Blind Spot 34: Scream

As I was planning my blind spot picks for 2018 I wanted to challenge myself with a few picks and step outside my comfort zone. And no pick did that as much as this month’s pick Scream. Directed by Wes Craven, Scream has become an iconic slasher film which went on to inspire 3 sequels and the Scary Movie spoof series.

scream3

One of the interesting things about Scream is it is not just a scary movie but it is a critique of the horror genre. There are many references throughout the movie both visually and in the script to classic horror franchises like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Halloween. Unfortunately since I am a newbie to the genre a lot of the references were lost on me, but I can see why many fans really enjoyed them.

The story to Scream is simple. A man in a scream mask (called Ghostface) is calling teens, talking to them in an increasingly chilling manner and then stabbing them with a knife. Most people are probably most alarmed by the killings in the movie, but to me, the phone calls were the creepiest part. It is especially chilling in an opening scene with Drew Barrymore when the caller is giving her movie trivia to keep her and her boyfriend alive. That was pretty scary!

Most of the violence is done with a wink and isn’t especially scary. It’s more meant to be fun and silly. It’s not the kind of thing I am going to get nightmares of because it is very over-the-top.

scream2

Neve Campbell plays a girl named Sidney who is hesitant to give up her virginity because of her Mother being murdered (and raped I think) a year earlier. Her boyfriend Billy struggles with her choice but seems to respect it. There is also a sheriff (David Arquette), a reporter (Courtney Cox), a principal (Henry Winkler) and friends (Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Jamie Kennedy, and more).

The last act of Scream is a bit chaotic for my liking. I prefer the opening scene with Drew Barrymore over the messiness. It’s  much scarier when tension has time to build and bubble up until you can’t help but respond. The never-ending mayhem gets tired even as it is increasing in violence. The only thing that really creeped me out (or grossed me out) in the last part is a death involving a garage door.

scream4

But that said, Scream is an enjoyable film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It has a winking sensibility to it and while I think I would enjoy it more if I knew what the jokes were referencing it still was a fun enough ride.

Of course, Scream is rated R so it won’t be for everyone but if you are up for a light-hearted slasher movie (such a weird description but it’s true) than this is the movie for you! I’m glad I saw it even if I don’t think I’d ever watch it again. Always good to get out of your comfort zone!

Have any of you seen Scream? What do you think of it and its sequels?

smile worthy

Advertisements

Watcher in the Woods 2017 Review

I’ve always said if you are going to remake a movie pick a flawed movie that has potential. Then you have something to improve upon. The 1980’s Disney film The Watcher in the Woods is a good example. The original is entertaining but it is saddled with bad acting and cheesy dialogue. A new version aired last weekend on Lifetime Channel and it does make some improvements to the original. Unfortunately it also makes odd choices that made it less interesting as a narrative.

Spoilers below

If you want to hear my thoughts on the original film here is my review:

The biggest improvement the new film makes is in the acting. Tallulah Evans is a serious step up as Jan. She is beautiful, expressive and a much better actress than Lynn-Holly Johnson. She also looks like she could be Britt Robertson’s doppleganger.

I honestly thought all the acting was better in this new version. The little girl was better. The boyfriend was better. The parents were better. You get the idea.

Anjelica Huston is about as good a replacement for Bette Davis as you could cast. Unfortunately she’s not in the movie near as much. I wonder if they only had her for a few days of shooting? It feels that way. Still she makes good work of the scenes she is in and elevates the film just as Davis did. You feel for her as this wounded mother and yet those big eyes are terrifying.

The story of Watcher in the Woods focuses on a family that moves into an old house with a weird old woman living in the guest house. Years before the woman’s daughter Karen went missing and ever since the woods nearby are full of creepy goings-on. As the family lives in the house, the mystery of the daughter starts to unfold putting them all at risk.

The problem with the remake is it takes this basic premise and makes it very conventional. Where the original made strange choices, that added mystery in this version you see everything coming a mile away. For example, in the original the teens make a conscious choice to hold a seance and experiment with the occult. Then Karen is taken by an alien known as the Watcher. Even though the acting is hokey this is interesting because it was their choice to become involved. It’s hard for Jan and crew to figure out what happened to Karen when it is shrouded in an eclipse with the occult.

In this new version the Watcher is a puritan doctor who was killed by townspeople because they feared he had the plague. Now he stalks the forest waiting for the townspeople to recognize him and the work he did. This is less interesting because it is a monster movie. There is no sense of mystery at why the students had the seance and what Karen was all about. She’s just an innocent girl who was taken by a monster.

There were other little things that were less interesting. Like when the glass shatters it is a cross instead of a triangle. This is probably a nitpick but to me a triangle is more unusual. What does a triangle mean? Where it is obvious what a cross means. Another example is the ‘Nerak’ scenes aren’t as interesting. In the original the little girl randomly writes Nerak backwards before anyone knows about Karen and names her dog Nerak. This is more interesting than writing it on the window 30 minutes in and then waking up and screaming the the name once the investigation has started. It doesn’t leave you as the viewer asking questions which is part of what makes the original scary. This new version has family friendly scares but it’s not as thoughtful a narrative as the original. Oh well.

All that said, if you are looking for a family friendly horror movie you could do worse than the new Watcher in the Woods. It’s a pretty bland movie but it does have good performances and some scary sequences. It’s a little frustrating because with just a few changes it could have been special but it’s an okay watch.

Just barely smile worthy.

My friend AJ did a podcast comparing the 2 films

Get Out Review (No Spoilers)

get-out5Today I got the chance to see the new horror film from director Jordan Peele called Get Out. This film has received much praise and currently has a 100% rating on RottenTomatoes.com, which is very rare. I’m not the biggest horror fan, but I like good movies so I decided to give it a shot, and I’m glad I did.

get-outGet Out stars Daniel Kaluuya, as a black man named Chris who is dating a white woman (Allison Williams) named Rose. She is taking him to meet her white parents and he is anxious about any prejudices they might have. She reassures him they are progressives who would vote for Obama a third time (as if that means you aren’t racist!) and they head off.

get-out2Once they arrive, her parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) are liberal yuppies just like she’d described but there’s something strange going on…

get-out3I won’t tell you any more so that you won’t be spoiled. Suffice it to say Get Out does a good job weaving together traditional horror tropes with pointed satire about racism and modern white and black fears of each other. It’s something I will definitely want to see again to pick up on all the clues, messaging and moments I missed the first time (my brother was with me and he noticed a lot more than I did).

I must admit it was refreshing for me as a conservative to finally see the parents weren’t rich Republicans but liberal yuppies. Yep, they can be racist too. It was a nice change of pace, and I think made the satire a bit more subtle and biting than it might have been otherwise.

get-out4That’s not to say Get Out is a masterpiece as a 100% might imply. I found the introduction to be pretty slow going and I was beginning to wonder if this was super over-hyped. Then it picks up and becomes very entertaining.

My only other caveat is it’s not that scary. If you are expecting a horror movie that makes you jump and gives you nightmares this isn’t it. It is pretty bloody but everything that happens is a bit over the top (hence it being a satire). In general, horror movies that are very realistic are the scariest for me. For example, Norman Bates in Psycho feels like a real man who could be working at a dumpy hotel and everything he does is fairly pedestrian like how he kills, buries the car etc .Things that happen in Get Out are not realistic in that way. (I hope that is cryptic enough for you!)

I think there are a couple places they could have made it a little more realistic and not sacrificed humor and made it scarier but it’s nitpicking. You kind of have to go with it and for the most part I did.

As far as content it can be bloody and there is some strong language to be aware of. Probably for mature teens and adults only.

Overall Grade- B+

Hidden Gem- Something Wicked This Way Comes

something-wickedOver on my youtube channel I have been doing a Disney Scares month for Family Movie Night. With October being a 5 Monday month I decided on Black Hole, Watcher in the Woods, Frankenweenie, Something Wicked This Way Comes and Dragonslayer. It’s been particularly fun to watch these films from the 80s that hardly seem like Disney films at all. Watcher in the Woods has some questionable acting but the rest of the production is fantastic. Black Hole ended up being more of a sci-fi movie than horror but I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of a good episode of Star Trek more than a horror movie like I was expecting. But this Sunday I will post my review of Something Wicked This Way Comes and spoiler alert I LOVED IT!

Rarely do I watch a movie that excites me as much as Something Wicked This Way Comes did. If you like Stranger Things than rent this film. I think you will really love it. It’s not hokey fun like Watcher in the Woods but just chilling and thoughtful and extremely well acted.

something-wicked5Something Wicked This Way Comes is based on a novel by Ray Bradbury and it focuses on 2 boys named Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade from a small isolated town where everyone knows each other. The boys are a bit rebellious but there is also an innocence to them. They are instantly likable without being too adorable child-actorish. Will is particularly interesting because his father is an older man (Jason Robards) who worries he can’t play ball and be there for his child the way he wants. To me it was interesting to have a parent more insecure about his child than the child. Usually in most movies it’s the unaware, workaholic parent and the damaged child.

something-wicked3The movie does a great job setting up insecurities of many of the townspeople. The school teacher who was once beautiful. The storekeeper who lost limbs in the war but was once the town football star. These aren’t just cliches but characters we grow to care about in their brief screen time. They all have this mixture of innocence and darker desires that the movie explores.

something-wicked6
Then one day a carnival comes into town- something wicked you might say! This is ran by a man named Mr Dark who is played brilliantly by Jonathan Pryce. This is the kind of role that Tim Burton would muck up with exposition and a tragic backstory. Not here. We get very little about him, which makes him unpredictable and scary.

something-wicked-this-way-comesThe carnival at first seems like an innocent diversion but it of course is not. I don’t want to give away too much but it was so surprising. Each step of the carnival was both a temptation and curse. Some things like a carousel which can change your age appear very appealing but as always is the case there is a price to be paid. The trailer says “never whisper your dreams” and that is such a good tagline for this film. Dreams are where we are often most vulnerable.

something-wicked-2What was so great is not everything was explained and I’m sure someone could point out plotholes and inconsistencies but we are dealing with dark magic here. It really worked. There are some incredibly chilling scenes with everything from psychological scares to creatures in the night. Some scares were even quite devastating like when Will’s Dad is confronted with his insecurities as a father or the school teacher in her lost youth. I cried which is saying something in a scary movie.

Everything works in this film. The cinematography by Stephen H Burum is perfect mixture of Americana and Burtonesque carnival scenes. The music by James Horner is quiet when it needs to be. The sets and special effects held up and were scary and the acting is top rate. Jason Robards, Jonathan Price, Diane Ladd, Pam Grier, and all the small roles including the boys Vidal Peterson and Shawn Carson are all fantastic.

I loved this movie. I mean loved it. It builds tension so well and draws you into the story and characters. I just wanted to give you guys a heads up if you are looking for family appropriate Halloween fare to check this out. It is definitely one of Disney’s most hidden gems.

I will go into more detail on my youtube review on Sunday but trust me on this one. It is a fantastic film. Have any of you seen it? Were you as impressed as I was? Let me know in the comments. Thanks

Corpse Bride Review

This post was previously published on my column at ldsblogs.com.  I would love if you all checked out that column and maybe added a comment or two.

Welcome as we get a little spooky here on Family Movie Night!  It is October after all! So in honor of the season we are going to talk about Tim Burton’s 2005 film The Corpse Bride.

During this time of year many parents ask themselves a question about how dark is too dark for their children to see.  I know when I was a child there are 2 films that really scared me and they were both Disney films.  The first was Disney’s Return to Oz- an ugly, mean spirited film where Dorothy gets strapped down and give electro-shock therapy (and that’s before she even gets to Oz!).   There is also a queen that has a hallway with heads that she scalps from people and wears when she wants a new look.  Ah the nightmares.

The other movie that terrified me was as odd as it might sound- The Rescuers.  It is an extremely downbeat, sad film from Walt Disney with a little girl who is kidnapped by a horror of a lady and forced to go down in a dark cave all by herself.  There is very little hope for Penny and at one point she is told nobody will ever want to adopt her.  Geesh Disney!

So those were two films that scared me but there are many kids who like both those films.  So how do you know as a parent?  It’s really tough.   My advice would be you simply have to look at the kid in question and see how sensitive they are.  Also what kind of scares does it have?  Is it a ghost story or does it take on more weighty themes?  What’s the overall tone of the film?  Many of my favorite scary movies like today’s choice actually have a very sweet innocent tone but they are set in a scary world.

267130-corpse-brideIn the end it is a touch call for a parent but I think you know in your gut what your kid is ready for and can handle.  Go with that.

That said, let’s talk about Corpse Bride.  This is a really fun ghost story told with stop motion animation and in a mostly black and white Victorian world.   Our main character is Victor who is being forced by his parents to marry a woman named Victoria, who is also being forced into the arranged marriage.

However, the two betrothed meet and find they like each other and don’t mind getting married. Unfortunately, Victor gets nervous and goes into the forest to practice his vows.  In so doing he puts a ring on what he thinks is a twig but in actuality it is a woman in spiritual limbo named Emily, or in other words- the Corpse Bride.

With a ring on her finger Emily thinks her and Victor are married and swoops him off to the Spirit World where we get a terrific song called Remains of the Day. I love how in the Spirit World the colors are more vibrant, even fluorescent in hue.  It feels like a different world than the Victorian one we’ve seen so far.

Victor of course still loves Victoria and he doesn’t know how to get himself out of the situation.  Emily also is a sweet soul who has the best of intentions but also gets her feelings hurt quite easily.  They are pretty well developed characters for this type of film.

Corpse-Bride-1The story is somewhat predictable but the visuals are so lovely creating a scary yet fun mood.  The cinematography by Pete Kozachik moves through the city feels effortless and smooth.  He even came up with a new way to use digital still cameras when filming stop motion.  There also aren’t any dead zones where I am bored or wondering what is going to happen.  I think that is the good thing about stop motion animation- it is so laborious to do there are rarely any wasted scenes.

My favorite part of the movie is the great Danny Elfman music.  He is particularly good at packing exposition into the songs while still making them catchy and easy to sing along too.  As I said, I particularly like Remains of the Day but Tears to Shed, According to Plan and The Wedding Song are all beautiful.  I also think Victor’s Piano Solo is one of the best instrumental solos I’ve ever heard in a movie.

To see the rest of Rachel's reviews, click here.
To see the rest of Rachel’s reviews, click here.

Overall it is a satisfying ghost story with a nice heart to it, beautiful visuals, and great music.  I would be curious to know how your kids react to it and if it is too scary for them.  Please put it in the comments what they think and if you have any suggestions for picks I could use in upcoming weeks I would love to hear.  Let’s get some comments going!

Goosebumps Review

goosebumpsI think I should start off this review saying I have never read a Goosebumps novel; although I was certainly aware of them.  They became popular when I was in or nearing high school so I missed the target age group for the series nor would I have been interested in them regardless because I didn’t like scary stories as a little girl.

So I can only speak about the movie and not any relation to the books.  If you want to read a review by someone who has read the books check out my friend AJ’s review here.

Over all I’d say the Goosebumps movie was a pretty entertaining film.  I think it did what Pixels was trying to do but was too stupid to pull off- give an 80s style movie with creatures chasing our heroes around with humor mixed in.  (Some say it has a 90s nostalgia but to me it felt more like Gremlins, Ghostbusters, The Burbs- movies like that from the 80s).

goosebumps6It’s pretty simple story.  Basically Goosebumps is about high schooler Zach (Dylan Minnette) who moves with his Mom (Amy Ryan- who was also in Bridge of Spies) when she becomes vice principal at his school.

The house next to theirs is a little creepy and there is a girl named Hannah there who seems to have an overbearing maybe even abusive father.  At one point Zach calls the bumbling cops over because he hears Hannah screaming.

goosebumps3It turns out Hannah’s father is reclusive author RL Stein and he has all of his scary stories carefully guarded and individually locked.  Zach and his friend Champ (Ryan Lee) unlock one of the books and  the creature from the book comes alive and tries to kill them.

goosebumps7Then a character called Slappy, the dummy, gets awakened and he unleashes all the characters and burns the books so there is no way to get them back without Stine writing a new story that does just that.

goosebumps5Basically the rest of the movie is the group getting chased by one creature and then another until the final showdown at the high school.  But it is all done with enough charm and humor that I was entertained.

One does have to wonder if Stein knew this could happen why not have the story already written ready to go just in case? But I’m overthinking it.

A lot of the credit to the films success goes to the 4 leads.  Jack Black is really funny and a little creepy as RL Stein and I really liked Ryan Lee’s Champ, who consistently made me laugh.

goosebumps12It’s definitely pretty scary but I think it is always in a spirit of fun and there is no doubt they will all be okay so I don’t think most kids will have a problem with it.  The dummy Slappy was the scariest of the creatures.

goosebumps9Some of the special effects were good and some could have been better like the wolfman I thought looked particularly cheesy.

goosebumps10It also looses some points because it starts to feel a little repetitive.  Despite tons of creatures being released, most of the time it is everyone in the town frozen and the 4 leads getting chased by one creature, they outwit that and then another appears, and the cycle repeats.

It might have been nice if for one of them they had to use their brains, one had to run fast, one had to be strong etc like some of the challenges or creatures in Harry Potter. Or if the 4 leads had each brought something different to the table but they pretty much just all run around screaming from one threat to another.

goosebymmps11That said it’s funny enough and the action keeps going fast enough that I was entertained.  I think kids that like this kind of thing will really like it, and I don’t think adults will be miserable watching it.

Like I said, it could have very easily gone down the Pixels route but, this is so much more entertaining.

Dylan Minnette and Amy Ryan in Columbia Pictures' There is also one part in the ending I didn’t really buy but it is spoilery so I wont’ say anything.   I did also like the relationship between Amy Ryan’s Mom character and her son Zach.  They seemed like believable Mother-Son team.

Did you guys read the books?  Are you excited to see this?  I’d be curious to know what you think and if your kids find it too scary.

Overall Grade-  B-

The Visit Review

the visitYesterday was a very sad day for me at the movies.  I was going to see the Iron Giant special release and went to the Draper theater instead of The District and by the time I noticed it  I was too late to make the film. 😦

I had my popcorn and icee in tow and not wanting to just leave I decided to go see The Visit. My brother really liked it as well as some friends and I have been trying to expand my movie comfort zone a little bit with a few more scary movies.  So I guess take this review with a grain of salt because it after all wasn’t Iron Giant…wa, wa, wa.

So what did I think of The Visit?

Well, I thought it was a thoroughly generic predictable horror movie.  I am not the most versed in the genre but I could predict everything that was going to happen.  And of course because it is M Night Shyamalan we get a big twisteroo that was  so obvious even for him.  So no I wasn’t really a fan.

There are some good things about it.  First, the performances are all fine.  Most of Shyamalan’s movies have fine performances.  The two kids are particularly good with Olivia DeJonge as Rebecca and Ed Oxenbound (from Alexander Terrible Day).

the visit4The Visit is also much tighter than the typical Shyamalan film.  There are no speeches and philosophizing and thank goodness he doesn’t cast himself in the movie (I’m talking to you Lady in the Water).   This may be Shyamalan’s tightest film with really no dead time where the story isn’t moving along.

But just because something is better than garbage doesn’t mean it is good.  I’d rather watch the transformers movies than watch most of Shyamalan’s films and that’s saying something.  I’d sit through Nut Job, Legends of Oz and Hero of Color City before watching The Last Airbender or After Earth again (those were the 3 worst animated films of 2014).

I feel like a lot of people are giving The Visit a pass because it isn’t as bad as The Village or The Happening.  I’d agree with them but if it was Johnny Movie Man making the film I think 90% of critics would be giving it a lower score as a generic predictable horror film.  I mean is it really as good as The Conjuring or something like that?

the visit3I don’t want to give any spoilers away but basically the film is about 2 kids that go for a visit to see their grandparents.  Their mother is estranged from them but they want to see the grandkids.  She sends them off without showing them a picture.  Don’t you think a mother who is estranged from her parents would want to show the kids a picture of the parents?  Especially if they are getting on a train and having to meet strangers?  I found that highly improbable.  And if things were so bad between mother and parents with no pictures or physical contact wouldn’t she have them watched out for by a friend of hers from high school or something like that?  It all seemed hard to believe.

But fine accept that the Grandparents seem lovable at first but then weird stuff starts happening and at first they discount it as old people stuff, but it keeps building to a point where they really should be asking more questions and seeking help.  We also find out where the Grandparents volunteer each week, which I won’t give  away because it gives away a lot.

the visit6The thing with most horror movies is that characters get signs to leave or get out of the house and then they make the wrong decision every time.  This movie is no different.  The ending is tense but the kids had so many opportunities to leave and they keep going back for another interview or another discussion that it defies credulity even for children.

the visit5The other bone I have to pick with this film is it is shot in found footage style which is annoying but also makes no sense to the story.  There is no way the Grandparent characters would allow the filming to take place or participate in it.  It doesn’t make sense with their characters or personality traits in every other way in the film.  The found footage also causes a lot of telling rather than showing and it just makes the whole movie seem so unbelievable. I understand they shoot films this way because it is cheap but it comes off looking just that and again it doesn’t work with the characters and story we are being told.  It would have been so much better if it  had been shot like a regular film.  I haven’t been a fan of Shyamalan’s films but he usually shoots them adequately.

So that’s why in the end the movie felt really stupid to me. The characters behaved in nonsensical or stupid ways and the story didn’t really make sense or was completely obvious so not very scary (and I get scared pretty easily).

the visit2Like I said, I really feel like people are giving this a pass because it isn’t as bad as Shyamalan’s other films but is it really good?  I guess if you like generic predictable horror movies than this is for you.  As for me I thought it was lame but then again I was expecting to see Iron Giant so take it for what it’s worth. Sigh…

If you want to be scared I think The Gift is much better.  It is still creeping me out when I think about it.  It’s way more realistic, surprising and scary with really good performances.

Overall Grade- C- for the good performances and tightness of story.

Top 13 Disney Scares

Halloween is coming so it seems only appropriate that we talk about some Disney scares! This is not limited to the canon although there are a few movies with scares I have not seen or have not seen in a while, so this is by no means definitive.   It is also not necessarily the scariest movie just scenes.  Make sure to read my piece on Darkness in Disney to see where I draw the line on good scares and too much for kids (and me. I’m a wimp!).

Some of these are more funny scary than terrifying scary if you know what I mean.

13. Bear- Fox and the Hound- I have an animal phobia so the look of this bear is enough to give me the creeps!

bear

12.  Night on Bald Mountain- Fantasia- I mean it’s the devil and his minions with power and fury.  Not terrifying in a jump scare kind of way but in a ‘better repent now’ way…

on bald mountain

11. Snow White Forest Scene- Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs– Snow White holds up extremely well including this scene when she is spooked in the forest.  I think most of us can relate to that feeling of being watched and that the trees may stretch out and grab you!

snow white scared

10. Headless Horseman-  Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad- The story of Ichabod is the perfect ghost story for kids.   It’s dark and scary but not too scary.  Enough to make them feel excited and giggle but not give nightmares.  I couldn’t find a great clip but look at the face of the horse.  That should tell you something!

horseThis imagery with the pumpkin and the horse with the red eyes.  That’s pretty scary stuff!

headless2 headless

9. Crazy Donald-  Fun and Fancy Free-  Crazy Donald is Disney’s version of The Shining.  I mean he goes completely insane, axe wielding and all.  Best part of Fun and Fancy Free by a long shot.

tumblr_lmp8mwNWNI1qfuepw Get this duck some food!

8. Mob Song- Beauty and the Beast- Think the delusions of crowds and mass hysteria is most terrifying thing of all than Mob Song from Beauty and the Beast is the scare for you!  The thing that makes this song particularly scary is the way it escalates and it actually feels like there is little hope for our friends.  How can they defeat the entire town? It is also scary because Gaston has reached full madness.  He couldn’t get what he wanted and pride made him snap.  That is a very human villain.

mob song

7. Syndrome- Incredibles- One of the most human villains in all of Disney and that’s what makes him so scary.  I mean he has the whole family captured and nobody knows where they are.  He’s bitter and resentful but clearly smart.  The voice performance is chilling.   He even tries to take the baby at the end!

Syndrome_Close_Up

6. Kidnapping- Great Mouse Detective-  If this scene were with people instead of mice it might be too much for me.  It is really scary and certainly starts the film off with a bang.

5. Remains of the Day- Corpse Bride-

(Found out this is not a Disney!  Oh well.  It’s still scary!)

This is more funny than scary but it  is a great song and ghost story.  I love the  brilliant animation.  If you listen to the tale  it is pretty grim stuff. ‘At the end of the day we are all remains of the day!’ Kids will probably laugh but be a little scared too. I love it!

maxresdefault

4. Incinerator Scene- Toy Story 3-  This is a scene that is not scary in the traditional sense like Remains of the Day or the Headless Horseman.  This is scary because it really feels like they are all going to die.  My nieces were all very upset by it.   I mean they get awfully close to that incinerator!

3. Heffalumps and Woozles- Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh- I had to pick either Pink Elephants on Parade or Heffalumps and Woozles  because they are very similar.  I went with the latter because it is aimed at smaller children which makes it bolder and scarier. Also I think the song is scarier in the lyrics and way it is sung.  Pink Elephants on Parade is more trippy than scary (same with Alice in Wonderland).  Plus, creepy toys are always effective in scary movies!

2. Boogie Man’s Song- Nightmare before Christmas- a gambling burlap bag of bugs gambles on whether to kill Santa. Yes, I think that makes the list!

1. Pleasure Island- Pinocchio.   Was there any doubt?  This scene is nuts! Pinocchio is a morality tale designed to teach children sin is bad and the wicked are punished.  And boy does it teach it effectively.  I remember as a kid being terrified of the kids turning into donkey scene.  They were bad kids but couldn’t you send them to reform school?  I mean how many donkeys do these salt mines need?

donkeysAs an adult the most terrifying thing about Pleasure Island is the kids stay donkeys!  There is no redemption or forgiveness to the kids.  That’s it.  They are done! And the Coachman is never punished.  Pinocchio escapes and we assume the Coachman continues to rake in the cash. Yikes!

This is a bad clip but it’s the only one I could find with the scene.

13. Honorable Mention- If I was doing live action I would include Return to Oz on the list even though I hate it . It’s too scary, dark and grim.  Not a fan but can’t deny it is very scary Disney!  (I’m also a Wizard of Oz purist.  I love the original and hated, hated, hated, hated every other version that has been made)