Traumatizing Childhood Films

I’m still on a bit of a horror break at the moment, but the other day I was reminded of some films that were particularly traumatic for my child self. I was a fan of horror films even as a young child and mostly I just enjoyed them without issues, but there were exceptions – though I did struggle to get this to ten…

SPOILER WARNING – Minor spoilers ahead for some films, but you should’ve seen most of these films by now.

10. The Others (2001)


As a whole, I don’t find the film that scary. I do love it and it is nicely atmospheric, but that scene where Kidman pulls the veil off of her kid makes me pee a little every time.

9. The Ring (2002)


This one’s an embarrassing inclusion because it shouldn’t have been scary, but I was 12 and I had just gotten a TV in my room. It was pretty much just the person climbing out of the TV that got me. I had trouble sleeping that night and it was the last time I was truly scared by a film.

8. Stir of Echoes (1999)


I rewatched this recently and was surprised at how solid a film it was. It did have some creepy moments, but that one where he sits back in the chair and she’s sitting there scared the poop out of me. For quite a while, I had issues sitting in the lounge room alone, and when I was I would only sit on one chair in a certain position so that I had a perfect view of the rest of the room. It was kinda weird.

7. “Rose Red” (2002)


I haven’t seen this since about the time it was released, and I remember it being creepy, but the scene in particular – as insignificant as it may be – was when the dude’s in bed and a hand crawls up behind him and he turns around to find the lovely lady in the picture lying next to him. Like the previous film, it had an effect on how I went about my business. I had a double bed, so would stretch out so it was impossible that something could materialize behind me. Every time the blanket would move funny and it would feel like something touching me, I would panic and think of her (and I still do).

6. “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” The Tale of the Super Specs (1992)


I freaking loved this show as a kid, but there were two episodes in particular that I could never watch without an accompanying feeling of dread. After watching this episode, I don’t think I ever touched another pair of ‘X-ray specs’. And I remember feeling a sense of panic after seeing Muslims in their full dress a few times (I was 5/6 at the time).

5. “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” The Tale of the Thirteenth Floor (1993)


And here’s the second episode. This is also my favourite episode of the show, but holy fecking jesus if those faceless people didn’t make me want to cry. That scene where they’re going up towards them terrified little baby me.

4. Pet Sematary (1989)


It is a pretty creepy film, but Zelda. Fecking Zelda. I’m pretty sure this film was the reason I never touched the Zelda games as well.

3. Campfire Tales (1997)


An uneven – as usual – anthology film, with the best segment still leaving its traumatizing traces with me today. That segment was People Can Lick Too and I have never been able to sleep with my limbs hanging out of my blanket or off the bed. And not so long ago, my cat licked my hand as I was half asleep and I was definitely not half asleep after that.

2. “The Shining” (1997)


I watched this long before I knew it was a remake and it still remains my personal favourite of the two. Ever since I have not only been haunted by the number 217 and have nightmares of the lady in the bath, but I cannot be in a bathroom with a closed shower curtain. If I enter the bathroom and the shower curtain is closed, I have to muster up all my courage to open the thing before I can go further with my bathroom adventure.

1. The Evil Dead (1981)


I was around 6/7. My dad had rented the film. I begged him to let me watch it, he refused but eventually gave in. He, my younger brother and I sat to watch the film. I remember feeling uncomfortable throughout, but remained in control of my bodily functions until the pencil in the ankle scene. I then burst out in tears and couldn’t watch any more. It took me another 10 years to actually watch the entire film.

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