15 Family-Friendly Movies That Give People PTSD For Years

Family-friendly movies? Yeah, right, last time we check these so-called “family-friendly” movies still haunted a lot of people in their dreams. They might not be scary enough for adults, but they certainly traumatized us when we were kids. Our young and innocent brains weren’t prepared to handle the dark theme that these flicks had!
From the nightmarish tunnel scene in Willy Wonka to the tragedies in The Last Unicorn, these films really made us question who the hell marketed them as “family-friendly movies” in the first place. We grow up watching these films, and many of us are still unable to forget these dark scenes. So let’s see which kid movies left people traumatized for years and why.

1. Coraline

family-friendly movies CoralineSource: Focus Features / Courtesy of Everett Collection

Coraline is one of the best stop-motion animations ever. It’s just so beautiful and enchanting! And then the whole “sewing buttons to your eyes” thing happens and it becomes a nightmare for young kids who think they are watching a fantastical cartoon. The Other Mother and her spider-like true form will forever stay rent-free in our minds.

2. Bambi

family-friendly movies BambiSource: Disney / Courtesy of Everett Collection

We were not ready for the death of Bambi’s mom now, and we certainly weren’t prepared for it then. The scene was so tragic it broke our hearts. Walt Disney has the blood of generations on his hands.

3. Bridge to Terabithia

family-friendly movies Bridge to TerabithiaSource: Disney / Courtesy of Everett Collection

This movie fooled a lot of kids into believing it was just a wonderful fantasy movie. It’s not. It’s a tragedy that traumatizes young kids who have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into. The movie made us experience the loss of losing the person we cared about the most by killing them off at the end. Isn't that fun?

4. The Brave Little Toaster

family-friendly movies The Brave Little ToasterSource: Hyperion Pictures / Courtesy of Everett Collection

If you think The Brave Little Toaster is another whimsical, adventurous family-friendly movie, then you’re dead wrong. The appliances in the movie were almost suffocated in quicksand. they also witnessed another one of their kind getting their innards pulled out by humans. The scene in the junkyard is just too much. We lost it when Blanky said his last words 'I’m not scared,' Rob almost got crushed and Toaster’s sacrifice.

5. E.T.

family-friendly movies E.T.Source: Sunset Boulevard / Courtesy of Everett Collection

E.T. was an overall wholesome movie, but the guys in white suits gave us nightmares for years. However, the most haunting scene in that movie must be the scene where E.T. was face down in the water, pale and dying. What an amazing thing to show young kids!

6. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

family-friendly movies Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerSource: Rankin / Courtesy of Everett Collection

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer would have been canceled so quickly if it came out today. The overall meaning of the story is kinda dark, especially for a Christmas special. The movie's message comes out as people only care about you if you can do something for them. And if you can’t, then you deserve to be bullied.

7. Gremlins

family-friendly movies GremlinsSource: Warner Brothers / Courtesy of Everett Collection

For young kids, Gremlins could be one of the most horrifying family-friendly movies they’ve ever watched. Stripe's death at the end with the melting scene is just pure nightmare fuel. And the ending where they suggest there might be gremlins in your house scared us for years. This movie really made children scared of their own homes.

8. The Wizard of Oz

family-friendly movies The Wizard of OzSource: MGM / Courtesy of Everett Collection

The whole movie is kinda scary, and somehow it gets even scarier when we rewatch it as adults. The scene where the Wicked Witch’s feet stick out from under a tornado-blown house is just creepy, and the Tin Man gives us the heebie-jeebies.

9. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre DameSource: Disney / Courtesy of Everett Collection

We will never understand why Disney thinks it’s a good idea to turn one of Victor Hugo’s dark novels into a kid cartoon. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is way too metal for young children. The theme of racism, society outcast, and lust is too much for young minds to understand. And that one torture scene that just makes us go ‘WTF?’

10. Marley and Me

Marley and MeSource: 20th Century Fox / Courtesy of Everett Collection

Don’t let Owen Wilson and the puppy trick you into thinking this is another light-hearted comedy. It’s not, it makes people cry for hours after watching it. Somehow this movie adaptation is even sadder than the book version. Rewatching this movie as adults today still makes a lot of us cry.

11. Dumbo

DumboSource: Disney / Courtesy of Everett Collection

Dumbo is fine, except for the part where the little elephant gets drunk and starts having hallucinations. It’s an acid trip that can scare any young innocent kid for sure. And let’s not forget the tragic beginning with Dumbo's mom in the cage. The way they said their goodbye and how she was rocking him with her trunk is just heartbreaking.

12. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate FactorySource: Paramount / Courtesy of Everett Collection

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is not a kid movie. That acid-trip boat tunnel scene is nightmare fuel for generations. Why the movie makers add a chicken decapitation scene inside a movie made intended for kids, we never know.

13. The Witches

The WitchesSource: Warner Brothers / Courtesy of Everett Collection

The Witches is freaky. The scene where they peel off their faces can scare adults, let alone young children. And the girl who is trapped inside the painting strikes fears right into our core. Mirrors are kinda 10 times scarier after this film.

14. The Last Unicorn

The Last UnicornSource: Rankin / Courtesy of Everett Collection

The Last Unicorn can cause intense meltdowns for children. They did so many cruel things with that immortal creature. The line 'I can feel my body dying all around me' still haunts us in our dreams until this day.

15. The NeverEnding Story

The NeverEnding StorySource: Picture Alliance / Courtesy of Everett Collection

Speaking of mental meltdowns, The NeverEnding Story should not be called a family-friendly movie. There is a scene where a knight gets pulverized by a gate. When the protagonist walks by his corpse, the visor of his helmet flips up to leave nothing there. And let’s not forget about the horse’s death. Fun times!
Those are some family-friendly movies that traumatize a lot of us when we were young. If you want to know more dark kid movies, then check out this list here.
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