Time for the final installment in my scariest kid's movies series! Here are the other two parts:
Part 1 - http://www.retrojunk.com/article/show/5104/terrifying-moments-from-kids-movies-part-1 Part 2 - http://www.retrojunk.com/article/show/5107/terrifying-moments-from-kids-movies-part-2
I'm sure there were lots of other movies that freaked me out when I was a kid that I've either forgotten or mentally blocked since they were so terrifying! The first one was kind of pegged as a horror comedy I feel like. The second one probably wouldn't scare most people but.. hey, I was scared of A LOT when I was a kid! I'm planning on writing about Are You Afraid of the Dark for my next project. There were lots of episodes that I really remember, some just because they were so cool, others because they were so scary! But anyway, moving on with this article... Enjoy!
I used to be scared to watch this movie, but after finally growing out of it, it became must-see viewing for me around Halloween (or anytime I'm in a Halloweeny mood! Who says I can only enjoy it once a year?). It spawned a Saturday morning cartoon and brought the old song "Day-O" into the forefront of pop culture! So much so that on the DVD releases, at the very beginning, when it's showing the companies that produced/distributed it, Geffen even has their own version of Day-O playing in the background. I think that song and this movie have a 1:1 relationship now! Maybe instead of Day-O, it's now known as "that Beetlejuice song"? There was another little-known song that I remember from this movie, and it's since been added to my iPod. "Shake shake, shake senora, shake ya body line! Shake, shake, shake senora, shake it all the time!" And, much to my delight, I found someone who used their audio and video wizardry to create a long version of the song in front of "Dante's Inferno", the local brothel in Beetlegeuse's model. Check it out!
Ahhh... I love music.. but we're here to talk about HORROR! Well... horror in a kid's world! This movie was about (Spoilers, skip if you haven't seen it.... all 2 of you :-)) a couple, Barbara and Adam, who have died and haven't yet crossed over to the afterlife, so they're haunting their old house. They aren't having any luck scaring the new homeowners, the Deetz's, away (guess that's what happens when 99% of the people in the world aren't "strange and unusual" and can't see you), and they end up recruiting help from the ghost with the most, Beetlegeuse (not a typo.. movie was Beetlejuice, his name was Beetlegeuse!). On to the scares!
The House After the couple has somehow found themselves back at their house, they don't realize what's happened to them. They warm their hands by the fire (they fell from a bridge into the river below in their car), when all of a sudden Barbara's fingers catch fire. She doesn't hurt, and they stare at it, then she blows the fire out, and they stare at each other like "WTF?". They realize something is wrong, and then this foreboding tone plays and we see their house now looks like this!
Between that and Gozer's rooftop in Ghostbusters, I had a few different ideas of what Hell could look like! If I walked outside my door and saw that, I'd walk in, look at my wife, then say "Yeah... I think the world's about to end...... or already has." Later, as Barbara starts to realize what's happening, she gives Adam a really cool visual that made me shiver:
The horse is floating! And Barb and Adam's reflections are non-existent! AHHHH!
Sandworms! After the strange fireplace incident, Adam decides he needs to retrace his steps and return to the store where he'd been earlier in the day in hopes of trying to understand how they got home. He walks out the door and once off the steps, he finds himself in a desert world, with sand as far as the eye can see. He's clearly confused (can you blame him?), and he hears this strange noise and sees this giant porpoise like sand creature approaching him. His wife grabs him and pulls him back, and though it's only been 3-4 seconds as best we (and he) can tell, lets him know he'd been gone for hours. Mind fuck! Later in the movie, the sand world is revisited a few times, and we finally see what that strange creature in the sand was....
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! SANDWORM! What a hellish looking creature that thing is! With it's lifeless eyes on it's FIRST head, then this evil, velociraptor looking SECOND head with crazy sharp jagged teeth and a little tube of a tongue coming out of the first head! AYE! Pretty sure I'd just die is I saw that in front of me!
The Hauntings The Maitlands have come to grips with the fact that they're dead, and annoying urban yuppies are moving into their beloved house, already starting to destroy and renovate stuff. They don't know what to do, but then Adam has an epiphany - they're ghosts! They can scare the new people away! And here's how they do it....
CLOSET GHOST! Barbara finds her way into one of the closets in the house and ties a noose around her neck and hangs herself from the rack bar.
For starters, hanging scenes have ALWAYS freaked me out, even today! Mainly because they're just these lifeless bodies, eyes open, swaying in the breeze... it's freaky. I don't think I could've tolerated seeing any public hangings back in the day.... I could watch beheadings and such with no problem, but hangings? Aye. So this already had me freaking out. But, they weren't finished... after the camera is focused on her lifeless body for a few seconds, she makes it even more horrifying....
OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! GROSS! SICK! NASTY! EWW! EYEBALLS! And, those who have read my other articles know how I was with this.. SKELETON! This scene made me cry, I'm pretty sure. I think I saw this one before the Goonies (not really sure), but either way, I think this is what painted the picture of my bug-eyed pirate skeleton in the Goonies (see my first article) in my mind. Just look!
BRUTAL MURDER! After recovering from the closet scene and pulling together all my courage to watch the rest of the movie, it only took another minute or two before they had me cowering in fear a second time. Charles Deetz (dad) opens the door to his office, and we see THIS!
WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Off I ran again! Keep in mind, this movie was rated PG. My, how times have changed. I think I even remember hearing an f-bomb in a PG rated movie, and I'm pretty sure I remember seeing some boobage in a PG or PG-13 rated movie in the late 80s too. Sure, there wasn't dripping blood or anything, but his head being held up and looking butchered at the neck was pretty nasty in itself! It wasn't until after Charles just walked right past them that they realized their problem wasn't NOT being scary, but the fact that nobody could see them! They sure succeeded at scaring the hell out of me though!
The Other Side After Barb and Adam have given up trying to scare the Deetz's, they consult their "Handbook for the Recently Deceased". Adam ends up finding out how to cross to the other side, so he draws a door on the brick wall in their attic, knocks three times, and it opens with an eerie green glow.
Once inside, they're in a waiting room that can count among it's patrons a witch doctor, a charred, burnt skeleton, a hunter with a shrunken head, a woman with her bottom half on one side of a couch and her top half on another, and a surfer with a shark on his leg.
(SKELETONS! GRAHHHHHH! WHYYYYYYYY?!)
While the skeleton definitely freaked me out, this was actually one of the few skeletons when I was a kid that I at least cracked a smile at, if not laughed at.
Even now that makes me laugh. I'd love to explain why it's so damn funny to me, BUT!.......... I can't.
After their number is called, they make their way into the back. But, not without yet ANOTHER skeleton!
It's just chillin', typing away. But yet that was enough to scare me! They're then making their way towards the appointment room with their caseworker when a screen flies up next to them, and another scene that left me horrified plays out on the screen.
The Lost Souls room. Eerie green! But then, the figure itself is all decomposing and nasty looking too! This was a scene that, after seeing for the first time, I would always look away at. I'd wait until I heard the screen pulled back down, give it a few seconds just to be safe, THEN look back at the screen.
They finally meet with their caseworker, Juno. She's not very scary herself, but it freaked me out when she made her grand exit.
WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.... pretty sweet now!
Beetlesnake! After the infamous Day-O scene, Barb and Adam decide, against Juno's and their better judgment, to try to get Beetlegeuse to help them scare the Deetz's. Well, he shows up, and damn if he doesn't do a good job of scaring them! Along with them, he scared ME to death too! Delia Deetz (mom) is walking along the stairs, and the handrail all of a sudden starts to feel weird. She takes a look down at it, and it's scaly. She looks confused and frightened, and we see the form Beetlegeuse has taken!
Again with the jagged, vicious looking teeth! And this time they added wicked snake eyes and a rattler too! He causes mayhem in the house, dropping Charles on his head from the top of the ceiling and giving everyone, including Barb and Adam, the fright of their life. Yet these punks STILL don't move!
After such a vicious and scary scene, let's lighten the mood a bit. What article regarding Beetlejuice is complete without a table dance? Not THAT type, pervs!
Simma' down nah! SIMMA! (Woo SNL)
Seance/All Hell Breaks Loose! Towards the end of the movie, Otho is leading a seance to try to rid the house of Adam and Barbara's ghosts. The scene is set, and the whole family gathers around the table reading from the Handbook for the Recently Deceased. The ritual starts, and Barbara, then Adam are taken from their comfy seats in the attic and forced to appear in front of the Deetz's. Here we go again with the eerie green light! Except this time, they're in their wedding clothes! This scene was particularly terrifying to me because it combined two polar opposites of life - getting married and death. It was very unsettling to me. Plus, while they first show up fresh faced, as the ritual continues, they start getting more and more decrepit, and even start to appear like they're decomposing. It made me cry and cower at the same time, especially with Lydia's reaction and near tears as she yells "STOP! YOU'RE HURTING THEM!" It was very jarring.
Lydia, in desperation, talks with Beetlegeuse and asks him to save them. He agrees, under one condition - she has to marry him. Backed in a corner, she agrees, and Beetlegeuse goes to work. After clearing out most people from the room and saving the Maitlands, it's wedding time. He gains a captive audience (literally) by turning Delia's sculptures into possessed, living things!
Yikes! After that, I was weary around ANY sculptures that looked like they could become mobile and get me! After they've trapped Charles and Delia, the fireplace morphs into a twisted door, and this weird, creepy little dude appears and begins officiating.
Throughout the ceremony, Barbara keeps trying to yell out Beetlegeuse's name, hoping to say it three times and send him back to "the other side". He stops her each time, first by breaking her dried up zombie jaw off , then with a zipper, and finally with a piece of metal screwed onto her face!
That messed with me so much because, being the overanalyzer I was, I imagined the kind of pain that would be involved in getting a metal plate screwed into your face, and it freaked me out. Plus, it looked weird. The record holder for horrifying face/mouth stuff for me has to go to this girl in the Twilight Zone movie!
AHHHHHHHHHHH! That segment was one of the lighter ones of the movie, but between that and the weird Tasmanian Devil that came out of the TV, even that one left me on edge. Aye.... But, regarding this dark wedding that was happening, the day is saved when Adam rides a sandworm into the house and eats Beetlegeuse! Yay! All is happy and well! And Delia turns her experiences into a work of art, producing this nasty looking thing!
IT'S BACKKKKKKKKKK! But, what a great movie. One of my favorite Halloween movies for sure.
Ahh, Labyrinth... as I mentioned in a previous article, I feel like this and The Neverending Story were the big two fantasy masterpieces of the 80s. But, this one took it to 11 with puppets! They were EVERYWHERE! Different types, scales, level of detail, and so on. It was pretty impressive. It's sad to think that these kinds of movies probably won't be made ever again due to CG... but, who knows, maybe the industry will surprise us. But I doubt it... This movie also had such an amazing soundtrack. It was another one that I played in my car by myself with the windows up, but man did I love it.. Dance, magic dance... Dance, magic dance... put that baby spell on me..... Ahhh, memories. The main character, Sarah, is a girl who likes to embark on flights of fantasy. She's not at all grounded, actually. No matter how bad things get, she can turn to her stuffed animals, her stories, and so on. But, she's not completely happy with how her family life is going. One night, her parents leave and she's left in charge of her little brother, Toby. He's not really doing anything except being a baby, but that's enough to irritate and annoy Sarah... not the ideal mother. So, that night, she wishes for "The Goblin King" to take him away, and, much to her surprise, he does! Sarah then goes on a journey to save her brother. On to the scary stuff!
The Story and Kidnapping Toby is crying (a baby crying? What a jerk!), and it's driving Sarah crazy. So, she starts into a fairy tale, complete with evil step mothers and greedy little brothers. The atmosphere is already pretty scary, as a major storm is sending booming thunder and crashing lightning outside. The way they film her as she tells the story and the music totally drew you in. All of a sudden, it cuts to a group of goblins sitting in the dark and waiting on her to say "the words". These little things are creepy!
The story continues and the storm gets more and more intense, and it keeps cutting back to these guys waiting in the dark! It does lighten the mood somewhat, as there's the dumb goblin that doesn't know what's going on and they're talking to each other. But, finally, Sarah says "the words", and Toby, crying a second earlier, is quiet.... She looks in the bed..... AND... HE'S GONE! AHHHHHHHHHH! We're shortly after introduced to Jareth (David Bowie), and he's doing an amazing crystal-juggling routine. However, it's not all fun and games, as he says he's taken Toby to his castle, and Sarah has to go get him. Here are a few cool clips from this sequence:
The goblins in the room as she tells the story
Jareth crystal juggling
The Tunnels Sarah has been making progress through the labyrinth, but she's now met some more weird characters - two guards with a riddle for her to solve!
They have a bit of back and forth conversation, and Sarah thinks she's solved the riddle, as the door opens. She happily walks through, cooing about how it's easier than she thought, and falls through the ground! AHHHH! Fortunately that isn't the end of our baby-obsessed heroine though. She's saved by... what else? "Helping Hands!"
Now... I realize they're helping hands, and they're doing what they can to save her (and they have extremely impressive coordination to be able to make all those faces!), but all my kid brain saw were decomposing zombie hands from all the dead bodies stuck on the wall! AIYEEEEEEE! And then they started talking too! OY! They didn't sound particularly intimidating... but still, zombie hands from bodies on the wall making faces and talking freaked me out! Plus, if you just do a search for "hands from hell" you'll find a multitude of pictures along the lines of this:
Looks AWFULLY similar wouldn't you say?! I don't know what painting I'd seen that in prior to this movie, but that's what I thought of when I saw this scene. Freaky! Here's the full clip:
She finds herself in a dungeon, and meets her companion for the remainder of the movie, Hoggle. They talk about how people are dropped in the dungeons to be forgotten.... but Sarah eventually convinces him to help her escape. While leaving, we find that Jareth has been keeping an eye on Sarah and her new friend. He appears and talks to Hoggle, and after their exchange, we're introduced to the masochistic, heinous, gore-TASTIC CLEANER!
This thing just looked like it was meant to chew up ANYTHING in front of it, be it debris, or SARAH! And they added to the suspense because this cleaner appeared while they were trapped in a tunnel with no escape! The foreboding and paniced music was playing, forcing you to be like "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" as it got closer...Closer.... CLOSER! Then it's on them! But PHEW! They manage to bust through a wall and save themselves at the last moment..... Here's the clip
(Broken YouTube Link Removed)
Also, as an aside... if you've looked over some of my previous articles, you may recall that I was a HUGE ninja turtle fan. I dunno which I saw first, but all I know is I always thought of the module from TMNT whenever I wasn't freaking out about this scene:
After their amazing escape, they start exiting the catacombs. And that's when our next freaky scene happens... there are faces etched into stone! I couldn't tell you why this freaked me out to be honest. Maybe it's because they had deep voices, and one of them kept saying "BEWARE... BEWARE....." in a very monotonous voice.
After passing the stones, Sarah and Hoggle were back in the outside world! They continued on their journey.
Stick Creature Thing! This is just a snippet - at one point, Sarah is going through the labyrinth and we're introduced to another character, Ludo. I won't spend much time on him, but he's basically a gigantic teddy bear with wicked looking teeth and horns. He's been captured by some of the labyrinth guards, and they've got him tied up and are torturing the poor thing! And the thing they're torturing him with?!
Eek! That thing is like the chestburster alien after a fresh chest bursting! With piranha teeth... could also be a demon fetus.. or a weird hairless wrinkly reptile of some sort.... whatever the case, it's ugly! DAMN ugly! And it freaked me out! They sat on the tops of sticks and chomped away at whatever was in front of them! I'd be scared to death if one of those things came after me! But, all of the above, as freaky as it was, was nothing compared to the scene that we witness later.... these.... ABOMINATIONS... called.. Fierys!
YES these things deserve caps, bolds, big fonts, EVERYTHING! These things genuinely freaked me the fuck out. They're these seemingly innocent bird looking creatures that hang out around a campfire, dancing, just wanting to welcome you to their area and be friends... but as you spend more time with them, next thing you know, *shudders* they're pulling each other's body parts off and reassembling them into twisted, sick, sadistic Frankensteins of fiery body parts! Throwing their heads at you! Their legs dismember themselves from their bodies! They set themselves and each other on fire! They gouge their own eyeballs out and eat them! They use their legs as golf clubs to swing at each other's decapitated heads! Then they try to pull YOUR head off! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! JUST LOOK!
When she finally manages to escape from them, things only get worse, as they chase after her yelling "LET'S TAKE HER HEAD OFF!" The pics don't do it justice.. here's the vid
These things seriously scared me to death. I was terrified that they'd kill me and then rip my body parts off and play with them after I was dead before burning all my various parts and pieces and eating my eyeballs. Hey, a kid's imagination can run wild with this stuff! And they even tried to pull Sarah's head off, so you KNOW they've got the will to do so! EVIL FIREYS! Of course, years later when I was on a nostalgic trip and bought the soundtrack, I had forgotten the scene, and just looooved the Chilly Down song. Then I watched the movie again and was like "Ha... I remember these things.... they used to scare the shit out of me..." So you know I was scarred lol.
The Gate Guard As Sarah, Hoggle, and their other companions make their way into the goblin city, they're progress it brought to an abrupt end when a giant gate is shut on them. Things were looking pretty dire for them, but then, it got much more intense. The two doors of the gate actually had two halves of a giant guard on it, and once closed, the giant steel goblin guard came to life!
Giiant steel goblin of death! And as if that wasn't intimidating enough, they even gave him those damn glowing red eyes of my nightmares!
A fantastic battle unfolded, and finally at the end, Sarah and company were triumphant. Here's the full scene:
It's been a lot of fun reliving all these scenes from my childhood! I'm sure there are a lot I missed, but these are movies that are considered classics these days, so I'm sure EVERYONE who visits this site has seen the majority of these (probably all of them!) From comments on my other articles, it sounds like I wasn't alone with a lot of these movies and scenes. Good to know!
Feel free to share some scenes that got you!
On to the next series... thinking Are You Afraid Of The Dark episodes! Orrrrr Tales From the Crypt... or both! Or something else! There's no telling where my mind will wander to...