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Top 10 Most Inappropriate Kids Movies

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Joseph Pettit

Thought you were in for an innocent adventure? You were wrong. For this list, we’re looking at films that may, at first glance, appear suitable for a child, but that take a dark turn that may frighten younger children, as well as films that are simply too mature or inappropriate. Our list includes “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988), “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009), “Labyrinth” (1986), “Dumbo” (1941), “The Secret of NIMH” (1982), and more! Join WatchMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Movies That Look Kid Friendly But Clearly Aren’t.

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Script written by Joseph Pettit

Top 10 Movies That Look Kid Friendly But Clearly Aren’t


Thought you were in for an innocent adventure? You were wrong. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies That Look Kid Friendly But Clearly Aren’t.



For this list, we’re looking at films that may, at first glance, appear suitable for a child, but that take a dark turn that may frighten younger children, as well as films that are simply too mature or inappropriate.



#10: “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009)




When news first broke that this wonderfully illustrated children’s story was coming to the big screen, parents may have naively presumed the adaptation would be appropriate for kids. Unfortunately, while the monsters look friendly enough, they inhabit a dark, often unsettling world in which the titular Wild Things repeatedly threaten to eat young Max. Of course, for an audience already familiar with the director’s work, the more adult orientation of this adaptation wasn’t exactly surprising. Spike Jonze has been involved with some of the most acclaimed and unique adult dramas over the years, something we’re quickly reminded of via the movie’s themes of loneliness and instability.





#9: “The Secret of NIMH” (1982)


Created by former Disney animator Don Bluth, this gem follows a widowed field mouse trying to move her struggling family before they are destroyed by the farmer’s plow. On their journey, they are accompanied by a crow and a pack of superintelligent lab rats from the titular NIMH. An acronym for the National Institute of Mental Health, NIMH orchestrated science experiments in which mice and rats were injected with a serum, giving them human-like levels of consciousness. It’s an often scary film, and years later, many adults have remembered being left with a feeling of overall dread and uneasiness after watching it.



#8: “Eight Crazy Nights” (2002)


Don’t be fooled. This film might look harmless enough because it’s done in a similar animation style to ‘The Iron Giant’, but it’s just as crude as most of Adam Sandler’s live-action movies. In the film, Sandler voices 33-year old troublemaker, Davey Stone, a drunk who is in trouble with the law, and who is constantly drinking and cursing. This festive musical-comedy features countless moments that could be deemed offensive. While it’s inappropriate for kids, there’s no reason teenagers and Sandler fans wouldn’t enjoy some of the bawdy gags and toilet humor.







#7: “Labyrinth” (1986)


In this surreal fantasy starring David Bowie, teenager Sarah Williams wishes for her baby brother to be taken away by goblins. She soon comes to regret her wish however, when she finds herself trying to undo exactly that after Goblin King Jareth whisks away little Toby. Some of the creatures in the film are friendly, such as lovable night troll Ludo, but the monsters under Jareth’s control that stand in Sarah’s way are disturbing to say the least. There are some positive messages about family and independence, and it’s gleefully bizarre and quirky, but for younger viewers, it can also be rather frightening.



#6: “The Garbage Pail Kids Movie” (1987)


From beginning to end, slimy, snotty, vomiting puppet children reach to make each inappropriate act more disgusting than the last - from throwing popcorn over an entire theater of people to farting in a man’s face. Based on a controversial trading card series of the same name, “The Garbage Pail Kids Movie” arguably sets a perfect example for how not to behave. For most parents, it’s simply too obnoxious to sit through, and critics agree. The film has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and has been labelled “one of the worst movies ever made”.



#5: “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988)


The adult content in this one may not be all that obvious when watching as a kid, but in hindsight, it’s hard to miss the explicit nature of many scenes. A larger than life detective story that uses a mixture of live-action and animation, the film follows a Eddie Valiant, a P.I. given the task of exonerating Roger Rabbit for a murder. It’s not just the iconically suggestive femme-fatale Jessica Rabbit that shocked older audiences. The human detective turns to alcohol to deal with the death of his brother, and the film features a womanizing, cigar-smoking cartoon baby named Herman. So yeah... not a great pick in terms of setting good examples.





#4: “Dumbo” (1941)



In this classic Disney Animated Feature, it’s the inner torment of the titular character that’s most likely to affect young children. Dumbo might be an elephant, but he’s anthropomorphized in such a way that you come to care deeply for him, and empathize with his situation. One of the most heartbreaking moments comes when Dumbo and his mother are separated and are tragically forced apart when she can no longer reach for him through the bars of her cage. Of course, there are also scenes involving alcohol consumption and racist caricatures. A live-action adaptation directed by Tim Burton is scheduled for a March 2019 release, which will hopefully be more in keeping with modern standards.



#3: “The Dark Crystal” (1982)




Although made by the same creator as The Muppets, this isn’t your run of the mill good time puppet adventure. In this menacing world, monsters called Skeksis are the perpetrators of what’s basically a genocide. They look to apprehend and drain the essence of the gelflings, which are beings that are attacked and threatened to be turned into zombie slaves, just as the evil skeksis do to the kind, innocent Podlings. It’s not an easy ride, especially not for a little one, and it’s actually a pretty intense story with high stakes and some major consequences.





#2: “Return to Oz” (1985)


On Dorothy’s return to the land of Oz, there was no holding back with the weirdness and craziness of the Wizard of Oz universe created by L. Frank Baum. For starters, two of Dorothy’s old allies have been turned to stone. Joining Dorothy in their place is, among others, Jack Pumpkinhead, a rather tall, spindly and spooky character. The film also features a headless queen who steals the heads of other women, as well as weirdos on wheels who swarm on Dorothy like a pack of vultures. It all makes for a rather nightmarish experience, as if the filmmakers themselves were intoxicated when creating the sequel.





Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:



“Little Monsters” (1989)



“Corpse Bride” (2005)



“The Monster Squad” (1987)


"Gremlins" (1984)

"Fantastic Mr. Fox" (2009)

#1: “Coraline” (2009)


Although the first act of Coraline presents what might be a family friendly tale, the movie soon takes a dark turn. Coraline discovers a new world that looks much like her own, except here she finds caring parents, friends and colorful adventures. The only other difference? Everyone has buttons for eyes - which is incredibly unnerving. Soon the seemingly perfect world turns beguiling and threatening. For a child, the realisation that you can never leave your own home, or the fear that your parents are mere manifestations of their real selves... that’s the stuff of nightmares. Of course, it’s the villainous Beldam who is most likely to haunt children in their dreams.
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