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Creepy Kids' Films


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#1 of 51 OFFLINE   Brian Kidd

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Posted September 08 2004 - 12:50 AM

We've all seen movies that were made for a young audience that , for one reason or another, possess a distinctly dark vibe that might actually have the result of creeping out their target viewers. What are your favorites? What are some obscure titles that are still worth a look? I know that I always enjoyed the "Creep Factor" in some children's films.

My favorites include:

WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
This is probably the granddaddy of all creepy kids' films. The Wonkatania scene alone acts as pure nightmare fuel. Also, the Oompa Loompas are distinctly frightening. They never smile. They always seem to show up before one of the kids "gets it". They're dwarves with orange and green hair.

THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T.
This was a Columbia picture from the early 1950's that serves as the only true live-action Dr. Seuss film. He wrote the script and also the lyrics to the many songs. The whole thing takes place in the mind of a small boy who dreams that he and his mother are prisoners of the evil Dr. T. who plans to enslave children at his music school and force them to play a giant piano. The look of the film is pure Seuss. The creepiest scene is probably the dance number in the middle of the film involving the musical prisoners of Dr. T. The current dvd of the film looks just great for apparently not having had any restoration.

TWICE UPON A TIME
I know this isn't strictly a kids film, as it has some very adult humor in it, but I think it can be included. This is a little-seen animated film from the early 1980's financed by none other than Mr. Lucas himself. The plot, what there is of it, isn't really the draw. The animation utilizes backlit cutouts that lend the picture a truly otherworldly appearance. Sadly, the only version available on home video is a slightly sanitized version. The uneditied (and much funnier) version was shown on HBO in the early '80s and to my knowledge nowhere else. It isn't available on dvd as of yet. Warner Bros? Please?

I'm sure I'll think of more later on. Anyone want to join in?
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#2 of 51 OFFLINE   Richard Kim

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Posted September 08 2004 - 01:47 AM

I agree with Willy Wonka. Some of those scenes are pretty creepy, like when they show a chicken getting beheaded.

#3 of 51 OFFLINE   Bruce*A

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Posted September 08 2004 - 06:47 AM

Retun To OZ
I think most kids are asking their parents to take them home 5 minutes into the movie.

Something Wicked This Way Comes
Not really made for a very young audience, but it still creeps out its tween audience.

Gremlins
Again not strictly a kids film but it was partly responsible for the creation of the PG-13 rating. All those children and adults seeing Gizmo and thinking "Oh what a fun family movie" had a rude awakening.
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#4 of 51 OFFLINE   Ricardo C

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Posted September 08 2004 - 07:35 AM

"Return to Oz" tops my list. I still find it pretty disturbing, at age 27.

"Labyrinth", a little bit.

"Little Monsters", kinda. I still LOVE the "apple juice" scene, though Posted Image

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#5 of 51 OFFLINE   WilliamG

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Posted September 08 2004 - 09:56 AM

Brian said:


I remember seeing this movie as a teenager and really found it disturbing. (I'm 46 now.) I never understood what all the fuss was about- "oh, it's soooo good!" I certainly didn't think so. Posted Image - and STILL don't.

#6 of 51 OFFLINE   Lynda-Marie

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Posted September 08 2004 - 03:19 PM

Hear, hear, WilliamG. I saw and disliked Willie Wonka as a 9 year old kid. It didn't frighten me as much as drove me stark staring BONKERS with variations on that damned, overly righteous Oompa Loompa song. By nine, I was a veteran of "scary" movies thanks to Nightmare Theater, many movies of which turned up years later on Mystery Science Theater 3000. How much of how creepy a movie is, is due to a parent being creeped out by the movie? My mom refused to let me see The Wizard of Oz until I was sixteen, because she had had nightmares as a little girl. The flying monkeys did it for her. By that time, I had had more than enough time to read L. Frank Baum's novel and disliked the movie for changing so much. I don't have kids, but I think I would give many modern "children's" movies a wide berth as a rule. The ones listed above would definitely fit. I would probably stick with Pixar movies. Not only are they well done, but there are also bits in them that, while they sail over the heads of the kiddies, hit the target well with adults.
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#7 of 51 OFFLINE   John Kilduff

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Posted September 08 2004 - 03:40 PM

"Anna To The Infinite Power"-It airs on Showtime Family Zone on occasion, and Christ, is it scary. It's about an early 80s child prodigy with several mental and emotional issues who finds out she's part of a medical experiment that started in Nazi Germany. Sincerely, John Kilduff... Pretty scary for a PG-rated movie.
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#8 of 51 OFFLINE   Jack Shappa

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Posted September 08 2004 - 04:26 PM

I had a friend who even as an adult could not stand to watch the original Wizard of Oz... Flying monkeys I guess... Dunno about movies, but some old kid shows that were creepy were HR Puffinstuff and Lidsville.... Just plain freaky... Actually the Wiggles, with four grown men with razor stubble dressed like Star Trek convetion weirdos and singing with kids is a little creepy in a different way... - Jack

#9 of 51 OFFLINE   Ryan Wishton

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Posted September 08 2004 - 05:37 PM

Garbage Pail Kids. What a horrible movie.

#10 of 51 OFFLINE   Brook K

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Posted September 09 2004 - 05:11 AM

Spirited Away scared my 5 year old daughter, but I think it's an outstanding children's movie. I can't remember being scared by kids movies when I was a kid but I haven't seen most of the movies mentioned in this thread. Haven't found anything that phases my 3 year old son. He loves monster movies. We've been playing cyclops lately (from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad). My kids both love Willy Wonka. It's my daughter's favorite movie. She loves when Veruca goes down the garbage chute. My kids like to do the "donk donk" sound effects whenever they go down slides.
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#11 of 51 OFFLINE   Moe Maishlish

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Posted September 09 2004 - 05:18 AM

The Dark Crystal - I saw this when I was about 7 or 8 at school, and it scared the crap out of me! I remember when my parents came to pick me up afterwards, I had no idea what I had just watched, but I knew I didn't enjoy it.

The NeverEnding Story - The Nothing, the Wolf, all manner of weird scary looking creatures... enough to frighten any small child.

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#12 of 51 OFFLINE   ThomasEdison

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Posted September 09 2004 - 05:24 AM

Disney's The Watcher in the Woods

#13 of 51 OFFLINE   Mike_Carswell

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Posted September 09 2004 - 05:39 AM

When I was four I thought E.T. was the scariest creature I had ever seen. I was actually happy when he died. Of course now I think it's a brilliant film and I cry my eyes out when he leaves. But be warned - DO NOT show this film to slightly retarded four year olds.
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#14 of 51 OFFLINE   Jesse Skeen

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Posted September 09 2004 - 10:13 AM

ET doesn't die, he gets sick but he gets better then he goes home.

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#15 of 51 OFFLINE   GeorgePaul

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Posted September 09 2004 - 12:08 PM

The Black Hole: The surreal ending takes a page from Stanley Kubrick's book of "WTF!" endings. Too dark and adult for Disney's supposed target audience of 5-18 year-olds. To this day, I finish the movie with the same feeling I had when I first saw it at the age of four: utterly confused as to how to feel about...well, ANY of the characters in the film.

I echo the sentiments on Willy Wonka. I don't mind the Oompa-Loompas or Wonkatania sequences so much...but some of the heavy-handed preachiness in the dialogue was VERY off-putting. "WE are the dreamers of dreams"?! So what does that mean, everyone else shut up and not speak unless spoken to?! Good Lord...and don't get me STARTED on how harshly Charlie Bucket was treated in his final 'test'. "You get NOTHING. You LOSE!" I'm not sure there's a kid alive who would react the way Charlie did. Plus, call me stupid, but the film never makes it clear to me (I've never read the book) what exactly was so wrong with the other bedridden old folks. If Grandpa Joe can get up and walk (dance!), why does poor Charlie's mom have to work herself to the bone for them?

Such plot elements and dialogue so strongly negative for no clear reason in children's films really put me off.

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#16 of 51 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted September 09 2004 - 02:34 PM

The Gate effectively terrified me from the ages of 7 to 14. :b

Mostly the face-melting scene. "You've been baaaaaad......blooooooooorggg"
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#17 of 51 OFFLINE   David Norman

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Posted September 09 2004 - 03:34 PM

Just about the Roald Dahl movies are more than a little odd for younger kids though I think most of the stories are brilliant. These are most certainly not your basic sometimes one dimensional Childrens films Matilda James and the Giant Peach Willy Wonka The Witches Movies like Holes I guess aren't for really young kids, but even for the Tweens some of the images are really tough to handle -- basically abused children, threatened murder/poisoning, some of the less explored racial themes, and those really 'nice' lizards.

#18 of 51 OFFLINE   MarcusUdeh

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Posted September 09 2004 - 04:47 PM

What he said.
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#19 of 51 OFFLINE   Joel C

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Posted September 09 2004 - 05:18 PM

That's the point, they were faking so as not to HAVE to work. Hence grandpa's "miracle."
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#20 of 51 OFFLINE   GeorgePaul

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Posted September 10 2004 - 11:13 AM


And all this time I had been feeling SORRY for them...pah! Roald Dahl never let Mother Bucket catch a break. Posted Image

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