Top 10 Messed Up Movies for Kids

Thursday, July 24 by

There are plenty of twenty-somethings like myself walking around the world hopped up on Zoloft and dragging around emotional baggage like a family on a trip to Orlando. There are lots of possible explanations for our relatively pathetic condition, but it’s easier to blame movies, and these so-called kids flicks have been keeping psychologists rolling in dough since the Reagan administration.

Labyrinth (1986)

The twisted brain child of George Lucas and Jim Henson is filled with horrifying puppets and even more horrifying song and dance numbers starring David Bowie and his enormous hair. I should also mention the Dark Crystal, which shared a similar bunch of nightmare-inducing puppets birthed from Henson’s evil/genius brain.

Creepiest part when you’re a kid:
The first goblin you encounter during the movie is Hoggle, whose grumbly voice and passion for committing fairy genocide is enough to make grade-schooler choke on the Lunchables. He also feeds her a goblin roofie in the form of a peach. I haven’t eaten a fruit or vegetable since, just to be on the safe side.

Creepiest part when you’re an adult:
I understand being so in love with a girl that you feel the need to kidnap her little brother and trap her inside of a drug-inspired maze land from which she may never re-emerge. But, dude, she’s 15. Not cool.

Secrets of Nimh (1982)
This animated adventure about rats is based on a children’s book, but with the amount of death, violence and suffering these furry little guys go through, you’d think they used a Tarantino script as their source material.

Creepiest part when you’re a kid:
The most shocking part for me was how many of the characters end up dying. When you’re little, the good guys are always supposed to win and the bad guys get away, ashamed, but unharmed. The rodents in this flick, though, have no trouble doublecrossing and even stabbing one another to death. Watch your back, Mickey.

Creepiest part when you’re an adult:
The woman with the kind, sincere voice of Mrs. Brisby, Elizabeth Hartman, eventually threw herself out of a fifth story window after a long battle with depression that I can only imagine started when she worked on this bummer of a kid’s movie.

The Goonies (1985)
Richard Donner and Stephen Spielberg’s epic adventure story wasn’t necessarily geared toward the Saturday morning crowd, but its PG rating and pubescent cast made it a magnet for young movie buffs.

Creepiest part when you’re a kid:
Personally, I refused to open my eyes at one point because I was convinced they were going to annihilate Chunk’s hand in the Blender. The frozen corpse in the freezer and the ship full of skeletons were a little traumatic, as well.

Creepiest part when you’re an adult:
Yeah, it’s horrible to think that at one point I wasn’t phased by the thought of keeping a mentally retarded person chained to a chair in the basement just because he was annoying and it’s also kind of weird to think that, by the time he had shot this movie, Cory Feldman had already had sex far more than I ever will. But the worst part is the rumblings of a possible sequel that have been floating around for a while. Maybe they think they can go again and, this time, make Data even more racist.

Return to Oz (1985)
The pseudo sequel to the gayest movie ever produced has a lot less dancing and a lot more death. Within the first couple minutes of the movie Dorothy is sent to a mental institution to receive electroshock therapy. Luckily a friend helps her escape but tragically drowns in the process. Quite a downer compared to the lollipop guild and all of that other candy-coated bullshit from the original.

Creepiest part when you’re a kid:
The Wheelers, with their awkward-looking wheel appendages and Slipknot-like costumes were nothing short of terrifying. Were they humans wearing suits or some kind of weird human/scooter hybrid? I don’t even want to know.

Creepiest part when you’re an adult:
Still the Wheelers. Just watching the scene where they chase her down that little alley is pretty intense. It doesn’t help that the leader tells Dorothy that they’re going to "tear her into little pieces and throw her in the Deadly Desert," when she comes out. The Wicked Witch was a pretty huge bitch, but at least she never threatened to dismember anybody.


E.T. (1982)
Stephen Spielberg’s favorite piece of work to date is one of the most recognizable and beloved films ever made, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s about an alien who comes to this planet and threatens the entire human race with his filthy space germs.

Creepiest part when you’re a kid:
When E.T. gets sick and turns all white like a really old lump of dog crap, it can be pretty confusing. It’s hard when a horrifying monster you’ve grown to love might die and then be dissected by the military in an informative but graphic fashion.

Creepiest part when you’re an adult:
Ol’ Spielbergo may have tried to cut it out in that stupid 20th Anniversary Edition, but at one point in the theatrical cut, Elliot calls his brother "penis breath," which, as we all know, is just a nicer way of saying, "cocksucker."


Bambi(1942)

Disney’s vault full of "treasured classics" isn’t without its fair share of regrettable material—racist crows, anyone?—but it’s still hard for a lot of people to believe that Bambi is a movie for little kids. In fact, Time Magazine added it to its list of the "Top 25 Horror Movies." Seriously.

Creepiest part when you’re a kid:
Nothing could’ve possibly prepared the child version of me for Bambi’s mother to die a horrible death. That’s like if Snow White had shows up at the seven dwarves’ house only to have them cut her up and wear her skin as a suit, Wild Bill-style.

Creepiest part when you’re an adult:
Apparently, when your genitals aren’t good for anything except getting stuck in your zipper, you don’t notice all the sexual innuendo that exists with the rabbit character. Thumper indeed.

Watership Down (1978)
By the time you’re in middle school and your teacher assigns the classic Richard Adams novel, you’re probably ready to deal with the gritty tale of a bunch of rabbits that are forced to make a dangerous trek across deadly lands. But when you’re a little kid, all you see is a cute bunny on the cover. Then, two hours later, you’re left to wonder how the world can be such a messed up place for the next 60 years.

Creepiest part when you’re a kid:
One of the most likable characters, Violet, gets picked off by some asshole hawk near the beginning of the journey. Not only does it drag the already dark tone of the movie way down, but it totally obliterates every kid’s belief that bunnies don’t die, they just turn into Peeps and wait to be eaten.

Creepiest part when you’re an adult:

The movie itself is pretty tame from an adult standpoint, but it’s kind of creepy that you’re actually going out of your way to watch it. Unless, of course, you’re trying to cheat on your book club, George Costanza-style. Then it’s totally understandable.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Despite its cheery music and colorful scenery, this Gene Wilder classic is filled with life lessons taught through torture and slavery. Of course all of that is implied, but it’s there if you look really, really hard and then do 30-hours of research on the Internet.

Creepiest part when you’re a kid:
The first half of the film is mostly poor people trying to sing the poverty away as they’re known to do, but once the action moves into the chocolate factory, everything gets a lot more magical. That is, of course, until they get in that boat and sail through a Black Sabbath video.

Creepiest part when you’re an adult:
There’s something extremely disturbing about Wonka’s indifference after Veruca Salt and her blustery dad are dropped into a friggin’ furnace. Something tells me that more than one of those little Oompa Loompas has traveled down that chute for dicking up a batch of ever-lasting gobstoppers.

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

It wasn’t until I got most of the way through writing this that I realized what a messed up year 1985 was for film. Sure, it had the supreme awesomeness that is Back to the Future, but it also had Pee-Wee Herman eating Mr. T cereal and wrapping his face up with Scotch tape.

Creepiest part when you’re a kid:
Even though just about everything in the movie can be considered wacky, it stayed fairly close to the realm of possibility until Large Marge shows up with her huge claymation monster face and scares you so bad that your testacles retract and don’t come down until you’re 23.

Creepiest part when you’re an adult:
Most people would suggest that it’s the fact that Paul "Pee-Wee" Reubens would eventually be arrested for jacking off in a movie theater, but I’m going to say that the Francis character is way more disturbing. Try watching the scene where he and Pee-Wee wrestle in the bathtub and tell me you don’t feel like your inner-child was just inappropriately touched by a gym teacher.

Masters of the Universe (1987)

Simply put: He-Man was the shit. You won’t find many sane people willing to argue against that fact, but somehow the live-action version failed miserably when it came to capturing all the stuff we loved about the prince of Eternia and his awesome adventures.

Creepiest part when you’re a kid:
In the cartoon, Skeletor was so over-the-top that he was almost funny. Then Frank Langella sucked all the fun right out of the character and taking the flick further from what we actually wanted.

Creepiest part when you’re an adult:
Watching Billy Barty eat a piece of greasy fried chicken in his full Gwildor get-up is enough to make you want to call for the eradication of little people all over the world. Don’t worry, I’m just kidding. Kind of.

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