Over the last little bit, we’ve run a few pieces that explore the extents of our memories when it comes to childhood films. We tend to forget certain scenes if they had adult humor in them, but what about violence and trauma? How do our memories handle scenes with more tragic elements in them? Did our brain try to protect us by walling off certain scenes, pretending that they never happened or that we never saw them? Maybe we remember the harsh scenes as more pleasant or innocent. Well, we decided to go through and look at some scenes that shock adults when they revisit them. Sure, many of you will have remembered parts or all of these scenes because they scarred you and have haunted you through the ages, but we’re willing to bet that there’s a great deal of you who don’t remember there being such violence in these kids’ films. Well, there was violence, and it was pretty crazy when you really think about it. Before we get into it, we decided not to use The Lion King because of how massive of a movie it was. Yeah, the deaths are harsh, but we all remember them.
Whenever we deal with the category of “children’s movies,” we have to acknowledge that some of the films we’re discussing are not technically rated for children. Some were rated PG or something close to that, but for many of us, that was good enough for our parents. For many parents, PG just meant that they had to be the ones that rented it. For some parents, PG meant Pretty Good. If it was animated or made by Disney, it was probably safe for a kid’s eyes. Because of that, many of us witnessed these traumatic scenes when we were alone. Kids today couldn’t handle these things. Or better yet, parents today couldn’t handle their kids handling these things, but we were troopers. If parents today are helicopters, our parents were rocket ships. We didn’t need them. We came, we saw, and we were terrified, but we grew up alright despite the horrors in otherwise family films. Here are 15 Scenes From Your Childhood You Don’t Remember Being So Harsh.
15. The Great Mouse Detective – Felicia The Murderer
Perhaps Mal’s Death in The Great Mouse Detective isn’t that bad. It’s not graphic because it’s only seen in a shadow. There is only the sound of the gulp and no blood or gore, but it’s still pretty nuts. This poor drunk and unsuspecting mouse gets eaten by a gigantic cat, Felicia, and we’re supposed to be okay with it. She holds the mouse over her mouth as she prepares to gobble him up. We kind of expect him to be saved, but he isn’t. After the cat is done eating, the big bad Ratigan then pats down her mouth with a napkin, which is particularly sadistic.
14. Help I’m A Fish – Antidote
Help I’m a Fish is a weird little animated film that starred Aaron Paul pre-Breaking Bad. This film, although popular because it’s an interesting movie, also features a terrifying scene. So, everyone is turned into a fish, and the only cure is a mysterious antidote. In the brutal scene that we’re interested in, the good guy tricks the bad guy. He asks him all sorts of science and math questions. The bad guy, knowing that the antidote also makes him smarter, drinks more of it with each question. He continues getting them right and grows into a hideous monster as he drinks. Finally, the good guy asks him if humans can breathe underwater. The answer is no, but now that the big bad is a human from drinking the antidote that makes him human, he drowns.
13. Gremlins – The Kitchen Scene
Gremlins might not hit as hard as many of the movies and scenes on this list. Yeah, it’s incredibly violent, but there are many people, like us, who watch this every year as part of their Christmas movie lineup. This was also not a kid’s movie either, although Gizmo might have made it seem that way at first. It doesn’t take long to see and hear some crazy things in Gremlins. Phoebe Cates‘ character tells us that she hates Christmas because her dad died coming down the chimney. He didn’t fall or anything like that. He got stuck there and died. They only found his body several days later when she lit the fireplace and smelled burning flesh. There’s that scene, which is flat-out nuts, but there’s also the kitchen showdown early on. In that scene, mom kills one gremlin in a blender, another she viciously stabs to death, and the last she puts in a microwave and blows him up. It’s pure insanity.
12. The Last Unicorn – The Witch’s Death
The Last Unicorn is a strange and often beautiful animated film, but it has some moments that are pretty shocking for kids. The one scene that many remember seeing but few remember exactly how dark, it was the witch Mommy Fortuna’s death. After caging the Unicorn along with many other animals, Mommy Fortuna gets what was coming to her. The Unicorn gets free and then frees the immortal harpy, Calaeno. The release scene is eerie because of the score and the fact that the beast is raging and ready to create some havoc. The harpy also has three breasts for whatever reason. Once freed, the harpy appears to want to attack the unicorn, but then it sets its sights on Mommy Fortuna and kills the hell out of her. As she kills the witch, the harpy’s entire body flashes red. It’s not graphic, but it still feels hardcore.
11. Black Hole – Durant’s Death
After Star Wars came out and was such a huge success, Disney decided to grab some of the pie. They made Black Hole, which was like Star Wars except without all the good parts. No, we kid. It’s actually a pretty cool movie. For a Disney film, however, it was quite dark. Several of the movie deaths were harsh, especially if you were a child watching it. Now, this isn’t a kid’s movie. But, if your parents were like ours, they saw Disney and they thought it would be alright. Well, when that robot pulled out those spinning blades and ripped through Alex’s chest, we weren’t alright anymore. It wasn’t even like that was all Alex got. After being ripped apart, he fell into electrical wires or poles or something and was electrocuted to death for good measure. One gruesome death was enough, but two just felt wrong. And we were so young.
10. Ghost Dad’s Death
Remember Ghost Dad? Sure. But do you remember how he became a ghost? Early on in the worst film ever, Ghost Dad, Bill Cosby takes a taxi with a crazed lunatic. During the ride, the crazy driver starts driving erratically and asks Cosby if he accepts Satan as his lord and savior. Rather than entertain the guy to try and save his life, Cosby mocks him, making jokes and then saying that he is Satan. Well, this strategy doesn’t go well for the Jell-O man. The driver drives the car right off a bridge, killing himself and Cosby. Well, technically, neither of the car’s occupants die, but they should have. The fall in that car was extraordinary and should have resulted in a double homicide. Apparently, the crash only made Cosby’s spirit jump out of his body in fright. Yeah, sure pal.
9. The Dark Crystal – Skeksis’ Emperor Death
The Skeksis are creepy all by themselves. They’re those weird vulture-like harpy creatures that scare the wits out of children just by standing around. The Dark Crystal is one of those movies that many parents got confused about. They thought, ah, it’s like the Muppets. No, it’s not like the Muppets, mom. It’s dark and scary. Well, the one scene that stood out among all the other horrible things in this film was the death of the Skeksis’ Emperor. Do you remember how drawn-out that death scene was? It felt like it took that damn creature five minutes for it to finally die. It just croaked and groaned and looked in serious pain. Then, when it did finally die, it crumbled and broke down into dust. It was a very difficult scene to watch for a kid. Most young viewers were damaged goods after that point.
8. The Care Bears Movie – Exploding Head
The Care Bears Movie had several scenes which were way crazier than we remembered, but we decided to focus in on only one. For a movie that was overloaded with sweetness, sometimes unbearably so, the final confrontation with the book spirit was kind of nuts. After this spirit corrupts everything near her, the gang must act. With the bears’ help, the protagonist, Nicholas, overpowers the spirit and closes the book. But, the act of closing the book isn’t that easy. The evil face protrudes out of the book and is physical. So, when Nicholas closes the book, he’s essentially squishing the evil face in it. When the book finally snaps shut, the face is squished and explodes out green goo or blood. Even the bears who are watching this are stunned. Some utter things like “ohh” or “eww,” voicing their disgust.
7. Beethoven – Euthanized
We all remember Beethoven as that sweet and innocent film about that slobbery dog and ridiculously well-mannered family. It really isn’t all that sweet, though. Who remembers the bad guy in the film, the evil veterinarian Dr. Varnick, who wants nothing more than to euthanize Beethoven simply because he hates St. Bernards? He tries to con the family into thinking that Beethoven bit him so he can kill the dog. When the ruse is uncovered, the family attacks Varnick. One of them even drives the family car into the building where the final fight takes place. The car hits a tray of needles which all fly right into the doctor’s chest, euthanizing him instead. Well, not really. Apparently, the syringes just sedated him, but the final battle was pretty hardcore for a dog movie.
6. Something Wicked This Way Comes – The Guillotine
There were several scenes in Something Wicked This Way Comes that scared the pants off of us as kids, but most were traditional scares. There was one scene that was much darker and more violent than we were used to seeing. We were transformed into adults on that day. It is the scene in which we watch as Will is beheaded in a guillotine. Even though this is only a trick played on the boys, the bloody decapitated head looking up from a basket is an image that most kids don’t see very often. If you were one of those who watched this movie on Halloween thinking it a harmless holiday flick, we feel your pain. Although we still watch it every year, this one scene still gives us a strange feeling, bringing back terrible memories from our childhood.
5. An American Tail – The Giant Mouse Of Minsk
An American Tail was such a pleasant movie until that damn giant mecha mouse came barreling through the doors. Named the Giant Mouse of Minsk, this abomination wasn’t just scary because of how it looked, although that was terrifying as well. The bulging eyes and sharpened teeth were a sight to behold, but the animation, the way the mouse lunged at the screen, the flashing lights that made everyone feel epileptic, this was a big reason why this scene tortured so many kids. Maybe you don’t remember it this way, but go back and watch it. The Giant Mouse of Minsk is a nightmare creation of Don Bluth, a guy whose work shows up frequently on this list and others like it.
4. Oliver And Company – Electrocuted Pups
Oliver & Company is a pretty sweet movie overall. There’s almost nothing to be afraid of in the film, but there is that one scene. You might remember it, but we bet it’s worse than you think it is. Remember Sykes’ dogs, the Dobermans Roscoe and DeSoto? Well, do you remember how those two met their end? In was in the epic chase scene that ends up in the subway. Tragically, both these dogs lost their lives to the electrified third rail. It wasn’t left up to our imaginations either. Sure, we didn’t see their charred remains when they died, but we did hear yelping and whimpering which might be even worse. Maybe it’s worse for adults than kids. Seeing or hearing any animal die, animated or otherwise, is much worse than a human in movies. We’re so desensitized to human on human violence, but animals are a different story altogether.
3. Agent Cody Banks – Bad Guy’s Death
Agent Cody Banks is a wholesome movie. It’s silly and childish, and all the fight scenes consist of weak punches and kicks. That is, until the final fight. In that last battle, the evil Dr. Brinkman prepares to use an ice cube filled with nanobots on Hilary Duff‘s character. But she turns the tables on him. She jams the ice cube into the big bad’s mouth, and the whole room then watches as the villain is eaten by nanobots from the inside out. He is devoured within seconds, and his body wastes away in front of us. For a movie this childish, the death of Brinkman is outrageously violent.
2. Babe Pig In The City – Flealick’s Death
If you remember Babe Pig in the City, there’s a very good chance that you remember Flealick, the terrier in a wheelchair. But do you remember Flealick’s death scene? That’s right. That poor dog died…in a really horrible way. The poor thing was dragged outside of a truck for some way. He almost crashed into oncoming traffic and other vehicles before being thrown down. That’s right, a dog in a wheelchair, dragged behind a truck before being thrown to his death on the side of the road. It gets worse. As he lay twitching, clearly dying, we see that he has gone to heaven. Here in heaven, he no longer requires a wheelchair and he runs through a meadow. Then, tragically, he is brought back to the rainy and dreary street. We’re not even sure which is sadder, his death or his resurrection. Seeing both happen in the same scene is hard for anyone.
1. Tarzan – Clayton’s Death
For many fans of Tarzan, Clayton’s death during his battle with Tarzan is unforgettable, but plenty of fans have blocked out the scene. Sure, they may remember that Clayton was killed after being stuck in vines. They may even remember that he basically killed himself by cutting down all the vines that held him up, except for the one around his neck. What most forget, however, is that after Clayton dies, lightning strikes and his hanging corpse is shown in a shadow on the tree. It’s insanely dark for a kid’s movie and one that stands out as one of the more graphic Disney animated scenes.
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