What with all the Dark Crystal sequel news that’s been flying around lately, I’ve been thinking about the original, and the slew of dark children’s movies from the ‘70s and ‘80s. The opposite of brightly-colored, pop-culture-referencing Pixar flicks, films like The Secret of Nimh, The Last Unicorn and Watership Down were violent, dystopic and set in dense forests populated by bizarre creatures. Like the fairy tales from which some of them were drawn, these movies were not safe places to lose yourself. However, many of these films were feats of artistic prowess. Here is a look at 20 of the creepiest (and most awesome) kids’ movies of all time, from ‘30s to 2009.
20. Where the Wild Things Are 2009
Spike Jonze’s adaption of the classic features James Gandolfini as the alternatively lovable and wild Carol, who’s not afraid to bare his teeth and sever some limbs.
19. Alice In Wonderland 1951
Disney’s Lewis Carroll-adaption is nearly as bizarre as the book, with Cheshire Cats fading into black, haunted woods and blood-thirsty tyrannical queens.
18. Snow White 1937
The Disney classic is sweet and enchanting, except for the forest scene.
17. The Wizard of Oz 1939
The witch and woods are frightening, but the flying monkeys really take the nightmare-inducing cake. See below.
16. Return to Oz 1985
From the disembodied talking heads to the Wheelers (both below), Return to Oz was ten times as terrifying as the original.