Being a child and being scared by a movie is like a right of passage for every child. There is nothing wrong with a child being a little frightened by a movie. I don’t recommend sitting your child in front of the TV to watch the Shining or Let the Right One but you don’t have to. There are plenty of scenes in children’s movies that are a little bit scary.
Scariest Moments in Children Movies: Fieries (Labyrinth)
When Labyrinth was first released it was a dark movie but over the years movies have gotten more dark, violent and scary. Labyrinth has now been left in their dust and seems pretty tame now, tame enough that most people that enjoyed Labyrinth in the 80’s now allows their children to watch Labyrinth. The only part of the movie that can be confusing to a child is when Sarah confronts the Fieries and they proceed to pull of their heads and throw them to each other.
I remember being about eight years old when I saw Willow at the movie theater. For the most part Willow was a fun adventure full of sword-fighting and magic but even at the age of eight I remember being a little frightened when Bavmorda turned everyone, including her own daughter, into a pig.
Donkey Transformation (Pinocchio)
Just like in the scene in Willow there is a scene in Pinocchio where animal transformation takes place. For some reason it is jarring as a child to see a human character suddenly transform into an animal.
Dead Mice (The Secret of NIMH)
The Secret of NIMH does not have a scene in particular that sticks out but the entire movie is extremely dark and gloomy for an animated movie. Children will show up because it is animated and then suddenly there are dead mice everywhere.
The Child Catcher (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
The Child Catcher is one of the creepiest villains in a children’s movie. Not only was the Child Catcher creepy looking and hunt down children but he also has a catchy villain name.
Horned King (The Black Cauldron)
If there is any one scary moment in the Black Cauldron it is probably when Gurgi dies. However, the Horned King’s existence is even more frightening. So many children were frightened by the Horned King in Black Cauldron that parents complained and Disney had to pull the movie from the theaters early.
Boat Trip (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)
The Boat Trip in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was one psychedelic adventure. I’m sure teens and adults were reminded of the drug induced hazes of their youth but children had to be thinking what in the world was going on.
Wolf Attack (The Never Ending Story)
It’s bad enough that children were scarred after Atreyu’s horse drowns in mud but shortly after that kids also peed their pants when a wolf lunged at Atreyu and tried to kill the hero.
Rabies (Old Yeller)
Perhaps Old Yeller is more sad than it is scary but watching a young boy take his dog out back and shoot him when most children probably had their own dogs at home had to be scarring for a lot of children.
Deer Death (Bambi)
Unlike Old Yeller, the death of Bambi’s mom is both sad and scary because it sets up the possibility that any of these cute critters could be blown away at any minute.
Flying Monkeys (Wizard of Oz)
I asked my fellow movie fans what they thought was the scariest scene in a children movie and the flying monkeys in Wizard of Oz were the runaway winner. They never bothered me but I didn’t see Wizard of Oz until years later. I guess it is more effective if you saw it when the movie was originally released.