18 Terrifying Kids Movies That Should Come With a Blindfold and Earplugs

Just because a cinematic release is marketed as a kid’s movie doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s child-safe. Recently, the previously blurred lines have become more transparent with censorship and certifications, and some of our favorite childhood movies, such as Watership Down, have even been re-ranked for suitability. Reflect on some movies that terrified you as a kid and see if we’ve included them. Hopefully, we won’t trigger any nightmares.

The Last Unicorn

Photo Credit: Jensen Farley Pictures.

The movie’s cover picture of a unicorn looks pretty and enticing. The story revolves around a beautiful unicorn who learns she’s the last of her kind and sets out on a magical journey, only to fight the terrifying Red Bull. Disturbing scenes of violence ensue, mortifying young kids across the world. The film has remained a cult-classic kids’ movie that should be avoided at all costs. 

The Brave Little Toaster

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

This animated film centers around a group of household appliances as they embark on a journey to find their owner. The film is charming and heartwarming but does contain moments of peril surrounding household appliances that make it akin to a child version of Final Destination.

Watership Down

Photo Credit: Cinema International.

This animated film follows a group of rabbits struggling to find a new home while facing numerous dangers. While marketed as a children’s movie, Watership Down contains heartbreaking scenes of violence and death that may be distressing for young viewers. Almost a decade after its release, the movie lost its U rating in favor of a more kids-safe PG classification. It’s about time.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

The famous movie is adored by kids and adults alike; the sing-along classics and eccentric characters appeal to all. One scene in particular was problematic for young audiences. It featured a boat entering a tunnel of terror where lights flashed, and disturbing imagery appeared around the characters. If it wasn’t aimed at disturbing audiences, it had us fooled.

The Secret of NIMH

Photo Credit: MGM.

Based on the novel by Robert C. O’Brien, this animated adventure follows a field mouse named Mrs. Brisby as she seeks help from a group of genetically enhanced rats. Despite its charming animation, the film contained dark themes and frightening scenes that might be considered too nightmare-inducing for young children.

The Dark Crystal

Photo Credit: United International Pictures .

Directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, this fantasy film centers around a young Gelfling named Jen as he embarks on a quest to restore balance to his world. It was visually stunning but featured dark and sometimes disturbing imagery that could terrify a younger audience.


Photo Credit: Focus Features.

Based on Neil Gaiman’s novel, this stop-motion animated film follows a young girl named Coraline as she discovers a parallel world with sinister secrets. Coraline represents the real world as unsafe and vastly dangerous, with themes of manipulation that are devastatingly unsettling.

The Black Cauldron

Photo Credit: Buena Vista Distribution.

This Disney animated film follows a young pig keeper named Taran as he embarks on a quest to stop the evil Horned King from unleashing the power of a magical cauldron. The killing of the bad guy is extremely disturbing, which has spurred filmmakers into releasing the movie under a new Disney horror genreDefeating the object of a kid’s movie, perhaps.

The Adventures of Tintin

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Directed by the impeccable Steven Spielberg, this animated comic-based adventure follows young reporter Tintin as he uncovers a centuries-old mystery. While filled with thrilling action sequences, the movie features violence, the use of guns and swords, and blazing fires, which is a bit extreme.

The Secret of the Sword

Photo Credit: Atlantic Releasing.

This animated film follows the iconic character She-Ra as she battles the evil Hordak to save the planet Etheria. While marketed as a children’s movie, the film contains fantasy violence and intense action scenes that bear no resemblance to the 80s She-Ra cartoon.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Photo Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

Produced by Tim Burton, this stop-motion animated film follows Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, as he discovers Christmas. While beloved by many adults and a firm fan-favorite, the film features dark and macabre Tim Burton-esque imagery that may be too intense for very young viewers.

All Dogs Go to Heaven

Photo Credit: United Artists.

This animated film follows a charismatic canine named Charlie as he seeks redemption in the afterlife. The danger of the movie lies in enticing kids with its seemingly innocent premise. Yet, the content is extremely disturbing and likely to have kids sobbing about the potential fate of their beloved household pets.

The Fox and the Hound

Photo Credit: Buena Vista.

This famous Disney animated film follows the unlikely friendship between a fox named Tod and a hound dog named Copper. While touching and poignant, the scene containing the bear fight is too aggressive for kids and likely to leave them petrified.

The Land Before Time

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

A young dinosaur named Littlefoot embarks on a journey to find a legendary valley. It sounds uplifting, but the menacing and tenacious T-Rex coupled with an earthquake should carry a pre-viewing warning for parents.


Photo Credit: Senator Film.

This German animated film follows a cat named Francis as he investigates a series of gruesome cat murders in his neighborhood. The murder scenes are likely to disturb kids who have cats as pets, making it more suitable for a mature audience.

The Adventures of Mark Twain

Photo Credit: Clubhouse Pictures.

This animated film follows author Mark Twain as he embarks on a journey with characters from his stories. The movie’s heavy themes, including isolation, failure, disappointment, and loss, are too intense for a young audience. Keep it light—that’s the key.

The Plague Dogs

Photo Credit: MGM.

Based on the novel by Richard Adams, the same author who penned Watership Down, themes of animal testing are too extreme for kids, and even animal-loving adults could struggle to see it through to the end. It has been described as a tougher watch than Watership Down. 

The Witches

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Described as a sadistic studio movie for kids, The Witches was marketed as a kid’s horror movie but might have overstepped the mark. The story follows many kids desperately fleeing the wrath of witches who intend to kill anyone in their path. The issues lie in depicting the witches as normal, trustworthy women who feature in a child’s everyday life, thus causing reasons for concern.


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