Another Top 10 Darkest Moments in Children’s Movies

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Another Top 10 Darkest Moments in Children's Movies


There are just too many dark children's films to fit into one list. For this list, we're looking at more dark moments from various children's films and ranking them based on their disturbing nature. Flicks that were either directly marketed to kids or those that can be entertaining for young viewers, regardless of whether they were made for older audiences, will be considered. Also, if you don't see a film you thought should be here, be sure to check out our first list on the topic.
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Top 10 Darkest Moments in Children’s Movies



OK, that was a little uncalled for. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for Another Top 10 Darkest Moments in Children’s Movies.


For this list, we’re looking at more dark moments from various children’s films and ranking them based on their disturbing nature. Flicks that were either directly marketed to kids or those that can be entertaining for young viewers, regardless of whether they were made for older audiences, will be considered. Also, if you don’t see a film you thought should be here, be sure to check out our first list on the topic.



#10: E.T.’s Death

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)




“E.T.” is consistently a contender for the greatest movie of all time. It’s a wonderful sci-fi flick full of rich imagination, timeless characters, and scenes that perfectly demonstrate the emotional power of cinema. Case in point – E.T.’s near death. No matter how many times we watch this movie, we cringe in anticipation of the infamous scene, as we know that we won’t be able to help ourselves from bawling. Don’t get us wrong – it’s a fantastic moment. But it’s nevertheless a very distressing one that can prove too much for adult viewers, let alone children who think that E.T. has just died.





#9: The Bear Attack

“The Fox and the Hound” (1981)




Well, this is one way to teach the kids about nature and the food chain. So many elements work in conjunction to make the bear attack absolutely petrifying for young audiences. There’s the fact that the bear is as big as a mountain and has black fur and demonic red eyes. We also see Amos’ foot getting snagged in his own trap and Copper and Tod being battered around like playthings, prompting the very real possibility of significant injury and/or death. Then there’s the sinister music that continuously plays throughout, which could easily scare a young viewer. This terrifying scene was no joke for ‘80s kids.






#8: Coraline’s Other Parents

“Coraline” (2009)




“Coraline” is quite creepy and distressing in general, but nothing beats the sheer horror that is Coraline’s other parents. This scene begins with Coraline walking in on her humming mother, who has her back uncomfortably turned to the camera. When she turns around, an ominous note of music plays while we see that she has black buttons for eyes. We then see Coraline’s other father, who is manipulated by a freaky piano into playing a song. The combination of the unsettling stop-motion imagery, the spooky music, and the concept of imposter parents makes this scene relatively upsetting for children and adults alike.





#7: The Nothing

“The NeverEnding Story” (1984)




“The NeverEnding Story” is one giant acid trip of a movie and one that proves the saying “they don’t make ‘em like this anymore.” One of the most intriguing and ultimately horrifying concepts of the epic fantasy is the Nothing. The Nothing is essentially an ominous dark cloud that represents destruction, cynicism, and hopelessness. It is a mysterious and undefined entity that erases everything it touches and compels those within its vicinity to jump in and meet their unknowable end. If the Nothing is a little too irrational or conceptual for young kids to understand, then Artax’s death in the swamp is sure to make them cower in distress.





#6: Skeksis

“The Dark Crystal” (1982)




“The Dark Crystal” is one of those movies where you can’t help wondering what the filmmakers were inhaling when they made it. The Skeksis are disgusting and horrifying creatures – resembling humanoids with vulture heads, because why not? They are also rotting and have screechy, vulture-y voices that have the ability to really cement themselves into the nightmares of children. Scenes like the Skeksis dinner are masterpieces in imagination and technicality, but we don’t think kids care about that. They’re too busy covering their eyes in terror.






#5: Electroshock Treatment

“Return to Oz” (1985)




Seriously, what was with the ‘80s? It is without a doubt the holy grail of petrifying children’s movies. “Return to Oz” served as an unofficial sequel of sorts to “The Wizard of Oz.” While the initial response from critics and audiences was mixed, we can all agree that this movie is just straight-up weird. One particularly disturbing scene sees a young Dorothy almost being treated with electroshock therapy. It’s messed up. The building tension, foreboding music, and dreary set combine to make this a supremely uncomfortable viewing experience, especially for children who may not take too kindly to the concept of a fellow child’s brain being shocked with electricity.



#4: The Clown Dream

“The Brave Little Toaster” (1987)




Man, even the animated movies of the ‘80s were messed up. Was this decade of film meant to see just how far we could take a child’s mind before it breaks? This freaky scene begins with particularly dark smoke billowing from Toaster before it forms a hand and grabs Rob. However, that’s just the appetizer. What follows is pure nightmarish pandemonium (literally), as a giant clown rises up and diabolically laughs as massive forks rain from the sky and nearly impale Toaster. It serves as a nightmare within the movie, but we wouldn’t be surprised if this nightmare transferred over to the children watching in horror.





#3: Cartoon Eyeballs

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988)




Is there an ‘80s kid alive today who wasn’t absolutely petrified by Judge Doom? Just saying the name probably conjures up dreadful memories that you have long since tried to bury. Obviously the most horrific scene involving Doom is the one where he rises up after being steamrolled into a flat slab of fat and skin. He then inflates himself until his eyeballs fall out and turns around to reveal petrifying cartoon eyes that turn into daggers. Just saying that makes us question why anyone thought it was a good idea to show this to children. And now there is a generation of people who all share the same terrible memory. Thanks, guys.



#2: Night on Bald Mountain

“Fantasia” (1940)




“Fantasia” is without a doubt one of Disney’s most experimental and divisive movies. It is also one of their most horrific. Case in point – the hellish “Night on Bald Mountain.” The segment may be a masterpiece in animation and a brilliant melding of visuals and music, but holy crap can it be too much for the young’uns. The story concerns the devilish Chernabog as he summons evil spirits to the titular Bald Mountain. The content matter is enough to distress young viewers, but the grotesque imagery and hair-raising music ensure that every child skipped this one on their “Fantasia” re-watches.






#1: The Horned King

“The Black Cauldron” (1985)




And for number one we’re going back to the 80s, because why wouldn’t we? “The Black Cauldron” is another divisive Disney film, as it bombed at the box office and was heavily criticized for its perturbing content matter. In fact, it was the very first Disney animated film to receive a PG rating. The Horned King is probably responsible, because damn. This Nazgûl lookin’ guy is accountable for many a frightened child, and he is without a doubt Disney’s most metal villain. Everything about him just screams awesome character, from his appearance, to his menacing voice, to his diabolical personality. Unfortunately, kids don’t appreciate the art behind his character. They just see pure nightmare fuel.
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