I might add), the house becomes angry and uncontrollable. You know that feeling where you run up the steps after turning off the lights in the basement? That’s basically what this whole movie is multiplied by ten. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my safe cardboard box on the side of the road, far away from any houses.
#7: The Dark Crystal (1982)
I thought I liked the Muppets but I would like to recant that statement because this movie has scarred me. The Dark Crystal is about a creature called a Gelfling that must embark on an adventure to recover a magical crystal to save the world. Honestly, though, the world in this movie already seems like it’s beyond saving. Every creature in this movie is horrifying. I thought the Ghost of Christmas Future in The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) was scary, but now I feel like I’ve entered a whole new realm in scary kids movies.
Was this beetle thing supposed to be endearing to the children??? I want to scream just looking at it. Why hast thou betrayed me, Jim Henson? WHY???
#6: Return to Oz (1985)
Let me just quote the IMDB summary for you and see how you feel about the general premise: “Dorothy, saved from a psychiatric experiment by a mysterious girl, is somehow called back to Oz when a vain witch and the Nome King destroy everything that makes the magical land beautiful.” Doesn’t sound horrible, right? Maybe a little strange and not entirely appropriate for children but still could be a wholesome family movie.
WRONG. Nothing in the 1980s was ever made for children, especially not these horrifying creatures called “wheelers.” This whole movie is just a nightmare-fueled acid trip.
#5: Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
Let me start off by saying Disney should never make kid-friendly horror ever again because it is not kid-friendly. Something Wicked This Way Comes is about how a creepy carnival comes to town and the horrifying demonic proprietor terrorizes the town, particularly two little boys. I will admit that Jonathan Pryce as Mr. Dark, the proprietor, is magnificent in this film simply because he’s so creepy but I also think it’s terrible because he’s so creepy he makes me want to cry. Add in some voodoo and a haunting hall of mirrors that gets a little too real and you have the perfect formula to scare any child…or adult. I really shouldn’t have done this article. I hate horror.
#4: The Secret of Nimh (1982)
Oh, surprise! Another 1980s “family” movie that your child will be bringing up in therapy for as long as they live! I vaguely remember reading the book this movie was based on and then watching the movie; I remember nothing about it other than it was very scary and if I think about it any more I may wet my pants. From what I recall (with the aid of my good friend, IMDB), it’s about a mouse whose son is ill and she must team up with these horrifyingly-animated rats to save him. There’s also the impending threat of a farmer plowing the mice in the harvest and also a sub-plot about science experiments on mice. I sure love a good, kid-friendly story that I don’t have nightmares about. This is not it.
And, of course, if it wasn’t horrifying enough, it must include the creepy dark lighting with blood-red hues.
#3: Watcher in the Woods (1980)
You know, I don’t know what Disney was going for in this film, but it only adds to my theory that Disney is basically the devil. Starring Bette Davis and marketed as a family film for some God-awful reason, Watcher in the Woods is about how these girls move into a house in the woods and find out the house has a sinister past. I hate this film. I hate that I can’t look in a mirror without the fear that some creepy little girl will break it. There’s creepy occult gatherings and supernatural elements. Bette Davis is ruined for me. Disney, I hate you. Never, ever make a scary kids movie again because you’re too good at it.
I want to cry. Look at the creepy blindfolded girl. She haunts my nightmares.
#2: Coraline (2009)
You knew Coraline had to be on here. I’m a little biased because I absolutely hate Tim Burton and the edgy goth vibe he goes for (he has spawned one too many goth children who think they’re so quirky). I mean, who sits down and writes a script for a movie where the girl has to run away from people who have buttons instead of eyes and are the epitome of creepy? If this had been marketed as anything other than a scary kids movie, I would have labeled it a great horror movie! Unfortunately, Mr. Burton decided to market his little shop of horrors to vulnerable children and scar them for life. Thanks a lot, Tim Burton.
#1: Watership Down (1978)
I hate this. I hate this so much. When I see this movie, I want to rip my eyes out. The premise? Bunnies are forced from their home and face dangers trying to find a new one. Do you know how much it scars me to watch bunnies fight to the death? That is not something children should see. Or adults for that matter. I mean, the scary disfigured bunny literally rips out a chunk of another bunny’s neck. Somehow, animated violence is much more horrifying than real violence. And the British accents just make it all the more terrifying. Once again, dark lighting makes for a dismal mood and a sense of unease that will never leave me. Nothing about this was made for children. If you don’t believe me, I found a very soothing video that will show you exactly what I mean.
Thank you for reading! What are you thoughts on these scary kids movies? Did we miss any? Comment down below!
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