Top 10 Kids' Movie Concepts that are Actually TERRIFYING

Script written by Andrew Tejada Not all kids movies are totally appropriate for kids, though as young children they might’ve not understood these terrifying concepts! Remember the evil toys coming to life in “Small Soldiers”? that pet’s can be killed in “All Dogs Go to Heaven”? that board games can be deadly in “Jumanji”? and that you can be hunted by witches in “The Witches”?
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Top 10 Kids’ Movie Concepts That Are Terrifying to Kids


Just the idea of these movies can give kids nightmares. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten kids’ movie concepts that are terrifying to kids.


For this list, we’re looking at children’s movies whose main concept would be terrifying to a young imagination. We’re not necessarily saying these are the scariest kids films, but that the ideas, worlds, or characters from the film would be frightening for a child to encounter in real life.


#10: Evil Toys Coming to Life
"Small Soldiers" (1998)

This definitely isn’t “Toy Story.” After an advanced military microchip brings the vicious Commando Elite action figures and peace loving educational toys called the Gorgonites to life, a teenager named Alan must protect the Gorgonites from being destroyed by the army men hell bent on destruction. Kids may initially like the idea of their toys coming to life, but will think twice when they see the action figures attacking people with sharp tools and trying to murder the other toys. We don’t blame kids for being scared by this concept since we’d lock our toys away forever if we saw a hoard of knock-off barbie dolls coming our way with improvised weapons.

#9: Helplessly Lost in the Woods
“The Rugrats Movie” (1998)

Although a movie about babies going on an adventure might not sound like it’s terrifying, “The Rugrats Movie” is surprisingly scary. The film follows the story of Tommy, who wants to take his new—and disagreeable—baby brother back to the hospital only for them to get lost in the woods with the rest of their friends. The kids have to fend off attacks from a group of circus monkeys and a hungry wolf, while dealing with losing their pet dog and figuring out how to get back home. By the time the babies are finally reunited with their parents, we… I mean, KIDS everywhere breathe a sigh of relief that they’re safe at last.


#8: Your Parent in Constant Danger
“The Secret of NIMH” (1982)

Try not to get sick or else your mom will have to face unimaginable dangers. That’s one of the possible ideas kids can get from watching “The Secret of NIMH.” The brave mouse Mrs. Brisby tries to get her sick son to safety while navigating a world where even the most ordinary things—like cats and farm equipment—are terrifying and potentially deadly. There’s also a brutal animal testing scene that will have kids wary about ever going to the doctor’s again, especially if they’re anxious about needles. The movie’s a great tale about a parent's’ courage, but will young minds fearing for their own guardians’ safety.


#7: Pets Can Be Killed
“All Dogs Go to Heaven” (1989)

The central concept for this movie is simple but horrifying for kids: your pets will die. After the main character—a dog named Charlie—cons his way out of heaven, he returns to Earth only to encounter even more horrifying ideas that would be terrifying for kids, like being kidnapped by evil dogs. If that doesn't scare kids, then Charlie’s vision of hell is sure to make them scared of all the bad things they've done while instilling in them the idea that their pets can go to hell too. Are we sure this one’s a kids movie?

#6: Saving a Dying World
“The NeverEnding Story” (1984)

Bullies are scary, but having to save the world is even scarier. In “The Neverending Story,” a boy named Bastian is hiding from bullies when he finds a magical storybook. As the story goes on, Bastian realizes he has to help a young warrior named Atreyu complete his quest to save the real world of Fantasia. At first kids may think it sounds like a fun quest, until they realize it means being hunted by dark forces, leaving a friend to drown in their own sadness, and watching a world crumble before their eyes as they struggle to save it. Maybe children should just read some Dr. Seuss instead.

#5: Being Haunted or Possessed
“The Watcher in the Woods” (1980)

“The Watcher in the Woods” introduces kids to the idea of being possessed by something otherworldly. Two sisters, along with their parents, move into a new house near a forest with a supernatural presence that affects the girls in different ways. The older sister, Jan, is haunted by visions of a girl in a blindfold. Meanwhile the younger sister, Ellie, gets possessed, causing her to do and say things she can't remember. The hauntings also come equipped with a cast of creepy adults and several life-or-death situations. If kids weren’t worried about being haunted before this film began, they definitely will be by the time it ends.

#4: Board Games Can Be Deadly
“Jumanji” (1995)

A young Alan Parrish is sucked into board game, only to be freed as an adult 20 years later by two kids continuing his game of Jumanji. In order to return life back to normal, he needs to try and finish the game he started as a child. There’s no denying that the idea of the game is scary, since each roll promises terrors like lions, plant monsters that won’t hesitate to swallow you whole, or giant spiders. Or the game could suck you into it for decades—or until someone rolls a five or eight—while everyone you love disappears or dies. Either way, the thought of a game like this existing is frightening… or maybe we’re still hung up on those giant spiders.

#3: You’re Not Safe Alone
“Home Alone” (1990)

“Home Alone” may seem like a classic holiday comedy to us, but to a kid it can fast become a horror film. First, Kevin McCallister’s family leaves him home alone in a huge house with a sketchy neighbor who might be a murderer. Then two burglars scope the place out so they can break in and steal his family’s stuff. All alone, it’s up to Kevin to defend his home, because if he doesn’t there’s no telling what these unbalanced crooks might do. Don’t let the ending’s heartwarming message about family or Macaulay Culkin’s creative traps fool you: the moment a real kid is left home alone, they’d run screaming in terror to a safer place.

#2: Kidnapped in Your Own House
“Coraline” (2009)

In this movie, Coraline moves with her parents to an apartment complex where three children have gone missing without a trace. She soon discovers a door to another world and doppelgangers who look like her parents, only they have buttons for eyes. But the fun is over quickly, as she discovers her Other parents want to replace her eyes for buttons too, and keep her trapped in this parallel dimension forever. If kids aren’t creeped out at the idea of being kidnapped by someone who looks like their mom or being trapped for eternity, then the fact that their kidnapper can turn into a giant spider should do the trick.
Before you run screaming from our top pick, here are some honorable mentions.
“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” (1971)
“The Wizard of OZ” (1939)
“Pinocchio” (1940)


#1: Being Hunted by Witches
“The Witches” (1990)

Witches are real, they hate the smell of children, and they want to get rid of kids by turning them into mice. This is the world of “The Witches” and its concept holds many nightmarish ideas for kids. First, there’s the idea that their parents can die and leave you vulnerable. Then there’s the concept that evil witches can literally hide behind pleasant faces. It also shows kids being punished in painful and humiliating ways just for being young. Whether it’s the terrifying witches or the film’s apt metaphors for hatred and oppression, this movie is full of horrifying concepts to keep kids up at night.
Do you agree with our list? Which children’s movies do you find the most terrifying? For more top tens daily, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.
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