The top 20 “scary” movies NOT to show your kids

So apparently we scarred our kids for life. Isn’t that awesome? One minute we’re snuggling up on the couch together to watch a movie, and the next minute our kid needs 14 nightlights and refuses to sleep ever again.

Dear Amazon Video,

FYI, the movie we rented does not cost $3.99. It costs $2000 because of all the therapy bills we’ll be paying for the next decade.


A mom who hasn’t slept in 498 hours

So if you’re reading this, I’m gonna give you some advice. Before you show your kid Ghostbusters, go to Costco first and buy a CRAPLOAD of coffee. Because your rugrats’s gonna wake you up at 12AM, 1AM, 2AM, and every other AM because every time he closes his eyes at night, he’s going to be attacked by a scary-ass gargoyle dog or a Stay Puft Marshmallow man who wants to eat his face off.

And here’s some more advice. I asked you guys to tell me which movies freaked out your kids, and HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of comments poured in from overtired, bleary-eyed, zombie-like parents who haven’t slept in years. I went through alllllllll the comments and made a list of the movies that appeared over and over and over again so you won’t make the same mistake. You’re welcome.

Without further ado, drum roll please, badadadadadadadadada, here are the top twenty scariest movies for kids according to parents and please feel free to add more movies in the comments so I can keep updating this list:

The top twenty movies for kids that might scare the crap out of them:

  1. Coraline


    I think I just pooped myself. Button eyes should be illegal.

  2. Gremlins

    How I remember Gremlins.



  3. Beetlejuice


    Three words: WTF Tim Burton. W-T-F? 

  4. Jumanji


    Hey kids, did you know that whenever you walk on floors, they might eat you!!? Awesome idea. 

  5. Monster house


    Time to sue the contractor. 

  6. Wizard of Oz

    Seriously, there’s not enough LSD in the world to make this thing okay.

  7. ET


    Plot: Alien pops out of the bushes and screams and scares the crap out of you. Alien does lots of cute things so you fall in love with him. Alien that you just fell in love with gets sick and dies. Heavy-breathing scientists put on scary astronaut suits and invade the house to steal the corpse of your beloved alien. Great plot! 

  8. Goonies


    If your kid can make it past the first appearance of Sloth, they actually might fall in love with him. Big IF.

  9. Jurassic Park


    Dinosaurs are cool!! Oh yeah, and they also eat humans alive. Minor inconvenience. 

  10. Never Ending Story


    I barely remember this movie, but based on the comments I received, that’s because I blacked it out after years of therapy.

  11. The House with the Clock in the Walls


    You’ll never carve pumpkins again. Or have a ticking clock in your house.

  12. Jungle Book


    There’s a reason certain movies should only be made in cartoon.

  13. The Lion King


    In most Disney movies, the parent dies at the beginning. But in this one, first you get to know and love him and THEN he dies. 

  14. Thriller video


    Zombies that dance and want to suck your brains out. And if that’s not scary enough, there’s always the pedophile factor. 

  15. Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children


    I’ve never seen this movie but I’m pretty sure those are the same twins that were in the Shining only now they’re dressed up as the KKK and they’re gonna kill people with that shovel so their brothers and sisters from the Great Depression will have something to eat. Looks lovely.

  16. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


    When tanning salons go wrong.

  17. It’s Tough to be a Bug at Disney World


    This movie at Animal Kingdom is super fun… until they fill the theater with smoke, and the lights go out, and giant spiders drop down from the ceiling and everyone starts screaming. Oh yeah, and every seat is rigged to sting you in the back and feel like bugs are crawling under you. So it might be a good idea to let your kid sit on your lap… you know, if they’re wearing a diaper.

  18. Goosebumps


    As if ventriloquist dummies aren’t scary enough when they’re NOT evil.

  19. Little monsters


    Oh noooo, sweetie pie, there’s no such thing as monsters under the bed. Hey, wanna watch this movie? It’s about a monster who lives under a bed? Brilliant idea. 

  20. Finding Nemo


    The mom dies, the kid gets lost, the shark tries to eat him, and the turtle is stoned. Just another happy Disney movie!

P.S. A bunch of parents said these movies also scared their kids but I’m giving them their own list… the “no shit Sherlock, doesn’t everyone know these movies are supposed to scare the crap out of you” list:

IT, Poltergeist, Child’s Play, Jaws, The Meg, Nightmare on Elm Street, Children of the corn, and that adorable little sequel to the Secret Life of Pets—Pet Cemetery.

If you liked this please don’t forget to like and share it!! And also feel free to tell me more movies that scared your kids so I can add them to the list. Thank you!!

There are 31 comments for this article
  1. virginia mom at 10:29 am

    Adding “Frankenweenie” to the list.

    • George Pope at 11:32 pm

      I was 10, lights off, tv under my covers, low volume, low brightness, with my face right nexrto the screen, trying to hear/see all, watching the original “Carrie”; all the way through, I’m finding it interesting, then the final scene, the HAND bursts p out of her grave! I nearly crapped the ceiling!

  2. Kim at 10:32 am

    Ad Hocus Pocus to thisclistvlol.. my son still tells me how upset hevis for making him watch this movie.. 4 years later..

    • Tina at 1:31 pm

      “The Iron Giant”, I loved it and was excited to share it with my kids, but apparently it’s not heartwarming for them, so much as terror inducing…

    • Matt Januska at 3:10 am

      I’m sorry to say but if Hocus pocus scared your child (not really sure how old the child is) but I think there is something more devious going on that needs to be checked out.

  3. Bethany Reeves at 10:33 am

    Return to Oz. EVERYTHING about that movie is terrifying.

    • Jen Lee at 11:04 am

      OMG the WHEELIES! I’m having flashbacks at my desk and I saw this one in college!

      • Abigail at 12:01 pm

        How about The Secret of NIMH? And Old Yeller gave me recurring nightmares.

    • Kerri at 11:47 am

      For some strange reason, I saw a special viewing or premiere or something of this movie at Radio City Music Hall as a child. I don’t know why – I think I blocked it out because EVERYTHING WAS TERRIFYING. (the big city! the movie! The crowds! THE MOVIE!!!!!!)

    • Becki Marion at 4:17 am

      Those heads all waking up at the same time..still getting chillbumps

  4. Jaimie at 10:37 am

    Willie Wonka and the Oompa Loompas STILL scare the crap out of me. I have not watched it with my child, who is now 14 and has no desire to see it.
    The Princess and the Frog scared her when she was around 5. Saw it in the movies, the Shadow Man showed up and it was basically all over. Never went to another Disney movie in the theater without asking on facebook if other parents had seen it.

    • kerri at 11:48 am

      The original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is Clockwork Orange for little kids. I was SO DISTURBED by this movie as a kid. Still hate it.

    • Teresa at 12:50 pm

      OMG! That was the movie I watched with my 4 year old. It was a special treat to take her to her first movie at the theatre. Before that movie, she use to sleep with her door closed and all the lights off. She is 12 now and still has to have the hallway door open and only got rid of the nightlight last year. Disney sucks!

  5. Steph at 11:07 am

    My kid had nightmares about Brave. That vicious bear really threw him for a loop

  6. Dee at 11:11 am

    Many Disney movies scared my poor baby. We had to leave the theater during “The Princess and The Frog” also, The Hunchback and beauty and the beast were iffy. The NEW wizard of Oz with Mila Kunis made her cry and gave her nightmares for days ?‍♀️. She was very sensitive. However, now at almost 14, she loves scary movies and is always drawing weird things like from IT. ?‍♀️?

  7. Jennifer Tygart at 11:49 am

    So my kid LOVED Monsters Inc. so much that we watched it several times. Then when he was about 4 it suddenly scared the crap out of him.

    • Matt Januska at 3:07 am

      one I agree with one I semi agree with to that I have never seen and then I just kept reiterating (“bullshit’) and every other one.

      the problem is not the movies as the movies themselves are not that scary the problem is is we have become a society of pussies and cry at the slightest thing for attention. that’s all it is is attention seeking.

  8. Libbie at 12:41 pm

    I’m adding Kubo and the Two Strings. The scene where his mom died scarred my 4.5 year old. We thought it looked like a good animated movie. WRONG. He still talks about it and it was 3 years ago.

  9. Jennifer Painter at 1:05 pm

    My son loves most of these movies! I think he got it from me…I remember being about 7 or 8 and watching Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street with my older brother and not being scared…at all. And this was back when they first came out )yeah, I’m old lol). Jurassic Park does scare him and I can’t watch those movies either – for some reason the one thing that scares me is dinosaurs apparently LOL.

  10. Laelie Snook at 1:24 pm

    My son loves half of the movies on this list… but I would add Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal – super creepy muppets!

  11. Kayla K at 1:46 pm

    My son, who normally doesn’t get freaked out by movies, couldn’t make it past Miss. Trunchbull forcing the student to eat all the chocolate cake and spinning the little girl around by her braids….But then, can I blame him? As I’m typing it I’m thinking why on earth would I have recommended this movie? lol

    • Matt Januska at 3:08 am

      I have to agree the forcing them to eat the 20 trillion pounds of chocolate cake and spinning the girl was way too far!!! neither one of those scenes should ever have made it off of The cutting board

  12. Alexis at 8:26 pm

    YES!! My middle schooler is still afraid of coroline!! Also, “The witches” and “The spiderwick chronicles” should definitely be added!!

  13. Jessica at 8:36 pm

    My daughters favorite movie is Coralline. I can’t watch this movie.

    My daughters have seen all the movies but we discussed what is real and what is not. How they can learn from the movie.

    My youngest likes Shaun of the Dead. She laughs and laughs at the entire movie. She is like are adults really this dumb?

  14. Karen at 8:55 pm

    Watcher in the Woods—old Disney movie. Terrified me as a kid and still can’t get around to watching it. Might be that the main character’s name is Karen….as is mine. I wonder if it is just as scary as an adult?

  15. Alyssa at 11:11 pm

    Omfg – I was terrified by Thriller as a child when it was first released! I can see why it makes the list.
    Also, my six-year-old was very excited to see Detective Pikachu, and then spent a week sleeping in his older brother’s room because the bad guy was too scary.

  16. IS at 5:56 am

    “Marcelino pan y vino” is a very old (horrible, if I may add) spanish movie about a poor orphan raised by monks that gets stung by a scorpion and “goes to heaven”. I am still wondering why the nuns in the school I attended thought it was a good idea to show it to 5-6 years olds. I had nightmares for weeks, crying “i don’t want to go to heaven!!!” or “mom, there is a scorpion in my bed!”

  17. Cynthia Carr at 11:22 am

    I’ll never forget the day a 2nd grader walked into school “too tired” to take part in our classroom activities. When asked why, he reported, “I stayed up late to watch “Terminator”.
    And we wonder why kids act out or are anxious. This is the same student who was fearful of first responders because they’d been called to his home by neighbors when his mom was being beaten by his father! Hoo boy! We did have a couple wonderful first responders come visit our class after hearing that. What a world!

  18. Nancy at 7:08 pm

    Please tell me how many of these movies make kids scarred? Uh.., sorry I grew up with an imagination

  19. Heidi at 3:53 pm

    Two of my sisters were afraid of wizard of oz and gremlins so we weren’t allowed to watch them growing up. One of my sisters was also convinced Darth Vader lived under her bed.

  20. Kylieanne at 3:35 pm

    Alice in wonderland and alice through the looking glass (live action) the mad hatter still scares me till this day.