It’s easy to remember the happy-go-lucky days when we’re children. Of staying outside until it became pitch black, of sneaking in video game time on a school night or buying a ticket for Wild Wild West and then heading into the theater playing South Park. Being enthusiastic and hopeful for the future is basically a given, being truly bitter and cynical as a kid was almost impossible.
Again, the rainbows and butterflies are all easy to remember, but you know what else I remember about my childhood? The fear. The constant, palpable fear.
I remember recurring nightmares and not wanting to sleep because my dreams were horrifying. I remember being legitimately freaked out by scenes in horror films and thinking my life was in danger on rollercoasters and theme park rides.
Maybe that great fear I had of losing my life made me appreciate the fun parts of my childhood that much more and if that was the case, then these moments from these movies are responsible for a lot of the good times I had as a kid.
The terrifying rabbits in ‘Watership Down’.
A horrifying tale of fighting to find a new home, Watership Down was lifted from a novel and made into a film, but book purists needn’t worry – the publication’s more brutal scenes made it to final cut.
These demented ‘Toy Story’ toys.
When these things first appeared on screen, admit it, you were freaked out as a kid.
The Acid Trip dancing elephants from ‘Dumbo’.
How these were ever deemed suitable for kids is beyond me.
The Hyenas in ‘Lion King’.
Remember when they tore Scar to shreds?
When Judge Doom started becoming a cartoon in ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’.
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Johnny Depp’s Will Wonka was unnverving.
Veneers. Soulless eyes, and a disdain for the well-being of children.
The death-defying Big Ben scene at the climax of ‘The Great Mouse Detective’.
Too much anxiety for a child to deal with.
All of ‘Coraline’.
I liked horror-themed kids movies as a child, but that doesn’t mean they’re not scary.
I’m a huge ‘Labyrinth’ fan, but…
A friggin’ baby gets kidnapped by monsters in the film’s opening after his younger sister gets made that he’s crying. The movie is horrifying.
Large Marge’s ghost scene in ‘Pee Wee’s Big Adventure’.
Out of nowhere, Tim Burton decides to scare the heck out of us in this hitchhiking scene.
Charlie visiting hell briefly in ‘All Dogs Go To Heaven’.
The scene wasn’t that long, but I still can’t forget how scary it was.
When the horse dies in ‘Neverending Story’.
Watching the protagonist struggle to pull the horse from the bog. That. Was. Murder.
When Matilda made her parents’ TV explode.
Don’t force a young girl to watch garbage television, especially when she has super powers.
When the floor turned to quicksand in ‘Jumanji’.
Robin Williams sinking into the abyss was just terrifying.
The Army of the Dead wreaking havoc in ‘Black Cauldron’.
When they spring up and wreak havoc on those totally-not-ready-to-throwdown humans, I might’ve peed a little.
‘Pinocchio’. All of ‘Pinocchio’.
I mean the character of the Coachman turning little boys into donkeys so he could sell them is terrifying.
‘The Witches’ reveal scene.
Once this scene came on, I conveniently went to the kitchen for a snack.
The Child Catcher in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’.
I wanted to kill this person when I was a kid he freaked me out so much.
The flying Monkeys in ‘The Wizard of Oz’.
Their howls, their screeching, the fact that they can attack you from above. Couple that with the knowledge that monkeys are very strong and I was petrified whenever I saw these things pop up on screen.
The demon Chernabog from ‘Fantasia’.
I don’t know why Mickey Mouse was featured in a movie with a demon raising hell, but it made for a very weird substitute teaching experience for me in the second grade.
When the Gremlins first arrived in ‘Gremlins’.
The scene was traumatizing: we watched a cute and cuddly poof writhe in pain as he unknowingly gave birth to monsters.
Once she got hold of King Triton’s crown and Trident, Ursula became a horrific force to be reckoned with and turned this already weird children’s movie into a straight-up horror flick.
Voldemort kills Robert Pattinson.
I know Harry Potter is supposed to be dark and it’s more for young adults than children, but my God was this horrifying to watch, even as an adult.
When we finally see E.T.
Sure he ended up being harmless, but that little stick of beef jerky freaked me out when I first saw him.
Every monster in ‘The Dark Crystal’.
Jim Henson makes some horrifying animatronics. ‘The Dark Crystal’ is the pinnacle of that horror.