Kids movies

7 Most Terrifying Villains From Retro Kids Movies

It’s the start of spooky season (yes, early September counts) and streaming platforms are starting to bring spooky content to the fore. With a ton of new horror content debuting over the next few months, there’s no shortage of new stuff to watch if you want to treat yourself. on.

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But when you fancy a throwback to the Halloweens of yore, nothing beats a retro ghost festival from your youth. Anyone who grew up in the 90s or before knows the primal terror of retro villainy – like, nightmare fuel, preying on your deepest fears type of terror. Retro fans, fear not! Those dreaded old school villains are here.


Oogie Boogie (“The Nightmare Before Christmas”, 1993)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney+) is a stop-motion animated film that is loved by kids of the early 2000s scene and musical theater types. This dark yet upbeat musical follows protagonist Jack Skellington, Halloween Town’s reigning celebrity, as he pursues his dream of bringing the Christmas spirit to his fellow citizens.

Jack hires a mischievous trio to kidnap Santa Claus, so he can better understand the spirit of Christmas. The trio decide to deliver Santa Claus instead to Oogie Boogie, a bogeyman who doesn’t hesitate to use Santa’s soul as a bargaining chip in his diabolical games. Remove Christmas? Sheer tyranny.

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Ursula (“The Little Mermaid”, 1989)

The little Mermaid (Disney+) covers the story of provocative teenage mermaid Ariel (Jodi Benson) who yearns to see life beyond the ocean. Desperate for human experience and determined to hide her forbidden desire from her strict father, Ariel seeks help from Ursula the Sea Witch (Pat Carroll).

But Ursula’s drive to turn Ariel human comes at a price: Ariel’s voice and the threat of imprisonment. As if having a pair of creepy eels wasn’t bad enough, the fact that Ursula has no problem making a dodgy deal with a teenager certainly is.

Switchblade Sam (“Dennis the Menace”, 1993)

With a focus on childhood misdeeds and capers, Dennis threatens her (Netflix) might seem out of place in a discussion of villains – until you remember Switchblade Sam (Christopher Lloyd).

If you’re like most ’90s kids, you’ve probably suppressed all memory of this particular villain. From his slow, Michael Myers-esque walk to his dark, bouncy theme song to the use of sharp blades around children, everything about Switchblade Sam sets off alarm bells that scream “go away!” (well, for everyone except Dennis).

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Madame Medusa (“The Lifeguards”, 1977)

animated adventure film Rescuers (Disney+) is a gripping story about the Rescue Aid Society, a mouse-run organization that rescues child victims of human trafficking. And while main protagonists Bernard and Bianca are lovable and brave, nothing can erase the disturbing undercurrent created by this sinister plot of abuse.

Enter Madame Medusa, treasure hunter and criminal mastermind behind the kidnapping of little Penny, a sweet orphan whose tiny carcass she plans to use for a diamond heist. His decrepit bayou lair, creepy temper, and crocodile minions provide the perfect visual underpinning for his vile means of manipulation.

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Shan-Yu (“Mulan”, 1998)

Mulane (Disney+) is a girl power classic loosely based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. Set in Imperial China, this animated musical follows the young rebel Mulan (Ming Na Wen) as she defies orders, going undercover as a man to join the military in place of her elderly father. The plot shifts from an iconic training montage to an awkward bathing scene as the Imperial Army prepares for battle – and then there’s Shan-Yu.

Leader of the Hun army, Shan-Yu (Michael Ferrier) is immediately established as a towering violent force that knows no fear. With eyes shining with anger and ruthless cunning, MulaneShan-Yu personifies cruel domination in a way that is sure to strike fear into the hearts of most viewers.

Hexxus (“FernGully: The Last Rainforest”, 1992)

FernGully: The Last Rainforest (Apple TV) is an animated fantasy film following Crysta (Samantha Mathis), a forest sprite who fights to defend her home from the devastating effects of a massive logging enterprise. Vibrant rainforest scenes contrast sharply with desolate shots of clear-cut forests, illustrating the ravaging horrors of deforestation – but nothing sets the tone of eco-horror more than the malevolent embodiment of pollution itself. , Hexxus (Tim Curry).

Dripping with poison and oozing death, Hexxus depicts the all-too-familiar and seemingly unstoppable force of climate change. With deep demonic terror, Hexxus is undoubtedly responsible for fostering a generation of young environmental rights activists.

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The Nightmare King (“Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland”, 1989)

Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (Amazon Prime) is a musical anime centered around the dreamscapes of Nemo (Gabriel Damon), a young American boy. By order of King Morpheus (Bernard Erhard), Nemo is taken to Slumberland to become its future ruler. In a childish misstep, Nemo opens a door he’s been warned not to touch, releasing the Nightmare King, a sinister force with a will to spread darkness and fear.

Beginning as an unstoppable black tide and morphing into a horned demonic being, the Nightmare King is everything you’d expect from a bad dream incarnate. Suffice it to say, if you experienced this movie as a child, you probably slept with a light on for a few weeks afterwards.

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