16 Totally Inappropriate Movies You Loved as a Kid

Laurie Kamens | May 29, 2017 Movies

Little Monsters MovieMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Today's Disney and Pixar movies can have some heavy themes mixed in (just try to think about the the opening sequence from Up without tearing up). But if you think that's adult content, it's got nothing on what we grew up watching! Nostalgia may have candy-coated our memories, but many of the children's films from the '70s, '80s, and early '90s were actually pretty dark, and in some cases downright terrifying.

Though now they hold a fond place in our hearts (and we could spend hours reminiscing), you may want to think twice before taking a trip down memory lane and showing these 16 films to your kids -- or you may be in for some serious nightmares and heavy conversations.

  • Bad News Bears (1976)


    This heartwarming tale about a group of misfit children who swear like sailors and are being coached in minor league baseball by a functioning alcoholic may not be the best bedtime story for your kids.

  • Labyrinth (1986)


    Yes, Jim Henson cowrote and directed this fantasy adventure for kids, but there's a lot more to this movie than puppets. A teenager, wanting to be relieved of the burden of babysitting, wishes for her baby brother to be taken away by the Goblin King. She then has to battle her way through disembodied hands, weird bird creatures with detachable heads, and 40-year-old David Bowie (as the Goblin King Jareth) who wants to marry her, to get him back.

  • Dark Crystal (1982)


    Another Jim Henson creation, Dark Crystal certainly earned its name. Devoid of lovable Kermit the Frogs and Fozie Bears, the puppets in this fantasy epic are scary enough without the dark story lines to animate them.

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  • Return to Oz (1985)


    Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. This Disney sequel to the classic Wizard of Oz story isn't exactly singing scarecrows and lions lacking in bravery. Instead, Dorothy's adventures take her to a gallery of heads, demonic talking rock monsters, and creepy bicycle-human hybrids called the Wheelers who threaten to "tear Dorothy into little pieces."

  • Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)


    Whether it's deserved or not, clowns and circus carnies are already pretty creepy. In this Disney adaptation of Ray Bradbury's dystopian novel, a traveling carnival straight from the stuff of nightmares rolls into town. With clowns playing a funeral march, a menagerie of circus folk pulling child-sized coffins, and proprietor Mr. Dark (a man who grants innermost wishes in exchange for your soul) leading, this parade will haunt your dreams long after it's gone by.

  • The NeverEnding Story (1984)


    An adventure into the world of imagination seems like a charming idea, but there are outright terrifying elements to this boy's journey. From a bloodthirsty animatronic wolf to a horse that drowns while his young master looks on helpless, this movie is just upsetting. Even the film's sidekick, a skeletal half-dog half-dragon, is pretty unnerving -- and this creepy cast of characters may have kids hoping this story draws to an end sooner rather than never.

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  • All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)


    The animated film followed a con artist dog who returns to earth after being murdered by the mob. The questionable morals of its lead canine are only compounded by Disney-like song breaks with lyrics including, "I need Brazil/ The throb the thrill/ I'd never been there, but someday I will/ Adventure and danger/ Love from a stranger/ Let me be surprised."

  • Gremlins (1984)


    This is the movie that invented PG-13 ratings. The furry monsters are adorable, until you get them wet and they try to kill neighborhood children. These pets-turned-monsters were homicidal, suffered gruesome deaths, and helped fuel little kids' nightmares in the '80s.

  • Watership Down (1978)


    Don't be fooled by the fluffy animated bunnies. Watership Down, the '70s adaptation of the famous novel, is the story of a group of rabbits trying to find a new home, but their journey is filled with a lot of blood, violence, and graphic deaths.

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  • Little Monsters (1989)


    Whereas Pixar's Monsters Inc. helped alleviate children's fears about the "monster under the bed," this late '80s movie starring Howie Mandel as a leather jacket–wearing monster did just the opposite. Confirming fears that, yes, monsters do live under your bed, they love to scare you, and you can in fact turn into one if they get you, this film may not be the best strategy for getting the kids to sleep at night.

  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)


    The half-animated, half-live-action Disney crime comedy featured a lovable rabbit as its star -- but even framed for kids, the movie still maintained some adult elements of the genre. In addition to gun slinging gangsters, violence, and murder, the film is dripping with sex with its busty animated vixen Jessica Rabbit and lines like "So tell me, Eddie, is that a rabbit in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

  • Hocus Pocus (1993)


    With three goofy, fumbling witches, a full moon on Halloween night, and curious but ingenious child protagonists, Hocus Pocus has the makings of a great kids' movie, except for one thing. In order to return from the dead, the witches need a virgin, a major plot point revisited several times in the film. Unless this movie puts a spell on your little kids, it may also raise some awkward questions.

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  • Grease (1978)


    Grease has become a classic with songs we all grew up singing (wella wella wella huh!), but this movie musical dealt with some pretty grown-up topics. With songs about sex, abortions, and some questionable dating strategies, this may not be the best sing-along for younger kids. (It could be conversation starter for older ones, though.)

  • The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)


    Based off the popular '80s toys, which were themselves a send-up of the wholesome Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, the Garbage Pail Kids were not exactly role models. The havoc-wreaking, chaos-loving "kids" featured memorable characters like Valerie Vomit, Foul Phil, and Windy Winston (we'll give you a hint, he wasn't really into the weather, except maybe from his own ecosystem).

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)


    Long before Michael Bay got his hands on the mutant reptiles, they starred in their first live action film in the 1990s. Sure, the pizza-loving turtles may have taught us the names of Renaissance artists, but the movie, despite its box-office success, drew ire for its copious violence.

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  • Jaws (1975)


    Steven Spielberg's classic film adaptation about a Great White man-eating shark roaming the waters of a New England resort town was somehow rated PG when it came out in the '70s. Let alone ruining your kids' summer trips to the beach, that movie still makes us leery of the ocean now as adults.

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