When you're a kid, you're afraid of a lot of silly things. Revisiting Night of the Lepus got me thinking about making a list of various silly things I was terrified of as a child. I thought about making this one of my lists on my Listfauxgraphy page, but I knew this would get too long and I'd want to say too much. So enjoy this here as its own page and have a good laugh at all the things I was afraid of. I'll add on to this if I remember more.
✗Night of the Lepus:
The entire mine investigation scene, but especially the part where the man gets attacked in the shed and the scientist's wife has to shoot at the rabbit with a shotgun.
My second biggest fear as a kid. These things terrified me. I was convinced for some reason that they would somehow appear one day and eat my feet off, especially in a car at night. When I was really little, we had a car that there was a lot of empty space underneath the back seats and I had this fear they would hide in there and if I put my feet down for even a little bit they would get me and eat my feet off. I have no idea why. This fear latest until I was like nearly ten I think, but I pretended I was no longer afraid of them by around age 7. I also had several books and toys from the movie and loved them.
✗Are You Afraid of the Dark? Opening:
Just the opening. None of the episodes were scary to me as a kid. I did a rewatch of the original series recently, and I can see why. Many of the episodes are actually dark comedy rather than "scary" to start with, others somber, depressing tales, and the few intending on actually being creepy for kids just weren't things that me as a kid was ever specifically scared of (but may have been for other kids my age). While I enjoyed many episodes, I'd say no episode in the entire series ever really lived up to the eerie vibe the opening was suggesting the show would deliver.
✗Life with Loopy & Angela Anaconda:
I avoided these shows like the plague. The animation style hit this weird uncanny valley for me that disturbed me as a kid. Regardless of whatever was happening in those shows, they just ended up feeling fucked up somehow. I guess for kid me this was equivalent to what clowns were for some kids. Obviously, I got over this, LOL.
✗Rocs, Thunderbirds, and Terror Birds:
If it's a giant bird, real or folklore, I was probably terrified of it. I was terrified every random plane was a thunderbird, roc, Godzilla, or a T-rex. Terror birds made me afraid that even if I was hidden on the ground from the sky, something birdlike would get me anyway. I knew they were long extinct, but I remember seeing a movie as a kid where some kids go back in time and get chased by one or something and after that I became afraid one day I'd end up back in time or a terror bird would end up forward in time and we'd meet and I'd die. The thunderbird part was made worse as this was one of my dad's favorite things to tell stories about, then one day my mom sitting in for one of his story tellings and was like "oh like those birds at home" and proceeded to tell a story about a flock of giant black birds that would snatch calves from their farm and her adult family members would tell her to hide when they were coming. Then one day they shot one and wouldn't touch it because they were afraid touching it would curse them. Then by the 90s they were basically all gone from land developers from out of country shooting them all. Later, being nosy, I was eavesdropping and overheard my dad asking her about if she made that up or not and she's like what do you mean made up. Don't you have giant birds here too? Did you kill them all here already? And then he was also afraid. But my mom lies a lot, so that's pretty guaranteed to be totally made up.
I used to be afraid, even though I knew he was just a movie monster, that one day I'd look outside and Godzilla would be there and if he saw me, he'd eat me. Vengefully. For looking at him. I also loved Godzilla movies. I was most obsessed with Shisa and Mothra. I'd sing the Shisa song. A lot.
I don't know how this fear started because I don't remember adults really talking about these, but I was afraid for a while as a kid that a rugaroo was going to snatch me out of our car if the car slowed down too much at night and I looked out the window. Because if it saw me, it'd get me and grab me. I refused to keep the windows rolled down at night in the car. Actually, I still don't really leave the windows down at night in a car. Haha, I really do still have this weird general fear something will grab at me through a window in a car, huh?
If a plane wasn't a giant bird or Godzilla, clearly a plane was a T-rex that if I looked out the window, would eat me immediately. I would hide or duck down as a really little kid any time there was a loud plane flying over head. We lived relatively close to an airport then. LOL.
Initially started by a combination of Labyrinth and Little Nemo, I was terrified goblins in the woods would get me. When we'd go out to visit my cousin in the boonies, we'd have to drive for nearly an hour in locations where you wouldn't see a house, store, gas station, or anything else but trees for at least 30 minutes at a time. I thought if I looked outside at the trees too long, I'd see a goblin crew and they'd see me, then steal me. Eventually, I mentioned this to my grandfather and he told me if I called for "good fairies of the forest" to come help me, they'd take me from the bad goblins and then I wasn't afraid of them anymore. That, however, got me worried about bad fairies being out there.
Mostly the goblins, but really the whole movie in general. Everything about this movie terrified and fascinated me. That black goo from behind the door that got the king was so freaky to me. But yeah, the whole movie. Nothing about this movie didn't unsettle me.
Those demonic dog things the most, but the whole movie really. Even most of the "good" characters scared me. And definitely that stop motion two headed dragon. The baby and Willow himself were the only "safe" parts of the movie to me. Everything else, terrifying. My parents and grandparents watched this movie constantly.
I loved black dogs, but was also afraid that one day one of the black dogs I encountered around the neighborhood might be a spirit black dog or a hellhound. I have no idea why, but I was convinced one day a devil dog was gonna get me or the grim was gonna steal my soul. By extension, I was weary of any random dog, regardless of coat color, because it might secretly be the grim in disguise.
Started from a story my dad claimed happened about a friendly horse he would regularly see in his suburban, near urban neighborhood and how it kept trying to convince him somehow to play with it. His grandmother/my great-grandmother told him one day that was a fairy horse that was trying to eat him by tricking him into riding it and then drowning him in a river or lake. I then became afraid of encountering a random horse anywhere as a kid.
I was definitely going to get sucked into the TV if I got too close to it one day, somehow. I had nightmares about this for years, into sixth grade.
✗Ghosts in general:
They were definitely out there and out to get me. As a little kid, I was terrified to see orbs in polaroid photos. I saw a lot of orbs, mostly because I was terrible at taking photos and my camera sucked. I was especially afraid they would come into my room at night and get on my bed or get in bed with me.
They would surely be in my shoes. Actually, I really did find a couple of scorpions in my shoes as a kid. This only made things worse. I haven't seen a scorpion in years though. Where did they all go?
I was afraid, deeply, of encountering one and hearing it and then dying immediately. I have no idea why.
They could be anywhere. And they WILL kill me. I've encountered several in my life, and magically somehow did not die. Crazy.
Adults kept telling me these little spiders would come out of nowhere, bite me, and my whole leg or arm would fall off and I might even die. I, of course, started to fear them. Every adult had a story about someone they supposedly knew who supposedly met some terrible fate from encountering one of these spiders. I worried about these as much as scorpions in my shoes. As I got older and more educated about spiders, I learned that most adults didn't actually know what a brown recluse even looked like. Many of the ones I was told were brown recluses were wolf spiders or other unrelated species. I have encountered them in my life. None of them ever bit me or anyone I knew.
They could abduct me at any time, and take me who knows where and I'll never see earth again!
✗Floating off of the planet/flipping upside down permanently:
If I stare too much at the sky and think about deep space, gravity will release its bonds on me and I will fly away into space and be lost forever. Yes, I really thought this. Similarly, I thought if you stared at the ceiling for too long and thought about how technically there's really no up and down because we're just floating in space and everything is kind of inverted when you think about it that I could somehow flip upside down permanently and would have to walk on the ceiling upside down for the rest of my life. I'd have nightmares about this for some reason.
Similar to the floating off the earth idea, if you stared out at the horizon too long, especially on top of a hill, reality would "break". Instead of floating away, I thought the Earth would start to "stretch out", with the distance between me and the horizon gradually getting bigger until I could see "beyond the illusion" of how close the horizon seemed to see the world and the distance between me and that point at the horizon at its "true" size. By breaking the illusion of its closeness and seeing its true size, I would I would the come to understand the true size of Earth itself and how small I was on it, then how small Earth was next to Jupiter and Jupiter next to the sun and the sun next to bigger stars until the entire universe's true size came into my mind's comprehension. Somehow. I avoided staring at the horizon for too long.
✗Thinking about the concept of time too long will break your own time:
Sometimes as a little kid I'd think about the concept of time and how some time had already passed since I last thought about time and how the me that was thinking about time then was essentially dead but the me that was thinking about time now was alive at the moment but would essentially be dead by the next time I was thinking about the concept of time passing, but all three of those versions of me would have been thinking that a future time would exist where a more future me that would in that moment be present me would be thinking back to times I thought about time passing and a future me looking back to time where other past me's thought about time. And that if I kept thinking about all of this for too long, all the past mes and future mes, and their deaths and soon to come into existence and the fleeting nature of life and that my sense of self itself was effectively always constant but never solid, perpetually changing and dying and being reborn all the time that one day I would break time personally for myself. I would just cease to be within time, banished to some other plane of existence where things were even stranger, but the me that was on earth would still exist, like I would separate from my physical self that would go on living until my natural death and I would be stuck somewhere else in some higher level of existence where dimensions I couldn't comprehend before would be easily accessible and far more frightening and strange than anything I could comprehend in my current mind. I don't know why I was thinking about that when I was like, four, but whatever.
✗Keeping your eyes closed too long will transport you somewhere else:
For some reason, I got the idea as a kid that if you stayed in a dark room for a long time and closed your eyes in total darkness, that you would be transported to another location and may not be able to return. Somehow, I came up with the idea that there was a time limit where if you only closed your eyes for a few minutes, like five or something, in a completely dark place, then you could easily come right back if you opened your eyes and exited the area. I guess I thought it worked like holding your breath under water and then coming back up to the surface or something. As a young child, due to this fear of total darkness in a room+closed eyes for a prolonged amount of time, this was one of many reasons I didn't like going to bed. I never had a night light as a little kid, so I would look out the window at street lights and our neighbor's windows, as they were usually up very late into the night. This "counted" as "light" still existing in my dark room because if I did open my eyes, I would easily be able to see it. So, I would check the lights outside as I was trying to fall asleep. I have no idea where this fear comes from, but it was an early one that carried on into third, but not fourth grade.
✗Rustling in the bushes at night means dinos:
If I was outside at night, I would always worry random rustling bushes in the dark meant that a velociraptor or two were about to suddenly pop out and eat me. I would tell myself that was impossible, but there was always a part of me thinking "but what if someone really did make a Jurassic Park and the dinosaurs escaped".
I thought if I went near any river, there could be a 200ft anaconda snake just waiting in there to snatch me away. All I ever saw were water moccasins and watersnakes. And some gators and crocs sometimes, but they never bothered no one in those places.
The movie itself, of course. This movie terrified me as a child from start to finish. Watching it as an adult is a mostly goofy experience, as the acting is bad and the special effects have not
aged well. Haha.
✗Rattlesnakes and water moccassins:
I was told they were everywhere and could bite me at any time. Piles of leaves in the woods, old abandoned mattresses, fallen trees, a creek, they could be hiding anywhere and will bite me and then I'll DIE because I won't get to the hospital in time. After having so many adults tell me this, I became afraid of them. I've encountered many of these snakes. Much like the kingsnake that can eat either of those, I've encountered plenty of them and never got bit. I've never been bit by any snake, actually.
A mix of adults around me, TV shows, and news media hyping up this not at all a real threat, I would worry when I was outside some days that a swarm of killer bees would get me. I'm actually really allergic to bee stings (and certain ants too), but I was never afraid of any other kind of bees despite that and would try to make friends with some bees. There was this one time in North Carolina on a vacation trip where a bee flew into out rental car and sat with me during our long trip. I had another bee sit with me on my arm for an hour or so another summer at home that I ended up talking to for most of that time for some reason. I have no idea why.
✗Bloody Mary/Ghosts/Monsters in the Bathroom:
If the lights went out, she would get me and cut me up. I'm still afraid of being in bathrooms in the dark, but for some vague "something bad will happen here" reason. I guess this goes up there with the something will snatch me out of the window in the car at night thing. I've been in bathrooms twice where the lights went out. And I ran out shortly after, LOL. If the lights were on, it of course wasn't Bloody Mary. My brain would decide it was a ghost, monster, or a home invader instead. Also coming to kill me. I still sometimes get uneasy in the bathroom alone and check behind the curtains that no one is there. I know no one is, but I check anyways.
My biggest childhood fear, period. They're too big for life. I still don't want to be anywhere near one. I was afraid they could teleport themselves somehow to water parks and drown children and would lurk in the waves at the beach, waiting for people to eat. Oddly enough, I loved sharks and was not afraid of them at all. Sharks were friends. Whales were too big, especially blue whales. I couldn't trust an animal that can get to a size bigger than the biggest known dinosaurs. This goes back to my fear of giant things as a kid, haha.
✗Bottom of the ocean:
Who knows what could be down there! I was afraid of the deepest depths of the ocean as much as floating away into space. They were both too big, too vast, too empty. Anything could be lurking in there. I'd be afraid when I went to the beach, if not some whale out to get me, the ocean itself might drag me in and sink me down to the deepest part of the ocean. I was really afraid any time I stepped out into the water too far, suddenly and out of nowhere, all the sand would disappear beneath my feet and I'd slip down and keep falling, deeper and deeper until my body finally reached the deepest part of the ocean, never able to get back again, in total darkness. Didn't really stop me from playing in the ocean as a kid though.
✗Pool monsters at night:
Something would get in any pool at night and drag you under and kill you. Something humanoid and coming to grab your feet. What's with all the feet attack stuff?! These monsters, of course, vanished at daybreak.
✗Getting stuck inside a water slide:
I'm not sure when this one began, but I think I watched something on TV claiming people had died this way and I started to worry this would happen to me one day. That I'd go down a big waterslide and get stuck somewhere in the middle and drown or get crushed to death or something like that. I avoided really high water slides at water parks as a kid.
✗Monster following you when you're going upstairs:
You know this one. I don't think any of us even know what this "thing" looks like, but you know, it's gonna start coming after you the minute you touch a step and then you have to run for your life all the way to the top. Then, once you reach the top, it is somehow unable to follow you farther. This seems to be a common one for a lot of people. I have no idea why.
✗The dead end down the hill:
For some reason, I thought this one dead end near my house that was on a down hill road had so much evil shit happening on it. Like if you even so much as walked to the end of it, the gates of Hell would suck you in or something. There'd be demons, people would become possessed and monstrous, the sky would turn greener than a tornado sky can get, and the ground would crack open with red flames of evil. Oh, and the grim would show up and eat me, obviously.
✗The Last Unicorn
: I'M ALIVE. I'M ALIIIIVE. Haha, as you might expect, the usual suspects. The harpy, the red bull, and Mommy Fortuna herself. The bull was actually less scary to me than the harpy and Mommy Fortuna. Her death scene lived on in my childhood brain as a haunting memory. "I held you!"
Back to goblins, back to Brian Froud again. I kind of crack up that these days youngsters will argue with you this is a famous movie because it's been a lot more heavily marketed as nostalgia long after the fact, that it must've been super well known at the time and not a cult classic only known to a very particular type of person just because David Bowie was in it. (For those who doubt my claims of its until recent obscurity, tell me, how many other films do you even know that Bowie was in? LOL, you know damn well you can't name them. Yes, I saw someone argue since Bowie was in this it can't have been obscure at any point. /eyerolls hard) Anyway, only during the beginning. The goblins cease to be scary further into the film, but that beginning part was scary to me as a kid. The whole segment of her first entering the labyrinth itself was scary to me back then too. The movie is such a weirdly inconsistent film when it comes to tone. I kind of wish, now as an adult, they'd stuck to the original, much darker script or at least cut that last scene. Even Brian Froud hated the last added scene. Jim gonna Jim. Kind of funny now to think some puppets scared me.
✗The Dark Crystal:
And of course, more puppets. For me, in this film it was the skeksis, the garthim, those bats, the podling slaves, Aughra for some reason, and especially most of all, the Landstriders. YES, GIANT BUNNIES AGAIN. Why the fuck was I so scared of giant bunny rabbits?!! Another obscure film until basically the most recent past that youngsters would probably argue, what, how could that have ever been obscure?! Trust me, it definitely was. Anything outside of Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and Star Wars majorly featuring puppets in any way was definitely an obscure thing. Hell, even The Last Unicorn
was obscure until relatively recently. You youngsters have no idea how "selling nostalgia" has really warped the perception of what was actually popular in the past. Anyways, giant bunnies scared me.
SLIME BENEATH ME MMMMM SLIME UP ABOVE. Hexxus scared the shit out of me as a kid, in particular his more skeletal form. That really
scared the shit out of me. But that "If I'm Gonna Eat Somebody" fucking song also creeped me the fuck out. I couldn't place into words as a kid why that song made my skin crawl, but now that I'm an adult, I think it's because the song feels like a thinly veiled sexual assault metaphor. Maybe that's me reading too much into it...The fairies in this also felt unsafe. And the humans. Everything really. Nothing in this movie felt safe. Fun fact, this movie is how little kid me learned the meaning of the word "vivisection" when four year old me asked about something in the Batty Rap. BTW, the full version of the Batty rap is much more fucked up than what's in the movie.
✗We're back! A Dinosaur Story:
This whole movie is a damn fever dream. Scary moments, of course the Fear Radio! The entirety of the Eccentric Circus segment. When Professor Screweyes nearly gets eaten by Rex. When the crows eat Professor Screweyes. When the kids sign the contract. The fuck was this movie. How does it go from absolute goofy nonsense to some fucked up shit at the drop of a hat? This may have also been the first film I watched as a kid that mentioned the concept of children being beat AND neglected by parents, and referenced by children no less.
✗The Land Before Time:
Sharp Tooth, of course. And the whole volcano segment. Really, the majority of this film feels unsettling. The children are young and never feel safe and you're left with the knowledge that this isn't even abnormal. That's just how nature is.
✗All Dogs Go to Heaven:
The nightmare scene where Charlie's in hell. Scared the shit out of me. I'd have nightmares about Charlie's nightmare.
✗Secret of NIMH:
The great owl, Nicodemus even though he was a good guy, that cat, the humans, the rats, when Nicodemus gets murdered, and so on. This is another one of those movies like Ferngully
, and Little Nemo
where nearly every damn part of the movie, including the bulk of all the characters, felt completely unsafe. Unrelated, but there were way too many girls in my fourth grade class who had a crush on Justin.
NOT UNTIL YOU GET THAT DIAMOND. Ugh, the scene where Penny is in the hole and the water's coming up. Every moment of that scene. One of my top terrifying movie moments as a child.
The couple making their faces all creepy really freaked me out as a kid. And the sandworm, another one of my top childhood fears!! My parents and grandparents loved this movie, so it was constantly on. I never understood what the hell was going on in the movie, beyond it making me both freaked out and really uncomfortable.
No, it wasn't the scary big, red devil. No. It was the attacking and killing of unicorns. Scarred me. My aunt was really obsessed with unicorns, pegasuses, and pegacorns. She would buy figurines of them and paint them. Seeing these beloved creatures of hers in danger really scared me as a child.
✗The Brave Little Toaster:
The whole movie. There's just something wrong with the entirety of this movie. I made a point to never say I wanted this on VHS when asked. I only ever caught this movie on TV, and hated any second I had to deal with viewing it.
✗The Black Hole:
A Disney film meant to compete with Star Wars before Disney just bought Star Wars. Like with most people who've actually seen this old ass film, the only thing anyone remembers about it is the ending. When they actually go through the black hole, This may have been something that increased or started my fear of space-related things.
More cheesy 70s horror. I first saw this when I woke up way too early as a kid while flipping through channels and the first thing I saw was the baby going missing. That scared me more than everything else in the film, for some reason. Maybe because I was much closer in age to a baby then than an adult, IDK. The first go around, after I saw that, I immediately flipped to a different channel! A few years later, I was "haunted" by that scene and wanted to see what the rest of this film was like and what the hell it was even from. Somehow, I caught it again on TV by chance and it still scared me. I was probably about 6 or 7 the first time and around 8 or 9 the second time. I can't even comprehend why this movie was scary to me now.
✗Night of the Twisters:
Ah, this little made for TV movie. It was filmed to air while Twister was in theaters for families who couldn't afford to go to the theater. The book it's based on is actually from the 80s, but the film version makes many changes, some of them clearly meant to make it "compete" with Twister. Three scenes scared me. The first tornado scene. This is the most realistic Tornado scene I've ever encountered in a film. I say that as someone who has lived through a tornado while in a car, in two different stores, outside on a nature trail, and in a house where a tornado dropped a tree through it. I have lived this scene. I thought about this scene in the movie while I was living out something similar in real life. It scared me as a kid, but I hadn't exerienced being in a tornado yet when I saw it back then. This scene isn't scary to me as an adult, even though I've lived through something very similar (trade out baby with pets). Given that the book was based on a dramatization of a real experience, I think that's why this scene works so much for me even now as an adult. The second scene is when the kids find the dead man. This film was presented as an account of a disaster. I'd seen dead bodies in other movies, but this one hit different because of that. It felt too "real", too unsafe. The third was the tornado escape scene at the end when the car gets sucked up into the tornado. It's soooo cheesy looking now, but that scene scared me so much as a kid because it's something that could just happen, you know? The fact that the mom says the name of the family that got sucked up right before we see them get sucked in and we are left to presume they died and these aren't bad people or anything, just really unlucky people who didn't quite make it...that fucked me up so much. This was the most frightening thing to me in the movie and was one of my top most scary scenes in a movie as a kid. Not because of how it looked, but because of what it told me about the nature of reality. This movie and me must living in a tornado heavy area is why I always had a bag prepared as a kid to take with me whenever the sirens or the TV alerts went off.
✗Getting hit by a meteor:
I blame TV shows that would talk about freak accidents and how people just minding their own business would either narrowly avoid death by meteor or were killed by one. Sure was a lot of stuff back then that seemed to be made to make me afraid of extremely unlikely events!
✗There are no people:
I'll wake up one day, and there won't be any people. Anywhere. None. I'll be the only person in the whole world. I'll wander alone, endlessly, forever alone in a state of unchangingness because somehow without people, time won't exist either. It'll always be day. Night will never come again. No more dreams. No more seasons. No more rain. Everything will remain empty and in place, forever. I don't know where this idea came from, but it was common in my early childhood nightmares.
✗Nothing is real:
I'll wake up one day in a hospital and they'll be giving me some medicine for some kind of mental illness or I'll be waking from a coma, and everything I would have lived up to that point and experienced would have all been fake. None of it was real. I'd been dreaming/hallucinating the entire time. I'm sure I got this from some kind of movie or TV show. It's a pretty common idea, but I don't remember what the "source" of this fear is anymore.
✗I am not real:
I'm a figment of someone else's hallucination or imagination or dream, and when they're freed from it, I'll cease to exist. A variant of the previous fear, basically.
A shitty, gross movie from the end of the 80s. I saw it once, and apparently once was one too many. One of my second cousins demanded I watch this with him. It was his favorite movie. When I watched it, the movie didn't scare me. I just thought it was gross, obnoxious, and stupid. Which pretty much sums up what that cousin was like, TBH. However, that night I had a nightmare about going to the monster world. Of course, my dream version of it was significantly more creepy than what was actually in the movie. My mind took that concept and just ran with it to the scariest place it could take it. This made-up location based on the monster world ended up being a regular location in my nightmares until around sixth grade. I don't know why that location inspired so much...after the fact...terror, but it did. Looking at the location in the movie now, I still don't get it. Because what I dreamt about didn't really look anything like that set! Also, as an adult, I gott say this movie is definitely fucking awful.
✗This dream isn't a dream:
I had a fear both in waking and while dreaming I might encounter something so surreal and dream-like, I'll think it's a dream because of that while gradually descending deeper into some unknown, strange but real space. Like entering the Twilight Zone or something like that. And by the time I realize it, it'll be too late to go back. I won't remember how I got there or the path back will be gone and I'll be trapped forever in this scary, other place. Little kid me thought a place like that could always be lurking around the corner, and you could just stumble into it without knowing.
✗The Neverending Story 2:
This was another "most of this movie" type of movie. A lot of people were afraid of that wolf in the first one, my brother included, but that scene never creeped me out. Nothing in the first film did. But the second one? Acid water, creepy monsters like the garthim in The Dark Crystal, a boy gradually losing all of his precious memories, the creepy dragon, both of the boys in this movie having moments where they nearly fall to their deaths, the waterfall, the laser, the evil dragon, one of the boys dying, just the way everything with the evil group in this's stuff looks aethetically, it's the whole movie. Even the good people scared me with their flowy movements and masks. And then there's the dad reading on, unable to help his son at all. Unrelated, but like Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, this movie was also loading with tons of synesthetic "textures" for me. I'd rewatch it a lot just to physically feel how certain parts of the movie look. This also caused a little mini fear of worrying if I made a wish, there was some machine somewhere emptying out my memories, so I better not wish for too many things. I didn't even have an item I thought could cause this, like in the movie. I just though somehow I could be connected to one without knowing it. Very strange.