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22 Things That Terrified '80s Kids

Other than shoulder pads.

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1. The "Scary Stories" illustrations

The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books by Alvin Schwartz, the first of which was published in 1981, aren't really all that scary. The thing about them that made you sleep with a light on from third grade through yesterday were the accompanying illustrations by Stephen Gammell, which look like what creamed corn feels like: wet and cold and unnatural.

3. Aughra from The Dark Crystal

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While it's refreshing to have a good character that isn't conventionally beautiful, Aughra looks just like her name sounds, namely: like what ends up in your sink after a bad morning cough.


6. A Teddy Ruxpin doll when its batteries have run out

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A snuggly bear who just wants to be your friend... until the very end. Teddy Ruxpin was a very popular animatronic teddy bear -- in fact, he was the best-selling toy of 1985 and 1986. Kids loved him! But when his batteries began running out, he'd transform into a maniacal fiend with lolling eyes and a mouth that hungers for child flesh.

8. The trolls from The World of David the Gnome

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The World of David the Gnome was a very sweet cartoon about gentle wood-dwelling folks that also featured awful trolls with cloudy eyes that starred directly into the darkest parts of your psyche.


14. Mommy Fortuna's gruesome death in The Last Unicorn

Rankin Bass / Via ITC Entertainment

This animated movie was pretty scary in general, featuring scary cats, scary skeletons, scary bulls, scary old men, scary hints at bestiality. But the scene that took the cake was the one where the evil Mommy Fortuna laughs as she's about to be torn to shreds by a BIRD WITH BREASTS.

16. The Watcher in the Woods' mirror scene

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Do you know what's scarier than mirrors? Literally nothing. This Disney movie from 1980 features Bette Davis, Kyle Richards, and PLENTY of weird mirror stuff.


17. Gremlins

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Please don't forget that this movie, which features the stupidest teen "hero" in stupid teen hero history* and actual murder, was a PG-rated Christmas film.

*Like. You were told to do exactly THREE THINGS, you sack of mucus: never get your Mogwai wet, never expose it to bright light, and NO MATTER WHAT, never feed it after midnight.

And what do you do?

You get your pet wet. You expose it to bright light. And you feed it after midnight.

I hate you. I hate you so much.

19. Slap bracelets

First introduced in the late '80s, slap (or snap) bracelets were equal parts fashion accessory and torture device. They usually came in the decade's most iconic colors: purple, pink, and "rainbow cheetah print." What '80s kid doesn't remember chasing people (or, alternately, being chased) around the playground with one of these dangerous fashion statements?

20. The Hugga Bunch

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Just watch the video.


21. The King of Shadows from Rainbow Brite

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Rainbow Brite was an animated series and movie based on a Hallmark franchise (yes) that followed the adventures of a little girl who brought color to a colorless world.

Originally named Wisp (yes), Rainbow Brite earns her new name after defeating a terrifying, baby-snatching entity known as The King of Shadows. What he wants with that baby is anyone's guess, but I seriously doubt he's going to feed it gluten-free snacks and take it to baby yoga.