Five Children’s Movies That Scarred Us
You know, sometimes you look back at movies you watched when you were little and you think, “Wow, how did I not grow up to be a sociopath after watching that?” Because let’s be honest, kids’ movies are full of some pretty upsetting themes, like parents dying, animal cruelty, or Bill Murray eating a hard-boiled egg off the floor of a chimp’s cage in Osmosis Jones. So for this edition of Top 5 Tuesday, let’s take a look back at some of the most traumatizing movies from our childhood that still haunt us to this day…
1. Bambi (1942) – I seriously have no idea why anyone would show this movie to their kids. The scene where Bambi’s mom gets shot is one of the most devastating things I’ve ever seen in a children’s movie, and yet Bambi is considered a “classic.” I’m not really sure what Disney’s obsession with dead parents is about (see: The Lion King, Tarzan, Fox and the Hound, etc.), but it makes for some super sad kids’ movies.
2. The Secret of NIMH (1982) – What can you expect from a movie about animal testing? They literally show rats getting injected with experimental drugs. Also, the general feel of the movie as a whole is like an 11 on the creepy scale. There are evil red-eyed rodents, faceless scientists with syringes, and sad monkeys stuck in cages. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been an animal lover—especially of the rodent variety—but this movie was just too much for me. This scene where she visits the Great Owl is literally the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. (And that scene is also why I’m afraid of spiders.) I would definitely wait until my kids were in middle school to show them this movie. And even then, only as a form of punishment.
3. The Land Before Time (1988) – Certainly not as bad as Bambi, but still, the part where Littlefoot’s mother dies gets me every time. Not to mention the fact that basically all the young dinosaurs in this movie are orphans. WHAT’S WITH ALL THE DEAD PARENTS? This movie seriously shook me up when I was a kid. I get that we need to teach kids about death and all that, but there’s got to be a less traumatizing way to do it, right?
4. Dumbo (1941) – Another example of animal cruelty portrayed in children’s movies… After watching Dumbo, I never wanted to go to the circus again. Not only is Dumbo ridiculed for having huge ears, his mom is then locked up away from her baby. The look on that animated elephant’s face as she stares through the bars at Dumbo is so heart-wrenching it could move a stone wall to tears. This is another one of those kids’ movies that I only needed to watch once in order to be scarred by it. Unlike the next film on our list…
5. The Last Unicorn (1982) – I used to watch this movie all the time when I was little, but I could never get past this one part with the talking skeleton. I would watch the first half-hour, and then I’d immediately turn it off when I got to the skeleton scene. Every so often I would try to sit through that part, but it was just too terrifying. I had nightmares about that skeleton. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever watched that movie all the way through. Even aside from the creepy talking skeleton, the movie is pretty scary. Between the Red Bull and Mia Farrow’s hauntingly breathy voice, I’m not sure which was more frightening.
Apparently the 40s and 80s were a great time to make sad movies for children. Then again, if we weren’t shown all these horrifying movies when we were little, what else would we have to blame all our neuroses on? Anytime someone asks me something like, “Why does confrontation make you uncomfortable?” or, “Why don’t you like your foods to touch?” I just tell them that my parents showed me Bambi way too early. (Side note: if I wanted syrup on my bacon, I would put it on it. Otherwise, no, I do not want my pancakes and my bacon and my eggs all touching each other on my plate. What are we, heathens? Geez.) Food rant aside, what do you think, pop culture fans? What movie scarred you most when you were a kid? Do you have an explanation for all the absent/deceased parents in Disney movies? Can you tell me what happens at the end of The Last Unicorn? Leave a comment below, or tweet us @PopCultureNexus!