5 Disturbing Moments in Kids Movies That RUINED Me

Strange things can creep you out when you’re a kid. But one thing I’ve noticed is that when I saw something that freaked me the eff out as a child, it stuck with me for a while.

As in, to this day, I’m still unsettled at the initial object of “terror.”

My wild imagination coupled with my penchant to lie in bed reminiscing over distrubing images makes for an unpleasant combination.

Anyways, today, I thought I’d go over some scenes/images/characters in kids movies that scared the hell out of me even though I don’t think they were supposed to.

Side note: And my parents thought they needed to keep me from watching R-rated movies. If only they had taken a look at these purported children’s movies.

Be prepared for some distubing pictures up ahead. You’ve been warned (albeit briefly).

The Fireys – Labyrinth

Stuff of nightmares, am I right?

Let’s be honest, the whole of Labyrinth is pretty terrifying. From the stalkerish Goblin King to the tunnel of hands, it is a nightmare fest. But nothing made me squirm in discomfort quite like the Fireys.

These “playful” critters torment Sarah on her journey, and they have this terrifying song-and-dance number where they cavort around like demons from the fires of hell. They even kick their own heads off and play with them like hacky sacks.

I haven’t seen Labyrinth in years. And I’m not planning to. While I am very curious to see how I’d feel about it as an adult, those damn Fireys are keeping me away. I don’t think I’m going to touch this movie with a ten-foot pole.

Artax in the Swamps of Sadness – The NeverEnding Story

He literally died of sadness…and part of my heart did, too.

If people thought Mufasa’s death in The Lion King was traumatic, then they never saw the way Artax died in The NeverEnding Story.

On a quest to save his land, Atreyu and his loyal horse, Artax, have to travel through the Swamps of Sadness. These swamps are incredibly dangerous because it can make you feel so sad, you become so heavy, you sink into the treacherous muck.

Atreyu is protected from the Sadness thanks to the amulet he wears (called the Auryn). But his horse has no such protection.

Artax slowly starts sinking into the mud, and at one point he just can’t move at all.

This moment scarred me because Atreyu is screaming the whole time, trying to get his horse to stop feeling sad. Also, since I had read the book, I knew exactly what Artax was thinking as he sank into the mud forever.

E.T. – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Come on, he looks kind of freaky.

Don’t judge me.

I know E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a classic film, but as a kid, E.T.’s design freaked me out.

I’m not alone in this sentiment.

Both my boyfriend and I shared this distaste in our respective youths. It impacted our enjoyment of the movie as a whole.

However, the two of us have largely grown past this, and we can watch the film and appreciate it for what it is.

But whenever I’ve seen the movie on my own, I always wonder who in the world okay-ed E.T.’s appearance in a children’s film. I’ve seen better lovable aliens in sci-fi horror movies.

Rat Bellies – The Secret of NIMH


Overall, I actually very much enjoy The Secret of NIMH movies, but that first one was incredibly dark, and it’s only now that I look back at them that I realize this.

If you haven’t seen the first film, I would highly recommend it to you. There’s just one part that made me absolutely squeamish. When recounting the rats’ time at the National Institute of Mental Health, we’re treated to a montage of flashbacks showcasing these experiments. And boy, they did not hold back. The image of rats getting injected in the belly has been forever imprinted in my memory.

I don’t know why this moment in particular stuck with me. It just did. And later on in the film, when the evil rat Jenner gets sliced in the stomach with a sword, I had flashbacks.

The Elderly – Spirited Away

Yubaba wants my soul.

Look at the detail given to Yubaba’s facial features in Spirited Away, and I think you’ll be able to understand why she scares me.

That’s right. “Scares.”

She still does.

Every indent on her lips denoting where her teeth are located, the brightly jeweled rings on her fingers, the massive wart in the middle of her forehead, her clawed nails, and the menacingly pale eyeshadow she has applied all contribute to making her the most feared elderly woman I’ve ever encountered.

And Spirited Away is by no means lacking in freak-out moments. Chihiro’s parents turning into pigs, the gigantic needy baby, and No-Face’s gluttonous rampage are all disquieting moments.

Yubaba takes the cake when it comes to the scariest of them though.

Top Ten Pixar Movies Worth Adoring!

It’s time for another list, you guys! It’s been too long since the last one. What, has it been years? Decades?

(I exaggerate. In case you’re interested, here is my last top ten post.)

I’ve never thought of myself as too old for a kids movie, but I have to admit, my taste in kids movies has gotten pretty refined. Burp and fart jokes just won’t cut it anymore. I want character development and nuanced humor.

Pixar has consistently delivered that to us as the years have gone by (give or take a few exceptions), so I thought I would honor their years of excellence by giving them their very own list on this Below Average Blog.

(Now that I type that, it feels like I’m punishing Pixar more than I’m rewarding them.)

Let’s do this.

10. Toy Story 2

People don’t give Toy Story 2 enough credit as a sequel. Given how poorly sequels to popular movies can turn out, I think Toy Story 2 did a superb job of following Toy Story. It deepened our understanding of Woody’s character (and made him into a non-jerk) while also introducing us to new toys to fall in love with. (Though I still can’t understand why Bullseye can’t talk like the rest of them.) Jessie’s backstory was heartbreaking for me as a kid. I think I vowed never to abandon a toy under a bed ever again. (I have my shoes there now.) Plus, that airport chase was an amazingly huge set-piece for a movie about toys.

9. Ratatouille

Ratatouille is like the middle child of Pixar movies. (No offense to middle children.) It’s easily overlooked and forgotten when you’re trying to recall the names of all the Pixar movies that have ever been. It’s like one of those forgettable Presidents. But it’s always been the most homey of the Pixar movies to me. Where other Pixar movies are these eclectic and fascinating beverages, Ratatouille is hot chocolate. It’s my favorite movie to put on during a rainy day when I’m all by myself. It always makes me hungry though.

8. Finding Nemo

Even as a small child sitting in a theater, I knew that Finding Nemo was gorgeous. I’m not one to linger over and praise the visuals of a movie, but dang, Finding Nemo was stunning. The amount of detail that must have gone into crafting the ocean world staggers me. The story was super heart-warming too. It’s a classic adventure with emotions thrown in. Finding Nemo gave us some of the most memorable characters as well, and what I find funny is that Nemo, the fish whose name is in the title, is overshadowed by Bruce, Crush, Dory, Peach, Bubbles, and all those other sea critters we met along the way.

7. Toy Story

What, you didn’t think that I would forget the OG Pixar movie, did you? Of course I’m including Toy Story on this list. It’s the one that started it all. Even excluding the fact that it was the first in a long line of great movies as a factor, Toy Story made it onto this list because of how imaginative it was. A movie about toys that are alive and have their own society was my cup of tea as a kid. It was thoughtful and hilarious. My dad did get a bit squeamish showing this movie to me. He didn’t like the fact that I was being shown a child sadist in the form of Sid for the first time. Well, dad, I had to find out that psychopaths existed at some point.

6. The Incredibles

If I ever did a list on the best super hero movies, The Incredibles would be on there too. Hell, I think they do a better job of showing a super family dynamic than any other super hero film involving a family does. (*Cough cough* Fantastic Four *cough cough*) They made it fun and they hit all the right notes without getting bogged down in an origin story. The Incredibles focused on that family dynamic and definitely gave the best demonstrations of elastic and speed abilities that I have ever seen on a screen.

5. Monsters Inc.

If I thought that Toy Story was imaginative, I had no idea what I was talking about until I saw Monsters Inc. A movie about the monsters in your closet? A society that gets powered by screams? It’s just too good. When I was younger, I only really knew that I liked the movie, but now that I’m older, I can appreciate the creativity that went into making the world of Monsters Inc. Plus, the humor was just delightful for both adults and kids.

4. Up

I have never cried so quickly while watching a movie. How many minutes passed, 10 or 15, before that movie just ripped your heart into tiny pieces and sprinkled lemon juice on it? No one I know is immune to Up’s opening introduction of Carl and Ellie. And then that one moment where Carl looks at that scrapbook and finds out that Ellie believed that he was her adventure this whole time anddammitI’malreadycryingwhywhydoyoudothistome?! The music for Up was fantastic, too, and helped hit all the right emotional notes. Not that the movie needed anymore help hitting those emotional notes.

3. Inside Out

I have to admit that this movie is definitely higher than it should be on an unbiased list, but the reason it has such a high ranking on mine is because of timing. Before Inside Out, Pixar had released Cars 2, Brave, and Monsters University, none of which touch even the bottom of this list. I want to call this period of time Pixar’s Slump. So when I went to go see Inside Out in theaters, I walked out with tears not just because the movie was emotionally satisfying (in more ways than one), but also because I was so happy that Pixar’s Slump was over.

2. Toy Story 3

Oof, it was very hard choosing between my #2 and #1 spots on this list, but I ended up putting Toy Story 3 as #2 because it kind of had an unfair advantage over my #1 since it was the culmination of two other movies. Still, Toy Story 3 hit me right in the feels. I had to see my favorite toys reach a new stage in their life when their owner, Andy, goes to college, and it just hurt too much (in a good way). That one moment at the end when Andy plays with them all for one last time had me crying harder than Sadness from Inside Out. It was the perfect ending to the movies, and I’m low-key bummed they decided to make a fourth. I’m going to reserve my judgment until I see it, but I think that Toy Story 3’s ending is going to be hard to beat.


I love WALL-E. Despite having little to no dialogue at the beginning, you learned about the kind of robot WALL-E was and you learned to empathize with him. I have this theory that there are two kinds of people in the world: WALL-Es and EVEs. People who have been WALL-E find it easier to empathize with him and therefore enjoy the movie more. People who have only ever been EVEs get fed up with the movie. This is not an absolute rule; there are exceptions. Still, I adore WALL-E because I’ve been WALL-E. Mayhaps not so desperate, but I’ve been the person who pines and who thinks that the person she likes will never like her. Now, I can’t hear the word “objective” without wanting to hold someone’s hand.

So what’s your favorite Pixar movie? (Please god, I hope it is A Bug’s Life.) Feel free to let me know in the comments!

The Incredible Incredibles

Pixar movies have never let me down. There may be Marvel movie flops, DC movie flops, or Star Wars movie flops, but it is rare indeed (i.e. never) when Pixar gives me a movie I don’t enjoy.

A couple of days ago (or actually more by the time this post gets published), I went to go see Incredibles 2. In case you were doubting whether Pixar could keep up their winning streak, rest assured, this sequel to The Incredibles lives up to the first.


I’m not a movie critic, so don’t think of this as a well thought-out review. It’s more of an ode to how incredibly awesome Incredibles 2 was.

Basic plot is that some hero enthusiast who is super rich approaches Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone about helping a movement to make supers legal again. This dude wants to focus on Elastigirl as the head of their movement, their poster vigilante, since she has a better track record of not leaving total destruction in the wake of her path. Bothered by his dismissal but still willing to support his wife, Mr. Incredible stays at home to look after their three kids, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack.

It was uber cool to see Elastigirl hero-ing on her own. She gets a motorcycle that can split into two halves, the front and the back, and she goes on a high-speed chase on roads and over rooftops, and she uses her elasticity to Slinky her way over any and all obstacles. Remember when Elastigirl sneaked into Syndrome’s complex in the first movie? Yeah, this bike chase was a more action-packed equivalent of that.

I just wish more of this kind of exposure could have happened with her daughter, Violet. I’ve always thought that Violet’s powers are some of the most powerful (aside from the smorgasbord of  powers that is Jack-Jack). Think of all you can do with force fields and invisibility combined. It would have been neat to see her use them to their fullest strength.

But don’t be alarmed. This sequel is brimming with action, with every one of our favorite heroes getting a chance to show off what they can do. Plus, new heroes arrive on the scene and demonstrate how expertly Pixar can make an awesome superhero movie. Of the new heroes, I thought Void was really cool. Her power was to make portals appear wherever she wanted them to, just like in the video game, Portal. 

And Jack-Jack! He was a riot! Even though he’s a baby, he gave us one of the best action sequences in the entire movie when he got into an epic scrap with a raccoon. If you haven’t seen the movie, you might think I’m joking about that being the most epic fight. But seriously, Jack-Jack brought down the hammer on that unlucky raccoon.

The big villain ends up being the sister of the rich dude who is trying to get heroes legal again. Her big end goal is to discredit supers in the eyes of the average citizens. She wants to accomplish this by hypnotizing the soon-to-be legalized heroes and then having them commit horrendous atrocities on television.

She comes scary close to accomplishing her goal. But thanks to the Incredible super kids, the day is saved.

Did I forget to mention that Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack have to take on all these adult super heroes, including their parents? Yeah, awesome right?

Not only is Incredibles 2 a great kids movie, it’s a great super hero movie. In fact, there are several DC and Marvel movies that it beats by a long shot.

If you haven’t seen it, you definitely have a treat in store for you when you do.