Why Are You Crying?: Films That Scared Me as a Kid

During a conversation with the roommate about The Labyrinth, one of my most favorite movies ever, I realized that even though I think it’s amazingly fantastic now (David Bowie in riding pants singing with a bunch of puppets? I would like to kiss the person who thought that scene up!), it scared the bejezus out of me when I was younger.

I’m not sure how and when I first saw it, but I distinctly remember walking by the VHS whenever my mom would bring me to the movie store, trying to figure out if the person on the box was a man or a woman. Just looking at the cover gave me a strange feeling, but once I was actually exposed to the film, it’s weirdness was too much for my young mind—and made me cry. Why was this man—who wore make-up—trying to get this obviously much younger girl to marry him? Why were those furry red guys taking off their heads?! And how could I be sure those goblins wouldn’t appear in MY room after the movie ended??!

The 80’s was full of many things; horrendous fashion choices, yuppies, economical excess, but the only thing I truly remember from that era were kiddie films that scared the living shit out of me. Here’s a list of some of those movies. Let me know if you’re currently talking about them in therapy as well.

• Moonwalker – this isn’t really a movie as much as it is a Michael Jackson fest (which some people would think is scary enough), but there’s this movie-like part where he’s being chased by some bad men and trying to save some kids at the same time. I don’t know. It made me feel strange. Really strange.

• The Dark Crystal – Jim Henson must have been doing more than just weed to come up with this story. To this day I have a hard time watching clips on YouTube. It’s just so dark and creepy and full of weird looking muppet monsters (some of whom die. Hello. I’m 7 years old. I’m not ready to deal with my mortality.)…I mean, how are you supposed to react when even the good guys look that things that could live in your closet?

• Stephen King’s IT – Right. Like I even have to explain why this movie is horrifying. Let’s all say it together, shall we? Killer Clown.

• Return to Oz – Subtract Judy Garland and add some creeptastic things called “Wheeliesâ€?, and you’ve got this movie. I also vaguely remember a scene where Dorothy is getting shock treatments because everyone thinks her Oz adventures are crazy talk. The producers obviously wanted kids to know the only thing that waits for them, should they go over the rainbow, is a nice brain numbing electric current.

• The Secret of Nimh – Mice, rats, killer tractors, mud that suffocates, blood, animal experimentation…real age appropriate stuff, here, MGM

• The Neverending Story – After this movie, my nightmares were no longer relegated to simple monsters and ghosts. Oh no. I was dreaming about an Existential end to the world. The Nothing routinely came after me…along with that freaky, red-eyed wolf.

• Cherie Lifesaver – Huh? This isn’t a movie I recognize! you say. You’re right. It’s not a movie. What is it? Oh, just the episode of Punky Brewster where Cherie gets STUCK IN THE REFRIGERATOR! I know you remember it. We all do. Watch a little piece of it, if you dare.

Have I missed any? Share away. I want to know what else I can blame these nagging night terrors on.

No More Wallet Woes
No More Wallet Woes
  • 10678531520930918