Watch Out! Family Movies with Surprisingly Scary Scenes

Sometimes nostalgia for a childhood movie makes you forget how scary it is. By Betsy Bozdech

To this day, the only movie that has directly given me nightmares is Watership Down. I saw it when I was 7 or 8, and I'm sure that my parents had only the best of intentions. Yes, it was based on a serious book about societal conflict, but it was also an animated movie about rabbits ... some of whom happened to be absolutely terrifying, with their ragged appearance, red eyes, and evil intentions.

You can argue that Watership Down isn't really a little kids' movie -- and I would be the first to agree. But what about movies that are targeted at kids and families and seem innocent enough at first glance? Some have scary scenes that seem to come out of nowhere -- or just happen to push the wrong buttons for certain kids. An informal survey of our readers, editors, and friends turned up these prime examples (Warning: possible spoilers!) of scary scenes they didn't necessarily see coming:

  • Annie: The climactic moments in which Annie flees from her captors by climbing up a raised railway drawbridge is the kind of peril that can leave young children cowering.
  • Bambi: As with the monkeys in The Wizard of Oz (see below), the scene in which Bambi's mother is killed remains one of the most well-known examples of potentially upsetting scenes for kids.
  • Beauty and the Beast: From the angry mob storming Beast's castle to the rooftop battle in the rain, there's plenty here to keep kids on edge.
  • Brave: Pixar's mother-daughter tale is beautifully animated, but the scenes that feature large, angry bears may leave you ducking for cover.
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: This fantastical tale of a flying car features a supremely creepy "child catcher" character who could be the stuff of nightmares for sensitive kids.
  • Coraline: The spooky "other" world that the main character discovers turns into a frightening, dangerous place where she could very well die (and other ghost children already have). And don't forget those button eyes!
  • Curious George: George getting caged up and sent to the jungle might be too distressing for the youngest viewers.
  • Disney's A Christmas Carol: All versions of Charles Dickens' ghostly classic are at least a little bit eerie, but this one in particular has scary images of skeletons, corpses, and spirits, as well as sad scenes.
  • E.T.: Plenty of kids who love the little alien are still afraid that he might be living with their stuffed animals in the closet.
  • The Good Dinosaur: In addition to the emotional trauma of being separated from his family, timid dino Arlo endures several extremely intense storms, attacks by carnivorous beasts, and other deadly threats.
  • The Great Mouse Detective: When the father mouse gets kidnapped by a bat, your kid may run for cover.
  • The Land Before Time: Everything comes out OK, but the young dinos face scary predators, natural disasters, and emotional separations.
  • Matilda: Anything based on a book by Roald Dahl will have scary moments. Be ready for scenes in which kids who displease an evil principal are put in "the chokey," a dark closet lined with nails and broken glass.
  • Pee-Wee's Big Adventure: Two words: Large Marge. Plus, there are chases and peril and a couple of nightmare sequences with scary clowns, devils, and dinosaurs.
  • Pinocchio: There are lots of grim scenes in this classic Disney movie: Pinocchio is kidnapped and caged and threatened with destruction, and he encounters an enormous whale. And then there's Pleasure Island, where "bad boys" are turned into donkeys and sent to work in salt mines.
  • The Secret of Nimh: Rodents are far from cute and cuddly in this serious, often dark adventure. There's blood, a death, a murder plot, frequent peril, disturbing flashbacks to scientific experiments, and more.
  • Toy Story 3: The junkyard/incinerator scene is a truly harrowing sequence in which the toys seem headed for certain destruction. (And even the first movie had some pretty scary toys in Sid's room.)
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: In a movie that's pretty trippy overall, the infamously psychedelic boat-ride-through-the-tunnel scene stands out as a "yikes" moment. (Like Matilda, this one is a Dahl adaptation.)
  • The Wizard of Oz: Most people find the Wicked Witch's flying monkeys extremely creepy, and the scene in which Miss Gulch turns into the witch in the tornado often frightens kids (as do the times she appears and disappears in a plume of red smoke).

Much as we might like to, it's impossible to protect our kids from every potentially scary scene in every movie they'll ever see. And as they get older and learn to distinguish fantasy and reality, they'll be better equipped to handle the things that go bump on the screen. (Some of them will, anyway; I can still count on one hand the number of real horror movies I've seen.) In the meantime, these tips will help prepare you for this parental rite of passage:

  • Before you push play, check out detailed movie reviews (like ours!) to look for potentially upsetting scenes.
  • For kids 7 and under, scenes that deal with loss, separation, scary suspense, kids and parents in peril, and even coercion can be particularly unsettling, so save them for when your kids are ready.
  • For kids between the ages of 8 and 12, watch out for scary scenes that are particularly realistic (kidnapping, torture, and the like) -- at this point, kids can distinguish between fantasy and reality much more clearly, so the more believable the scary stuff is, the more likely it is to genuinely frighten them.
  • Watch with your child, and be ready to offer a comforting hug or pause the movie to talk about why a scene was scary.
  • Don't be afraid to say no to a movie your kid isn't ready for (they may not thank you later, but at least they won't be having nightmares about killer rabbits).

For more, check out our Scary Movies Tips -- and check out some of our favorite "starter spooks."

More Stuff You'll like Powered by PubExchange (i)


About Betsy Bozdech

Image of blog author
Betsy's experiences working in online parenting and entertainment content were the perfect preparation for her role as Common Sense's executive editor of ratings and reviews. After earning bachelor's and master's... Read more

Add comment

Sign in or sign up to share your thoughts

Comments (76)

Aunt of a 4, 9, and 12 year old written by Elsa W.

My 4yo niece is terrified of pretty much every movie. She is an odd bird. She will watch The Land Before Time without tears but Wizard of Oz terrifies her. Please add Grease to this list.
Parent written by Janet C.

My advice to parents is to watch these movies at home. In theatres there's 3D (ten times scarier) and screams will disrupt others.
Parent written by Sandra C.

Please add Mars Needs Moms to this list. My son was 10 when we watched this on DVD and it made him sob out loud. This is a kid who'd watched Ghost Rider and similar inappropriate films (with his dad) but the scene in which the Mom dies horrified him -and me. I needed to stop the movie and calm him down before we could continue to the happy ending. It was a completely unexpected and possibly unnecessary plot device that I would not have knowingly subjected him to - especially as a single mom!
Parent of an infant, 1, 4, 11, and 18+ year old written by Adrianna R.

My 4yo is terrifed of Coraline. She saw it one night (I thought she was sleeping, but she was watching it from the stairs) and since that day we have not rented it again. The Great Mouse Detective. My 6yo hid for 95% of the movie.
Kid, 9 years old

Zootopia is a amazing movie. But during the Cliffside Asylum scenes, there is a few jumpscares :/ ^ My favorite one with Old Yeller
Teen, 17 years old written by krangel2005

When I was 4 years old I saw a movie in which there was a dragon and I didn't freak and now I love horror movies.
Parent of a 4 and 11 year old written by bowlerskates

Room on the Broom creeped out my four year old when the dragon starts slobbering over the witch and talking about eating her. Just a heads up.
Kid, 10 years old

When I was a bit younger, and I watched the Lion King, the scene in which Simba's father trampled to death was really scary for me. I found myself running out of the room and hiding in my bed. I have also watched lotr and the hobbit, and Gollum always freaked me out.
Teen, 14 years old written by MrMoviesGuy

That is not what they would do in a kids movie, they could have NOT put those scenes if it's going to be in a kids movie, otherwise it would have been an adults movie and will have to get an M/PG-13 rating.
Adult written by RavenflightTheN...

Honestly, parents need to chill! I saw most of these movies when I was 3, 4, 5, or 6, and I turned out just fine. Some of them scared me, and some of them didn't, but my parents talked me through them, and I ended up fine. I've seen way too many parents treating classics like The Lion King and The Hunchback of Notre Dame like horror movies. Sadly, life isn't sunshine all the time. Teach your kids to be able to weather the rain. On a side note, anything worth watching by Don Bluth needs to be on here; even Anastasia, my favorite film of his, can get pretty dark. (Rasputin was mostly funny, or that weird cross between creepy and funny, but one scene went a little too far.) Also, do NOT show your kids All Dogs Go To Heaven. That may have been the only film "banned" at my house. Also, I would put Jurassic Park on here, since, while it is PG-13, it's pretty kid friendly, and everybody loves dinosaurs, right? But the raptors could potentially be scary to some kids. (I admit that sometimes I still check behind the shower curtain for them, even though I personally LOVE the raptors!)
Parent written by Sandra C.

Totally agree about All Dogs Go To Heaven. Bought it - watched first 5-10 minutes with my son - stopped and threw it out.
Adult written by ashb

Dumbo - when they beat the mom. Horrifying for my two year old. Just about every movie is too much for a two year old for that matter. Too much conflict. I only let me son watch Curious George (the tv show).
Adult written by GAzYP

My 2 year old son was fine during Monsters University until the last Scare Game when the mechanical boy was scared repeatedly by the monsters trying to get the best scream score. The first "scare" was ok, but then it was repeated over, and over and over, and he definitely got scared by the 4-5 time. I'm realizing a lot from this article... thank you!
Teen, 13 years old written by ICantThinkOfAName

Scary can mean anything depending on who's watching. Don't get hyper sensitive of any of these movies I grew up with most of them and I'm not a mass murderer yet. Just know your kid.
Teen, 13 years old written by Isaac T

Personally I think it was a good idea to put this in. I've seen most of the movies listed.
Adult written by LCS1985

None of these really surprise me, although none of them messed with me as a kid, either. "Scary" is really subjective, after all, and some kids will be scared of things their parents, let alone the film's creators, never thought would cause a problem. Case in point: When my brother and I were little (5 and 7, I think?) we watched the then-new Dennis the Menace movie. There wasn't anything really offensive or scary in it--just a very tame, clean film about a boy who doesn't realize the sheer amount of trouble he's causing his neighbor, Mr. Wilson. But in the movie, Dennis is kidnapped by a thief. My brother ended up having nightmares for a few days about frantically pedaling on a skateboard to get away from Someone Bad behind him, but not being able to turn around and see his pursuer.
Parent of a 1 and 6 year old written by AshleyL 1

I saw Dumbo on a couple other lists. I think the death of a parent in reference to the separation between Dumbo and his mom. I always found the scene where Dumbo is drunk and sees the pink marching elephants very scary as a child.
Adult written by feliciah

Lol I watched most of these as a child and I watch them with my 5 year old and they haven't scared him or messed him up in anyway.. If those are the guidelines you go by I can pretty much say almost every Disney movie ever made has something in it that you would disapprove of.
Adult written by LCS1985

It's not that they disapprove. I think it's more to remind parents that you don't know WHAT will scare a given child, but these tend to be some of the more common films to cause nightmares in the more sensitive kids. What causes nightmares varies pretty widely from child to child. As long as you're there to comfort your child if and when night terrors strike, and you're not showing them really graphic gory stuff, it generally doesn't scar them--it's just remembered as "that scared me when I was a little kid once."
Parent written by Jonna20

This isn't a lovable movie at all but it was the way I saw it that was shocking as much as the content. In 3rd or 4th grade the whole class had to watch the "classic" by Edgar Allen Poe called The Pit and the Pendulum. That was truly horrifying and I'm sure my parents had no idea we had been shown it. And that was back in the very early 70's. I home school. This is a good list.
Adult written by mharter111

Where to start. The scene in happy feet where he is talking to his family and they fade away like dust... Every scene in Willa Wonka really hate that one, and Gene Wilders is straight up evil and mean til the very last frame. Self obsessed crap. Drug. Psychedelic scene in Dumbo really really freaked me out as a kid. The trailer for Magic, puppet freaked me out beyond belief. The praying mantis in a Bugs life! Seriously just watch that ONE scene. That's a good start for now. Never saw potergheist....oh large Marge scene..!no! The icing on the fear cake. .. when the sister is wished away into cartoon land in twilight zone. Freaked me out for weeks, also the face freak out in the beginning of the movie! Now I'm going to hug my kids and THANK GOD for dicernment!
Teen, 16 years old written by MinkyMomo

I'm not scared of these scenes, but there are two scary scenes in The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Eddie's death, and the scene where Columbia, Frank, and Rocky die, especially since Columbia's death comes out of nowhere, since she screams and just dies due to...anti-matter? WTF? They say the reason for the death is because of Eddie's death.
Teen, 17 years old written by saibhandari

Finding Nemo was slightly traumatising for me... The girl at the dentist's office... Also, the new Paddington film could be very scary for some kids as there are numerous sinister almost deaths and the entire plot is based around a woman trying to murder and stuff the main character (I watched in the UK where it has been released already).
Teen, 16 years old written by mimitchi33

When I was a child, I was scared of The Secretary of Night in Mumfie's Quest. I wasn't able to finish the movie untilI I rewatched it a year ago due to him and the scene where Mumfie is imprisoned! And I was fine with the TV version of said movie when I was two months old... I also was scared as a kid of the scene in the Wizard of Oz where the Scarecrow recites the Pythagorean theorem. I still get shivers watching it. It doesn't help that I am also scared of the pirate in the SpongeBob theme song and I may have found those scenes similar.
Parent of a 5, 10, and 12 year old written by Yocum1219

I can't remember a lot of these movies scaring my kids (12, 10, & 5), & granted, I mean my older two, not the 5 yr old. But at the same time, we had a LOT of discussions about how movies aren't real. When something scared them, it was a teaching moment. It's OK to be scared sometimes. If we protect our kids from TOO much, then how can they learn (while safe & secure with mom & dad) that there ARE bad things in this world.
Teen, 14 years old written by theiguanaman2

I want to mention one movie that by all means is not for kids. My second favorite movie of all time is Gremlins. It was rated pg back in the day, but helped to create the PG-13 rating. This film woul have been rated PG-13 if released nowadays. And with a remake coming out, I'm sure parents are going to want to share this movie, but make sure your child can handle it, because it really can be quite terrifying for younger kids. I know it used to terrify me, but now i have a life-size gremlin in my room. Gremlins 2 is a little less violent and terrifying, being a basic parody of itself, but still can be quite frightening.
Kid, 12 years old

1) Poltergeist - RATED PG (MPAA) - Scene where man rips his own face off in bloody chunks of flesh; not a very good family movie at all!
Adult written by feliciah

That movie should not even be seen by children it is a horror movie but they used to rate movies differently than they do now.
Adult written by Mama246810

The Dark Crystal! PG...but terrifying! It's a Jim Hensen movie, so my parents didn't see the scary coming. I remember watching a scene that really disturbed me as a child: the bad creatures trying to "extract" the "essence" from cute little fuzzy creatures (basically a torture scene). Yikes!
Adult written by Raygan T.

Omg, that movie scared me so badly! I was 3-4 when it came out & I was so scared at the theater I went totally catatonic, so my parents didn't know. To this day I can't watch it or even say its title!!!
Parent of a 9 year old written by deleonfire

The movie I couldn't wait to watch with my then 8-year old son was "Pee Wee's Great Adventure" but when Large Marge did that 'thing' with her face, the show was OVER. He totally freaked out! Oh well. :/ And someone mentioned "Pete's Dragon' which I also loved as a kid, and so did my son, but wow, Mickey Rooney was such a total lush! I know it's actually an essential part of the story, and so many wonderful films from that era are really un-PC in countless ways. But they invite some really enlightening discussions, for sure. :)
Parent of a 3 year old written by TPommer

I loved that movie as a kid too, but when I watched it recently (I'm 44 now) - wow. I find the fact that Pete is basically the enslaved property of the hillbilly family to be far more disturbing than the drinking! I mean, the whole opening scene where he's trying to flee from them - holy cow that's creepy.
Teen, 14 years old written by Darky'sReviews

My younger sisters (age 8 and 10) recently went to a pizza night organized by their school. While the younger bunch (6-9) got to enjoy the Lego movie, which is probably the most fitting movie for them at this time of age. Hundreds of 10-12 year olds including my sister most likely is going to have recurring nightmares from the Goonies, the FREAKING GOONIES! I haven't seen it myself but from all of the things I've been hearing from my sister's experience, how is a movie with 'sexual torture devices', 'erected penis statues' and men forcing a CHILD to put his fingers into a slicing blender considered a PG movie. Heck, I think almost every 80's movie targeted as 'family friendly' deserves a good mention on these lists.
Teen, 14 years old written by theiguanaman2

Well, I've seen it many times. It can be quite frightening for younger kids, but this was an eighties boy adventure film. You gotta remember: back then PG-13 was not a thing. Gremlins and indiana jones and the temple of doom created that rating. Plus, it wasn't as disturbing as Stephen King's "Stand By Me."
Kid, 12 years old

I am really surprised Ghostbusters isn't up there- Both the movies were so scary, I can't believe it. I watched it as a kid and the dogs in the first and that ghost in the second made me whimper. Ha! As a kid- I'm 13 November, so I just consider myself teen. but no, I still find it scary now. I won't watch that brilliantly catchy song!
Adult written by michelleb2

I remember getting scared out of my wits by Secret of NIMH when I was a kid. They showed it to us in school! I never really "got" how that was a kids' movie, even being animated. I haven't even tried to show it to my son.
Teen, 15 years old written by James V. Taylor

In the UK, a college student with Asperger's was scared of the shower scene from Psycho (a 1960 film adapted from the novel of the same name). The student ran into the restroom and he barfed on the restroom toilets. He is not allowed to sleep for the night. Also, here's my experiences. When my parents watched Shrek (the 2001 film adapted from the children's book by William Steig) with me back when I was very young, the scene where Shrek scares the villagers frightened me and I never watched that film since that but I have surprise times watching it. Also, when I was on the last days of fifth grade, the teachers watched Gravity (that very scary sci-fi space thriller) to teach science to students, and I ran away from the audiovisual media room to the classroom. You should put in Shrek, Gravity and Psycho. Do you agree?
Adult written by feliciah

Lol my son has liked shrek since he was 3 but psycho is a horror movie and also isn't meant for kids things were just rated differently back then. I think they expected parents to use their own judgment on movies for their kids. I don't feel like any horror movies of any kind are OK for little kids maybe for teens but not children.
Teen, 14 years old written by theiguanaman2

I actually like Shrek. That scene was played up for comedy. Not for scaring people, but it can be frightening for extremely young kids. Maybe you should check out the franchise one more time. You will be surprised at some of the comedy in there. Or, just check out the musical. I like the musical better than the movie.
Kid, 11 years old

Wait. Gravity came out last year. You were 14 when you watched it then. How could you have watched when you were 11??
Adult written by courtney143

I think the key themes boil down to how we talk to ourselves, how we respond to things, how we make meaning, who we spend time with, and how we make the most of what we’ve got. buy low cost soundcloud likes here
Teen, 13 years old written by 12345Butterflygirl

I was babysitting for a two year old once, and although his mother said it was ok, I regret showing him Finding Nemo, he was so scared he cried because of the shark
Parent of a 11 and 11 year old written by aztwinsmom

The Tale of Despereaux - I thought the princess being betrayed by the hero (?) and carried away to be chewed on by rats after being turned on by the arguably mentally unstable maid was quite disturbing (and hard to explain to my kids) for a children's movie.
Parent of a 11 and 13 year old written by Cami1

Coraline! Wow; rated for a fairly young audience and brilliantly Tim Burton, decidedly NOT for kids under 11. Scared my 11 year old, though he's a little sheltered. What shocked me is it is styled as a horror movie. When you watch it, it follows a clear horror flik plot line, but is for kids. Be warned. You can't get that stuff out of your head! :)
Kid, 10 years old

I regret even reading the book. The movie was so much scarier. I had nightmares after that. Even the music is creepy.
Adult written by LCS1985

The scene near the end with the Other Mother's true form gave me the heebie-jeebies in 3D--and I was already an ADULT. That's definitely not one for kids who scare easily!
Adult written by feliciah

Haha I'm fully grown and have my own kids but coraline creeps me out really bad. Even just the music gives me chills.
Teen, 14 years old written by theiguanaman2

Tim Burton actually had nothing to do with Coraline. You see, Tim Burton only wrote the nightmare before Christmas. Henry Selick, however, was the director, whom went on to do Coraline and paranorman.
Parent of a 11 year old written by kenyadee

Chicken Little - the aliens shooting everyone up prompted my then-3-old to say that maybe he'd wait a while before seeing another movie (it was his first movie theater movie). Happy Feet - the seal going after the penguin was surprisingly realistic and scary! (I suspect a penguin would find it realistic, as well!)
Parent of a 6 year old written by GameboyHippo

I'm surprised "All Dogs Go to Heaven" wasn't mentioned. Rated "G", but scared my two year old when Charlie gets shot at, later gets killed, goes to doggie Hell to be tormented by demons, and nearly gets eaten by a giant alligator. Heck, let's just say that any Don Bluth film that is any good should probably be on this list.
Teen, 13 years old written by Disneymovielover77

That scene scared me when I was younger but the movie that I got nightmares was A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey in it. The scene when the 2nd ghost laughed and turned into a skeleton. The 3rd ghost gave me and my sister nightmares. We thought it was going to be good but I can not watch that one again.
Adult written by michelleb2

I agree! There are some pretty scary moments in Land Before Time also - the tyrannosaur chasing the little dinosaurs scared my son a lot when we watched that. I had mostly remembered the little dinos playing together and had forgotten about the T. Rex chasing them. We tried showing it when he was five and had to turn it off; he's had no interest in watching it since.
Adult written by ReadingFever

I STILL have a short moment of panick when I find a bunch of stuffed animals facing me. Hahaha. E.T. has ruined me for life. Great list!
Adult written by majie

I remember when I was a kid. I'm too scared with harry potter movie. It was creepy with those scary characters but now I love harry potter series . It's my all time favorite.
Parent written by momto3amazingggirls

Kids should never watch movies with profanity!!!! I don't even use profanity when my kids aren't around!!!! I keep my girls Emma, 9, Hilary Grace, 4, and Rosie Grace, 2, away from any movies with profanity. The only movies with profanity I let them watch is Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II cause the movie is so funny and fun the profanity is easy to forget.
Adult written by LCS1985

The edited-for-TV version also does a complete line-swap for people who don't like crude humor. Original: The EPA guy is referred to as "d--kless." Judge: "Is this true?" "That's right, Your Honor, the man has no d--k." TV version: The EPA guy is referred to as a rat. Judge: "Is this true?" "Yes, the man is a rodent, but I'm not sure what kind." As an adult who's heard that sort of thing since the middle-school playground, I don't have a problem with it. But I'm not sure I want my kids to hear the hero of a movie making insults about another person's genitals.
written by Amalthea

Another key that parents should keep in mind for movies that their children want to see...even if you saw it YEARS ago...WATCH IT BEFORE THEY DO!!! Most movies get viewed by me and/or my husband before we let our daughters see them. Best example: the TV show "Victorious" did a spoof of "The Breakfast Club". They were curious. I hadn't seen it in years, so I watched it.. I only remembered the parts that the 1/2-hour show spoofed, so I remembered it as a comedy! I had forgotten how dark and dramatic it was! After viewing, I told them that they can see it...when they're a little older
Kid, 9 years old

I Remember that when I was really young Toy Story 2 scared me because of the monkey. (I was 5 at the time)
Teen, 14 years old written by Bandit16

I think that the movie ParaNorman should be on the list. PG? Seriously? It should have gotten a PG-13 rating. My brother who is almost 13 turned red during some scenes. The beginning was funny but by the end, my brother was almost in tears. This movie mentions a little girl that was murdered for being different. When the girl becomes a ghost, she is evil and tries to murder people. It is not a movie that should be made for little kids.
Parent written by Sandra C.

Agreed! Saw this in the theater with my pre-teen son and we were both totally unprepared for how disturbing those scenes were.
Kid, 9 years old

OMG when I was 7 I saw "Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban" and I couldn't sleep for like a week! but now I watch Scary Movies and I love them! :) my favorite is "The Sixth Sense"
Teen, 15 years old written by DangerRanger101

When I was younger I couldn't watch "The Little Mermaid" because the scene near the end when Ursula finally snaps scared me so terribly! I'm honestly surprised that nobody talks about this scene or even mentions it , it's that scary! In fact, it's so scary that I feel that it should be on the list.
Kid, 11 years old

I've never seen TWOZ(The wizard of oz) but I wanted to....... a while ago. -Mondris_2001
Adult written by 900621

Watership Down I remember did freak me out as a young kid. Toy Story 3 sort of freaked my little girl out (she was...6? maybe 5?) I just remember being mad when you thought they would really be melted. Dumbo,... I don't remember the "separation" of his mother being very emotional, it was that song, the lullaby...THAT just made it even worse. That song is what made many people cry... well me tear up some. Pete's Dragon: When they captured Elliot and tried to spear him... now that's a tense moment! When the medicine man wants to kill Elliot for his medicinal properties for monetary gain! - still a classic. Changed my name to Elliot because of that movie. Willy Wonka (1971) gave me a few nightmares too...many look on it fondly, but I don't. I really thought every kid died despite Wonka's false assurance they were all fine, but might be a little wiser... That movie just devastated me as a kid, plus Charlie nearly was chopped up also... anyway. Bambi: The mother's death just didn't bother me. My aunt took me to see it, and was prepared to comfort me. But she didn't have to. I have/had some uncles that hunted, and that didn't bother me a bit. Then near the end... I had tears all over my face and a grimace like nothing my aunt had seen on me ever before... when the forest burned. One deer being shot wasn't a big deal, but when you burn down a whole forest... oh even the 4 or 6 year old in me understood the consequences of that. I still remember that to this day. E.T., yeah better for pre-teens, plus there's some bad language in it also, but still a great classic movie. Wizard of Oz... the monkeys didn't seem to phase me, but Oz's big headed projection I found creepy. Polar Express? You're kidding me, right!? Our kids force us to OVER watch that movie EVERY Christmas... what creepy ghost scenes??? The "angel" bum? I DO remember my parents warning me to leave the room when they watched Alien on HBO ages ago. It was rated R, they warned me. I said, 'No I want to try and watch it.' I loved Star Wars, The Black Hole etc... I was RUNNING to my room when the thing attached itself to the guy's space suit helmet! My parents were half crying and laughing at the same time! After growing up some, that movie has also grown on me. Love the original Alien movie, but no, not for kids. ;) Return of the King: (Rankin Bass cartoon) silly, not too serious, cool folk-ish music, but when Gollum chomped down on Frodo's finger... ouch. Plus it was really hard to take that large talking spider seriously...even as a kid, but it did have it's moments. Live action Lord of the Rings? eh, I wouldn't try kids any younger than 11 on those too long drawn-out movies...thanks to Peter Jackson.
Teen, 13 years old written by colorsgirl

The Wizard of Oz and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory scared the crap out of me when I was little. The Polar Express also has some pretty creepy ghost scenes. I guess I really enjoyed being scared though because now I love gothic, creepy stuff. Just to let everyone know, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has zombies (the magical version anyway) and Coraline is not a kids' movie. (Both of these have PG ratings). PG means Parental Guidance recommended, but most of as think of PG as 'kid friendly'.


Common Sense Media is working with PubExchange to share content from a select group of publishers. These are not ads. We receive no payment, and our editors have vetted each partner and hand-select articles we think you'll like. By clicking and leaving this site, you may view additional content that has not been approved by our editors.