films that affected you
February 10, 2005 3:23 PM   Subscribe

What was that movie you had to leave or turn off when you were in your more impressionable years? Or, was there a specific one that marked a loss of innocence? Lastly, did it affect your "growing up" in any way? [mi]

I recently dreamed about the original "Island of Dr. Moreau" with Burt Lancaster and Michael York. I remembered that my family had to leave the theater when the prisoners starting turning into manimals. It really freaked me out, and I learned that, well, I don't want to be a manimal. Likewise, a friend of mine's father had the poor judgement to take his son to "Deer Hunter" when he was 6 or so. He cried through most of it.
posted by hellbient to Media & Arts (104 answers total)
They showed "The Witches" to my 2nd grade class. The live action one. Where the boy eats the hexed chocolate and turns into a rat. I couldn't watch; I seem to recall being allowed to hover in the back of the room. Just the thought of it now still scares me to death.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:32 PM on February 10, 2005 [1 favorite]

Jaws 3. I wish I could say it was because I recognized the horribleness of the movie, but really there was some frog that scared the bejeebus out of me.
posted by cmm at 3:36 PM on February 10, 2005

"Lord of the Flies." I would have been about 11 or 12 when it came out on video. When they dropped the rock on the kids head, I came pretty close to losing it. Still haven't watched the movie since...
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 3:37 PM on February 10, 2005

I saw THE SHINING opening weekend. Looking at the release date, I must have been 5.

My parents (dad?) didn't want to go to the bathroom with me. I went by myself. The bathroom was on the ground floor of the theater -- red walls, red carpet. I stood there transfixed, freaked out by all the red since I had just seen the elevator opening, blood pouring out scene.

A lady stepped out of the bathroom and saw me standing there. She screamed. I guess I looked like a female version version of Danny or something.

(I've got an endless supply of exposure to the wrong kind of movies ancedotes. My dad was a serious horror fan and a set designer for arty porn flicks.)
posted by Gucky at 3:37 PM on February 10, 2005

Two movies for different reasons. The first was The Shining, which I didn't technically watch all the way through. (I was, I think, 9 or so and my parents were watching it in the living room. I was peeking through the door, precisely because I was told not to.) I was very uncomfortable around both axes and twins for a while after that movie.

The second was One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Both the book and the movie fascinated me and probably played a large role in my becoming interested in mental illness, which is an interest I maintain to this day.

In retrospect, it looks like dear ol' Jack had a bit of influence on me in my formative years. That's kind of frightening.
posted by ibidem at 3:37 PM on February 10, 2005

For me it was the original Jaws. I was WAY too young to go see it and was sooooo scared. Even today I get freaked out about it every time I'm on or in the ocean, although I don't let my fear keep me from doing things I want to do. That's not to say it didn't effect what I "want" to do!
posted by airgirl at 3:44 PM on February 10, 2005

When I was in fifth grade we saw some sort of "Development is BAD" film in school about a natural setting somewhere that was being dug up in order to put up a building. Part of the film showed this little family of birds that were in a ground nest, peeping and eating and generally being cute little birds. At some point they had to burn the grass in the field and there was all this scary music and the baby birds getting all freaked out and the fire burning right near them. The next shot was of the grass being burned down and a charred nest filled with dead baby birds. I started crying and couldn't stop and had to be sent home. I'm still a sucker for the welfare of almost all kinds of animals, even though I still eat them.
posted by jessamyn at 3:49 PM on February 10, 2005

My high school French teacher tried to show us Hiroshima Mon Amour. She turned it off after about two minutes. I'm not sure what bothered her about the film - was it the sex, or the apocalyptic imagery, or just the sheer randomness of the opening sequence? She had even copied parts of the book for us to read along with, or something. She never showed us the rest of the movie, and we never spoke of it again. (This was six or seven years ago in deepest Mormonland, Utah.)

Of course, the movie was required watching for several French courses that I took in college. I found it to be a pretty powerful film at that point, but I'm not sure what I would have thought of it in high school.
posted by aparrish at 3:51 PM on February 10, 2005

I went to my neighbor's birthday party when I was young (I forget how old), much too young for Steven King. His older brother had rented "Pet Cemetary." We watched that and it scared me half to death (especially things like the dead baby and the guy who got hit by the truck). I still can vividly recall most of the scenes. *shudder*
posted by thebabelfish at 3:54 PM on February 10, 2005

The Neverending Story - at age 5, the idea of a "Nothing" freaked my little brain right the fuck out. Today, as an atheist I'm cool with the idea of just being nothing, but I still hate the thought of just being swallowed up by's still a genuine creep-out for me.
posted by livii at 3:58 PM on February 10, 2005

I still can't watch horror flicks. It took me about a year to get over the Sixth Sense.
posted by spaghetti at 4:01 PM on February 10, 2005

I watched the sex scene in The Bridges of Madison County in a theatre with my parents when I was in my mid-twenties.

I do not recommend it.
posted by onlyconnect at 4:02 PM on February 10, 2005

Man, BigBird goes to China SCARRED me. Also, there was this film...all I remember is that there was a point where the wall of a room kept getting further and further away...and at the end, the kids get home and their house and family is nothing but charred remains. I've no idea what film it was.
posted by stray at 4:03 PM on February 10, 2005

When I was in Junior High, I left in the middle of Smokey And The Bandit Part 2, and elected to instead go shoplift some beer from the grocery store and drink it in the parking lot behind the bowling alley. Does that count?
posted by spilon at 4:03 PM on February 10, 2005

I didn't leave the theatre, but Old Yeller tore me (and most of my generation) up. In fact, I'm getting a little misty-eyed right now.
posted by timeistight at 4:04 PM on February 10, 2005

Paths of Glory. I saw it when I was 13. I thought up until the scene was over that the three soldiers would escape somehow. The message I took away from that film was that war was complicated and that during a war some people were more concerned with career advancement than looking out for their own troops. This was different from what I had learned watching "rah-rah" war movies - which is why someone made sure I saw it at a young age.
posted by mlis at 4:11 PM on February 10, 2005

I refused to watch "The Neverending Story" as a kid because I took the title rather literally and was conviced that once you began watching it you could never ever stop. That other people had seen it and apparently escaped did not occur to me. I think my mom took me out of the theater when I began sobbing for the gored boy in "Song of the South." And I could never get to the end of any Star Wars film due to utter boredom. (Heresey to some, I know.)
posted by dame at 4:13 PM on February 10, 2005

I made my parents leave with me half-way through Ghostbusters 2. Ghosts still scare the pants off me.
posted by philscience at 4:14 PM on February 10, 2005

I seriously freaked out at seeing Auntie Em turn into the Wicked Witch in the crystal ball in The Wizard of Oz at about age 4 or 5 and had to stop watching... I still avert my eyes when that scene comes on (my older sister still won't even watch the movie because of the witch).

Saw The Elephant Man at about age 12, and was removed from the theater by my parents for sobbing so uncontrollably. (To this day, I can make myself cry just by thinking of the scene where he's being tormented at the train station.)

When I was about 16, I couldn't get through all of A Clockwork Orange -- my boyfriend and I had rented it, and I made him turn it off during one of the rape scenes. I also made the same boyfriend walk out of the remake of The Fly around the same time -- you know the scene where she gives birth to the giant maggot? Yeah.
posted by scody at 4:15 PM on February 10, 2005

Man, BigBird goes to China SCARRED me.

Heh. My cousin was in that movie.

My too-young-to-process movie was "Something Wicked This Way Comes." Today I can watch it and enjoy it, but there's still that little kid in my brain that wants to stick its fingers in its ears and go, "La-la-la-la, I can't hear you!"
posted by pzarquon at 4:15 PM on February 10, 2005

all I remember is that there was a point where the wall of a room kept getting further and further away...and at the end, the kids get home and their house and family is nothing but charred remains.

I think you're askeered of Time Bandits. But there was just the one kid, and some kid-sized adults.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:26 PM on February 10, 2005

I'm probably dating myself here, but my mom took me to see Ghost in theaters when I was a kid. I was really bored until I saw those big black shadows that took people to hell. That's the only movie I've ever walked out on. I'm still a little freaked out by those things.
posted by muddgirl at 4:28 PM on February 10, 2005

The very last scene in "Carrie".
posted by oh posey at 4:30 PM on February 10, 2005

The Cross and The Switchblade
I remember watching part of on TV, and there was a scene where someone gets stabbed with a switchblade. It was the first time I realized people could really want to hurt other people. And maybe because it starred Pat Boone and Erik Estrada.
posted by patrickje at 4:31 PM on February 10, 2005

As an inverse of this effect, I watched "Top Gun" as a child many times at a friend's house.

Later I found that there was a sex scene in the movie. My friend's parents had copied it to a tape where there was no such scene.

When I saw it recently, again, I had to turn away from the sex scene- it seemed so weird, so out of place.
posted by thethirdman at 4:31 PM on February 10, 2005

"Time Bandits." I was terrified that I would look in the closet and find the Supreme Being chasing me and going "return the map."
posted by inksyndicate at 4:39 PM on February 10, 2005

When I was in first grade my teacher played "The Little Match Girl," an animated film, that affected me a great deal. In this version, the little match girl dies from the cold after going through all of the matches. They filmed the scene in a way that, as she slowly ran out of matches, and died, the "camera" pulled away, showing the people passing by, ignoring this little girl dying out on the street.

I remember just weeping and weeping through the whole scene, having to go to the nurses office, being sent home, and getting in trouble for not being able to eat my dinner that night.

I don't have such great luck with movies.
posted by lilboo at 4:39 PM on February 10, 2005

My parents took me to see a few movies in my childhood that completely terrified me and continue to shape my nightmares to this day. One was The Emigrants. It's the story of long suffering Swedes in America. I hear it is quite good, but misery is hard for a five year old, particularly because I couldn't read the subtitles. One scene has an Indian massacre, another an execution. I'm actually afraid to see it as an adult. There were some terribly unfulfilling sex scenes, ugly depressing and painful.

I think that might have been where I caught the gay.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:43 PM on February 10, 2005

My cousin deeply scarred me when we were children. We were home alone at her parents' one night with Phantom of the Paradise on TV. I'd close my eyes and cover my ears every time it seemed something horrible was about to happen (Paul Williams' near-constant presence notwithstanding), and my evil cousin would offer to tell me when it was safe for me to look again, and EVERY TIME she said it was safe, I'd open my eyes to heads getting crushed in record presses, melting faces, steel teeth, electrocutions or just general nastiness. I was a sensitive child and couldn't sleep properly for weeks (I think it was mostly just how ruthless and depressingly mean the Paul Williams character was).

It's (apparently) not really a very scary movie at all, especially when compared to the sort of horror films I now love, but I still can't watch it.
posted by biscotti at 4:49 PM on February 10, 2005

livii, me too! Neverending story - the idea of infinity - fucked with my head right good. I actually watched it all the way through, but the mindfuck afterwards kept me from watching it again.
posted by notsnot at 4:52 PM on February 10, 2005

I walked out of Super Mario Brothers at 7 or 8. I think that was the first time I realized movies could be bad.
posted by borkingchikapa at 4:52 PM on February 10, 2005

The animated version of the Hobbit gave me nightmares for about 20 years. I couldn't get that biting-the-finger-to-get-the-ring scene out of my mind. The flying monkies in Wizard of Oz also freaked me out.
posted by belladonna at 4:55 PM on February 10, 2005

I completely empathize, thethirdman. My parents recorded a TV version of Top Gun, and my older brother watched it to the point of memorization. Every time I watch it now, I see more scenes that I either missed as a kid or just weren't in my parents' copy.
posted by estelahe at 4:56 PM on February 10, 2005

The Red Balloon. They showed it to us in elementary school and I ended up crying so hard I had to leave the room.

Sixth grade - my neighbor Jenny and I sneaked into her basement with a purloined copy of Porky's. Definitely lost a tiny bit of innocence that day.
posted by LeeJay at 4:59 PM on February 10, 2005

The only movie that totally freaked me out as a kid was Westworld. I was a big scifi fan when my parents rented it to see it for the first time, and figured the movie was a typical scifi movie with a bit of destruction. The graphical deaths and the menace of yul brenner was too much for my 10 year old mind.
posted by JZig at 4:59 PM on February 10, 2005

I was terrified by Return to Oz as a kid--there's one scene where they put this huge machine next to Dorothy's bed to keep her from dreaming about Oz, and it has like huge blades and a creepy camera eye type thing. It was completely terrifying.
posted by josh at 5:09 PM on February 10, 2005

The end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
posted by frenetic at 5:10 PM on February 10, 2005

The checker-windowed, Gilliamesque taxicabs.
The abandoned amusement park.
The puppet master in the subway station.
The opium-laced lips of the Magikist sign.
The flying monkeys. On motorcycles.

Yes, I was afraid of THE WIZ.
posted by eschatfische at 5:13 PM on February 10, 2005

I still have a weak stomach for a bunch of things if I see a movie on the big screen. Seeing it later on the smaller scale of TV/DVD doesn't affect me nearly as much, if at all. Prime examples of me needing to take a pale-faced bathroom break would be the ear scene in Reservoir Dogs, the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, the drug swallowing portions of Maria Full of Grace, and a pretty damn good chunk of Pink Flamingos. I'm a wimp.
posted by Mrmuhnrmuh at 5:16 PM on February 10, 2005

I was an impressionable junior high schooler; Liquid Sky, Clockwork Orange, Pink Floyd The Wall, Wizards, Heavy Metal left me a little weirder. I think. They're at least directly responsible for the purchasing of Doc Martens and a predilection towards Army jackets as a fashion statement.
posted by Loser at 5:31 PM on February 10, 2005

My parents had to take me out, screaming, from Tommy, apparently because of the cousin Kevin scene. Not such a good movie choice for a 5-year-old, perhaps. I didn't have any trouble with The Wicker Man four years later (which I mention because an usher tried to stop them taking me in, and was assured "He's very sophisticated." Evidently I was.)

The only movies I've had real trouble with since were Bad Boy Bubby (for a reasonably innocent dinner scene!) and One False Move (which features a couple of truly cold-blooded executions).
posted by Aknaton at 5:32 PM on February 10, 2005

I was like four or five, and my older cousins rented "Sleep Away Camp," which I sat through beginning to end. Afterwards, I was what would be described as a "catatonic state." I was sooo freaking scared, and have never been able to sleep outside in a tent. Last summer, my wife and I went camping, I ended up sleeping in the car.

As a teenager, I bought (on a whim) Reservoir Dogs from a used bin at the local video store (pre-Pulp Fiction). I watched it over and over again, my first real foray into independent cinema.
posted by Quartermass at 5:32 PM on February 10, 2005

Ghostbusters 2 got to me too as a kid. I started watching the cartoon (The Real Ghostbusters) when I was about six or so, so when my parents told me the cartoon was based on a movie I pretty much begged to see it until my father rented it and brought it home one evening. They said they had held off on telling me about the movie because they were worried it would be too much for me, but I loved everything about it. Even today the original Ghostbusters is one of my favorite films and was even the first DVD I ever bought.

But back on track... so when I was age eight I found out about the movie's sequel and again begged my parents to see it. We went on opening night and I was just thrilled. So what got to me about it? There's a scene late in the movie where Egon, Ray, and Winston go into the abandoned subway system to find the source of the "mood slime". The moment when something horrid echoed Winston's own voice shook me a little, but what really freaked me out was when the guys turned around and were suddenly surrounded on all sides by bloodied decaying heads on spikes. In those few seconds I was seriously frightened and had to leave the movie for a bit, missing out on the classic moment when the ghost train runs right through Winston.

Now years later I own the movie on DVD and love to watch it, but even still when the film gets to the close-up on the decaying head I still shiver sometimes.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:34 PM on February 10, 2005

Definitely Ghostbusters 2. That was the one with the painting with the eyes that followed you, right? Gahhhhh...*shiver*
posted by rooftop secrets at 5:35 PM on February 10, 2005

My poor sister completely wigged watching the original Jaws in the theater - the scene where the poor girls leg goes floating to the bottom of the ocean was just too much for her.

Personally, I haven't watched a scary movie since seeing Alien on cable while I was 6 months pregnant. alien. creature. bursting. from. body. YEAARRRGHHH!!!!

Yeah, that was a good idea. *shudder*
posted by Space Kitty at 5:38 PM on February 10, 2005

Wow, thanks ROU_Xenophobe. It was "Time Bandits". Now--to watch it again or not..hrmm.
posted by stray at 5:42 PM on February 10, 2005

When I was little I was terrified by the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, to the extent that I can't think about it too much even now. And I was scarred for life by the clown in Poltergeist.

My 12th grade English teacher showed us Apocalypse Now to illustrate symbolism and subtext. It changed the way I look at movies and books and made me become an English major in college.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:08 PM on February 10, 2005

I was like four or five, and my older cousins rented "Sleep Away Camp," which I sat through beginning to end. Afterwards, I was what would be described as a "catatonic state."

The same thing happened to a friend of mine when she saw The Exorcist when she was about 12 -- she stopped speaking and eating for days, and says she was a little "off" for a couple of weeks. Her dad and brothers took shifts sitting next to her all night, holding her hand.
posted by scody at 6:09 PM on February 10, 2005

Black Sabbath. I was nine. I ran out to the theater lobby & stayed there.
posted by nj_subgenius at 6:14 PM on February 10, 2005

The scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where Mola Rom removes that poor bastard's heart. Once the heart was out and the wound closed itself, I could look back, but that act of taking out the heart really scared the hell out of me.
posted by schustafa at 6:28 PM on February 10, 2005

I saw Jaws at the theater when I was 7. My aunt tried to block my view, but I still saw plenty. From that time up until I was about 20, I would have nightmares where I didn't want to see something (often a scary movie), but couldn't help but see it even if I closed my eyes, covered them with my hands, or looked away.

I think the first episode of "That's Incredible" showed a brief sequence from The Amityville Horror, where a doll's eyes open and it says "mama." That scared the hell out of me, and it was just network TV! Dolls, mannequins, ventriloquist's dummies coming to life terrified me until I watched, you know, that scene from Poltergeist about 20 times when it first ended up on cable.

Finally, while I watched Twilight Zone repeats throughout my adolescence, there was a tribute show for it in the early 80s where I was first exposed to the episode "To Serve Man," which really freaked me out even in the three minute synopsis format!

PS: I can't believe how many people are saying Ghostbusters 2....
posted by kimota at 6:35 PM on February 10, 2005

Oh, Josh, I totally forgot about "Return to Oz." The machine, the Wheelers, the hall of heads. I think that wins as all time creepiest movie to see as a kid. I was lucky enough to see it in this mostly empty, falling-down former movie palace at the end of a long orange grove. That didn't help. I do think I would become evil though if I were promised my own hall of heads to change as I pleased.
posted by dame at 6:47 PM on February 10, 2005

I remember being so scared I had to leave the room when watching Watership down. I haven't seen it since was about 4, but i can still remember the the big, mean rabbits tearing in to the flesh of good rabbits. Maybe I'll be able to deal with the PG rating now and watch the whole movie.
posted by gus at 6:48 PM on February 10, 2005

For me it's always been The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The original, that is. I think it's really effective despite the fact that it's cheap-looking, washed out, grainy, with generally bad acting. But good direction--it has a kind of documentary style, at least that's how I remember it. It looks real. And a number of scenes filmed during the day--horror movies are almost always set at night, and that was kind of an inversion.

When Leatherface puts the girl on the hook, as a child watching it against my parents' strict orders not to, I nearly lost it. And then in early high-school, by the time I lost my fear of any movie, it came on again and once again I got freaked out. Maybe it's its documentary style, but maybe it's just the story. I saw the remake and thought it was pretty damn good, too (though the gore was gratuitous) even though my friends didn't.
posted by zardoz at 7:11 PM on February 10, 2005

The Elephant Man.

Too, too much, and too, too sad.
posted by swift at 7:11 PM on February 10, 2005

I remember being so scared I had to leave the room when watching Watership down.

Oh God, Watership Down! I caught it on TV as a young kid. I thought at first it was a regular cartoon about cute little bunnies. I completely forgot how terrified I was of that movie. Must have blocked it out.

I read the book a few years later and wasn't nearly as disturbed by it as I was by that damn cartoon.
posted by LeeJay at 7:16 PM on February 10, 2005

Looking back, my first response is completely off topic, but I thought of the one that always got to me. Disney's Watcher in the Woods. I don't even remember if I ever sat down and watched it or if I just got freaked out by the previews I saw for it before other Disney movies, but, either way, it always did the trick.
posted by Mrmuhnrmuh at 7:35 PM on February 10, 2005

ET. That guy always scared the total, total hell out of me when I was in elementary school. Still can hardly stand to look at him, and the voice gives me the shivers.

Also, when I was about 4 or 5, I was absolutely terrified of the Heffalumps and Woozles nightmare scene in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. Dancing, swooping, psychedelically-coloured evil honey-stealers were just too, too much for my fragile mind, and I bolted. They also continue to creep me right out.

So yeah, I'm afraid of a beloved Disney character and a Winnie the Pooh film.

I'm not proud.
posted by ZaphodB at 7:45 PM on February 10, 2005

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. My Mom had to check for cobras under my bed every night for at least a month.

Also I agree with Aknaton about One False Move. After the second set of killings I had to turn it off, and I still think about how horrifying the murders were. Ugh.
posted by kittyloop at 7:48 PM on February 10, 2005

When I was young I was one of those kids who just knew that scary movies were bad news. When I was three or four I was babysat by an indifferent cousin who wanted to watch Piranha 2. This was a movie about piranhas that fly and devour people. I though that they were actually flying piranhas snacking whole villages somewhere in Brazil and like killer bees it would only be a matter of time until they were in the southern United States. After five minutes I knew that I didn't want to see any more, but I was trapped in a room with a teenager who really liked scary movies. I had nightmares for months.
posted by Alison at 7:50 PM on February 10, 2005

I had succesfully blocked the horror of Watership Down. And on preview, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. Damn you people. This thread is as disturbing as the cat vomit interview.

The fridge scene, and others, in The Osterman Weekend stuck with me for a long time. How horrible.

It didn't scar me, but the most dark, disturbing kid's movie I've ever seen is Babe ][: Pig in the City. The awful downward spiral of the first half hour made me want to start bawling, in my late 20's. I was so glad I hadn't brought any 5-year-olds with me. Recommended!
posted by Aknaton at 7:54 PM on February 10, 2005

The Wonderful World of Disney did an "anthology of Disney villains" episode, hosted by the Magic Mirror from Snow White.

The part of the mirror was played by a cadaverous actor in a dark costume whose face swam up from behind the glass, breaching the inky depths like some octopoidal demon, a rugose eldritch horror from blasphemous eons where mad things gibbered and howled.

Or, so it seemed to me, anyway.
posted by SPrintF at 7:59 PM on February 10, 2005

I was never really scared by the scary movies; I remember all my friends were like, so totally scared of Jurassic Park, but I was just kind of meh. Also, I remember, when I was about seven, Dr. Who used to be on right before something I liked (possibly Square One? I was heavy into Mathnet), and my brother and I used to watch it waiting for the show to come on, but then my mom said we couldn't watch it anymore because it gave my (quite young) brother nightmares. I just thought it was boring.

I however, was really intensely bothered by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The scene where they take the guy's heart out. And the scene with the soup? That turns out to be full of eyes? Not to mention the secret passageway full of spiders? It was more gross than scary for me. But I still think it's a gross movie.
posted by SoftRain at 8:14 PM on February 10, 2005

The Care Bears Movie freaked me out. You laugh, right? Well, here's the plot: a kid gets picked on a lot, so he asks for evil powers from this demon book, and starts torturing the other kids. I'm not kidding, it's seriously deranged.
posted by Sibrax at 8:24 PM on February 10, 2005

When I was 7, maybe 8, my mom's boyfriend would often take her out for movies. Sometimes I got invited too. The Samurai triple feature wasn't too bad. But A Clockwork Orange scared the shit out of me. What were they thinking? That is one freaky film.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 8:25 PM on February 10, 2005

Nothing was censored at home, and we were the first house on the block to have a VCR in the early 80s. We had showtime, cinemax, and hbo, too. Movies I remembered that freaked me out as a kid between the ages of 5 and 7:

1. Secret of Nimh: *cries* This is the first time I realized that little kids could get really sick and possibly die (like that baby mouse). And I felt so sad for all the smart rats, especially when they got sucked-out of the house by the vacuum. It made me aware of agression and warfare among groups of similar beings...and I got upset watching this movie always.

2. All that Jazz: What a depressing movie to watch when you're like 6/7 years old. This is the first crystallization and acknowledging that one day i would be an adult with "big problems and responsibilities". That there were "bad men" in the world who were liars and cheaters.

3. Kramer vs. Kramer: Parents can get divorced? That was a scary concept for me as a kid.

4. Invasion of the Body Snatchers: the remake with Donald Sutherland. I was terrified to go to sleep for like a year.

5. Cat’s eye: I thought that a little troll would crawl out of my walls at night and try to kill my cats.

6. Time bandits: This one made me fear the country of England when I was little, and i really thought that life in England was crazy like in the movie. Also, I was terrified for my parents to go near the toaster for weeks, fearing that they would dissapear.

7. Flowers in the Attic: Okay, fine, i was like 11 at the time. But incest? What is this craziness?!

8. Six Weeks: At 7 years old, it was really scary to see the girl dying of cancer, and i realized that as much as you are loved, you are not safe from illness. But the part that really scared me was when the little girl had that horrible head pain on the subway. :(

9. Rocky Horror Picture Show: my parents took me to this when i was like 12 years old. Prior to that, I had no idea counterculture existed. I was just too much for me to comprehend....and watching it now still makes me feel weird.
posted by naxosaxur at 8:35 PM on February 10, 2005

Sibrax, you're not crazy- those Care Bears movies are really scary! They never scared me then, but I watch them now and just about pee my pants.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:09 PM on February 10, 2005 [1 favorite]

My dad took me to a lot of wierd movies, like Yog From Outer Space, a Japanese giant octopus movie, when I was three or so.

The one that affected me most was some nameless chop-socky flick about several sets of twin brothers trying to break up a heroin ring. The brothers kept getting killed. At one point, one pair of brothers is crawling through an icehouse at night, and in their flashlights they come across the bodies of a previous set of brothers frozen in blocks of ice. The sight of their suspended, arched and illuminated bodies, their frozen silence haunted me. I still see it sometimes.
posted by atchafalaya at 9:13 PM on February 10, 2005

Heh. I had a Ghostbusters 2 experience almost identical to Servo's. The original was easily my all-time favorite movie as a kid (although watching it again later as an adult I was shocked at the number of great jokes that had whooshed right over my 8-year-old head).

My prime wuss moment, though, was when I was about 12 and I watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at a Scout lock-in. When the guy disintegrated, I immediately ran out of the room. I'm pretty sure I screamed, too.

Goonies got to me too, with all the rotting dead people. Upon my second viewing of it (at camp), I had to leave the room during the part where they stumbled across the dead guy. That bit in Raiders of the Lost Ark with all the decaying mummies probably would've got me too, but I somehow managed to avoid seeing that movie until a few years ago (and I still have never seen Jaws!).

Loss of innocence? That would be seeing Revenge of the Nerds, uncut, when I was about seven. But I highly doubt that led to me being a nerd later in life. Right? RIGHT?
posted by neckro23 at 9:59 PM on February 10, 2005

The greenhouse scene in Scum was pretty disturbing to my 9 year old mind.
posted by the cuban at 12:11 AM on February 11, 2005

Jaws did me in as a kid. I wouldn't throw my leg on the side of my bed at night because I imagined sharks under my bed.
Also, a wretched movie I saw in high school that had Patrick Swayze and a bunch of teenagers and a nuclear attack-I cannot think of the name, but my friends and I walked out of there freaked out.
What was that movie??
posted by davenportmom at 12:34 AM on February 11, 2005

Airgirl took my answer with Jaws, except I let my fear dictate to me. I stay the hell out of the ocean, and even most swimming pools because I don't like not being able to see and hear all around me when I'm in that stuff. You fill my ears with water, I hear that fucking cello. Awful.

Avoid Jaws. Just avoid it. Keep your damn kids away from it, it never should have been made.
posted by dong_resin at 12:41 AM on February 11, 2005

I don't remember the name of it and I don't want to. But when I was about 7 or 8 I watched this really bad 'Made for TV' movie about his kid who had a disease that made him age really quickly. He died at the end of it of course and I thought 'he was a kid, he died. I'm a kid, I'm gonna die one day too'. That lame-ass movie alerted me to my own mortality, I worried about it for months(if not longer).
posted by isthisthingon at 12:53 AM on February 11, 2005

Event Horizon.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 1:34 AM on February 11, 2005

Davenportmom: Red Dawn
posted by the cuban at 2:40 AM on February 11, 2005

I'm a third for Return to Oz: it's definitely the hall of heads that got me. It was recently released on Region 4 DVD in Australia, and I immediately purchased it. The heads still send shivers up my spine, and I had forgotten about the wheelers. What a great movie.

I saw The Birds when I was 9 and remember being terrified of the idea of birds turning vicious. I sure was wary of the crows at school the next day. I bought the DVD a year ago, and still haven't mustered up enough courage to watch it.

Child's Play is the one movie that I just flat-out refuse to ever see again in my life. I saw it when I was 10, and although it seems to be this B-Grade cult favourite now, I was so terrified of that goddamn doll that I had nightmares about it for weeks. I saw a short excerpt from it on the TV recently, and I had to change the channel. Brrrr. Talking dolls give me the creeps.
posted by chronic sublime at 3:23 AM on February 11, 2005

I was an impressionable young lad with an overactive imagination, and a lot of movies ended up disturbing me. The only movie I remember leaving before the end was The Last Starfighter. I got freaked out when the guy took off his face and made my Dad get me out of there as quickly as possible (though he wasn't happy about it).

I loved Ghostbusters, but always had to look away when Sigourney Weaver opened her fridge and the thing inside said 'Zuul'.

I found the death in general to be unsettling, whenever it was the 'good guys' dying and especially if they were a cartoon character. This chipped away at my idealistic worldview and eventually turned me into a nasty artist who sometimes tries to make his own artwork disturbing.
posted by picea at 6:12 AM on February 11, 2005

I don't remember being freaked out by many movies as a kid (I was always a major fan of roald dahl, though, & got into pink floyd around 6th grade - never got stoned or whatever, but loved "the wall") but I remember lying awake at night the day they played The Day After.

It was playing after my bedtime, and I really wanted to see it, but was already really scared by it (I think I'd read Hiroshima already, or maybe the time was just permeated by nuclear fear in a way that I knew enough what it was about to be scared). Basically I didn't get the nerve up to ask my parents if I could stay up to watch it, so I just lay in bed imagining how scary it was... which mighta been more scary than the real thing. Did anyone see it as a kid? It was a made-for TV movie about nuclear war in the earlyish 80s.
posted by mdn at 6:23 AM on February 11, 2005

My Dad let me watch Poltergeist when I was about 5 years old on HBO.. I still remember the intro music and graphic sequence fo HBO. At any rate, that movie seriously creeped me out... Mainly the clown scene. I hate that damn clown. If it was here right now I'd kick its stupid head in, hahah. That probably wasn't the best movie to watch as an impressionable yoot, but I think it may have had an effect on my creativity. I started drawing quite a bit after that.... so maybe it was a good thing?
posted by jackofsaxons at 6:32 AM on February 11, 2005

I was one of the many kids burned by Gremlins, especially the end where the voice over says pretty much that anything that breaks in the dark is a gremlin trying to get you.

I refused to go into the garage because I'd have to stick my hand into the dark to find the lightswitch and there were plenty of axes and lawn tools there that Spike could use to gut me.

I second that damn clown. I had one just like it. It spent its time locked in my toy chest, tied to a dictionary.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:39 AM on February 11, 2005

Yes, thinking about "The Day After" still gives me nightmares. In fact, during the early 1980s, when I was a kid, I was absolutely terrified we would all die in a nuclear holocaust. I don't like watching mushroom clouds at all! The pretend stuff like in "Ghostbusters" and "Indiana Jones" didn't scare me. It was that real stuff like "Day After" and "Red Dawn" that freaked me out. However, I still cannot stand white noise or tv snow, because of "Poltergeist." I don't think I'll be seeing that Michael Keaton film. :)

The movie that really bothered me as a teenager was "Platoon." My b/f at the time had rented it and when they got to the scene where they were going to kill the Vietnamese woman in cold blood, I had to walk out of the room. I didn't watch the rest of the film.

Now, movies that bother me have to do with the Nazi Holocaust. The scene in "Schindler's List" where the little girl in the red coat wanders through the streets almost made me run out of the room because it was so sad. The scene at the beginning of "X-men," where Magneto's parents are separated from him at Auschwitz nearly made me leave the theater, too.

I don't like when innocent people die, especially children.
posted by cass at 6:46 AM on February 11, 2005

Ooh, Gremlins, I forgot about that. They used to scare me to death, but I loved Gizmo. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with that movie.
posted by schustafa at 6:54 AM on February 11, 2005

On preview: I came here to mention the ever popular Poltergeist and The Day After, too!

My parents had no idea that Poltergeist was going to freak me out as much as it did. I couldn't sleep that night. It was also the first movie I saw on video.

With The Day After my parents wouldn't let me watch it when it was on even though I was completely fascinated by it. I came down the stairs to use the bathroom at one point during the movie. The way the architecture of the house was, you could successfully watch a good portion of forbidden tv/cable/whatever that way. Just those few moments fed some serious nuclear fueled anxiety.
posted by safetyfork at 6:55 AM on February 11, 2005

Exorcist. Saw it in college (that dates me pretty well) with a group of friends, and we all had to stay up all night getting over being so freaked out by it. Those of us who grew up Catholic were especially traumatized. It took a couple of weeks before I was able to sleep well.

I read the 1st few page of the 1st Hannibal Lecter book, and was haunted by it. I really hate horror/suspense books and movies. Even that recent AskMe thread about the lotion reference weirded me out.
posted by theora55 at 6:57 AM on February 11, 2005

Well I guess for me it was the weekend I went to a friend's house and watched Gothic and Lair of The White Worm back to back at around the age of 13 or 14.

They both have these horrible scenes in them of these metal phalluses with jagged spikes and things coming out of them. I was terrified by them and I actually still turn away from those scenes if I happen to catch those movies.

I couldn't sleep the night I saw Nightmare on Elm Street the first time, though now it mostly amuses me.

and though not a movie, I first read Stephen King's It while sitting in my bedroom across from a poster of a clown - I had to take it down and put it outside my room in order to finish the book. I've never liked clowns since then.
posted by Julnyes at 7:21 AM on February 11, 2005

Cyrano De Bergerac broke my 8 year old heart. I stumbled upon it on the tv one lazy afternoon, and it destroyed me. Broke my heart and left me inexplicably teary for weeks.
posted by mrs.pants at 7:34 AM on February 11, 2005

ha! oh posey that scene in Carrie scared me so bad I developed a system of moving about the house without touching the floor(lest Carrie take me to hell with her...) I walked on furniture and used a rolling tea cart to get through the halls...
posted by mrs.pants at 7:38 AM on February 11, 2005

As a former park-rat in NYC, I had the distinct displeasure of seeing Kids with both my parents.

There was lots of uncomfortable silence after that one. Thanks, Larry Clark!
posted by softlord at 7:39 AM on February 11, 2005

The ending of Beneath the Planet of the Apes scared the living crap out of me when I was a kid. It set me up for a good decade of dreading the coming nuclear holocaust and begging Jesus to bring on the rapture, and fast.

Of course my mother's constant musing that we were "just about due for another world war" didn't help.
posted by Cuke at 7:56 AM on February 11, 2005

My parents went out of their way to protect me from scary or otherwise questionable content movies, precisely because of stories like these. I was pretty upset when, at 11, I saw Basic Instinct at a friend's house. It didn't give me nightmares or anything, but I wasn't ready for that. My parents probably took the censorship thing a little far. Mom wouldn't let me rent The Basketball Diaries when I was 16 due to the R rating (she'd never heard of it). It was successful in making me very sensitive to violence. I'm in my 20's and I still have trouble watching movies like Braveheart or Saving Private Ryan because the gore upsets me a bit.

The only truly disturbing movie going experience I've had is - of all things - American Beauty. Because I was a female high school senior that went with my Dad within a year of his own mid-life crisis: he'd gotten divorced, remarried, changed jobs, purchased a new vehicle and gained step-daughters. In that context, the scenes where Kevin Spacey's character is jerking off fantasizing about his teen daughter's friend.... *shudder*. I turned to my dad and told him "I have no friends, you can't meet my friends, you can't talk to my friends" and I was generally creeped out.

I later learned to appreciate the movie, but not then and not with him.
posted by raedyn at 8:06 AM on February 11, 2005

You know, I've never been so thankful that my parents spurned cable, VCRs and non-G rated movies until I was in college. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

I did see Pink Floyd's The Wall in high school, in the theater, with friends. I distinctly remember wondering when I would smile again. As I recall, it took three days.
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:14 AM on February 11, 2005

My parents took me to see Poltergeist in the theaters. I was about 7, and when the guy looks in the mirror and all his flesh melts away I lost it.

Then, a few months later, when my parents suggested taking me to see E.T., I thought they were playing another trick on me and refused to go. When they finally promised that no one's face would melt off, I gave in and got over my fear of movies.

But the most surreal movie moment from my childhood was watching Ann Margaret roll around in baked beans in Tommy. I was probably 5 or so, and it was playing on TV. I guess most kids would have laughed at grownups rolling around in pools of messy food (cf. Double Dare) but I thought it was more disturbing than anything else.
posted by turaho at 8:30 AM on February 11, 2005

The first movie I ever remember seeing was when I was 6 and my folks took us to a drive-in that was showing Lipstick. Basically it's the story of a woman who gets brutally raped and beaten (on film, of course) then seeks revenge and shoots the shit out of the guy. Absolute horror.
posted by tristeza at 9:23 AM on February 11, 2005

I remember The Day After too - I was a tough stoner teenager and it still freaked me out! But the one I remember the most is something called Night of Dark Shadows, which I guess was a movie ripoff of the TV series? I saw it at about age 10, at the theatre with a braver friend, maybe the first time I ever went to the movies without my parents, and I had to keep going in the lobby and staring at the door. Then it was really hard to walk back into the dark, but I was so embarrassed, I forced myself.

After Jaws I didn't even want to get into the bathtub, let alone go swimming, for months. And my brother took me to see Alien and every time I tried to hide my face he pulled my hands away and said, "I paid for you to see this movie, you're damn well gonna watch it." Argh! I'm still a movie wimp. I really want to see 28 Days Later but I know it's going to scar me for life.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:44 AM on February 11, 2005

I had forgotten that I saw Life of Brian with my mother in the theater. The scene at the end where he's on the cross and his mother comes up and does nothing for him was just incomprehensible to me. "Why would his mother just walk away like that"? Such an empty, confused feeling...

My family went to the beach and for whatever reason we all went to see Jaws the first day (I blame my father). No one went in the water the entire vacation. Thanks Dad.

The Exorcist was on TV. My whole family was watching it, and I watched it between my fingers, until finally leaving the room altogether. But I couldn't stay away. My father convinced me that it might be better to watch the whole thing to get closure, now that I'd already seen some very scary parts. So I stayed and watched, mortified. I do think it helped seeing it to the end, though...
posted by hellbient at 9:48 AM on February 11, 2005

"My parents had no idea that Poltergeist was going to freak me out as much as it did. I couldn't sleep that night. It was also the first movie I saw on video. "

How could anyone not have an idea that Poltergeist might freak someone, especially a kid, out?


My loss of innocence came at 23 when watching Eraserhead, though.
posted by weston at 10:24 AM on February 11, 2005

I was pretty sheltered as a kid and as a teen (didn't see a rated R movie until I was in college), but I had one irresponsible white-trash babysitter that took me and my little brother to a double feature of Mother, Jugs, and Speed with something I have forgotten. IMDB doesn't say the rating but I suspect it was an "R" because I distinctly remember one scene where a woman shoots herself in the mouth with a shotgun. I was pretty traumatized.

Also, count me in among the "Watership Down" traumatizees. I was already a sophisticated teen when Time Bandits came out so I could handle that one (and it's still a favorite).
posted by matildaben at 11:10 AM on February 11, 2005

Huh, I'm pretty sure I was 15 the first time I saw Eraserhead, scar-free.

Besides Poltergeist and The Day After and Watership Down, I remember being pretty well wrenched by the ending to The World According to Garp, believe it or not, so it's not like I was a bad-ass... as a matter of fact I didn't even see any slasher movies until college.

Also, so far unmentioned and in The Day After's vein, When The Wind Blows. That one got to me.
posted by furiousthought at 11:22 AM on February 11, 2005

I seriously freaked out at seeing Auntie Em turn into the Wicked Witch in the crystal ball in The Wizard of Oz at about age 4 or 5 and had to stop watching...

Family lore has it that I had hysterics over the flying monkeys, though I don't remember it... my aunt had to be carried screaming out of Snow White, though.

The movie that scared me nearly to death, though, was a Bette Davis southern gothic called Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, which was a complete mind fuck that starts with a murder involving a man getting his hand cut off... years later Bette Davis' evil family tries to drive her insane by trying to convince her that she committed the murder. This all takes place in a decaying mansion. I can't remember too much of the plot, but I do remember being curled up on the couch, my heart pounding so hard my body was shaking, and actually feeling my hair standing straight up. I had lied to our babysitter and convinced her to let us watch it; bad move. The little jingle that went through the movie had the power to actually make me sick with fear if I thought of it for years following.

I'm glad I monitored my kid's viewing. He probably saw more violent cartoons than he should have, but at least I never took him to see something like Poltergeist.

Oh, and I could barely walk out of the theater after seeing Alien 1. All those flashing lights and overwhelming sound. Argh.
posted by jokeefe at 1:44 PM on February 11, 2005

Furiousthought … Garp. Yeeaarrgghhh. Still can’t handle that. There’s a bunch of movies that slay me, and I guess I’d categorise them as anything where a sweetheart / goodguy character gets caught in something larger than themselves, struggle to make it out, and fail. Picture Goodwill Hunting with an unhappy ending. Sharks? Spiders? Poltergeist? Aliens? Chainsaws and leatherface and freddie’s knifeglovey thing? No drama. But real people confronting fate, their destiny, something bigger than themselves head-on? No dice.

I keep hanging on, hoping it’ll come up roses, looking for the deus ex machina to come swooping through in Act IV, but deep down knowing they’re done for. It’s stupid, really - I’d actually be disappointed if I didn’t get the burnination, and I know it, but that doesn’t stop me living, loving and hating every second of the bittersweet suspense and wanting to leave the room but not being able until the tension is dissolved by whatever it is that takes a sharp left turn into the hellmouth.

So yeah. Garp. The scene where the Ellen Jamesian shoots him in the gym. Can’t watch it. Every time I’m with the damn thing right up ‘til she’s walking across the mats holding the gun and *cue blackness* from there on that scene is audio only. One day I’ll get through it.

Damien: The Omen at maybe twelve-thirteen. A strange choice, I guess, but the idea that there existed this supernatural / spiritual world that others could tap into and I couldn’t really spooked me, mostly ‘cos I more than half-believed it existed. I think I’d been reading too much Stephen King.

Dead Poet’s Society really hit me at age fifteen. I was a few years younger than the cast, but close enough, and at the time I totally identified with the father-son dynamic and the feeling of being trapped by impossible choices between family and self.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The McMurphy / Ratchett struggle, of course, and right at the end with the lobotomy and the pillow, but it was really Billy Babbit’s death that did me in. Both Billy’s helplessness and the realisation that Ratchett could use that to get to Randall when nothing else could – a light goes on, and suddenly a thirteen-year old kid realises that no matter how powerful or successful he becomes there will always be an achilles heel. A big moment, and a sad one.

There’s a million others, but $5.00 only buys me so much space …
posted by bookie at 12:30 AM on February 13, 2005

Trilogy of Terror. The zuni fetish doll that comes to life in the woman's apartment and terrorizes her. Scarred for life.
posted by majcher at 10:40 PM on February 13, 2005

I have always avoided horror movies like the plague. Having said that, I saw The Sixth Sense when newly in love aged 16, and I still can't watch anything that involves the death of a partner.

The others have already been mentioned. Watership Down scarred me for life as a child (the bunny! in the trap! with blood coming out of its mouth! aiyeee!) and Return To Oz. I was fine with the heads, the machines, everything else, but the Wheelers freaked me THE FUCK out and I cannot watch it to this day without diving behind the sofa during their bits. *shudder*

What I'm having a hell of a lot of trouble understanding is how some people here's parents thought it would be a good idea to take their small children to adult horror movies! Even more bizarre that super-socially-conscious America's film ratings allow absolutely anyone to see films like that as long as they have an adult with them, whereas the less moralistic UK has much stricter rules on that sort of thing. Just my 2p.
posted by corvine at 6:45 AM on February 14, 2005

Quartermass referenced one of my favorite flicks: "Sleepaway Camp." Watch it again, Quartermass! You wrote that you "have never been able to sleep outside in a tent. Last summer, my wife and I went camping, I ended up sleeping in the car." I assure you that your fears will be assuaged upon a second viewing, bc they didn't sleep in tents at that camp (unless there is a scene that I'm forgetting). And the film is absolutely hilarious! More comedy than horror.
posted by smartypanties at 10:11 PM on October 24, 2005

Helter-Skelter. I was convinced that Manson had escaped and was in Corpus Christi, TX, just outside my bedroom window. Maybe that's why I moved to San Antonio as a "grown-up."
posted by jsteward at 12:56 AM on October 29, 2005

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