Unsplash | Karen Zhao

20 Kids' Movies That Weren't Supposed To Be So Scary

Children often have strange, specific, unwarranted fears about whatever particular thing makes their brain feel weird that day. These fears can leave a lasting impression, though, no matter how silly they seem to adults.

Someone on Reddit asked to hear which non-frightening kids' movies people found scary anyway, and many shared their stories of nights spent awake after watching these films.

Scared straight.

"Pinocchio scared the crap out of me! That scene when they turn into donkeys haunted my childhood dreams for years."

"That was Carlo Collodi's intention," explained one reply, "The book is way scarier than the movie. The author was trying to frighten children into behaving."

The original commenter returned to say, "It didn't frighten me into behaving, it [frightened] me into peeing the bed."

No exaggeration here.

"Pee Wee's Big Adventure! Forever will that trucker scene haunt me!"

I, admittedly, have never seen this movie. But the first time I heard about this scene, I decided to look it up, and people were not kidding when they talked about how frightening it was!

Immersive imagery.

"Jumanji. The giant mosquitos and the attacking vines freaked me out so bad I couldn't finish the movie."

"Not to mention the kid turning into a monkey. That [expletive] creeped me out."

Many other comments cited those same two elements as the scariest in the film, the mosquitos and the monkeys.

Just a bit too much.

"The Witches. My dad rented it because he knew how much I liked Matilda. I'm still scarred," said one, with many replies in agreeance.

"As a kid I loved anything about witches and loved scary shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark, but that scene in The Witches where they all start taking off their wigs and skin traumatized me!"

Layers of fear.

"The original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

Most people credit the tunnel scene for being the scariest, but one reply said they were afraid of the Oompa Loompas, and another said the blueberry scene with Violet terrified them!

Particular contexts.

"When I was little, I couldn't speak English. I thought that Mary Poppins was a movie about a family's struggles during war time. The scene where all the furniture in their house starts shaking really scared me."

A popular scare.

"Probaly be alone here as it's a childhood favourite but Star Wars. Chewbecca used to scare the crap out of me for some reason. My brother used to chase me with a small figurine of [him] and I would run screaming like hell."

That didn't help.

"The Fox And The Hound. The whole hunting scene at the end terrified me. To make it worse, we were there to watch two movies and this was the first. Between this and the next one my Mum left me there and popped out to get snacks. I saw everyone else leaving and didn't get it, I thought Mum had left me so when she came back I was kneeling on the seat crying for her. Traumatised me a bit."

A little more


"Watched this when it first came out," said one reply. "So many crying children in the theatres. One of the moms even leaned in to tell their kid, this is what happens if you misbehave. Savage."

Fun fact, I still haven't seen this movie. I'm genuinely too afraid to watch it and will be for my whole life.

Delayed reaction.

"Mars Attacks! I watched it once when I was 4 or 5 with no problem. Then a couple of years later it gave me nightmares. Not sure why it changed on me."

"Me too! I was 6 or so and it gave me absolute nightmares for over a week. Had to sleep in my mum's bed. When I later found out it was actually a comedy I couldn't believe it at first."

Opposite tastes.

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I was terrified of snakes in the pipes and had to shower with the door open in case the snakes came out of the showerhead/drain/faucet/toilet. For over a year."

Funnily enough, that was my favorite Harry Potter movie growing up. Maybe that says a lot about me.

Double whammy.

"The Wizard of Oz. That green faced [expletive] haunted my dreams."

In response to this, someone brought up the sequel. "Have you seen Return to Oz? [Dorothy] ends up back in Oz after nearly drowning in a flash flood while escaping from a mental institution where they were going to give her primitive electroshock therapy. [...] When she gets there everything is destroyed, all her friends have been turned to stone, and there's an evil which with interchangeable heads who imprisons her and threatens to take her head too."

Big drama.

"As a child, I would always skip the scene in Toy Story 2 where Andy drops Woody and he goes through a pile of playing cards on the floor, lands in a trash can, and gets held down by toy limbs. It scared the [expletive] out of me."

Putting it off.

"Jurassic Park scared the [expletive] out of me when I was a kid."

"5year old me was terrified when the guy ran into the toilet shed and got eaten by the T rex, I couldn't even watch the rest till I was a bit older."

Forced fear.

"The Goonies. Got a concussion when I was 5 and had to stay awake through the night. My dad and I watched it on repeat since it scared me."

That feels unusually cruel but whatever it takes in that situation, I guess.

Style swap.

"Who Framed Roger Rabbit when Christopher Lloyd's eyes turned into toons."

"When the little shoe gets dipped in vat of acid...so sad," another person added, another scene many thought was terrifying.

Kindred spirits.

"As a child absolutely terrified of Chicken Run.... surprisingly I am a vegetarian now."

"You just gave me flashbacks to when the two chickens are trapped in the factory and almost become chicken pies, like, 50 times. The worst part was chicken was my favourite food. It obviously didn't scar me enough to go veggie, however."

Finally, other people who were scared of Chicken Run! I thought I was alone!

Big impact.


A simple answer that generated a lot of responses, E.T. truly scared a lot of people!

"It still scares the crap out of me. It totally ruined me for life and I'm terrified of aliens," replied one.

"Came here to say this. I still don't like this movie because it wigged me out so much. That damn scene by the water... nightmare fuel," said another.

Startling effects.

"Beetlejuice. But only the sand worm thing and when Beetlejuice turned in to a snake. I watched the movie all the time but hated those parts lol."

For how goofy the movie is, there really is some freaky imagery in it! Which I guess is the point and all, but still.

When you really think about it...

"My little sister was horrified by the premise of Finding Nemo and still refuses to watch it."

When asked why, the commenter elaborated, "Because he's kidnapped and separated from his family. Could also have had something to do with the sharks, but mostly the former."