Growing up in the 80s and 90s with (a LOT of) older siblings, I didn’t really get to watch a lot of kids’ movies. Instead, I was “forced” to watch scary movies when the parents were away and as much as I’d like to say this helped me grow into a stronger person, I have to admit that I’m really more of a wuss now because of it.
To this day, my coulrophobia is INTENSE and I still have a mini-fear of talking dolls, corn fields and long hotel corridors. (The good news is that newer horror movies no longer scare me…?) If you want to get scared out of your wits, try scheduling a movie night and watching these older movies. They may not have any fancy graphics, but the story lines are great and some of the scenes are sure to stick with you for life.
11 Scary Movies That Scared the Hell Out of Me as a Child
11. Children of the Corn (1984)
Kids have never been so creepy. Based on a short story by Stephen King, ‘Children of the Corn’ is about a religious cult of kids who think that anyone older than 18 years old has to be killed. The next time you pass by a corn field, you won’t be as excited to get out and take pictures anymore.
10. Friday the 13th (1980)
There are so many sequels and remakes and spin-offs of ‘Friday the 13th’ now, it’s hard to keep track. However, the first movie came out in 1980 and tells the story of a bunch of teenagers who all get murdered one by one by a guy in a hockey mask as they try to re-open an abandoned campground. I think this is the only ‘Friday the 13th’ movie I really liked.
9. Halloween (1978)
‘Halloween’ also has a bunch of sequels to it, but unlike ‘Friday the 13th’, I liked quite a bit of the movies in the ‘Halloween’ franchise. I also thought Michael Myers looked much scarier compared to Jason. The first ‘Halloween’ movie came out in 1978 and was an indie horror film about a guy who murdered his teenage sister when he was just 6 years old. He was sent to prison for 15 years, but eventually escapes to find new victims.
8. Pet Sematary (1989)
Also based on a novel by Stephen King, the title of ‘Pet Sematary’ pretty much gives the whole movie away. Maybe this is why we never had any pets in the Rodriguez household…
7. Omen (1976)
‘Omen’ hits especially close to home for me because I am, in fact, an Ambassador’s daughter. In the movie, the American Ambassador adopts a child when mysterious deaths start surrounding him. This movie also has a remake, but that’s not really surprising
6. Hellraiser (1987)
This guy may look funny now, but even when I re-watched this movie recently, I still found it brilliant and downright chilling. The movie revolves around an unfaithful wife who meets the zombie of her dead lover and tries to help him become human again. The film is based on a novella by Clive Barker.
5. The Shining (1980)
Put the stellar writing of Stephen King together with the brilliance of Stanley Kubrick and you’ve got an epic movie in ‘The Shining’. Jack Nicholson is an absolute revelation in this movie as he plays the role of Jack Torrance, who takes a job as a caretaker in a hotel… until he becomes possessed by an evil presence there.
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Freddy Krueger is one of my favorite iconic horror movie villains, regardless of how silly he may look to today’s generation of movie goers. In ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’, several people are hunted by this creepy killer who kills people in their dreams. Unfortunately, everybody has to sleep sometime!
3. Child’s Play (1988)
This may not be as scary for adults, but watching this as a child was almost traumatic and it put me off talking dolls for life. Even now that I have my own kid, I don’t let her play with dolls that need batteries to make them giggle, laugh or speak. Basically, a guy transfers his soul into a Chucky doll and that doll starts killing people. It’s scarier than it sounds and is the reason why I loved ‘Toy Story’ when it first came out. It sort of ‘lightened the Chucky load’, so to speak.
2. The Exorcist (1973)
If you would ask me what the scariest scene in ‘The Exorcist’ is, I wouldn’t even know what to respond. Even watching it now, the movie is amazing and it’s iconic and it will haunt you for a long time.
Since I still have an intense fear of clowns because of this movie, I can’t even Google an image to add to this last movie. If you’re not scared of clowns, then you probably never saw this film. In that case, you should see it now. Maybe it’ll help you understand people like me who cry and run when clowns are even merely in the same vicinity.
Which movie scared you the most growing up? And did I miss any good ones on this list? Sound off in the comments section!