Spoiler alert, obviously.
Children’s movies are supposed to be for, well, kids. That means no gore, no sex, no profane language, etc. That all makes sense. But what about the movies marketed to us as kids that turned out to be deeply disturbing? You know, those movies you went into expecting a happy ending, but left weeping and scarred.
We’ve summed up our top nightmare-provoking movies, so that, if/when you have kids of your own, you can make an informed decision about whether to let them tune in. You’re welcome.
Why we thought we’d like this: This showcases the tale of Anya as she goes on a quest to find her family and true identity. She soon finds out that her real name is Anastasia and she is the Grand Duchess of Russia.
Why it’s terrifying: The only reason why Anastasia doesn’t know her true identity is because Rasputin killed off her family and is extremely creepy. Then a slug chorus singing about evil coming to find her and kill her doesn’t help the situation. Plus, Rasputin is basically a corpse whose head has a tendency to fall down INTO HIS CHEST CAVITY, where it lands in a puddle of…what? Bodily fluids, we assume? Gross.
2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Why we thought we’d like this: It’s a story about accepting others who may be different from us.
Why it’s terrifying: Judge Claude Frollo is a major creep, singing an entire song about a gypsy woman needing to be thrown into hell’s fire for putting a spell on him. In reality, he is just lusting after her and doesn’t know how to control his feelings. Notice how he has her scarf throughout the song…
Why we thought we’d like this: The animation is amazing and the story is pretty captivating.
Why it’s terrifying: This movie is seriously just a horror movie for children about a creepy “other mother” who steals children’s souls and replaces their eyes with buttons. Seriously, there are ghost children who went missing in the early 20th century just floating around, begging for their eyes back. It even freaks adults out.
4. James and the Giant Peach
Why we thought we’d like this: The movie follows James and his new group of friends as they make a journey to New York City on a giant peach and eventually become family. Aww.
Why it’s terrifying: James’ parents get killed right away by this giant rhino storm thing that is not only scary, but also pretty confusing. Why is a rhino coming out of the sky to kill people? Then, on top of that, the rhino seems to have it out for James specifically.
5. All Dogs Go To Heaven
Why we thought we’d like this: Talking animals are all the rage for kids. And it’s an animated musical on top of that? Gold.
Why it’s terrifying: This movie has dogs on death row, smoking cigars, and even taking a trip to hell. An orphan is even held captive by a dog smoking a cigar. If you were scared of dogs as a kid, this movie definitely wasn’t for you. But hey, you could at least play with the Wendy’s meal toys they made for kids.
Why we thought we’d like this: David Bowie is amazing and the humor is just great. Hoggle is a companion we wouldn’t expect to love as much as we do.
Why it’s terrifying: These puppets are seriously some of the most terrifying things we would never want to come across in real life. And why are there just goblins hiding in closets waiting for people to summon them? NOPE.
7. Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland
Why we thought we’d like this: Dreams are fun. When we experienced Nemo’s fantasy dream of being welcomed into Slumberland, it was a joyous occasion.
Why it’s terrifying: Our dreams can easily turn into nightmares. If you’re anything like Nemo, your nightmares can take over a party with a huge cloud of black smoke and kidnap a king. How fun!
8. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Why we thought we’d like this: Who doesn’t love a good mystery movie? We were drawn in by the unique live-action/animation mashup.
Why it’s terrifying: Somewhere in the midst of this crossover, things get creepy. Judge Doom was already a pretty creepy and eccentric character, but then his death was something that just haunted our nightmares for years.
9. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Why we thought we’d like this: Who doesn’t love the story of a genuinely nice boy winning a trip to a candy factory where candy covers almost every square inch?
Why it’s terrifying: Willy Wonka was pretty insane. The Oompa Loompas were enough to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Then the tunnel scene (above) had everyone running towards the theater doors, begging to get out.
10. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Why we thought we’d like this: The classic movie musical follows the adventures of a widowed inventor, his two kids, and his new love interest in a new automobile he invented.
Why it’s terrifying: Adventures include a Baron trying to kill his wife, the children being kidnapped and an AWESOME (yet freaky) plan to get the kids back. The Child Catcher is probably why your parents told you to never take candy from a stranger.
11. Watership Down
Why we thought we’d like this: It shows a bunny colony hoping to move away from tyranny and humans. Aww. Be free, bunnies.
Why it’s terrifying: OH MY GOD. This is probably the creepiest cartoon ever made. There is more death and blood than all of the “Saw” movies combined. Recently, Britain’s Channel 5 decided to play this movie for Easter and boy, oh boy, parents were mad as hell.