As it turns out, even PG-rated movies can be pretty horrific for the average kid. While most kid movies end up with a happy ending and plenty of lighthearted laughs along the way, every once in a while a villain comes along so horrifying, he actually scars you for life. Keep reading to check out seven childhood movie characters who totally scared the crap out of you.
7 The Gremlins
Sure, that little Gizmo was super cute, but feed him or his fellow Mogwai after dark and you’ll be having nightmares for sure. Based on their ugly mugs alone, the Gremlins were pretty freaking scary to the average eight year-old. Add in some decidedly homicidal characteristics (like running around brandishing a knife), and it was hard for any young kid to make it through this movie without burrowing under the covers and screaming in terror.
6 The Wheelers – Return to Oz
My God, talk about a grotesquely freaky-looking monster. While much of Return to Oz is a fairly forgettable tale, the Wheelers remain forever singed into the memories of anyone who saw the movie as a child. With their ungodly wheeled appendages, viciously creepy smiles and demented voices, there wasn’t anything to like about these foul Oz underlings. Of course, it should also be noted that the creeptastic head-swapping witch named Mombi was nearly just as life-scarring as the Wheelers.
5 Heffalumps and Woozles
As part of the “Pooh’s Nightmare” sequence in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, the heffalumps and woozles were guaranteed to cause a few real-world nightmares of their own. Combine the psychedelic and foreboding imagery of the monsters themselves with the incredibly creepy and menacing song that went along with them, and fear is the only possible reaction for any kid below 10 years-old.
4 Judge Doom – Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Despite being billed as a kids’ movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? sure dealt with a lot of adult topics. As the main villain in the movie (Judge Doom), Christopher Lloyd has never looked so freakish. While most kids could make it through most of the movie scream-free, that last scene is one scary freaking situation. With his evil red eyes and a smile that can only be emitted from a sociopath, Doom scares the shit out of the audience with his giant vat of toon-killing dip. Of course, his flattened cartoonish gurgles do nothing to improve his appeal with the young ones once he is revealed to be a toon himself.
3 The Witches
Though not quite as memorable as other movies on this list, The Witches was far and away one of the scariest children’s movies of the 1990s. With a plot that circled around a world of witches attempting to rid the world of children, it was only natural for kids to come out of the movie scared to death. Add in a bunch of horribly hideous witches and the eerie thought of being trapped inside of a painting for all eternity, and The Witches truly raised the goosebumps on the back of the neck.
2 The Great Owl – Secret of NIMH
The Secret of NIMH is one of the darkest children’s movies of all time. Within the first few minutes, viewers are confronted with a terrifying tractor scene that almost obliterates the entire main cast. Later, Mrs. Brisby goes to consult with the Great Owl, who turns out to be the most terrifying ally of all time. With his deathly stare and mouse-chomping beak, he easily flew into the nightmares of millions of kids.
Though It wasn’t intended to be a children’s movie, it turns out that an exorbitantly large number of kids wound up seeing it anyway. Given that the movie was shown on basic TV and featured a clown in the title role, it makes sense that so many kids got duped into watching it. With his long fingernails and intimidating facial features, It is likely the sole reason why so many grown-ups have a bonafide fear of clowns.