A very easy way to distract small children is to put on a movie that they really love; kids have this great ability to watch the same thing a hundred times over and still not get bored. As long as it’s colourful, funny, fast-paced and accompanied by a very catchy soundtrack, they could be stuck there all day. So the last thing a parent wants is for things to turn sour and all of a sudden for their kid to start screaming the house down after they’ve witnessed something truly traumatic.
Even the most wonderful of movies which look great on the cover, can have hidden scenes halfway through that shock and traumatise young ones. Disney is a known culprit for this: killing off Simba’s Dad, torturing the poor Hunchback of Notre Dame and we don’t even want to list all the poor Disney characters who have lost their own mothers on screen. It does feel as if they want to drag you in with promises of child-like adventure and then – boom – they hit you right in the feels.
The following movies often have moments so dark, twisted and sinister that Netflix should probably file these titles under ‘Horror’ rather than ‘Kids’. It’s tough to try and think of new ways of keeping kids entertained and glued to the screen; still, freezing them in pure horror shouldn’t be an option. Unless movie studios wish to start paying the therapy bills themselves, they should really consider leaving some of the haunting moments out the final cut.
Spoiler Alert (and painful memories!)
15. Watership Down
The animated version of Watership Down (1978) was probably not what author Richard Adams first had in mind when he put pen to paper. Fiver, the lead fluffy bunny, has visions of doom and has to convince all his other cotton-tailed buddies to leave the burrow immediately.
Fields of blood, twisting branches and skeletal like omens are enough to not only scare the rabbits rigid but also stun children into silence wondering if they should check on their own pets to make sure they are okay. The brutal battle scenes and deaths that occur throughout Watership Down are enough to make Game of Thrones look like a pleasant day in the pastures.
14. Babe: Pig In The City
Remember Babe (1995), the lovable pig who conquered all his self-doubts and became the sheep-pig he really wanted to be? It was a heart-warming, family tale that children adored, and a place in the hearts of many was secured.
Then came along the sequel – Babe: Pig In The City (1998) which ripped out those warm-hearts, threw them on the floor and left them there. Mr and Mrs Hoggett have to send Babe away to the big city so he can showcase his talents and earn them the much needed finances for the farm. What was supposed to be an adventure turns into a nightmare as he meets some nasty characters.
Things went sour for Babe when he was sniffed out at the airport for carrying illegal substances and is held under investigation – but this is still meant to be for kids, right?
13. The Land Before Time
The Land Before Time saw a great prehistoric team join forces and begin a journey of friendship as they became separated from their loved ones during an earthquake which splits the land.
Little Foot, Cera, Ducky,Petrie and Spike have some fun moments, along with some devastating ones. Children were left in floods of tears over what could be the most heartbreaking animated moment of all time. Little Foot’s Mum is chased down by Sharptooth (a large, furious, blood-thirsty T-Rex). She manages to get free but is left badly injured.
Little Foot begs his mother to get up and be better again but she sadly passes away using her last breath to tell him: “Let your heart guide you.” Only a monster can watch this scene without sobbing their heart out.
12. The NeverEnding Story
Atrayu has a best friend in The NeverEnding Story (1984); his horse Artax. Together the unstoppable team head off on an adventure with one goal in mind: to save the entire world. So what did author Michael Ende decide to do to the beloved horse? Kill it off, of course.
The four-legged friend meets his maker when travelling through The Swamp of Sadness; the pair are warned “the sadness can get you”. Slowly Artax begins to sink deep into the swamp and, despite Atrayu’s best efforts to set him free from the disaster, he eventually sinks and disappears forever.
11. All Dogs Go To Heaven
In All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989) two rogue hounds, Charlie B. Barkin and Itchy, escape a dog pound and return to the casino they co-won with fellow gangster – Carface. In a business deal gone wrong, Charlie is murdered by own his own partner and begins a journey to heaven.
This is not the end for these two characters, as they manage to steal a watch that has the power to turn back time and return to earth. They team up with a young orphan named Anne-Marie and the duo become a trio; scamming the general public until they have enough money to rebuild their own casino. Despite being labelled a kids’ movie, there are several very disturbing moments; Charlie is shot in the street (again), Anne-Marie contracts pneumonia and Itchy becomes jealous over the relationship. Enjoy, kids!
10. Return To Oz
When Return To Oz was first released in (1985) audiences were told: “If you loved The Wizard Of Oz, you’ll love accompanying Dorothy on this second thrilling adventure.” However, a more fitting description should have been: “If you want your childhood memories crushed by a sequel that is outright terrifying, then Return To Oz is the movie for you.”
Dorothy is forced into electric shock therapy treatment to rid her of any thoughts of Oz. However, when she does return to the land she comes across the barking-mad wheelers who are a half-human, half-scooter gang as well as the Nome King who turns people to stone, and the room of many heads. It truly is the creepy stuff of nightmares.
9. The Witches
The Witches (1990) was a movie based on the novel by Roald Dahl; the book alone sent chills down the spines of many young ones, so of course seeing it blown up on the big screen in all its horrifying glory had the same effect.
Anjelica Huston plays the role of the Grand High Witch and when she transforms from her beautiful self into the bony, bubble-skinned, cackling child catcher, it is not a face many can forget. We all know the argument should be that this film doesn’t scare you if you’re older than ten-years-old; but there is still an adult fear of anyone who has just a slightly-too-large nose and wears gloves indoors.
Not many children would beg their parents to put on Fantasia (1940) for them to enjoy, but everyone has seen it at least once when they were little. There are plenty of fun moments, up until the point where the petrifying Chernabog appears.
He is a huge, devil-like demon that appears during the Night on Bald Mountain scene; this beast is a renowned Disney villain and it sent many small faces into hiding behind pillows.
Chernabog wouldn’t think twice about storming into your room at night, dragging you by the ankles out of bed and throwing you into a fiery pit. His minions that follow him around can also be seen dancing amongst the flames; enough to give anyone nightmares.
It is quite hard to pin down just which moment of Willow (1988) is the most frightening, because there’s endless horror as standard for the majority of its scenes.
Loving mothers are executed; there’s a vengeful sorceress on the war path for the blood of babies; everyone is turned into a squealing pig and there are even two-headed monsters to avoid.
It has been labelled the “first Lord of the Rings” but kids today just don’t understand the true fear this movie would once place in young hearts. Parents were warned around the time of release “contains scenes of battle and conflict” – but they forgot to mention the rest of the horror!
6. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Hide the children – literally. In the family classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) there are plenty of fun-filled moments, but then there is also a scene that put all kids and their parents right on the edge of their seat.
That is, when the Child Catcher is introduced. He creeps around ringing his bells, shouting for children to come and collect lollipops from him. Young siblings Jeremy and Jemima run to accept his offer of delicious treats. They are captured and taken away from their loved ones screaming for help – the Child Catcher scene was very traumatic for those in their younger years, but it certainly hit home with the lesson ‘don’t take candy from strangers’.
5. The Fox & The Hound
The Fox and the Hound (1981) saw an unlikely friendship emerge between these two lovable characters. When a little fox becomes an orphan, kind-hearted Widow Tweed takes him under her wing and gives him the name Tod.
At the same time, her unsavoury neighbour next door buys a hunting hound named Copper. It has to be explained to Tod and Copper that, although they have become the best of friends, it’s not the natural way. Widow Tweed knows the little fox isn’t safe living with her anymore and she takes him deep into the forest and, against her will, has to abandon him. As little Tod watches her drive away, it’s one of the most heartbreaking moments a child can sit through.
4. E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial
Every kid remembers a time when they had to say goodbye to a friend. It’s this heart-breaking moment that takes centre stage in E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and can send anyone on a teary-eyed trip down memory lane.
Young Elliot comes across the odd-looking alien in some woodlands near his home and manages to bring E.T. home by making a trail of Reese’s Pieces. Unfortunately, the adults spoil all the fun again, disagreeing with their son striking up a friendship with an intergalactic space traveller.
There is a truly sad moment at the end of the movie when E.T is ready to return to jump in his spaceship and as his heart glows he let’s Elliot know that: “I’ll be right here,” and points to his heart. Watching his best friend leave broke – and the world’s – heart.
3. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
In 1985, Tim Burton made Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985) and one particular moment left kids wide awake for many nights after they watched it.
Pee-Wee picks up Large Marge from the side of the road, but instead of thanking him for the ride she starts off by telling him a petrifying tale which a huge jump involved. Large Marge recounts: “There was this sound, like a garbage truck dropped off the Empire State Building. And when they pulled the driver’s body from the twisted, burning wreck…it looked like THIS!” Then her face is transforms into a bulging, squealing monster – scary enough to make children run away from the TV screaming and crying.
2. The Goonies
The Goonies (1985) is a firm favourite with every 80s and 90s kid. The movie is about a bunch of young, fun kids who want to save their own neighbourhood from demolition. They come across an old map that leads them to a 17th-century pirate named One-Eyed Willie (everyone remembers that guy!) who looks after a long-lost fortune.
There’s a huge setback, and that’s when The Fratellis – a not-very-nice gang – chase down the group. In one of the most traumatic moments of the whole movie, poor little Chunk is interrogated by the gang. At one point, they seem to push his hand into a blender ready to slice it clean off. Well, that’s certainly one way to shake up the kids!
It’s hard to put this traumatic scene into words – everyone knows that Bambi’s own mother was killed by a hunter in the woods, leaving him an orphan. It left millions of children clinging on to their own mothers, crying buckets of tears.
The death comes about in the most heart-breaking way; as Bambi’s mother spies there is danger on the horizon and alerts Bambi to run as fast as he can, a gunshot can be heard – but poor little Bambi doesn’t realise that she has been killed. He searches through the snow calling out her name but there is no reply. Anyone want to share a box of tissues?
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!