Sunday, July 18, 2010

Scary Movie Scenes From My Childhood

A few months ago, I read not one but two lists of childhood trauma inducing movie scenes, and watched the Nostalgia Critic's Top 11 Scary Nostalgic Moments. Some of these were a part of my childhood, others not so much. Some I didn't even find scary or disturbing at all.

Most of us have these moments in our lives. Children movies have scary scenes. Some claim that children like to be scared, and it makes for a more enjoyable movie. However, I recall a different childhood memory from theses scenes - hiding behind couches when they came on, laying awake in fear, hiding under the covers (A habit I have to this day, as I can't sleep without covering my head with the blankets) and the nightmares. The worst part was that you LIKED the movies, and you continued to watch them, despite the fears. Sometimes you grew out of it, and began to appreciate the scene. Other times you just tolerate it. But sometimes... you still have to look away.

So, on a topic that has been done to death, in no particular order, here is my personal childhood hell.

1. The Last Unicorn has two scenes that sent me cowering behind the couch. I love this movie. It is one of my favourites. But my little mind just could not handle Mommy Fortuna being killed by the Harpy. It wasn't the fact that the Harpy killed her, it was just the manner it played out. Mommy Fortuna is laying on the ground as a limp hundle of clothing, what appears to be her back to the camera. And the Harpy is picking at her with her beak, like it's trying to eat her! The other scene that terrified me was the entire scene with the drunk skeleton. I already had my issues with skeletons, so this raging alcoholic with his red eyes, screaming "UNICORN!" caused me to complete skip this part when I watched the movie. Today, I can watch both scenes and they don't frighten me anymore, but 15 years ago was a different story.

2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit's dip did me in more than Judge Doom. Yea, he was scary when he reveals himself to be a googly eyed, squeaky voiced bastard, but the part where he's melted into a puddle of goop by dip? Ugggghhh. Then Mickey almost steps in it? Uuugggggh. Much like the Last Unicorn, I am 100% fine with this today.

3. The Neverending Story was a personal hell for me as a horse lover and owner. Artax giving up and sinking in the Swamp of Sadness was a horrible scene for me. I never watched it. I always had to go behind the couch or walk away. While I doesn't scare me, I still cry when this scene comes on, and it's probably the reason I don't tend to re-watch this movie. The fact that a rumor circulated that the horse portraying Artax died by drowning in that scene, as they had to chain it onto a platform made the scene even more unwatchable. The actor playing Artreyu confirmed that the horse did not die, but he himself was injured during the filming of the scene and was rather traumatized by the whole thing, refusing to film for two days.

4. Pee Wee's Big Adventure and its infamous Large Marge scene. Either this did or did not frighten me. The only reason I say this is because I don't actually remember watching the scene as a kid. It's possible I just blocked it out. As a kid, I do not remember being scared by Large Marge. BUT! As an adult, I CANNOT watch it. I've tried. And it gets me every time. I have to look away. And the worst part is, it's not even that scary looking. Maybe it's the motion. Maybe it's the eyes. But at 25, I cannot, repeat, cannot watch or look at Large Marge.

5. The Secret of NIHM's Nicodemeus. He didn't look like the other rats. He was gnarly, skeletal, raspy and had red eyes. He creeped me out. I can handle him today. The owl too, was a bit disturbing.

6. Dumbo's Pink Elephant Parade. Today it's just weird.

7. Care Bears In Wonderland is a bit like Pee Wee's Big Adventure. I loved the movie as a kid, and watched it all the time, without any problems. A couple of years ago, I found the villian's song on youtube and watched it with great delight. I don't remember this movie being scary -at all-. Near the end of the song though, something happens. But it's very quick. So quick at first you don't really notice it, but Alice gives a bit of a reaction, and I had to watch it again. And then I did the most terrible thing I could think of. I watched it in slow motion. And there it was. The scariest cartoon face I had ever seen. I was 23 and it scared the hell out of me. I took a screen shot of it, even though I couldn't bare to look at it, and showed a few people. How the hell did I miss this? Nostalgia Critic remembers it too, and made me have to re-live that scene. Much like Large Marge, I cannot look at it to this day. If you want to see for yourself, watch it for yourself, at 2:05.

8. The Dark Crystal's opening scene with the dying Skeksis emperor is quite disturbing. I haven't watched the movies in years, and I probably would avoid this scene. Two other Skeksis are waiting greedily for the king to die so one of them can claim the crown. As the emperor begins to slip away, one of them grabs the crown. The emperor jumps up in his bed, clawing at the crown screaming "MINE, IT'S MINE! MINE!" in a horrible voice. The emperor is skeletal and gnarly looking, making this scene a childhood nightmare.

9. Disney's Legend of Sleepy Hollow was an absolute favourite of mine. It was narrated and sun by Bing Cosby. I know all the songs off by heart, and love singing "The Headless Horseman Song". The Horseman himself isn't that scary... He is after all just a headless black figure with a cape, on a wicked awesome horse. But the scene leading up to his arrival? Absolute, sheer terror. The eyes in the night. The gnarly trees (gnarly is the word of the day in this post as you can tell). The eerie sounds. This movie doesn't scare me, but if I watch it, and I have to go outside, in the dark, my heart races a little faster.

10. The Black Cauldron is one of the darkest Disney films, and a great one at that. But, as a child with skeleton issues, the Horned King and his undead army that come storming out of the black cauldron itself made me run for mommy. Now that I am mostly over my skeleton fear, I can watch this again. I actually should get it on DVD as it is a wonderful movie.

11. Ferngully: The Last Rain forest helped reinforce my skeleton fear. Hexxus, the evil embodiment of pollution starts out as a skeleton, and in his climatic battle at the end, returns to being a skeleton, surrounded by fire. I had to hide behind the couch for that. Evil skeletons were worse than drunk ones. I can sorta watch it now. It's a little more creepy than the other animated skeletons.

12. Disney's Fantasia 's final scene Night on Bald Mountain, where the Devil himself summons the undead, the demons, skeletons, witches and ghosts. Terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. And the way they animate these horrors? Ugggh. The Disney Hallow e'en special would use footage of this scene. The music just adds to the pant wetting terror. A scary scene for everyone.

13. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory's tunnel scene wasn't that bad for me. It was when Violet began turning violet, and swelled into a balloon. They rolled her off into the dejuicing rom, and I rolled away from the tv in terror.

There are other movies that scare me - some not exactly marketed as horror movies, some are actual horror movies. But these stand out. These were beloved childhood movies, with a pinch of trauma. And I know I'm not the only one who was frightened by these... which makes it all the more comforting!


  1. I remember being really scared of certain scenes in the Wizard of Oz (the witch melting and the flying monkeys come to mind) and I also could never watch the horse scene in TNES.. too tragic!

  2. Seconded on Willy Wonka. The Vioet scene really did a number on me as a kid, especially after the cruel older kids explained to me that what happened to her was possible, leading to a short-lived, but intense, phobia of chewing gum.

    Oh, and thanks for joining my happy little gaggle of wackjobs at Scooter's Ordinary, Healthy Blog.

    Hope to hear from you soon,

    Scooter Atreides

  3. If you don't mind my asking, what name do I know you by on TR? (if you're reticent about telling me, you can e-mail me the answer privately, there's a link in my profile)

  4. Very few films freaked me out when I was a kid. E.T. was unwatchable, and I have some very distinct memories about running away from the Raggedy Andy/Ann movie, and specifically a scene where one of the villain characters gets larger with laughter, so he makes people tickle him until he balloons up and explodes. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow has been a staple Halloween film in my family since I was a child. It's probably one of our only actual traditions to watch it every year.

    I'm kind of with you on Dark Crystal, though. I own the super deluxe-o Collector's Edition of that movie and no amount of extras, special features, or personal vials of Jim Henson's concentrated love for humanity can offset the supreme freakiness of the Skeksis without their robes on.