Welcome to the Rotoscopers Roundtable, a feature in which the Rotoscopers crew takes one question and gives their answers. If you have a question you’d like us to answer, ask it in the comments below!
The question is: What animated moments terrified you as a kid?
I remember that the Cave of Wonders really scared me as a kid. That giant head coming out of the sand and that booming voice? It was terrifying! But I have to say the scariest thing I remember is an episode of ‘Where Are You, Scooby Doo?’.
It’s called “What A Night For A Knight” and it used to scare me so so so so very much! I had nightmares and I was panicky when there was a full moon. To this day I still think of that Knight instead of werewolves with the moon. I recently watched it again and I have no idea what scared me so much but goodness, I still remember the dread I felt.
Other moments worth mentioning: The Blood-bending episode in ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ and anything that has to do with the Other Mother in ‘Coraline.’
Future moments worth mentioning: Those creepy witch sister things in ‘Kubo’ look mighty spooky to me!
This question brings to mind three different movies, for three different reasons, and none of them are ones I hear cited so frequently as terrifying scenes. I don’t recall being terrified of anything in ‘Fantasia,’ I knew parts of it were scary, but I still loved it, and while I found the donkey transformation sequence in ‘Pinocchio’ to be rather disturbing, it was not enough to terrify me.
The first movie, I know I was scared of it, but I have no idea why. Literally. I remember watching ‘All Dogs Go to Heaven’ at the home of a family my parents were friends with, and it scared me to death. It scared me so bad that I am pretty sure that I repressed the entire memory of the movie because I don’t remember anything about it. I have no idea what scared me so bad, only that I was terrified, and I have never watched it since to figure out what scared me so badly.
The next movie that scared me beyond reason was ‘Aladdin.’ No, it was not the Cave of Wonders, nor it was not Jafar’s transformations. The part that scared me out of my wits was when the Genie told Aladdin that he couldn’t bring anyone back from the dead. While he was telling him this, he turned into a creepy, decaying, zombie version of himself with a disgusting voice that chilled me to my very bones. I had literal nightmares for months after that. I think I even remember waking up screaming once. It was so bad that my parents hid the movie away in the storage room for a very long time, maybe even a couple of years, until I felt I could handle it again. After I got over my fear I loved the movie and we watched it many, many times, but I still didn’t really like that one part…
The last movie that scared me wasn’t one that left any emotional scars, or one that led to repressed memories, it was just a good, old-fashioned scare. The Great Mouse Detective. I haven’t seen the movie since I was a little kid, but I’m pretty sure there was not just one single scene that scared me. I remember being scared of the bat, I have vague memories of him menacing a little girl, but there may have been more than one scene. Did someone get eaten? But the one that sticks out the most in my mind was the final showdown with Ratigan. In the end of the movie Ratigan becomes monstrous, and I think he tries to murder Basil. As I have not seen the movie in so long I can’t remember anything too specific that happens, but I remember being very scared of the end because of what becomes of Ratigan.
The Night on Bald Mountain sequence from ‘Fantasia’ really used to scare me as a child. When I watched ‘Fantasia’, I would actually get up and leave the room completely when this section of the movie started (I guess I didn’t know how to fast forward my VHS tape?). Then, I would come back after Night on Bald Mountain was over to catch the end of the movie. With music playing such an important role in ‘Fantasia,’ it’s no surprise to me now that the creepy music in this section was actually one of the things that frightened me the most.
Another animated movie that used to scare me as a child (which I’m sure many people can relate to) was ‘Snow White.’ While I have always loved this movie, I could never watch the part when Snow White gets lost in the forest. It was just too scary for me as a kid!
When I look back at animated moments that terrified me, I find that the scariest moment didn’t come from a movie. It came from a TV show. A TV show that I loved. A show that made me laugh and cry. A show I thought was cute. What was this show that betrayed my trust? It was ‘RUGRATS’!
The offending episode was titled “Under Chuckie’s Bed.” In this segment, Chuckie’s world is shattered when his dad gets rid of his treasured crib and buys him a ‘big-boy bed.’ Chuckie’s upset, but he becomes TERRIFIED when he hears A VOICE come from under his bed! The voice introduces himself as a monster and tries to coax Chuckie under the bed. Eventually, the taunting gets to be too much for Chuckie. He crawls to the edge of the bed, peers under, and…
There actually IS something under Chuckie’s bed! It’s not what Chuckie (and, later, Tommy) think it is, but that didn’t matter to me. I screamed just as loudly as Chuckie did. I may have run from the room, as well (but I will neither confirm nor deny that).
“Under Chuckie’s Bed” scarred me permanently. To this day, I will NOT look under my bed after dark. That’s why I love that episode, though! Anything that can get that visceral a reaction out of me gets five stars in my book!
(Come to think about it, ‘Rugrats’ scared me often! “Down The Drain,” “The Mysterious Mr. Friend,” “What The Big People Do,” and “The Slide” all had moments that gave me chills!)
I wasn’t a child that liked being scared. In fact, I’ve never really enjoyed that emotional response to a film. But there were three movies, two of them animated, that really scared me as a kid- ‘Return to Oz,’ ‘Pinocchio,’ and ‘The Rescuers.’
‘The Rescuers’ may seem like an odd choice as it is, on the surface, a cute story about mice. However, when you really think about it, there is lots of to be scared of in the film. First of all, it is about a little girl who is abducted by mean people and treated horribly. They belittle her and make her go into the dark cave all by herself. But, on top of that, the entire tone of the film is bleak and sad. Even the music is a real downer. Mostly, there is Medusa, who I personally still loathe. She’s just too much and the film to me has a real mean-spirited feel to it. I get the appeal of Rescuers as a mystery but, to this day, I don’t enjoy the picture. It’s just too much.
‘Pinocchio’ is obviously a masterpiece, but as a kid there are a lot of scares in there. You have the Monstro scenes and Pinocchio getting locked in a cage, but, most of all, you have Pleasure Island! It’s one thing to have your nose grow for lying but to get turned into a donkey and be thrust aside with all the other donkeys is pretty scary stuff. I appreciate the film now as a morality tale but it still creeps me out a bit!
My final childhood scare was not animated but it is from Disney: ‘Return to Oz.’ I get the visual style they were going for but it pushes things too far. We get Dorothy getting electroshock therapy and having to run away, Wheelies, and, worst of all, the hallway of heads. Ah, the nightmares. I understand why it has become a cult classic because it is very out there, but to me, it loses all the joy and light of the original film in return for one gruesome, dark scene after another. A real miss for Disney
So, I still am not super fond of any of the films that scared me as a little girl. ‘Pinocchio’ is the one I like the most as an adult. The other two I can do without. I guess once something makes an impact on you as a child it is hard to shake.
My mom used to buy anything with the name Disney above the title, so she didn’t know what she was letting me in for when she picked up ‘The Black Cauldron.’ As a whole, the movie didn’t frighten me and I still enjoy it to this day, but there was one thing that made me want to push the “fast forward” button. The Horned King. Everything about him was so well executed and so creepy. He was voiced incredibly well by John Hurt (‘Harry Potter’) and his theme was composed by Elmer Bernstein (‘Ghostbusters’). The most brilliant part was that you don’t see him straight away. He’s hidden in shadows, he moves slow and you hear his composed voice. It’s the best example of less is more. The less we see of him, the more afraid I was of his looming presence. The reveal of this demented skeleton with red glowing eyes and devil-like horns didn’t disappoint though. Maybe if it had he wouldn’t have plagued my nightmares so much. When the plot gets serious, he gets serious and far more dangerous and unpredictable. I’ll even go as far to say he’s the scariest Disney villain. Now that I’m older, I really applaud Disney for going this far, and I wonder if they’ll ever attempt something as dark as this again?
The first one that comes to mind is the Evil Queen’s transformation into the Evil Witch in Disney’s ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.’ As a kid, I always hid my face when the scene came. I still find it very disturbing and creepy to watch the Evil Queen turn into a hideous hag. Just writing about it gives me the shivers.
What about you? What animated moments terrified you as a kid?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes