Top 10 – Scary Kids Films
You voted more than ever, and I hope you’re all sincerely pleased with yourselves.
You wanted to look under the bed.
You wanted to check in the cupboard just once.
You asked for it, now prepare yourselves….
10) The Lion King
The stampede scene isn’t really a scene that immediately strikes you as visually scary. However when you think about the context behind it, as well as what happens during the scene, you begin to realise that this very nice film about the truths (circle) of life becomes a lot more real. It’s all triggered by the fight for the pride between Mufasa and Scar.
Whilst the stampede is going heavily below, Mufasa is fallen off a cliff face to plummet into the stampede. This is of course the last scene of Mufasa, as he ultimately dies in this scene. The start of the film is very cuddly with lion cubs Simba and Nala… But after this scene, Simba learns about toughening up and the circle of life. It’s sad, it’s effective – but it’s a very scary realisation of the harsh realities of life. We come, we live, we breathe, some of us will reproduce, we die.
A world where the only life is made of junk fabricated by an artificial intelligence who’s only purpose is to create weapons. With its’ only enemy being the divided aspects of the scientist who created it, makes dark creations out of rusty metal, torn cloth and whatever other parts it can pull together, resulting in some seriously creepy scrap-monsters.
While 9 is not an amazing film, it brings a lot of life to a collection of material components, and makes the stitched-together monsters of its’ world seem so much more real and threatening.
8) Toy Story
1995 saw the release of the first ever feature=length CGI film, but that wasn’t what stuck in the mind of kids of the decade. Everything’s going really well, except for the whole old vs. new conflict, but there is a far greater fear for toys than obsolescence. Sid’s circus of terrors.
The sadistic adolescent neighbour of the protagonists takes whatever toys he can, then breaks, smashes and melts them together into terrible mutants. While the creations are tortured, but kindly souls, they are manifestations of Sid’s cruelty, making the plight of poor Woody and Buzz far more real.
7) Return to Oz
It took me a long time to remember why I was having terrifying memories of wheeled people. Turns out I’d forgotten a lot of the more chilling parts of the Wizard of Oz sequel. Oz is an unbalancing place to begin with, but cast into a hideous state of degradation ruled by a queen who changes heads like their dresses (and has a closet full of them too).
Somehow winged monkeys and green-skinned women who melt just can’t shape up to the darker side of Oz that Dorothy discovers on her return.
6) Dark Crystal
Not a single human to be found in this fantasy world, but the Jim Henson classic (often paired with Labyrinth which deserves mention here too) is filled with dark imagery and evil monsters. The hedonistic Skeksis and their horde of unnatural insectoid Garthim sent forth to commit genocide in the name of their masters paranoia is fearful enough, but let’s talk “essence”.
The lich-like Skeksis have taken the power of the crystal that can destroy them, and are using it to extract the very life from the sentient beings of the Dark Crystal universe that they might drink it to replenish themselves, and leaving the host a mindless husk…
Ultron was not the first to make Pinocchio a messed up tale. The famous Pleasure Island scene depicts terrified boys transforming into donkeys to be put to hard labour, their every plea to be remembered turned to unintelligible braying. It was a concept designed to shock children into proper behaviour.
Disney is riddled with stories that would scare you if you think on them too long, but every so often they’ll throw you a curveball and shock you to the core at face value. Damn you Avengers, why do you have to dredge up old memories?
4) Neverending Story
What’s scarier than death? Nothing. The absolute nothing of never having been. The Neverending Story is riddled with traumatizing moments, from the death of Artax, to the last words of Rock-Biter, and the relentless pursuit of Gmork.
Rock-Biter’s dying moments have always stuck with me. “They look like big strong hands, don’t they.” No matter how big, or strong, or powerful you may believe yourself to be, all things end, and The Nothing is the nebulous embodiment of all that we fear.
From the creative team that brought you The Nightmare Before Christmas comes a real nightmare. The titular character is caught in something of a Faustian deal, everything she could ever want for a price too steep for anyone to pay, sealed by buttons sewn over the eyes.
Coraline presents us with two deeply weird worlds, the so called “normal” world, which for Coraline herself is an aberration having just moved in with her busy parents and her new oddball neighbours; and the fun land trap of the “Other Mother” which is filled with everything a young girl could want, so long as she never ever wants to leave.
2) Watership Down
How is this a kids film? Blood, violence, snares, death. Adorable bunny-rabbits will never be the same again. Let’s discuss the way two rabbits destroy one another in a frenzied bloodbath, the vicious dog attack, the apocalyptic visions of young Fiver, and the horrific dystopia Sandleford.
This film has everything one would need to make a particularly vicious RPG setting (which exists by the way), a pantheon of gods, a world of terrifying monsters, a tyrannical police force, even it’s own languages. This is a children’s classic for any parents determined to make their kids vegetarian, or sociopaths.
1) Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Not the dip!
The merging of cartoon and reality has rarely been a comfortable mixture, but set in a film-noir with a cartoon-killing psychopath with conniving weasel henchmen sets a really creepy tone. Over the top slapstick suddenly seems like a horrifying crime, the cartoon world seems like a bad hallucination, and somehow it all pales against the final moments.
As Christopher Lloyd reveals his true nature, his freakish voice and terrifying appearance shift him from sinister tyrant to horrifying monster, topped off by his Wicked-Witch style death scene. Judge Doom is one messed up mash-up of man and cartoon.
Want to know what happens when you mix childish innocence with nightmarish vision? As per-usual the internet has got you covered, and it is to the wider world of messed-up minds that we turn our attention for the Honourable Mentions this week.
WARNING: The above video is loud… and further to that, it might make you insane with emotions. You have now been warned… But discuss this video and the rest of the article in the commens section below!
This is not a film at all hence it doesn’t make it into our Top 10 scariest children’s films, however this is a creepypasta. So what makes this such a scary thing and why is it relevant to Children’s Films? Well first of all, it’s about Mickey Mouse.
It’s Mickey Mouse as he wanders down a never-ending path of depression, staring down at the concrete floor as he shuffles/steps forward, constantly going towards the end. It was created as a shock value video, which people believed was a real Walt Disney thing, however this is just an elaborate fake like basically all creepypasta’s. The thing is, this one was done really well, so people still somewhat dispute the invalidity of the source.
Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared
Another non-film here hence these two belong in the honourable mentions, however Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared (DHMIS) is a series of music videos that explains different elements of life to our young… Well, kind of. It’s been done in a style that mimics a children’s TV show hence it makes a spot in our honourable mentions.
Of course, just because it was made to mimic the style of a children’s TV show doesn’t mean it really is intended for children… But let’s be honest, if you watch one of these long enough, they seem to make less sense except for the sake of continuity.
You have no one to blame but yourselves for reawakening old nightmares that you’d thought were long forgotten. Are there any early-traumas you think we missed? Would you like us to suffer as you have? Leave your repressed memories in the comments below.
On a lighter note, you can choose to vote on next week’s Top 10, and in the spirit of the season we’re going a little more festive: