In the past, we've counted down the top 10 best horror movies ever, and also the top 10 scariest movies of the last half dozen years (which, if we were to update that list today, would potentially also make room for The Babadook and It Follows). This year, inspired by a segment from WCCO This Morning (see video above), the web team thought it would be fun to recount the movies that scared us the most as children, the ones that we found the hardest to shake off when we were in our formative years. Though our tastes may have all gotten more sophisticated since then, there's nothing to really compare with the traumatic impact of the following movies. (NOTE: While most of the video clips below are probably not scary to the average adult, watch them only if you dare!)
Hocus Pocus (1993)
I first watched the movie while being babysat at a friend's house when I was 7. The whole concept of eating children was terrifying to me, not to mention Sarah Jessica Parker's song "Come Little Children." The scene at the school dance didn't do much for me either. I had nightmares of the three witches chasing me trying to eat me. I can still vividly remember them. I didn't watch the movie until I was 25, but after re-watching it I have come to love it as much as everyone else. Amuck, amuck, amuck. -- Katie Fraser
Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)
I was probably about 12 years old when I watched the movie with my older sister and younger brother. At one point, the father drinks from a tequila bottle with some worm inside and then, of course, soon pukes up some disgusting tequila worm monster. After wiggling around and tearing up the bedroom, it scurries under a bed ... is just generally terrible and hideous ... and then knocks over the bed, shows its nasty face, smiles and crawls out of the room. The smile is what did it. I couldn't contain myself and let loose the waterworks. It still disturbs me, and my siblings still remember when I lost face, and tease me about it! -- Cole Premo
Ok, I saw this movie when I was WAY too young to see it. I'm actually not even scared of clowns, it's just all of the freaky imagery they used, and how you could never really escape the clown. And that music was just ... terrifying. I'll never forget how I always stayed away from drainage sewers on the street after seeing that movie. My sister would tell me the clown was in there, and sometimes I felt like I could see him out of the corner of my eye! -- Sam Radwany
John Carpenter's Halloween was the first movie that really, really scared me as a kid, and I absolutely loved it. I think I was about 5 years old during my first viewing. It was a family tradition (especially for my mom and older sister) to watch the edited-for-TV version that played every October. My birthday is four days before the actually holiday, so that made it seem a little more special. Just the title credit sequence alone, with the slow zoom into the eye of the jack-o-lantern, was enough to make me tremble – complete with Carpenter's iconic main theme in 10/8 time. My younger brother now lives in the South Pasadena neighborhood where it was filmed in the spring of 1978.
As I had my picture taken next to the legendary hedge, a neighbor doing yardwork across the street shouted, "You're the third person today to take that photo!" -- Steve Swanson
I didn't see too many horror movies as a kid (parents wouldn't let me), but images of the giant killer animals filled my nightmares. The gorillas from 1995's Congo drove me nuts for about a week, as I was terrified they'd climb up through the laundry shoot and rip out my eyeballs. A similar terror held sway after I saw Jurassic Park. Although I loved the movie and watched a VHS copy over and over, I'd sometimes wake up in the middle of the night imagining the shadow of a velociraptor passing by my window. On other nights, I'd dream of a longneck bursting through the ceiling and chomping me in half. The fact that longnecks were herbivores didn't do much to stem the fear. -- Jonathon Sharp
First off, I'm terrified of spiders in general. The smaller ones not as much, but I can't stand daddy long legs or tarantulas. There are plenty of scenes in the film that make you jump out of your seat. The prime example is the shower scene with the spiders coming out of the drain and from the shower ahead. It just makes your skin crawl. But also at the very end when they use a big ball of fire to eliminate the spider nest that comes flying at the TV. If I ever needed a good jolt from the couch or a scare in general, I put Arachnophobia on and got my fix. Then of course, you're terrified that your own home is filled with spiders. -- Jeff Wald
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
It would be a lot more fun for me to talk about some goofy, tame, made-for-kids movie that somehow got under my skin when I was young and impressionable. Many of my peers cite Willy Wonka's paddleboat sequence or those unnerving roller-armed henchmen in Return to Oz (which, if memory serves, opens with poor Dorothy Gale in an asylum narrowly escaping electroshock therapy). But, alas, I was an early adapter with regard to horror movies, and by the time I was 7 or 8 years old, I was already stumbling upon truly nightmare-inducing material -- the cockroaches in Creepshow, the clown in Poltergeist. My parents did what they could to shield me from some of the grittiest stuff, but even they didn't expect the horrific final half hour of George A. Romero's touchstone zombie saga. By the time a little zombie girl was taking a garden trowel to her cowering mother, I was forever scarred. -- Eric Henderson
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