People Are Sharing The Child-Friendly Movies That Traumatized Them As Kids, And I Agree With Several Of Their Choices

As a child, I loved the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang until this absolutely terrifying man, known as the Child Catcher, appeared onscreen. He ruined the entire movie for me with his terrifying attempts to lure innocent young children into his wagon by promising them candy and other sweet treats.

the Child Catcher

Given my own experience, when I saw u/ladanyilatz ask, "What child-friendly movie left you traumatized?" over on r/AskReddit, I was immediately intrigued.

HBO / Via

Here are 23 movies meant for kids that actually left people traumatized, from Gremlins to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer:


Focus Features / Via

"Those button eyes had me scared!" —u/kwikasfucky

"That movie is like a horror movie without deaths, blood, and swearing. I used to be scared of the other mother turning into a spider, along with her button eyes being gone." —u/CriticismJust5144

2.My Girl

a girl crying over a little boy in a casket

"When Vada starts crying about how he needs his glasses, it gets me every time." —u/rojarty

"I actually didn't remember him being allergic to bees, so for the longest time I thought that dying was just the normal reaction to that many bee stings. Suffice it to say, I was quite scared of bees as a kid. Actually still a bit scared of them because of that movie." —u/Kardessa

Columbia Pictures


ET in a crate on a kid's bike

"The scene where all the guys in white suits showed up scared me so much." —u/dotardiscer

"I first saw E.T. when I was like 5. I was totally fine with it up until E.T. was face down in the water, pale [and] dying. That's the part that freaked me out to the core. I couldn't watch it again for six years." —u/theowlsfavoritejoke

Sunset Boulevard / Corbis via Getty Images

4.The Wizard of Oz

MGM / Via

"The scene of the Wicked Witch’s feet protruding from under a tornado-blown house scared me and haunted my dreams." —u/v9Pv

"I remember I would rewatch the movie and always kind of skip the Tin Man scenes. I don't know why, [but] he gives me the creeps to this day..." —u/mintderp


Bambi and his mom

"From Bambi's mom to Old Yeller, Walt Disney has the blood of generations on his hands." —u/Rocketop999

"Fu*king Bambi. My mom died, and I watched that movie a few months after. Nobody told me Bambi’s mom died." —u/ImaginationSad2803


6.Bridge to Terabithia

kids hanging out by a treehouse

"They billed it as such a wonderful fantasy movie, and it's just, 'Hey kid, imagine if the person you cared about the most died. Isn't that fun? Your parents paid for you to cry!'" —u/2d6BrainDamage

"This is the only kids movie that genuinely traumatized me to this day, just [because] I had no idea going in. It was brutal for me as a 12-year-old. I was watching it on TV, and my parents came running after I started bawling my eyes out." —u/Flubber_finder



TriStar Pictures / Via

"All laughs and comedy until you get to the chokey." —u/manwithoutajetpack

"As a small child, I was genuinely terrified that teachers were like that. I had nightmares about going to school and being locked in fricking death closets." —u/Internal-Heron6734

8.The Brave Little Toaster

the toaster getting angry

"The Brave Little Toaster goes way harder than any modern cartoon ever would. It's kind of a downer movie. Well, not really, but it's not a 'happy, adventurous' cartoon journey. It's a discomforting, morbid kind of travel story. These kitchen appliances are suffocating in quicksand/mud or getting their innards pulled out by humans. Not to mention the human that almost gets crushed at the end and the toaster that actually gets crushed." —u/Tezypezy

"The sinkhole was the part that gave me nightmares. Kirby in denial and Blanky’s last words: 'I’m not scared.' Holy shit, that scene gave me nightmares. Literally even the happy parts in the movie are terrifying." —u/pau7les

Hyperion Pictures

9.Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph with a little boy

"It teaches the lesson that people only care about you if you can do something for them, and that’s it’s somehow okay to be bullied when you can’t." —u/Redacted_G1iTcH

"For a Christmas special, it's really mean-spirited. People would hate it if it came out today." —u/ScorpionX-123


10.Spirited Away

Studio Ghibli / Via

"Don‘t get me wrong. I love this movie now, but back then I was definitely too young to watch parents turn into pigs." —u/panthera263

"That was straight-up a horror film as far as I was concerned. Still haven't seen it to completion." —u/Strider794

11.James and the Giant Peach

James standing in front of a large peach

"I still have random nightmares about overly large fruits." —u/xBLACKxW1NGx

"I found the aunts to be absolutely terrifying; like, I would pretty frequently have nightmares about them." —u/selloboy


12.The Hunchback of Notre Dame

the hunchback singing

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame is darker than I remember as a child. The one torture scene took me by surprise because I definitely didn’t remember that." — Anonymous

"That movie fucked me UP as a 4-year-old! I knew something intensely fucked up was happening during the opening scene when Frollo tried to throw Quasimodo in the well. I was terrified and fascinated — like baby's first existential horror, LMAO. I had nightmares about the red-robed monks for ages!" —u/marm0rada


13.Marley and Me

20th Century Fox / Via

"I watched it once when I was 7 and cried for hours. My parents had to take me to Toys R Us in an effort to lighten my mood." —u/DreamForever626

"Oh hell...I read the book and got sad, but then I saw the movie and I bawled. I was nearing 13, too." —u/DidDunMegasploded

14.The Land Before Time

an adult dinosaur with a baby one and two frogs

"My mom desperately tried to convince me to stop watching The Land Before Time when I was little. I ended up being an absolute sobbing mess every time I watched it, but kept insisting that I wanted to watch it. My mom eventually just threw the tape away and told me it broke." —u/Sunshine030209

"I still remember watching it on VHS. My mother was baking cookies. I felt a breakdown coming on from Littlefoot's mom fighting to the death. I pretended to test the cookies from the next room while quietly sobbing. The cookies [were] a little soggy from quiet tears, but good nonetheless." —u/IntheCompanyofOgres

Universal Pictures

15.Where the Wild Things Are

a creature hugging a child

"My dad took my brother and me to see it when we were kids, and I never forgot the scene where the severed arm was replaced by a stick." —u/arbitrarytrombone

"That entire movie was a fucking fever dream; even now, just the vibe of the kid being alone among all these adults is just a weird vibe." —u/KeepCalmCarrion

Warner Brothers

16.Finding Nemo

Disney / Via

"The part with that little girl with braces who abuses all the fish in the tank was just horrifying to me as a kid. The creepy sound effect when she shows up for the first time is equally haunting too." —u/Potential-Bread-9241

"I always hated the scene with the depressing music when the fishes were struggling to get out of the giant fish net. I would plug my ears or mute the movie every time." —u/mintderp


Dumbo flying

"My baby cousin (about 2 at the time — I was 12) was messing with the remote and put it on randomly. Landed right at the scene when Dumbo gets drunk and starts hallucinating. Within moments we were both crying, and I turned it off. Still haven't seen that movie in full, 14 years later, and I never will." —u/Nik-ki

"All the stuff that happens at the beginning with Dumbo's mom, and when she's in the cage and they're saying goodbye and she's rocking him with her trunk. That shit would still make me bawl my eyes out today, guaranteed." —u/anonmymouse


18.Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Roger Rabbit hugging a man around the neck and looking scared

"Full-blown sexual assault as a throwaway joke on multiple occasions." —u/Totes_Not_an_NSA_guy

"The scene where they flattened Judge Doom and he gets back up haunted my childhood." —u/DeadpoolsGirl

Touchstone Pictures

19.Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Paramount / Via

"I lost it at [the] blueberry girl, and we had to head back home from the drive-in." — u/Milnoc

"That nightmare acid-trip boat tunnel scene. We watched that in elementary school, complete with the chicken decapitation. Fun times." —u/musicmaster82

20.The Last Unicorn

a dragon looking angrily at a unicorn on a beach

"'I can feel my body dying all around me' was a line that stuck with me as a kid. My sister and I used to cry whenever she got turned into a human. Such a cruel thing to do to an immortal creature." —u/LVII

"I was way too young when it was in the theaters. I was in those full-body sobs by the end." —u/gobobro


21.The Witches

a witch

"The scene where they take off their faces is pure nightmare fuel." —u/International_Lake28

"The scene with the girl in the painting moving and aging while trapped. I freaked the hell out as a kid and had to be dragged out of the theatre. To this day, any media that references being trapped in any form of media freaks me out, and I have severe problems with mirrors." —u/galactabat

Warner Brothers


Warner Brothers / Via

"I remember being creeped out by Stripe's death at the end (it could've just not showed him melting, but no, they didn't). Even worse is that Stripe was a terrifying skeleton after he jumps out of the fountain right when Billy walked closer to see if Stripe was dead. I can't believe I watched that movie when I was a kid." —u/CriticismJust5144

"I love Gremlins as an adult, but as a small child, it terrified me. The ending where they suggest there might be gremlins in your house had me freaked out for years. I used to wake up in the morning and sit at the top of the stairs waiting for my parents because I wouldn’t go downstairs on my own. I thought gremlins would be hiding behind the sofa and armchairs." —u/WideMiss

23.And finally, The NeverEnding Story

a child talking to a large creature

"The NeverEnding Story had this one scene where a knight approaches this gate. I VIVIDLY remember this gate fucking pulverizing the knight. When the protagonist walks by the knight's corpse, the visor of his helmet flips up to leave nothing there. I turned off the TV, probably pissed my pants, and most definitely had nightmares about it." —u/polarkaiser

"My mom took me to [see] it at the cinema. The horse died, and I was done. [I] had a meltdown, and she had to take me out the theater. I have never watched the rest of it." —u/Solifuga

Picture Alliance / picture alliance via Getty Images

Did any of these movies also traumatize you as a child? Are there any others that terrified you so much that you'll never be able to watch them again? Share your picks in the comments!

Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Watch Once Upon A Time In Londongrad from BuzzFeed Studios, a new true crime docuseries based on the explosive BuzzFeed News investigation, now streaming on Peacock.

  Peacock & BuzzFeed
Peacock & BuzzFeed