Open Cord: Most unintentionally terrifying movies

(Graphic by Wade Thompson).

Q: What movie moments or films in their entirety were unintentionally terrifying to you as a kid?? (As in, a movie you watched as a kid that scared you when it really did not intend to).

Nick Lachance, Photography Manager

As usual I date myself with these questions, but anyway; one of the most traumatic moments of my childhood was the death of Optimus Prime in Transformers: The Movie (1986). The movie was a nightmare, the Autobots began the film getting their asses handed to them and the pain didn’t stop there. About five minutes in, Ironhide and like four other Autobots get jacked and killed by Megatron, who then proceeds to kick the crap out of the rest of the Autobots on Earth until Optimus Prime shows up! And promptly gets mortally wounded (which is a ridiculous term to apply to a robot’s injury). Anyway, so like 15 minutes into the film he has a terrifying death sequence where he goes grey and slumps over, everyone’s crying, especially me! Sure, things get better for the Autobots, sure, there’s that great song Dare to be Stupid and Leonard Nimoy, Eric Idle and Orson Welles do voices. BUT it was heartbreaking and really, really traumatic! I don’t know how they thought kids could handle something like that. But to his credit, Optimus does go out with a bang. If you’re interested, here’s the full sequence of when he shows up, kicks ass, gets pwned, and then dies all scary like.

Carly Basch, Life Editor

Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland. This became one of those films as a child where I would make my bubby (grandma) put it on the TV all the time, yet I would be terrified to fall asleep and fall into nightmares resembling Nemo’s. It was an obsessive tug-o-war of loving and being fearful towards that film. Loosely adapted after Windsor McCay’s Little Nemo comic strips, the film is about a little boy and his adventure through dream sequences. This film is perfect for exemplifying the joys and wonders of dreams by then suddenly turning into nightmares in a matter of seconds. I wouldn’t say that this film is the reason for the numerous nightmares I have every week, but it definitely sparked my vivid imagination and lucid dreaming.

Marissa Evans, Lead Reporter

I’m going to have to go with The Land Before Time for this one. I know that there are a ridiculous number of these movies now, but I’m talking about the very first one. Actually the subsequent movies are less scary, I think. Or maybe it’s just that as I got older and I realized they weren’t that bad. It is geared towards kids after all. But any movie that features a T-Rex as the main antagonist is going to be scary in some way — if you really think about it, does it get much scarier than having a Tyrannosaurus Rex chasing after you? No. It doesn’t. I have a vague memory of what must have been my first time watching it as a kid, I was maybe three years old. I feel like it was my dad that was watching it, actually. But I was sitting there too, and all I remember is that the movie involves some scene in which the T-Rex chases after poor Littlefoot, Ducky, Petrie, Cera, and Spike, and it being completely terrifying. From then on I would watch all of the other Land Before Time movies repeatedly but NOT the first one. Because that is the one with the sharp-tooth and I don’t like the sharp-tooth. (This was the logic of my three-year-old brain at least).

Jeremy Enns, Lead Videographer

The Nightmare Before Christmas. I’m not even going to say anything more or I won’t be able to sleep tonight. Honestly, how is that a movie for children!? I don’t know if this movie was intended to scare kids, but I mean, come on.

Alanna Fairey, Lead Reporter

I love and will always love The Wizard of Oz, but I am forever traumatized by just one scene from this movie. Do you remember that scene where the witch sends those flying monekys to kidnap Dorothy and Toto and bring them to her castle? Well, my older sister was really mean and told me that if I was a bad girl, those monkeys would come after me and take me to the witche’s castle to get punished. In my childish, naive and gullible days, I believed my sister and this scene always made me scared. I could never watch it because I was afraid to see my fate. Okay, a little dramatic there, but what four-year-old child isn’t?! After watching that movie, I would go to bed, scared and worried that the monkeys would come in through my window and then fly me off to some green-skinned witch bitch and steal my ruby slippers. Yes, I had a pair when I was younger. Of course, I eventually figured out that flying monkeys wouldn’t come after me and I eventually went on with my life and became a little bit more brave when I watched this scene from the movie. But to this day, I have not come across a flying monkey and I’m hoping that I never do. But if I did, I’d be scared and with good reasons. They take their kidnapping shit seriously. So if you see one, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Stephanie Truong, Graphics Editor

I really enjoyed Snow White because of all the adorable animals… but WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THIS. The witch is hideous, and the part of the scene where it just cuts to her face in the window. Freaks me out every single time.

Elizabeth DiCesare, Campus News Editor

To this day I still will not watch E.T. I’m not even going to provide a link because that would require me looking at images of that freaky alien. Why did children like that thing? No. Just thinking about it is giving me the heebee geebees.

Justin Fauteux, Editor-in-Chief

I don’t remember the details (probably because I’ve tried to block them out), but all I remember is The Fox and the Hound scared THE HELL out of me. I think it had something to do with a hunter, maybe a grizzly bear, all I can tell you is I ran from that movie as fast as my six-year-old legs could carry me.

Wade Thompson, Visual Director

Okay, so there are a number of moments that actually terrify me more now than they did when I was a kid. One that comes to mind is the Pleasure Island scene in Pinocchio. Holy hell. That kid who hasn’t quite turned into a donkey yet... how that didn’t scare the crap out of me, I’ll never know. As a kid though, I was apparently not that phased by most intense children’s movies. However one that really scared me through and through, more than any other kids movie, was A Muppet’s Christmas Carol. I know, I know. How can a movie about arguably the most famous Christmas story of all time have any negative effects on me? Well, obviously if you’re asking that question, you never had to endure the little girl-ghost-doll-thing that appears as the Ghost of Christmas Past… WHAT THE HELL MUPPETS!? BURN IT WITH FIRE!

Colleen Connolly, Features Editor

A common motif in kids movies, I find, is that when an inanimate object’s owner leaves the room, they often come alive and start moving about. Now this is cute for a film like Toy Story, it makes sense that a person would have a devotion to their beloved childhood toys and that the toys would collectively feel the same in return. But when it comes to household appliances, like in The Brave Little Toaster, well that just makes for a weird-ass cartoon. Especially in the scene where a bunch of broken ones (whose unfortunate state has apparently driven them to becoming crack addicts from the looks of it) perform a disturbingly eerie musical number. Also, in the scene where the air conditioner explodes due to some exceptionally ‘brave’ back talk from the little dude, my sister and I would run from the room screaming and hide in our only slightly less terrifying crawl space until it was over.

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