Top 5 80’s Movies That Traumatized Me As A Child

I grew up with 80’s movies which means a couple things:

  • I still get inspired to work-out by the training montage in Rocky IV
  • I thought quicksand would be a bigger threat than it ever really was
  • I think (in certain situations) Greed is Good
  • I believe Tim Curry is one of the most versatile actors in movie history
  • The saddest movie moment I remember is the passing of Optimus Prime

Having said that, the 80’s gave us some of the most horrifying movies that a kid could ever sneak downstairs to watch on minimal volume after his parents fell asleep.

Obviously, a list like this is extremely subjective with factors such as personal experience, age of exposure, environment and so on.

My wife’s most traumatizing 80’s movie experience was when my mother-in-law introduced her to JAWS by telling her “Don’t worry, it is just a fishy-movie.”


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#5 Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

Pop Quiz: What is creepier than a clown? If you answered anything other than “multiple clowns,” your answer was wrong!

(Unless you answered “A mime.” But since a mime is really just French mute clowns, they don’t count.)

Before Tim Curry or Bill Skarsgard taught us to fear clowns as Pennywise, there was this gem of a campy cult classic: Killer Klowns from Outer Space!

You knew it was gonna be scary because, other than maybe some Nazis, who the heck spells “Klowns” with a “K” anyway?

I still can’t go to a circus…

#4 Pet Sematary (1989)

Pretty much any movie with “Based on the novel by Stephen King” in the beginning credits could find a home on this list, but Pet Sematary was a special kind of terrifying.

The scene where 2-year-old Gage got ran over by the truck made me think twice about ever crossing a street for years. And now that I have a 2-year-old, with complete disregard to eminent dangers around him, who attempts to sprint away from me at any given moment, the scene terrifies me even more…

#3 Child’s Play (1988)

To a kid that had a Teddy Ruxpin in the house, the original Child’s Play movie was nothing short of terrifying!

I was aware that Chucky has appeared in multiple sequels, but I was unaware that there have actually been a total of 8 Child’s Play movies and a TV series!?!

Fortunately, we never had a “My Buddy” in the house growing up. If we had, I wouldn’t have been able to close my eyes for years…

And for anyone who ever plans on throwing a Chucky Party…because…reasons…

#2 Return To Oz (1985)

There are times where I’m like “Man, Kathleen Kennedy is the worst producer of sequels in Disney history,” but then I remember that someone named Paul Maslansky produced this dark sequel to the movie masterpiece, Wizard of Oz.

Then I’m reminded that Kathleen Kennedy is simply the worst producer of sequels in Disney history still working today.

“Zero consistency from movie to movie? Brilliant! I can do that!”

The story for this dark, ill conceived sequel is basically that no one believed Dorothy’s story about her time in Oz, so her family had her committed to an insane asylum for electrotherapy. (yes, you read that correctly).

Eventually, she makes her way back to Oz only to fond out it had been violently conquered by someone named the Nome King. Welcome to this beloved children’s musical sequel kids! Sweet dreams tonight!

Well, that’s not terrifying…

I’m not sure what happened in the movie after that because my mother took me by the hand and walked me out of the theater. That was in 1985 and I have had zero desire to watch any of the film since.

My parents are frugal (ok, cheap) so for her to walk out of a movie she paid for is saying something. Her only regret was not walking me out sooner because apparently I kept her up all night crying from nightmares.

I would love to be a fly on the wall in the pitch meeting at Disney studios when a writer pitched this plot and Maslansky responded with something like “Well nothing screams ‘Children’s Movie’ quite like watching a child subjected to electro shock therapy in a mad house!”

Out of curiosity, I looked it up and on a $28 million budget, Return To Oz returned $11.1 million (with a good portion of that coming overseas). I couldn’t find any data on how many ticket sales were of repeat purchases.

#1 Pulse (1988)

Pulse is probably the least well known movie on this list, but anyone who has seen it never forgot it!

The film’s title refers to a highly aggressive and intelligent pulse of electricity that travels along above ground power lines to terrorize a California suburb one house at a time, either driving the homeowners mad or killing them.

The ‘Pulse’ has the ability to weaponize everything from the garbage disposal to massive power surges to the outlets. I am in my mid 40’s and I am still frightened to mess with the pilot light on my hot water heater after the hot shower scene from this movie (but not ‘Hot’ in a good way…).

Can a young Joey Lawrence and Mathew Lawrence protect their father and step-mother from this invisible terror?

Dude, they had a Cobra Terror Drome!

Surprisingly, Pulse scored a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Honorable Mention: The creature in the ear scene from Star Trek II

Star Trek II: The Wraith of Kahn was undoubtably the greatest film of the entire Star Trek franchise. However the scene where Kahn puts the mind controlling insect thingy’s into the ears of Checkov and Terrell was cringe worthy.


Which movies would make your list? let me know in the comments below! And, as always, all Likes, Comments and Shares are greatly appreciated!



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