In my childhood, horror movies were strictly off-limits. Usually, if I wanted to see one, I’d have to go to a friends house and even then it was unlikely. Once in a while my brother might rent one and let me watch it with him. Also rare. Overall, I never watched many horror movies growing up. However, you don’t need a horror movie to freak you out as a kid. My vast and untamed childhood imagination did all the work for me with a little push from any unsuspecting movie. Let’s look at some of the movies that freaked me out as a child.
BBC Chronicles of Narnia
It might seem silly to list a really cheesy made-for-television fantasy series as a movie that scarred me for life as a child, but it did. Honestly, it’s the first movie I can remember freaking me out. I was only five at the time, sitting in Sunday school of all places, and watching Prince Caspian. Suddenly, a person sized beaver comes into the picture and it totally freaks the living crap out of me. I ran to the kind teacher and told her I was scared. I remember at the time even feeling a little silly about it. But, she let me leave the room. The face of the human beaver haunted me for weeks.
I still love this ET rip-off. As an adult, the ending is the worst, taking a great build up and totally ruining it with cheesy body suits for the aliens. But as a kid, the end made me want to cry myself to sleep. For those that haven’t seen it, the end features three kids going through a maze of space-horrors until they finally meet the aliens. The aliens are just silly (and also terrifying) but there’s a moment when it gets uncomfortable on many, many levels. Like, you know, when the girl alien hits on River Phoenix. Usually, I would watch the movie up to the point they reach the alien ship and turn it off.
If you were a child and weren’t in some way terrified by the Labyrinth, then something may be wrong with you. From the creepy hand puppets to the trash-witch, Labyrinth is a childhood horror in the making. The comic relief helped ease the creepy factor but I’d be lying if I said this film didn’t give me nightmares for weeks. Also, I didn’t pick up on it at the time but watching it as an adult, Jareth hitting on a sixteen-year-old girl is not cool. Come on, Jim Henson.
I’d wager many kids my age watched this at way too young an age. This is a true horror movie. No third grader should watch it. Yet, somehow I found myself watching it with my brother, eating pizza during the famous chest-burster scene. I wanted to act all tough in front of him and pretend it didn’t bother me. It did. Pretty sure I checked my stomach almost every day for a month after that movie.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Technically, I never watched this movie all the way through until I was much older. However, I was over at a friends house when we came into the living room while his siblings watched it. We came in at a bad time. Just as I entered, I saw as a nuclear blast hit and Sarah Connor was eviscerated into a screaming skeleton as she clung to the chain link fence. I watched in horror and then slowly backed away. I’ve always had a slight paranoia of nuclear bombs since. To this day, I’ll be driving into town and wonder if I’ll see a blast in the distance.
Letting me watch horror movies was out of the question. Letting me watch a spy thriller with Harrison Ford? Totally fine. It’s bloody. It’s violent. And at the end, there’s a boat scene where Sean Bean and Harrison Ford fight before Ford figures out how to shove a giant anchor into Sean Bean (Poor Sean Bean always dies). Later that week, when I came downstairs crying because of a nightmare involving anchors, my mom put the kibosh on letting me watch R rated movies or a while.
What are some movies that scarred you as a child? Sound off in the comments!