Kids movies

18 kids’ movies that are basically horror movies

The tunnel scene Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is scarier than the whole Seen franchise.



TriStar / courtesy Everett Collection

Matilda literally has abusive parents and an abusive manager who puts her in a torture device called “The Chokey” and then she finds out that she has mysterious powers. Tell me that’s not fundamentally the plot of Carrie, but more messed up.



Focus Features / Courtesy of Everett Collection

Don’t even start me Coraline. The book alone has traumatized me, and the animation of it … I can’t deal with it. Other Mother is one of the scariest villains of all time.


Don’t look under the bed


Ah, back when DCOMs were TERRIFIC. I used to have a loft bed with a huge hidden space underneath, and spent a decade terrified of what could be below. Thanks, Disney Channel.


Chicken coop

DreamWorks Distribution / Courtesy Everett Collection

Part of it might be because I’m terrified of claymation, but there was a point in my childhood when I flatly refused to see this movie again. This whole meat pie thing freaked me out so much. It was as if the people of Sweeney todd knew they were about to be made into meat pies. What about Mrs. Tweedey’s death?!? Eek.


Spy on children

Miramax / Courtesy Everett Collection

Kidnapping people and turning them into grotesque creatures who can’t communicate and are forced to be on a kids’ show where people think they’re cute looks like the plot of a Seen movie.


Mrs. Doubtfire

20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Mrs. Doubtfire is one of my favorite movies of all time, but even I have to admit the premise is pretty darn scary. I mean, let’s imagine for a minute that Daniel wasn’t a good guy at heart (it might be easier if you don’t imagine Robin Williams playing him). He literally adopts full disguise and a false identity to get his ex-wife to leave their children with him for an extended period of time. This is … not normal behavior.


Willa Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

You never really know if the children die or not, but I don’t know how they survived. And that tunnel scene ?? One of the most poignant movie scenes of all time. The soda / burp scene where Grandpa Joe and Charlie float towards the steel turbine is also quite disturbing – they’re literally about to be cut to pieces. The Johnny Depp version is a little less scary, except that Johnny Depp is way more terrifying than Willy Wonka.


Back to Oz

Buena Vista / courtesy Everett Collection

Putting Dorothy in a psychiatric ward with electroconvulsive therapy and a scary nurse was basically Flight over a cuckoo’s nest, but with kids – and it just got scarier and scarier from there. The whole thing about ornaments always freaks me out, and then it ends with the hospital fire ?! What happened to the patients? Was Oz still real? These are questions that I didn’t want to consider at 10 years old.


The Triplets of Belleville

Sony Pictures Classics / courtesy Everett Collection

I know people love this movie, but this animation freaked me out so much as a kid. And the story is basically about this orphan being kidnapped, and then his grandmother goes looking for these creepy old triplets who then help her save him. The part where Champion slowly tries to ride a bike through his exhaustion and then gets kidnapped was HUGE to me as a kid.


We are back! A dinosaur story

MCA / courtesy Everett Collection

Creepy clowns, a twisted circus, a man devoured by crows and drugs that turn children’s brains into mush and turn them into chimps … what more could you ask for from a children’s movie?



Nepenthe Movies

It has to be the most violent children’s animated film that has ever existed – I barely remember seeing blood in an animated film before, and this one contains KILLING RABBITS. 🙁


The brave little toaster

Hyperion Pictures

I take “horribly disturbing animated films” for 500, Alex! It might not be so bloody (I can’t believe I have to describe a children’s movie this way) Down, but it is perhaps more worrying. That dump scene ?! Traumatic.


Way of the cryers


I know Way of the cryers is supposed to be scary, but like, for CHILDREN. This film scares ADULTS. These are Siamese twins, good, bad, who are HALF SAWS BY THEIR DADDY. And then these days, children resurrect the evil one … doesn’t that sound like the plot of a modern day horror movie ?! He didn’t belong to Nickelodeon !!


The black crystal

Universal collection / courtesy Everett

(voice of Stefon) This film has it all! Genocide, kidnapping and above all, terrifying puppets! The photos alone haunt me.



Walt Disney / courtesy Everett Collection

Holes is the harrowing tale of an evil woman exploiting juvenile delinquents on a prison labor farm with poisonous lizards, and if that wasn’t enough, the film has a literal serial killer. How was this place legal?


Who wants the skin of Roger Rabbit?

Buena Vista / courtesy Everett Collection

There are so many murders in this movie. I mean, he’s basically black. Judge Doom is terrifying (let’s not even talk about his transformation scene), and his main plot is essentially about committing mass murder by dissolving toons in acid. breaking Bad, a lot?


The tower of terror

Courtesy of Everett Collection

It’s a legitimately scary children’s movie and is responsible for my fear of elevators. Abigail literally killed five people and confined them to the hotel for eternity as a CHILD, then returned decades later to end the curse, which is apparently worse than she got to them. already done. It’s fucked up, and Anna stuck in the elevator really freaked me out when I was little.


And finally, Labyrinth

Images by Tristar / Courtesy Everett Collection

The movie is basically about an older creep who kidnaps a baby so he can force a little girl (whom he’s “in love” with) through a twisting maze and brainwashing. AND it has terrifying puppets and visuals !!! No thanks.

Which movie do you think is too scary to be a children’s movie? Let us know in the comments!

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