The most beautiful stage in life is without a doubt the innocence of childhood. That time where our curiosity is awakened to the maximum and we capture images, emotions as well as moments that contribute to our growth.
But, in most cases, it is at this stage that we develop insecurities and fears caused by simple things like darkness or by some traumatic event or scenes observed on the big screen that leaves us marked forever.
Whether the emotion is fear, anger, sadness, or betrayal, these classic films of the 90s managed to ruin our childhood and they have scenes that are surely burned into the souls of all who viewed them at the time.
These are not bad movies. Not by any means. In fact, I went out of my way to find actual good movies that everyone will remember and love. If any of these are on your watch list, you may want to skip them because there are spoilers. This is a list of
90s Movies That Ruined Your Childhood
The Lion King (1994)
You know what scene I am talking about. It’s not only a scene of betrayal, hatred, and death. The death involves the father of the protagonist. You know the one that every kid watching this movie was relating to.
Scar’s betrayal was frightening enough, we are then provided with the sad scene of little Simba trying to revive his father’s carcass so they can go home together. This scene really moves the heart of anyone and makes me think about Disney’s habit of leaving orphaned children in its films.
How many kids watched this at the time and spent the entire car ride home thinking “My daddy is going to die.”? All of them, that’s how many.
The Witches (1990)
One of the more chilling kid’s films from 1990 is The Witches. It consists of a series of adventures between a seven-year-old boy and a group of witches who commit creepy spells, especially on children.
It is natural that the witches in such a movie would be scary. But this flick ups the ante. The witches are bald, with strange eyes, misshapen hands, square feet, missing fingers, and a sense of smell for the scent of children.
And the worst part is, they walk around like regular people. The transformation scene makes this way more horrifying than if they were just walking around like witches from the begging. If you have not seen it, think “Werewolf in London”, except 10 times more realistic and scarier.
Toy Story (1995)
One of the scenes from the first Toy Story installment was truly terrifying to younger viewers. While older kids and adults would overlook the scene, Sid’s homemade land of misfit toys is nightmare-inducing.
Sid the destroyer of toys, with his killer instincts, has an army of disembodied and reassemble toys. While most are pretty tame, there is one that stands out. There is a scene that not only includes a jump scare, but the toy doing the scaring is a hairless doll head, missing one eye, and has the body of a mechanical spider.
Like I said it would appear pretty tame to most, but I’m sure there were kids in 1995 that were losing sleep over this.
It’s a work that definitely marked the childhood of many of us. Matilda has good and bad scenes that made us laugh and made us whimper in fear.
The main antagonist (Miss Trunchbull) was a typical strict teacher, with a love for cruel and unusual punishments. There are several scenes that struck fear into the heart of kids.
There are so many scenes to choose from, that range from throwing kids out windows to medieval-style torture devices. The role was played so well that even her presence in a scene or the sound of her voice was enough to make a child’s hair stand on end.
Iron Giant (1999)
Overlooked by many, Iron Giant is a classic film of the 90s that is a must-watch. It’s a wonderful film about friendship and the bond between an adventurous child and a curious 100-foot tall robot.
However, the ending of the film is very emotional. The city is at risk and the Giant makes the ultimate sacrifice to save his friend and his people.
While the true danger of a nuclear missile may have been lost on most kids, the loss that happened there was understood and remembered by all.
The Secret Garden (1993)
Another often overlooked favorite, The Secret Garden was a bit of a tough movie to watch when you were just a kid. It starts with Mary an orphaned child whose parents died in an earthquake.
But wait it gets better. She goes to live with her Uncle, who spends much time away. So she is taken care of by the mean housekeeper. She eventually finds a frail sick child locked away in one of the mansion’s many rooms.
While no one scene takes the cake in this movie, there is an ever-looming presence of gloom and despair that is enough to make most kids feel sad. As depressing as it is, it makes the underlying theme of positivity and hope shine that much more in the end.
The Addams Family (1991)
The Addams are characterized by being a “kooky” gothic family. I love the Addams family and think this movie does an amazing job of bringing the humor and creepy together to replicate the magic of the original series.
That being said, the comedy might not be enough to hide the underlying dark tone for some. The scary Addam’s Family house, graveyards, severed hands, guns, swords, and electric chairs just to name a few of the highlights.
Without the comedy, this could easily be a horror movie. In fact, this would be the perfect movie for someone to make one of the fake trailers by splicing scenes together in a deceptive way. Addams Family as an actual horror movie is something that is long overdue.
The original Jumanji was an awesome movie. In hindsight, I do not believe it was scary at all, but a quick search on the internet proved me wrong. Hundreds if not thousands of reports of kids not even making it 20 minutes in. Nightmares on only the very first scene?
I had to go back and watch the beginning for myself. I was shocked to see the comments in the YouTube video back up my research. Everyone who watched this as a kid was scared stupid. While I find it a bit hard to relate, I can understand why younger kids may have been frightened.
The scene where Alan is sucked into the game is a little scary, but the screams of Sarah make it deathly frightening. Good job for such a young actress, she seemed genuinely terrified. Top it off with a swarm of bats and I can understand why some kids wanted to call it quits right there.
Ok, so it may seem obvious that a movie about killer spiders is not for kids. But you wouldn’t know that by the marketing. The trailer makes it look tame, with John Goodman as a bumbling exterminator. They even labeled it as a “Thrillomedy”, and with a PG rating, it seemed like a perfect family flick. It wasn’t.
Unlike the Addams Family, the comedy here was not enough to take away the fear provided by the deadly arachnids. In fact, the laughter probably stopped for most kids after the first spider encounter. From there each encounter got more and more terrifying.
I was 12 at the time and not a timid kid by any stretch of the imagination. This movie scared the crap out of me. To make matters worse, we watched it at a drive-in, in the dark, outside, in a field, that in my mind was full of spiders (and probably was). As horrible as that sounds this is probably one of the best movie memories of my life.
My Girl (1991)
This gets the final spot for a few reasons. My Girl is an example of some of the best quality cinema in the 90s. It is about the sincere friendship of two children: Vada, obsessed with everything related to death, and Thomas, allergic to just about everything.
Through its dialogues and antics, the film managed to make us all fall in love, but nothing could prepare you for the ending. Thomas dies from an attack by bees while trying to retrieve Vada’s ring.
First, let’s talk about the bees. While most kids will have a natural fear of bees, after seeing this, they will have a lifelong deathly fear of anything that remotely looks like a bee. And I really couldn’t blame them. Death by bee was likely a schoolyard myth to many until this movie came along.
Second, is the actual death of the main character. While everything was done with class, the ending with Thomas in his pitted coffin is enough to make a grown man cry. If you were are kid, you didn’t stand a chance.