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Top 10 SCARIEST Scenes from Non-Disney Kids Films

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Sean Newman Scenes from non-disney kids movies that scared us to death as children. WatchMojo presents the top 10 Scariest scenes from films that will terrify your children. But what will take the top spot on our list? The Hell scene from All Dogs Go To Heaven, being buried underground in Watership Down, of Caroline's Mother mix up from Caroline? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to Emmanuel Dunk for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Overused+Movie+Ideas

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It’s time to revisit some of our most treasured traumatic childhood memories. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 scariest scenes from non-Disney kids’ films.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the most frightening scenes from movies that were marketed as family-friendly. As the title suggests, we’ve excluded any movies produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. If you want to see Mickey and the gang at their most horrifying, be sure to check out our list for the Top 10 Darkest and Scariest Disney Moments. Oh, and if you haven’t guessed, a SPOILER ALERT may be in order.

#10: Large Marge
“Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” (1985)

A movie as bizarre as “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” wouldn’t be complete without a totally random jump scare. After hitching a ride from a truck driver, Pee-wee quickly comes to realize that there’s something off about the woman behind the wheel. The suspense keeps building as Large Marge recounts the worst accident she ever saw. It all culminates with her making a petrifying face, which is guaranteed to catch you off guard. To make matters even more disturbing, it’s later revealed that Marge was a ghost the whole time. This sequence is like something out of “The Twilight Zone,” but still maintains the wacky spirit of Pee-wee Herman.

#9: Unicron Eats a Planet
“The Transformers: The Movie” (1986)

We’re not exactly sure how this scene will sell a kids’ toy, but then again we’re not marketers. We get a glimpse at just how powerful and terrifying Unicron is early on in this movie, when the sentient cyber-planet swoops in and literally consumes an entire planet – inhabitants and all. What may be the most disturbing part is that we get to see all of these creatures going about their daily lives, playing, walking, drinking, before disaster strikes and they must prepare for the inevitable. The planet crumbles as it’s sucked in and ultimately chomped to smithereens by the giant being. The lucky ones die along with their planet, because the survivors are… “digested” by Unicron.

#8: The Tunnel of Doom
“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” (1971)

This lighthearted classic suddenly throws a piece of dark chocolate into the mix as Willy Wonka’s guests hop aboard his extravagant boat. Although it appears to be smooth sailing at first, the pleasure cruise becomes a descent into madness once the passengers enter a tunnel. This scene not only throws every screwed up image imaginable at us; Wonka also recites completely nutty poetry. Once Wonka starts screaming at the top of his lungs, we half expect him to murder everyone on board. The trippy boat ride comes to an abrupt halt, though, making the audience feel as if they’ve awoken from a nightmare.

#7: The Great Owl
“The Secret of NIMH” (1982)

Animator Don Bluth’s first feature-length directorial outing has no shortage of creepy moments. Ironically, the scariest character in the film isn’t one of the bad guys, but a creature that actually aids our protagonist. As Mrs. Brisby enters a lair littered with bones and cobwebs, she’s practically devoured by a dastardly spider. Although the Great Owl steps in and saves her, he’s just as intimidating. With a ghastly design and thunderous voice, it’s clear that this predator could crush Mrs. Brisby like a bug. The courageous little mouse doesn’t back down, however, and the Great Owl sends her on the right path, albeit a bit shaken up – just like the rest of us!

#6: The Witch Conference
“The Witches” (1990)

From Roald Dahl’s imagination and The Jim Henson Company’s technical wizardry, “The Witches” pulls no punches when it comes to scaring the bejesus out of kiddies. While Anjelica Huston’s Grand High Witch is pretty threatening in her human disguise, her true form is flat-out terrifying. Along with her fellow witches, Miss Ernst peels off her mask to expose a balding head, bulging eyes, and beaklike nose. And this witch is as wicked as she looks, disintegrating those who are insubordinate and turning children into mice. After watching this scene, you can bet every kid in the audience will be forever weary of witches and strangers.

#5: The Child Catcher
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (1968)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a magical car that brings happiness to the Potts family. It also gets them into trouble when the tyrannical Baron Bomburst steals the impressive ride for himself. The family travels to his home of Vulgaria in order to retrieve the car, and finds that all of the children there have been imprisoned due to the Baroness’ hatred for them. As you might expect, Jeremy and Jemima Potts find themselves face-to-face with the Child Catcher before long, and he’s as creepy as his name suggests. He uses the classic child kidnapper line, offering his prey something sweet if they come with him. Of course, they do and are trapped by the Child Catcher.

#4: Fievel Goes Overboard
“An American Tail” (1986)

Another film directed by Don Bluth, “An American Tail” sends us on an emotional rollercoaster as Fievel is separated from his family at sea. The idea of falling overboard in the middle of a storm is already scary enough. This scene takes matters to a whole new level of terror by making the storm feel alive. The animators give this body of water the presence of a monster that can swallow Fievel whole. Fortunately, the young mouse makes it to shore alive and well. Unfortunately, it turns out there are cats in America.

#3: The Other Mother
“Coraline” (2009)

In an age where most family films play it safe with bright images and cute characters, “Coraline” is never afraid to embrace everything gothic and weird. While Coraline’s “Other Parents” seem loving and nurturing at first glance, something foreboding awaits behind their button eyes. Once the Other Mother reveals her true colors, Coraline must fight to save her real parents. Mommie Dearest only becomes more sinister as the plot progresses, leading to a heart-pounding climax in which Coraline gets caught in her web. You will never look at needles in the same way again!

#2: All Dogs Go to Hell
“All Dogs Go to Heaven” (1989)

Making yet another appearance on this list, Don Bluth literally drags us to hell in this devilish sequence. After Charlie the German Shepherd rejects heaven and returns to earth, he begins to fear where his soul will end up. During a nightmare, Charlie spirals down into an underworld complete with fire, demons, and an actual hellhound. You wouldn’t think an animated, G-rated film would get too graphic with its depiction of the inferno. Yet, this scene’s horrific imagery truly makes the audience feel like they’ve been sentenced to eternal damnation. Let’s just hope that all dogs really do go to heaven.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Werecat Transformation
“Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island” (1998)
- Uh-Oh
“ParaNorman” (2012)
- Sharptooth Attacks
“The Land Before Time” (1988)

#1: Buried Underground
“Watership Down” (1978)

Any scene from this animated adaptation of Richard Adams’ novel could’ve taken our number one spot. With adorable bunnies suffering gritty, bloody deaths left and right, it’s actually incredible that “Watership Down” was rated PG. Of course, the rating system was very different back in 1978. Perhaps the most shocking moment in the film is when the wounded Holly recounts being buried alive with his herd. The masterful animation captures all the desperation, claustrophobia, and sheer horror of being confined to a small area. It feels more like something out of a war picture than a family film, scarring everybody in the theater for life. We thought cartoons were supposed to be fun?!

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