Home Entertainment Top List Thursdays – Top ten nightmare fuel children movies

Top List Thursdays – Top ten nightmare fuel children movies

6 min read

For as long as people have existed, there have been children and reasons to make their lives hell. Heck, I flew last week and after spending 15 hours listening to a brat scream on that trip, my head was filled with dark thoughts and ideas that would make the Jigsaw killers puke.

Fortunately we have movies. And within movies we have children’s films. And within children’s films, we have a chance to strike back at the little snot machines, because screw them and their lack of responsibility  Here’s ten movies that will get the little brats off your lawn, provided that you weren’t too messed up when you saw those movies yourself.

The Witches

The world is a scary place when you’re a kid, but just knowing that there are bad men out there with free candy and sound-proofed vans will keep you awake at night. And then you get Roald Dahl’s Witches, horrible, disgusting human beings who despise children the way that Julius Malema despises British journalists.

And nothing, just nothing prepares you for that one scene where they strip off their human disguises to reveal rotting creatures with candy-teeth, flat feet and hairless chrome-domes, straight out of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale book.

And then, just when you think that things can’t get worse, it does, thanks to a combination of poison, rat formula and Mr Bean on a killing spree.

Return to Oz

There’s a lot to scare children with in Return to Oz. Pumpkin creatures. Mombi’s hall of heads. But the worst terror facing a little girl and a talking chicken? Two words: The Wheelers.

The Secret of Nimh

Aw, look at the rats, with their constant death-scenes, double-crossing and general dubious nature and HOLY HELL IT’S THE GREAT OWL AND I’LL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN! I SEE THAT FACE EVERY TIME I CLOSE MY EYES NOW! WHY DID YOU TAKE ME TO SEE THIS MOVIE DAD?!

Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory

I’m pretty much convinced that whoever came up with the idea for this movie, had notes from author Roald Dahl to make children suffer. After all, how the hell else do you explain Willy Wonka and his factory which seems to have been set up for the sole purpose of capturing children and subjecting them to horrible torments and singing midgets?

And then you have that one scene, that one defining moment when Wonka trips the light fantastic and takes the gang for a tour through his own mind, uttering strange verses and spreading madness as they go on and on into a never-ending sea of lunacy.

Man, people must have hated children back then.

Pom Poko

Pom Poko is a movie that will be terrifying to any member of our species that carries a Y chromosome. Because once you see a magical Japanese raccoon dog use his testicles as a makeshift pouch, parachute, trampoline, sack of deadly doorknobs and other makeshift weapons, you’ll be left cluthing them for the rest of your life.

And hell, that’s not even the freakiest part of this movie, which includes all manner of tripped visual drug trips. Damn you Japan!

Watership Down

Rabbits. They’re cute, cuddly, have twitchy little noses and when animated by the British, will rip the cottontail off of one another for a full length feature movie. Talking animals have long been a viable draw to cinemas, hooking children in and sitting them down for a colourful adventure.

But in Watership Down, the only vibrant moments seen was when the rabbits got angry and started to murder several different shades of “what’s up doc” out of each other. The whole movie is a fight for survival, from General Woundwart pursuing the rogue warren of perceived deserters, to a cat stalking the bunnies with the efficiency of a serial killer and even less remorse, to a rottweiler being unleashed as the Omega Weapon against the greatest warriors in that specific species.

The whole movie is pain, sorrow, blood and tears. Something that you would not know when you first see that misleading poster or DVD cover. Fortuantely, there was no possible way that a British animation company could make anything more disturbing. Right?

Plague Dogs

Oh hell, I give up. Watership Down looks like a Teletubbies episode in comparison to this masterpiece of childhood trauma. Dogs are mans best friend for a reason. They’re always happy to see you, will stay with you until the bitter end, and unless a spot of rabies infects them, will practically die for you.

So when you get a movie that deals with dogs that have been medically experimented on, hunted, chased, starved and almost murdered for an entire movie while violence of all sorts plays out during their epic trek , you’re pretty much rooting for the main characters to finally make it to freedom.

Just kidding. Rowf and Snitter die. Horribly.


Most of you are most likely more than familiar with the second Gremlins film, a repeated every Saturday movie that is kind of fun, goofy and lighthearted. But the first Gremlins movie is nothing like that. It’s dark, terrifying, sadistic and psychotic. And it’s terrifying when you see poor Gizmo pop some siblings for the first time that want to do nothing more than murder his ass.

And that kids, is why Mogwais aren’t suitable for first-time pet owners.


Confession, I haven’t seen this movie, even though I did see that other Jim Henson flick, Dark Crystal. But thanks to a quick Google search from my fellow writers that subjected me to monstrous puppets, terrors and a very visible bulge in David Bowie’s stocking-pants, I plan to keep my sanity away from this film.

The Neverending Story

G’Mork. Now and forever, that nightmare dire wolf will haunt your dreams. G’Mork is like the beast that Leonidas faced in the beginning of 300, but with enough hatred and bile inside of it to take on an entire legion of Spartans. G’mork is rage, fury and bloodlust and it cannot be stopped. Death is not a solution. Death is a temporary escape. When reality ends and universal entropy sets in for the final death of all that shall ever be, G’Mork shall be there. When you wake up in a cold sweat tonight, you will know the reason why.

And you’ll whisper to yourself…”G’Mork”.

Last Updated: April 11, 2013


  1. Heh. Loved it. Great article man!


  2. Gavin Mannion

    April 11, 2013 at 15:16

    I’d forgotten about The Wheelies… thanks for bringing that nightmare back


  3. Aussious

    April 11, 2013 at 15:34

    Gremlins literally ruined my childhood… that movie was way too creepy for words.


  4. Carl Angus

    April 11, 2013 at 15:41

    I watched “The Blob” at age 5 (Thanks mom), I’m still scared of boogers.


  5. Rincethis: Spellalicious

    April 11, 2013 at 16:38

    Watership Down messed me up man. Now, whenever I hear the Petshop Boys, I cower in a heap… Hang on…


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