In rare occasions, writers will create a family friendly movie that kids will love, not knowing that beneath the surface of their stories lies true nightmare fuel. Whether it may have been a chilling villain that caused you to shake in fear or a particular scene that replays in all of your darkest nightmares, supposedly cute movies have been scaring us for years.
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination” ... and horror. Many would argue that a movie about children touring a whimsical candy factory could in no way be considered a scary movie. But if you sat down, and thought about it, this movie is absolutely terrifying.
Under the guise of finding his successor, Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) allows five children free roam around his factory to test their “goodness.” But when the actions of the children cause them to fall out of Willy’s good graces, he immediately expels them from his factory in a manner designed specifically for each of their vices, while his munchkin-like workers sing a song of their demise. If that’s not terrifying enough, there’s the infamous tunnel scene, where Willy and the children take what was supposed to be a quaint boat ride until he begins to spout out psychotic poetry that borders on insanity while gruesome images paint the walls of the tunnel.
World of pure imagination? More like factory of terrors.
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)
Despite having the disney-esque premise of a bunch of cartoon appliances coming to life to search for their master, this movie had a truly chilling dark side.
Though this movie contains several song and dance numbers, all performed by appliances, most of them allude to themes of worthlessness and suicide. Not only that, but we get to watch the figurative “deaths” of several appliances, including one where an electric blanket named “blanky” begins to sink in a pool of mud; instead of trying to free himself, he tells the others, “I’m not scared” as though he’s accepted his own death.
If at this point you still aren’t convinced this movie was terrifying, halfway through the film the brave little toaster has a horrifying nightmare of being suspended over a bathtub full of water by a demonic clown hysterically laughing, waiting for the toaster to eventually fall in and die. Still think this is a cute kids’ movie?
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Somewhere over the rainbow lies a land of nightmares. Let’s take a moment to forget about the Scarecrow that wants a brain and the Tin Man that wants a heart, if the image of an anatomically correct brain and heart in the hands of these two isn’t creepy enough, and focus on the main source of fear in the nightmare-inducing land of Oz: The Wicked Witch of the West.
With a shrill maniacal cackle that will send chills down your spine, she will set her hordes of flying monkeys on you, set you on fire and rip your friends to shreds all for a pair of shoes. And while we are on the subject of her flying monkeys, they are absolutely terrifying in their own right. Rather than monkeys with wings on their backs, they look more like what you would get if you crossbred a monkey with a demon spawn from the depths of hell.
Do not let the bright technicolor wonders of Oz fool you, it is much darker than meets the eye.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if every bad thing in your life just disappeared? If you could just step through a doorway to a perfect world, with a perfect life, would you?
These aren’t just hypotheticals for the main character of this chilling movie. In a Tim Burton-esque style, “Coraline” takes a cutesy world and paints it with creepy undertones. Though the idealized world she finds may seem perfect at first, Coraline, voiced by Dakota Fanning, soon comes to realize the sinister minds at work to keep her from returning home. And when she places her very soul on a bet with the “other mother,” whose presence will have you cowering in fear, the world she once thought to be perfect ends up being her darkest nightmares come to life.