Our childhoods are littered with films that, for whatever reason, were in many ways equally as terrifying as their R-rated counterparts. Around Halloween, it’s always fun to revisit these movies and think about the times when Disney took a dark turn and parents were a lot more lax about what they let their kids watch. Here are 10 creepy cult movies, box office bombs and genuine hits that were probably a lot scarier than they needed to be.
The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985)
Claymation already is and always has been disturbing to me. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with Gumby, and I didn’t want to know. The Adventures of Mark Twain doesn’t seem that creepy on the surface, telling the story of such beloved characters as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as they meet Twain himself, who’s on an airship to meet up with Halley’s Comet (which was a big deal in 1985 when this was released, as the comet became visible to the naked eye the following year in a once-in-a-lifetime event). So far, so good. But anyone who saw the film as a child knows there’s a disturbing scene based in part on Twain’s story “The Chronicle of Young Satan” in which a headless suit of armor carrying a mask claims to be the devil himself and capable of easily wiping out humans (“People are of no value,” is his existential response to smooshing some clay people). It’s always good to make sure that children learn life is futile early on. Read an interview with director Will Vinton here.