10 Movies That Traumatized Redditors as Kids
The best kids’ movies usually have a little danger to them, just a small amount of scariness to add to the excitement. However, sometimes this can go a little too far, especially when young viewers aren’t ready for what they’re watching. Even some of the original Goosebumps films pushed the envelope for what was acceptable in a children’s movie.
Recently, Redditors took to r/movies, the largest film subreddit, to discuss the movies that traumatized them most as kids. These are mostly innocuous movies with one or two scenes that set viewers’ imaginations spinning out of control. Their explanations of how these films affected them are frequently hilarious.
10 ‘Toothless’ (1997)
This family comedy tells the story of Dr. Katherine Lewis (Kirstie Alley), a successful dentist who dies and finds herself in the afterlife as a tooth fairy-in-training. As she struggles to learn the ropes and complete her first assignment, she meets the rebellious tooth fairy, Bobby (Ross Malinger), who becomes her guide and friend.
“I was absolutely terrified of this film, entirely because of the ending where Kirstie Allie is lowered into a pit in the middle of the desert over the sultry tones of Bonnie Tyler,” says u/ExtravagantPanda94.
9 ‘Gremlins’ (1984)
Joe Dante‘s Gremlins is a classic horror-comedy about a young man named Billy (Zach Galligan) who receives a strange and adorable creature called a Mogwai as a gift from his father. However, when the Mogwai, named Gizmo, accidentally gets wet, it spawns more mischievous creatures that turn into violent and destructive gremlins.
Chaos ensues as the gremlins wreak havoc on the town, and it’s up to Billy and his girlfriend (Phoebe Cates) to stop them before it’s too late. “Gremlins still haunts me as an adult,” says u/Global_Succotash533. “I watched it when I was 12, and I still have nightmares sometimes.”
8 ‘Return to Oz’ (1985)
This Wizard of Oz sequel stars Fairuza Balk as Dorothy Gale, who returns to Oz to find it has been taken over by the villainous Nome King (Nicol Williamson). It also features Piper Laurie as Aunt Em and Matt Clark as Uncle Henry. The film’s darker tone and use of practical effects garnered both critical acclaim and controversy upon its release.
“This movie was creepy on many levels. But while the Oz part was scary, I found the real world asylum part with electro shocks and the screaming trapped patients way worse,” said u/RivetheadRambo. u/nNala29 agreed, saying, “[It’s] so messed up they played that movie on the DISNEY CHANNEL”.
7 ‘Fire in the Sky’ (1993)
Based on a true story, this sci-fi revolves around the disappearance of logger Travis Walton (D.B. Sweeney), who claims to have been abducted by extraterrestrials while working in the forests of Arizona.
It received mixed reviews from critics but has since gained a cult following. “I wasn’t sure that was a real movie,” says u/Early_Accident2160. “For a long time, I thought that was just some f—ed up fever dream I had as a kid. Then 10-15 years go by and realized that it’s real.”
6 ‘The Neverending Story’ (1984)
The Neverending Story is a 1980s fantasy film directed by Wolfgang Petersen. It centers on a follows a young boy named Bastian (Barret Oliver), who discovers a mysterious book that leads him on an incredible adventure through the world of Fantasia. Along the way, he meets a variety of creatures and characters, including the warrior Atreyu (Noah Hathaway), and the luck dragon Falkor, voiced by Alan Oppenheimer.
It’s widely regarded as one of the best kids’ movies of its decade, but some Redditors were terrified by it. “I found it soul-crushing as a child. I could never get over the part in the swamp, but also the wolf,” says u/florida_is. “I used to make myself not look away at the werewolf scenes when I was a bit older to get over the fear,” u/maethora27 adds. “My own private trauma therapy.”
5 ‘The Brave Little Toaster’ (1987)
The Brave Little Toaster is an animated about five household appliances — a toaster, a lamp, a radio, a vacuum cleaner, and an electric blanket — on a journey to find their missing owner. The movie’s themes of friendship, loyalty, and perseverance have made it a beloved family favorite, but it also has several decidedly dark moments.
“There are an uncomfortable number of scenes where the main cast resigns themselves to an inevitable death. It’s like the ending of Toy Story 3 plays out multiple times,” says u/ElectricOrangutan. u/TheRatmouse agrees, saying, “The vacuum cleaner eating his own cord also freaked me out.”
4 ‘The Dark Crystal’ (1982)
The Dark Crystal is a classic fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, featuring a range of puppets and animatronics created by the Jim Henson Company. It centers on a young Gelfling named Jen, voiced by Stephen Garlick, who embarks on a journey to restore the Dark Crystal and save his world from the malevolent Skeksis.
The film’s striking visuals and imaginative world-building, along with its memorable characters, have earned it a legion of fans, though some kids found it too scary. “Whoever thought the execution of this film was a great children’s movie did waaaaaay too many drugs,” says u/HellaBuck76. “I’m 46 and I still find it disturbing.”
3 ‘Ernest Scared Stupid’ (1991)
Jim Varney plays the titular character in this horror comedy about a hapless man who accidentally unleashes a group of trolls on his small town, and must team up with a group of kids to stop them. Varney’s performance as the lovable but bumbling Ernest is a highlight. His comedic timing and physical comedy are spot-on.
The child actors, including Shay Astar and Austin Nagler, also give solid performances and help to add to the film’s sense of fun and adventure. However, there’s one particular scene that gave a few Redditors the heebie-jeebies. “The part where the kid looks under the bed and then sits back up and troll is in the bed f—ing ruined me,” says u/Roadhouse_Swayze. “Same,” writes u/foul_dwimmerlaik. “Had trouble sleeping for years because of that scene.”
2 ‘Poltergeist’ (1982)
Poltergeist is a classic horror directed by Tobe Hooper. It follows the Freeling family, played by JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, and Heather O’Rourke, as they become terrorized by a supernatural entity that haunts their home.
The film was a commercial and critical success, drawing praise for its groundbreaking visual effects, which were considered cutting-edge at the time. However, it is definitely not for kids. “My dad let me watch Poltergeist when I was 6,” says u/noshoes77. “I’m 45 and still terrified of closets.”
1 ‘Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure’ (1985)
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is Tim Burton‘s wacky, whimsical adventure about the eccentric Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens). When Pee-Wee’s beloved bike is stolen, he embarks on a cross-country journey to find it, encountering a cast of colorful characters along the way.
Burton’s signature style was a great match for the character, but for some young viewers, it was all a little too much. “The Large Marge eye bulging scene in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure gave me reoccurring nightmares for several years,” says u/JohannReddit. “This is my pick as well,” says u/pantswise900. “I tried to watch it just the other day and found it triggering. I’m 41.”
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