Terrifying Kid’s Films

They weren’t horror movies and you were six, everything should have been fine. So why then are you sobbing to a therapist about Artax sinking and dying in the swamp of sadness twenty years later? Something went horribly, horribly wrong…


The Never Ending Story (1984)


The Never Ending Story is Possibly one of the greatest children’s films ever made but also one of the most traumatic. A terrible force known only as ‘The nothing’ is destroying a magical land because children are losing their imagination. The film created the feeling that it was up to us as children to restore happiness in the world and let us experience just how damaging sadness and hopelessness can be.  I can still remember my sister crying herself to sleep over the loss of Atreyu’s beloved horse Artax who died in the swamp of sadness when he lost his will to live. And I refused to attend the bathroom alone for about a year, for fear that the terrifying wolf in the cave would come and eat me. Good times!!

Scariest Moment :  G’Mork an evil murderous wolf speaks ever so quietly to Atreyu while

half hidden in a cave, telling the boy that he will soon kill him.




Labyrinth (1986)


David Bowie has taken to wearing Lycra pants that are twelve times too small and kidnapped your baby brother to lure you to the underworld because he fancies you – AAAAHHHHH!!!. Labyrinth was a scary film as a child. In sending Sarah to the mystical underworld to rescue her brother, the film tapped into a very real childhood fear of becoming lost and unable to find your family and home. There were countless strange images;  grabbing hands, goblins, talking doors, all of these fed the child sub conscious with boundless ideas and fears. But scary or not it’s still one of the greatest films ever made.

Scariest Moment : When Sarah falls down into a endless hole lined with grabbing hands  or alternatively when David Bowie takes her

to a ball and declares his undying love for her.



The Witches (1990)


Witches are everywhere and they want to lure you to them with chocolate, then turn you into a mouse and stamp you to death. The adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel perfectly captured a childhood fear of strangers particularly ones who are apparently your ‘aunty’.

Scariest Moment : The Witches remove their wigs to reveal their true form and Anjelica

Huston morphs into a hideous, hook nosed hunch backed monster!

Dry- nites anyone?




The Hugga Bunch (1985)


The Hugga Bunch were a range of soft bodied dolls released by Kenner in the eighties, they produced this film as a tie-in about the dolls bringing a young girl back with them to Huggaland. Now I may be alone on this one but I remember watching this film in complete abject terror as a five year old. A two foot tall bobble headed doll thing comes through a girl’s mirror and says “We have been watching you through the mirror for a long time” then proceeds to basically kidnap the girl and bring her to Huggaland where she gets fawned all over by lots of other weird bobble headed dolls. The girl seemed to be enjoying herself but I think someone should have called Child Protection Services.

Scariest Moment : A Hugga Doll with large glassy eyes appears as a suspended head as

it moves through a mirror, gah!




Watership Down (1978)


Oh the horror! The horror! Blood filled dreams, killer cats,crazy rabid rabbits, evil hawks – general constant terror and Fiver being told that Hazel has been shot as Art Garfunkel sings ‘Bright Eyes’ and destroys our innocent child souls.

Scariest Moment : Bright Eyes plays as Fiver has trippy psychedelic visions of death.




The Dark Crystal (1982)


Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s visionary master piece put forward some very scary images. The skeletal evil bird-like skeksis couldn’t be forgotten in a hurry and their torturous treatment of the gentle and kind Gelflings who are trying to restore peace is chilling and terrifying.

Scariest Moment: The Skeksis’ hold a lavish feast and rip and devour strange meat

while being generally terrifying.



Let me know in the comments if I missed a kid’s film that terrified you as a child.