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    13 Children's Movies That Aren't Considered "Horror" Movies, But Really Should Be

    The VHS says "Rated G," but my therapy bill says otherwise.

    Hi, I'm Allie, and I've absolutely LOVED horror movies for as long as I can remember.

    United Artists

    I often wonder where this love of all things ~morbid~ began, but I realized recently that a lot of my favorite films from childhood are actually hardcore horror films in clever disguises.

    Columbia Pictures

    So, with this in mind, I decided to gather some of the freakiest movies from my youth. You're welcome (for the nightmares):

    1. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)

    Paramount Pictures

    A man who has achieved an incredible fortune through his candy career invites children from all over the world to visit his factory, which is located in a poverty-stricken area. The place is wrought with booby traps and torture devices.

    The Most Nightmare-Inducing Moment: The boat scene. Why does that tunnel exist? They cut a chicken's head off. There's a man covered in snakes. It looks like a Marylin Manson music video.

    2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)


    A baby is almost drowned in a well after his mother is brutally murdered. The baby is then taken in by his almost-murderer and forced to ring bells. There's a lot to unpack.

    The Most Nightmare-Inducing Moment: The entirety of the song "Hellfire," particularly when the cloaked demons begin to pop up out of no where and sing at Frollo about how he's a pervert.

    3. Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985)

    Warner Bros.

    Theft, kidnapping, romance, the Alamo...this one's got all the trappings of a horror classic. When Pee-Wee Herman finds that his precious bike has been stolen, he goes on a whirlwind adventure to reclaim what is rightfully his.

    The Most Nightmare-Inducing Moment: Large Marge will live on in infamy as one of the most terrifying images I've ever seen in my life, and I've watched all 87 Saw movies. Thanks a bunch, Tim Burton.

    4. Jumanji (1995)

    TriStar Pictures

    An innocent young boy and his crush decide to play an odd board game. The boy's soul gets violently dragged into the board and isn't released until decades later, when two other children begin the game. Also, giant spiders.

    The Most Nightmare-Inducing Moment: How about the first ten minutes when a HUMAN CHILD gets sucked into a board game? Does that do it for ya?

    5. Matilda (1996)

    TriStar Pictures

    A bright young girl with telekinetic abilities seeks vengeance on her sleazy family and cruel principal after she forms a friendship with her new teacher. Also, there's a heavy insinuation that the principal murdered the teacher's father.

    The Most Nightmare-Inducing Moment: I promise you, I have not eaten chocolate cake since watching this movie. That's a lot of chocolate cake I've missed out on.

    6. The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

    ITC Entertainment

    After being abandoned by their "master," a rag-tag team of household appliances set out into a genuine hell-scape to locate their new home.


    7. The Dark Crystal (1982)

    Universal Pictures

    Have you ever thought to yourself: "I love the Muppets, but I also love having nightmares. When will they make a movie for me?" Well, do I have good news for you!

    The Most Nightmare-Inducing Moment: I can't even pick just one moment...mostly it's the dead look in all of the puppets' eyes, TBH.

    8. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

    Universal Pictures

    A disturbing-looking alien is abandoned by his family before terrorizing a small suburban household. He befriends a young boy with whom he becomes inexplicably intertwined. The government gets involved and attempts to do painful experiments on both the alien and the young boy.

    The Most Nightmare-Inducing Moment: Remember when E.T. was full-on dying? And he turned, like, an unsavory gray color? No, thank you.

    9. Babes in Toyland (1961)

    Buena Vista Distribution

    In a world where fairytales and nursery rhymes are a part of everyday life, an unsuspecting newlywed couple is torn apart amid a failed murder attempt on the husband. It is revealed that an insanely creepy trio is behind the plot, as they hope to steal the wife's inheritance by FORCIBLY MARRYING HER.

    The Most Nightmare-Inducing Moment: There is literally a location in the film called "The Forest of No Return," where the trees are, like, really mean for seemingly no reason.

    10. Watership Down (1978)

    Nepenthe Productions

    An unassuming cartoon that, on the surface, seems like it's about a group of cuddly bunnies is seriously some of the scariest stuff you'll ever see. Like, end of the world, mass-murdered bunny rabbits kind of stuff.

    The Most Nightmare-Inducing Moment: There isn't just ONE moment, okay. The animation-style itself has scarred me FAR into my adulthood.

    11. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

    Buena Vista Pictures

    After the grizzly murder of his beloved brother, Detective Eddie Valiant gets caught up in a blackmail scheme, which involves framing a popular entertainer for murder. However, the deeper Valiant dives into the seedy underbelly of a seemingly-bright world, the more he realizes not everything is so black and white.

    The Most Nightmare-Inducing Moment: I have one word for you: "DIP."

    12. The Wizard of Oz (1939)


    A teenage girl runs away from home to join the circus and avoid her insane neighbor, only to fall victim to a natural disaster. After taking a window frame to the back of her head, she is transported into a mystical land and the first thing she does is commit house-icular manslaughter.

    The Most Nightmare-Inducing Moment: One of the earliest memories I have as a child is of my mother leaving the room when the Wicked Witch appears in the crystal ball after Auntie Em. I still have not forgiven my mother.

    13. Return to Oz (1985)

    Buena Vista


    The Most Nightmare-Inducing Moment: Um, there is a woman in this film with NO HEAD who COLLECTS HEADS and walks around at one point HEADLESS.

    Do you agree that these are just horror films in disguise? What were some movies that scarred you for life growing up? Sound off in the comments below!