It's not really fair that old men are called creepy for doing just normal everyday things, but it happens. If an old man says anything to a kid, someone somewhere is going to interpret it wrongly. There's a pedo craze going around, and it's hard to shake. Now, having said that, we do agree that there are some creepy old men in film. Most of it is unintentional, but they say and do strange things sometimes. It just so happens that old male companions used to be a mainstay in kids' movies. The wise old man or the strange old mysterious man was the go-to helper for kids. Back in the day, a child character in a film could hang out all day with an old guy without anyone raising an eyebrow. Nowadays, we watch those same movies and can't help but shake the bad thoughts that we get. What's this old guy up to? What are his intentions?
Listen, we understand that these old timers are almost always completely innocent. For the most part, it wasn't the intention of the filmmaker to make these guys out to be creeps. Most of these guys were sweet and helpful. We don't want to villainize them, but times have changed. We're just stating what everyone is thinking. If you weren't thinking it, you are now. Sorry about that. So, why don't we get started on breaking down some of the foundational films of your childhood? We'll take a look at some of the men who were acting creepy, and we didn't really realize it until now. Here are 15 Unintentionally Creepy Old Men from Kids Movies.
Forget all the stuff about the Lost Boys for a second. Think about the relationship between Peter and Wendy's family. Peter and Wendy were once in love. They were children at the same time. Peter took Wendy to Neverland and they shared all sorts of adventures together. Then, Wendy grew up. Peter would visit from time to time but he never stayed long. Wendy even says that she thought Peter would object to her wedding. She loved him. Then, she had a family. Eventually, she had a granddaughter, Moira. Peter fell in love with this little girl. That alone is weird, considering how old Peter is at this point. Peter loves this kid so much that he sticks around. Wendy raises him as her own grandchild. Moira and Peter both share Granny Wendy. Then, they grow up and get married. In a way, Peter married his own sister, his ex-girlfriend's granddaughter.
14 The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
The concept behind The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a sweet one—a love story involving two people travelling through life in different directions, meeting in the middle. The middle section of this lifelong love story is nice. The ends are not. At first, we have Brad Pitt in old man makeup falling in love with a little girl (Elle Fanning). Yeah, we get that he is suffering from a disease, and he's not really old. We can accept that during the first time through the film. But, when you really consider the situation and the implications here, it's a bit weird. It's a lot weirder. Later in life, we have an old woman caring for a baby, a baby she used to get freaky with. That, too, is disturbing.
13 Haunted Mask II
The mask maker in The Haunted Mask (1&2) is meant to be pretty creepy. He sure plays it up, jumping out at people when they're least expecting it, and lingering and saying some really unsettling things. But in the second mini-film/two-part episode, the mask maker steps up his creepy game. He starts following the kids at night. Even though we don't know it's him at first, we find out later that he's been around the whole time. But why is he attacking kids? Why not go for some of the adults in town? Then, after he is saved by the kids, he delivers an awkward speech and walks off into the night. In the beginning, his green-tinged face was gross, but, at this point, he looks like he's on the verge of death. He might be saying some nice things to these kids, but the only thing they're thinking about is how disgusting his green pallor is and how those facial warts are getting out of control.
12 Little Miss Sunshine
We know that Little Miss Sunshine is not a children's movie. We also know that the grandpa is not meaning to be creepy; that's just how it played out. Whether you see logic in what he's saying, there is a disturbing discussion between grandfather and grandson. After asking the kid if he "is getting any young stuff," the kid says no. That's when grandpa says, "That young stuff is the best stuff in the whole world… See, right now you're jailbait, they're jailbait. It's perfect. I mean, you hit 18, man! You're talkin' about three to five." Aside from being awkward, grandpa is sidling up nice and close to a troubling place.
11 The Next Karate Kid
After Karate Kid III, Ralph Macchio decided to move on with his life and leave the franchise. This inspired the creators to restart the franchise with The Next Karate Kid. They cast a young Hilary Swank and got going. The strange part about this film is that they left what happened to Daniel (Macchio) up in the air. He just isn't around and is only mentioned in passing. The story in general is odd. A woman who barely even knows Mr. Miyagi allows him to care for her granddaughter, who he just met. For all they know (and all we know), Miyagi is a murderer on the run. So now, Swank's character has this old guy living with her who she knows nothing about and his former student has disappeared. The first thing he does? He walks in on her changing.
10 Monster Squad
Considering the old guy in Monster Squad is known as the "Scary German Guy," he was not necessarily unintentionally scary. In fact, it was the exact opposite. Yet, while he was meant to be scary, he was not meant to be the type of creepy he became. When the kids are first invited into this guy's house, he brandishes a massive knife. We're meant to think he's going to savagely butcher them, but we soon find out that he's only feeding them pie. But then he starts hanging around a lot, like every day. In this age, more parents would be scared of their kids simply hanging around this old man than being murdered by him. Times have changed.
9 Miracle On 34th Street
The original Miracle on 34th Street was made in 1947, so obviously, many things have changed since then. In that film, the love interest of the mother lives in a neighboring apartment. The man and woman do not know each other, but that doesn't stop the guy from taking her daughter to the zoo without the mom. Also, the little girl, Susie, goes over to this guy's apartment to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade with him. When mom finds out, she drops by and INTRODUCES herself to him for the first time. Sweet lord. Imagine your little child going over to a complete stranger's house all alone. It turns out, the only reason this guy was being nice to Susie was to get it good with the mom.
8 Hearts In Atlantis
Hearts in Atlantis is a great little family film that touches on themes of child abuse, so we're not projecting really anything onto the film. It's all there. If anything, we're defending the mother's fears in the film. Here's the rundown in case you forgot. You have a young boy, Bobby, and his mother, Liz, who allow an old guy, Ted, to move in upstairs as a boarder. Bobby soon realizes that Ted has psychic powers. In general, the relationship between these two, while innocent in reality, looks strange on the surface. Ted uses Bobby as his eyes and ears, putting him to work as a lookout in case the bad "Low Men" come in to town. Then, there's also the big conflict scene which is awfully strange. After one of Bobby's friends, Carol, has her shoulder dislocated. Ted brings her in and helps put it back in place. When the mom, Liz, comes home, she sees Ted with the kids and Carol's shirt is unbuttoned, and she's laying down as Ted comforts her. It's no wonder that the mom freaked out.
7 Dennis The Menace
Remember that cute cross-eyed kid, Gunther, from the Dennis the Menace movie? Well, good because he plays a big part in this entry. Sadly, Christopher Lloyd actually makes this list twice. We love Lloyd. We don't think he's a creep. He just happens to act creepy around kids in more than one movie. Hell, people have even suggested that Doc Brown and Marty McFly's relationship is odd, but we'll sidestep that one. So, in Dennis the Menace, Lloyd plays Switchblade Sam, a dirty old burglar who comes in to town to rob unsuspecting people's homes. When we first meet him, he jams his switchblade into the apple Gunther was about to eat. Super dangerous move. Now, we're supposed to be crept out by Sam, but not in the same way that we are now. As adults, we see Gunther sitting there shirtless and old dirty Sam is leering at him from over the fence. There's a seriously off-putting vibe here that only adults would get.
6 Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
No, we're not talking about Willy Wonka himself. Yeah, he was creepy. He was very creepy, but he was intentionally creepy. The man they called the Tinker, however, probably didn't know how creepy he was. So, Charlie goes down to the factory to check out what's going on and to look longingly through the gate. As he stares, out of nowhere, a mysterious old man appears with a cart full of razor-sharp knives. Charlie's dead, you think, but no, this is a kids' movie. Instead of slicing him up, the Tinker starts reciting poetry: "Up the airy mountain, down the rushy glen, we daren't go a hunting, for fear of little men. You see, nobody ever goes in...and nobody ever comes out."
With that, the old guy walks away, his cart a-rattling over the cobble stones. So, we ask ourselves now. What the hell was that all about? And how did Charlie let that cart guy sneak up him?
Jack is a movie that you may not remember but you probably saw it or were familiar with it at the time it was released. It starred Robin Williams as a kid with a condition that causes him to age very quickly. He was a 10-year-old boy played by Robin Williams in the mid-90's, to put it in perspective. There are two major unsettling relationships in Jack. There is Jack's first crush, which feels every bit as strange as it sounds. Watching Robin Williams crush on a little girl is unnatural. But that's not as bad as watching Jack's friend's mom (Fran Drescher) crushing on Jack. After dancing with her at a bar and then getting arrested, Jack lip quivers the whole way home in the passenger seat of this lady's car. We get that she may not know that he is actually a 10-year-old boy, but he very clearly has a severe developmental delay of some sort. Maybe calling his caregivers instead of taking advantage of him should have been her first move.
4 Shirley Temple Films
Almost every Shirley Temple film features something creepy, especially the early ones. Shirley Temple was highly s*xualized, even when she was a little girl. The outfits, the dialogue, the scenarios—it's all rather disgusting. This was something that followed Temple around for most of her young career. Although many of her early films had her doing uncomfortable things, she was acting with other young children. Later, the other children became adults, which was very strange. It wasn't just her other stars either. The crew and the directors have to be held responsible for thinking these scenes up as well. Not only would her early films, part of the Baby Burlesks series, not be made in this age. The creators might be looking at serious jail time for making these films.
3 Ernest Scared Stupid
Really, this entry could apply to any Ernest movie, but 'tis the season. Now, first and foremost, we are colossal Jim Varney and Ernest fans. There's an incredible playfulness to these films, and they're a heck of a lot of fun to watch. We do it yearly. Still, we have to admit that this type of film could never fly anymore. Ernest could never be hanging out with all the neighborhood kids without signalling some alarm bells. In Ernest Scared Stupid, at least, the parents of the kids that Ernest hangs out with raise some concerns. The truth is, Ernest is only able to solve these mysteries because he is childlike. Adults are too cynical and don’t believe in trolls and Santa Claus and other things like that. That's why Ernest always enlists young kids. In reality, these kids are spending a lot of late nights with the somewhat mentally-challenged garbage man. When they start to go missing in Scared Stupid, you know damn well who the cops would go to first for questioning.
Gigi is a family musical that set a record for Academy Award wins. It was an industry favorite. It's also super gross. The film starts off with old Uncle Pedo sitting in park watching children playing and singing, "Thank Heaven for Little Girls." Now, you're probably thinking, it's not that bad. It's probably more innocent than you're implying. But no. It's every bit as disgusting as you think it might be. He's thanking little girls for growing up into women, so he can have them. He's basically licking his chops at these kids running around, thinking about a few years into the future when he can marry them. It's horrifying watching this lecherous old man drooling over small children.
1 When Good Ghouls Go Bad
In the R.L. Stine book adaptation of When Good Ghouls Go Bad, the protagonist's grandfather, confusingly named Uncle Fred (Christopher Lloyd), dies. He returns as a zombie type thing and starts hanging around the town. He's a sweet and innocent guy, but he does one of the creepiest things imaginable. He takes over as the clown for this kid's birthday party. That's fine. But, at this point, Fred's hand has fallen off his body. He then takes said hand, throws it up in the air, opens up his clown pants, and lets it drop down his pants. A touch weird, but we'll allow it. This is where things fall off the rails, though. Uncle Fred then takes out a $100 bill and offers it to the first kid who can find the "magic hand." This causes the entire party to rush Uncle Fred, trying desperately to find the magic hand down his pants.
Sources: Wikipedia; IMDB; Reddit; Café Society