These 19 Films Gave Us Unsettling Scenes That We Did ~Not~ Sign Up For

    Yes, the horrific "Thumb Thumbs" from Spy Kids will be discussed here.

    Hi, I'm Luca, and I watch too many films! Today I want to talk about moments in movies that weren't ~intentionally~ unsettling, but definitely are tbh.

    Whether it's uncanny special effects or a disturbing story implication, these 19 movie moments creeped me the hell out even if they didn’t mean to:

    1. This hot chocolate musical scene in The Polar Express.

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    Warner Bros. Pictures

    I know this film is meant to be creepy in certain parts, but in this particular scene, the dancing is just too perfect and too well choreographed. The worst part? The dead eyes of the background characters as they stare lifelessly ahead. Chilling. 

    2. The horrific "Thumb Thumbs" scene in Spy Kids.

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    Miramax

    These films always make me feel ~off~, but the feeling is particularly strong here. The strange sets that look like indoor play centers are one thing, but when you have a gang of cheaply rendered thumb people running around them, it's more arthouse horror than a kids' film. 

    3. This sudden and brutal scene in The Plague Dogs.

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    United Artists

    For those that don't know, this animation has the same director as Watership Down. If that wasn't traumatic enough for you, The Plague Dogs had a higher age rating, and you can see why in this scene. The eerie silence, the sudden cut to the man's bloody face as he makes no sounds of pain, and just the older style of animation. I don’t think you could recreate this unsettling vibe with modern animation. 

    4. The vending machine that follows Wallace and Gromit in A Grand Day Out.

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    Channel 4

    There's something super eerie about the duo's first outing — maybe it’s the lunar setting or the fact that this is their first film. Whatever it is, I had nightmares about this vending machine rolling after me for years. 

    5. The iconic cake scene in Matilda.

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    Sony Pictures Entertainment

    I genuinely feel as though I'm the one eating too much cake. I'll never look at the screen when this scene comes around — ever.

    6. This brief glimpse of the spidery alien in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. (It's at the five-minute mark).

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    Columbia Pictures

    I'm assuming it's the head alien that appears, with its massive, gangly limbs. I really hate long-limbed creatures ok, but it's specifically the way it's ominously lit from behind, and NONE of the other aliens look like it. It always freaked me out with how it suddenly disappears when the camera cuts back. 

    7. Shorty getting whipped in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

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    Paramount Pictures

    This one's genuinely my least favorite in the series, and this scene was one reason why! It's ridiculously dark, something the filmmakers agree with

    8. This "improved" version of a dance sequence in Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi.

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    Twentieth Century Fox

    Much has been said about director George Lucas' tinkering with the original Star Wars trilogy. I argue nothing is worse than this monstrosity. Breaking the fourth wall for Star Wars is a strange choice, but when it's done in a new CGI sequence for an '80s film, we've hit the rock bottom of the uncanny valley. Why is this thing screaming into the camera?! 

    9. This woman transforming into a robot in Superman 3.

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    Warner Bros.

    This terrifying transformation belongs in a '70s horror film, and my friend wasn't happy I "unblocked" the memory of this scene for him. 

    10. The electrocuting scene in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

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    Twentieth Century Fox

    Whenever a skeleton is used in one of these family-friendly films, it's always terrifying. I thought he was actually pulverized into a skeleton when I saw this as a kid.

    11. When this unlucky Springfield citizen is crushed by the dome in The Simpsons Movie.

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    Twentieth Century Fox

    Ok, I know it's played for laughs, but the existential crisis the man has before being crushed STILL bothers me. But the true horror is that, for the rest of the film, he's just stuck under that dome. 

    12. Seeing the educational video on how humans "evolved" in Wall–E.

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    Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

    Wall-E has many points where people went “THAT’S our future," but nothing beats the diagram of how humans became weaker. It's shown as a cute visual joke, but maybe something along those lines could happen? 

    13. Neo fighting off a massive group of CGI Agent Smiths in Matrix: Reloaded.

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    Warner Bros.

    It starts fine, but the CGI takes over the scene in a not great way. It looks like cheap video-game footage — why does everyone look like rubber?! When it cuts back from CGI Neo and Agent Smith to the real footage, it's like two different films. 

    14. The scorpion king that you can barely see is played by the Rock in The Mummy Returns.

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    Universal Pictures

    The Rock is such a recognizable dude, so it's utterly impressive how it takes me a second to go "oh yeah, that's him" whenever I see this CGI nightmare. 

    15. When they put on their disguises in White Chicks.

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    Sony Pictures Entertainment

    The masks remind me of the film Eyes Without a Face, which, for a comedy, shouldn't be the goal, right?

    16. The fish stuck in their plastic bags at the end of Finding Nemo.

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    Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

    I know Finding Dory cleared this up, but for YEARS those fish were trapped in their plastic bags in my mind. I wouldn't stop asking my parents whether they died or not!

    17. The sheer violence of the "les poissons" scene in The Little Mermaid.

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    When a film anthropomorphizes animals, the filmmakers SURELY know how horrifying it is to see them used as food!? The scene is meant to have dangerous energy to it, but just look at those lifeless fish being gutted...

    18. When Patrick and SpongeBob are literally dried to death in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.

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    There're a lot of deliberately cursed moments in this movie, and I love it. But we're literally seeing sea-creatures slowly suffocating! And there's the truly evil touch of them becoming actual dried objects — beyond cruel! 

    19. Finally, it should be the whole film, but this scene in Labyrinth.

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    This film gives me a special brand of queasiness. Everything about the creatures is unsettling enough. But it's the drab color and the awful green screen that combine and send it beyond weird.

    Are there any examples I've missed? If so, let me know in the comments below!