10 seemingly harmless movies that really messed you up as a kid.


Did you ever see a movie as a child that really messed you up? Did it leave you with an irrational fear of wardrobes, quicksand or bunnies? Oh god, did you ever see BAMBI?

Members of Reddit have been making a list of the films that destroyed their childhood – the movies that made them hide behind the couch, left them terrified of water or plunged them into deep existential torment at age 6.

If you’ve ever needed therapy because some bright spark thought Simba watching his father die was OK, then this list is for you… (warning: you WILL have flashbacks):

1. Gremlins (1984)


“When I was like 6 or 7 my big sister, who would have been about 11 at the time, showed me Gremlins. I wouldn’t go near our pet guinea pig for weeks thinking it was going to turn into a Gremlin.”

“My step sister watched the Gremlims 2 movie when she was eleven, and had such bad night-mares that she had to see a psychologist for months. Whenever she was being a bitch, I’d rasp the word ‘Greeeemliiiinss!’ She’s not my step-sister any more.”

2. The Neverending Story (1984)

“Watching Artax drown in the mud from losing hope and giving into The Nothing…that’s some heavy shit to put on a kid’s shoulders.”

“The Artax scene was bad…but when Atreyu is walking through the cave and seeing the murals of everything that had happened, then gets to a picture of green eyes and fangs in the darkness..Only to hear a growl, turn around and realize he’s living that scene? Do you want to paralyse children with fear? Because that’s how you paralyse children with fear.”


3. The Witches (1990)

“I still remember Anjelica Houston peeling off her “face” to reveal her real self… That movie was pretty disturbing at 4 years old.”

“You know the movie of the Roald Dahl book? There should be a warning on the cover saying ‘even though this says its a child’s movie it should not be viewed by anyone under the age of 21.’ Although even now it still scares the crap out of me.”

4. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

“Turns out letting a 5 year old watch a screaming man have his still beating heart ripped out of his chest by Indian Satan before he’s dipped shrieking into boiling lava isn’t the best idea.”

“I watched that movie at about the same age, then got convinced the elderly Indian couple who lived down the road were out to get me.”

5. Watership Down (1978)

“My dad brought it home from Blockbuster when I was about 5 thinking an animated movie about rabbits would be a good kids movie for me. It’s one of the most fucked up movies I’ve ever seen. To this day rabbits still give me the creeps.

“Imagine Apocalypse Now with cartoon rabbits. There’s a rabbit burrow that’s destroyed with almost everyone killed, another burrow that’s a military dictatorship complete with secret police and sexual slavery, another burrow that’s essentially the rabbit version of the Warsaw ghetto. If you thought Mufasa’s death was dark for a kids movie you’re clearly never seen cartoon bunny’s brutally murdering each other with blood and horrific screaming.”

6. Jaws (1975)


“Panic attacks in pools that you are alone in? Panic attacks 5 feet into the ocean? Can’t go on boats? THANKS, STEVE!”

“I remember being scared to take a shower because I thought a shark was going to come out of the shower head and eat me.”

7. Jurassic Park (1993)


“My preschool group saw it in the theatre the day it came out. I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to take a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds, but that shit messed me up for weeks. No dark hallways at night, or bathroom stalls by myself. And even when I was older and over it, a simple camping trip brought it all flooding back when a possum decided to raid our camp kitchen at midnight and made the exact same coughing screech noise the raptors make.”

“Saw it at an older friend’s house when I was 7, it haunted me for months. I once went into a complete panic because some sort of nearby roadwork was making these regular thudding sounds and making the water in my glass ripple. The only thing I thought was keeping me safe from dinosaurs at night was that I had a bunk bed, and I figured that any dinosaur would either be too big to fit in my room, or too small to reach the top bunk.”

8. The Dark Crystal (1982)

“I remember one of the teachers brought this movie into my nursery school probably thinking it would be like the Muppets since it was by Jim Henson. Nope, scary vulture-looking monsters that looked like they were run over, running all around. And Augra scared me too with her one eyeball that would pop out of her head. I had nightmares forever no thanks to that movie.”


9. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

“I just came into the living room, while my father was zapping trough the channels. I remember vaguely a scene where a child opened a closet (I think) and inside was E.T. who, after seeing the child, extended his neck and the child started screaming like a maniac. At the time, I was 6 or 7 years old and didn’t know who or what E.T. was. I panicked and started crying.  Afterwards, I was scared that E.T. was hiding in my closet at night. My bedroom door had an opaque window at the top to let light in. When I woke up, light was shining trough that window and with the imagination of a kid I thought E.T was sitting behind the door, with his extended neck, peeking trough that window. I was too scared to leave my bedroom in the morning for weeks.”

“Seriously, E.T. is a scary looking dude.”

10. Jumanji (1995)

“That fucking movie scared me as a kid. Didn’t even want to play board games with my cousins. Not even freaking scrabble.”


More childhood horror:

The Little Mermaid (1989) – “Watching Triton yell at Ariel was traumatizing for me so I hid under the couch.”

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)  – “Where the cartoon boot was put in acid.”

The Mummy (1999) – “I had nightmares about the fucking sand face scene where the sand swallows them up, and the scarabs under the skin freaked me out.”

The Chronicles of Narnia(2005) – “I was so disappointed in my ordinary life after seeing it that I didn’t want to go to school and I went into every closet I found. I actually had to see a therapist about it which looking back is kind of hilarious.”


The Wizard of Oz (1939) – “My cousins and I fell victim to the rumours that a munchkin hung himself on set and was visible in one of the scenes. We watched the scene a couple times and it scared the shit out of us. Turns out it was some bird in the background.”

Ghostbusters (1984) – “I was like 5 at the time and it kinda scarred me from the supernatural area/idea for years. I had the bathroom right across from my room and I made my mum leave that light on for like 2 to 3 years after. Me being older now, it doesn’t scare me anymore, but I still have that fear of actual ghosts and spirits; that pretty much came from this movie.”


Chicken Run (2000) – “We had to leave the theatre because my sister was screaming too loud.”

Labyrinth (1986) – “At the time I was in about the preschool-kindergarden age range. To this day I dont really know the plot to the movie but there was a scene I remember that had the main chick in her house, but when she steps outside theres a desolate landscape and that freaked me out. What I remember most about the fear was the feeling of being alone and abandoned. I had nightmares similar to it where you are somewhere familiar and everyone just disappears, just you, alone.

Old Yeller  (1957) – “My parents swore it was a great movie. I never trusted them to pick a movie again.”

Is there a movie you saw in your childhood that scarred you for life?