"I was too scared to sleep for weeks." 30 movies that absolutely traumatised us as children.

I was seven years old when my sister and I slid our parent's Return to Oz tape into the video player.  

A sequel to The Wizard of Oz"How fun!", we thought as we naively hit play. But holy mother of a headless princess, how we were wrong... 

The next few months were filled with traumatising nightmares of demonic half-man-half-hoverboard wheelers, a pumpkinhead named Jack and a room full of decapitated heads. *Shudder*

Watch: The trailer for Return to Oz below (if you're brave enough to relive it). Post continues below.

Video via Walt Disney Pictures.

But I'm not the only one who has been left traumatised by films I watched as a kid. Whether it's the reason you can't walk past drain pipes, have a phobia of masks or quickly run up the stairs in the dark, we all have movies that have stuck with us years later. 

So we decided to ask the Mamamia community to share the movie that disturbed them the most as kids.

From The Witches to Stephen King's It, here's what they had to say. 

(P.S. we're sorry if this brings back any childhood nightmares.)

The Witches. 

"I'd read the book and had no problem with it but seeing the witches literally peel off their human faces to reveal their 'witch faces' has to this day traumatised me. Also I low key feared as a child that I could be instantly turned into a rat." - Melody.

Image: Lorimar Film Entertainment.


Halloween H20.

"I saw it in grade five at a Halloween party and have lifelong trauma. I developed a phobia of masks, which remains to this day, and I can't be alone on Halloween." - Tamara.

Children of the Corn.

"For me it was Children of the Corn. It terrified me that children my age could be so violent. I have not been in a cornfield since!" - Natalie.

The Man in the Iron Mask. 

"It's not a particularly scary movie, but f*** me when they trap Leonardo DiCaprio in an iron mask, I was scarred for life. I got so freaked out that I demanded my bed that was in the middle of the room, was moved next to a wall so I felt safer from iron-mask-attack." - Katie.

Watership Down. 

"My mum was annoyed with my siblings and I because we weren't watching enough 'kids shows' so she forced us to sit down and watch it and all I remember is rabbits murdering each other. Like. WTF?" Nicolle.

The NeverEnding Story.

"The NeverEnding Story when the horse drowns in the mud." - Jacqui.

"It was the wolf and his glowing green eyes. I have an irrational fear of wolves and puppets now at the age of 40." - Koren.

Image: Warner Bros.


The Exorcist. 

"I watched The Exorcist when I was 11 (behind my mum's back at a sleepover) and literally ended up having to see a therapist after as I was too scared to sleep for weeks... Also Miss Trunchbull was terrifying in Matilda." - Alyssa-Jane.


"The Cave of Wonders scene (AKA the scary death cave with all the gold) ruined me. Whenever we watched it as a family I had to be sent to another room, and cover my ears till the scene was over, whereby I could return for the fun music dancey scenes." - Mikayla.

The Lion King. 

"I refused to watch for years because my dad took me to see it when I was three and I had to leave when Mufasa died. Also book wise - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when I was about seven gave me nightmares." - Madeleine.

Once Were Warriors.

"I dont know why, where or how, but when I was super young I watched Once Were Warriors and I seriously can't even bring myself to watch it now as an adult, I get a really sick feeling in my stomach when I think about it." - Talia. 

A Little Princess.

"A Little Princess... and I am not really sure why. I thought it was really scary, and I remember having to be taken home from a gathering with some family friends because I was crying my eyes out." - Gemma.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

"The boat ride in Willy Wonka. It was messed up at best. The chicken scene was the worst. I became vegetarian at about 10 years old (now vegan) and I wouldn’t be surprised if this scene contributed to that." - Tahni.

"It was so bloody creepy - especially the part where they have the hiccups going up to the fan in the roof. I can’t even hear the Oompa Loompa song without getting anxiety." - Hannah.

Image: David L. Wolper Productions


Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.

"Disney movies scared me the most... Both Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, I think maybe because it was all about the fate of young girls? Maleficent was scary AF even in cartoon form. It still scares me to this day. And I refused to bite into an apple my whole childhood. Also Chucky, some parent allowed me to watch that at a 12-year-old's sleepover and now I refuse to ever watch horror films." - Isobel. 


"My brother made me watch Chucky one Christmas Eve even though my mum had specifically said we weren't allowed and I don't think I said one word on Christmas day because I was so traumatised. I just sat there staring into the distance while everyone opened presents." - Polly.

One Hour Photo.

"I watched One Hour Photo at a sleepover when I was 10 (pretty sure its rated R, so WTF) and it's about a mentally unstable photo developer who becomes obsessed with a family and it is DISTURBING AF. It still haunts me." - Erin.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

"I loved Chitty Chitty Bang Bang but the scene with the child catcher was terrifying to me!" - Olivia.


"I have been terrified of clowns and people that dress up (Santa, Easter bunny etc) ever since." - Liz. 

"I had to shower with shampoo bottles covering the drain for about two years so Pennywise didn’t come out." - Kena. 

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

"ET when he gets sick and is all white and chalky, so terrifying when you're like five." - Emmeline.

Image: Universal Pictures.


"Poltergeist where the little girl gets sucked into an alternate dimension via the TV. I still hear 'They're heeeeree' in that creepy voice if I ever see or hear TV static." - Melissa.

Home Alone. 

"I was terrified of someone trying to break into our family house from then on, and I still won’t let my seven-year-old watch it in case he has the same fear!" - Sarah. 

The Phantom of the Opera.

"One of my older sisters told me that the phantom was downstairs and going to come get us, she did this while playing the soundtrack in the background. To this day I still run up my parents' steps when it’s dark downstairs." Jeriah.

The Dark Crystal.

"My sister was traumatised by the Skeksis in The Dark Crystal. I used to relish imitating the noise they made to scare her!" - Catherine.


"I was home from school sick and my mum put it on for me. She came back and I was inconsolable crying - took her ages to work out it wasn’t because I was sick, it was because Bambi’s mum got shot and died." - Rowena.


The Wizard of Oz.

"The Wizard of Oz with the witch in the cyclone, she's honestly one of the most petrifying villains ever. Then with her scary monkeys I still feel uneasy as an adult watching those scenes" - Jasmin.


"The Labyrinth! The goblin stealing babies were terrifying." - Janet.

"My brothers name was Toby and that was the name of the baby who got kidnapped and he had the same pyjamas." - Gracey.

Image: TriStar Pictures/The Jim Henson Company.


"I was only very young but my cousin was baby sitting me and I sneaked out and watched it behind the couch. Still don’t watch scary movies... scarred me for life." - Hayley.


"I was terrified of Fagin. I still can’t watch anything to do with that story. It was all so grey and dirty." - Vanessa.


"I was completely and utterly haunted by Billy Mahoney for months after watching this movie." - Priya.

A Nightmare on Elm Street.

"I was four and my step brother should not have put this on to watch for me. Been terrified ever since." - Kylie. 

Do you remember a film that traumatised you as a kid? Let us know in the comments below. 

Feature Image: Universal Pictures/Warner Bros./Lorimar Film Entertainment.