Strange Movies I Watched as a Kid

Inspirational? Or just plain weird?
Inspirational? Or just plain weird?

Okay, so I can guess most people my age grew up with their fair share of Disney films, but for the most part I was having none of that. I was a bit of a tomboy and the princesses always getting suckered in by some suave-o knight or prince really bugged me, even at a young age. That being said, Lion King and Aladdin were still staples of my childhood. That’s about as average as my childhood movies get. I don’t know what my parents were on, or if I had learned some secret about where they stored the videocassettes, but by a certain age I was watching some movies that I probably shouldn’t have. Some inappropriate to my age, and some just generally really out there. Some both.

Beetle Juice (1988, rated PG-13)

I love this movie and will defend it to the grave (haha little pun there), but it is definitely not fit for kids. It’s one of Tim Burton’s darker and creepier movies, and in my mind it goes hand in hand with Edward Scissorhands (1990) visually, though the representation of the subject is sort of campy and therefore lighter at heart.

In case you’ve never seen it or just can’t remember, it’s about a couple, the Maitlands (played by an astoundingly young and skinny Alec Baldwin and a radiant as always Geena Davis) who tragically die in a car accident, only to come back as ghosts stranded in their own home. Soon after, a family of uptight city people moves into their home and remodels it to the point that it is no longer recognizable. The daughter, Lydia (a tiny Winona Ryder), is a sweet but morbid teen who dresses all in black and wants to join the Maitlands in the world of the dead. Beetle Juice is a self-serving ghost who wants to screw everything up for everyone.

Besides the obviously morbid themes of the film, the main reason it was weird to watch as a kid was that there was one very clear use of the F-word. I used to cover my ears. Also, there is some gruesome yet comical use of dead people, including a team of football players who were in a car accident, a flattened man who was obviously run over by a car (probably multiple times), a woman whose throat is slit, etc. The Maitlands at one point change their appearances to look scarier, and this honestly should have been very disturbing to me as a kid, but I’m happy to say no ill effects. I still think it’s awesome.

Grease (1978, rated PG)

I don’t know why I watched this movie so much as a kid. Musicals annoy me immensely now but this one I can at least tolerate. I guess something that can be sung along with has a certain appeal to a younger audience; however, this movie is probably not appropriate.

Grease is essentially the story of being in high school in America in the 1950s. If you had never been in high school, the most the movie had to offer was some catchy tunes. Many of the lyrics often went over my head, as well as various references to the characters’ sexualities—some subtle, some not so much. The one line that always got me so confused was Rizzo saying she felt like a broken typewriter, she skipped a period. I always wondered, what does it mean to skip a period? The male characters in this movie are astoundingly horny and occasionally curse and make reference to sex. I picked up on none of it as a kid. I still remember the songs though.

The Brave Little Toaster (1987, Unrated)

I didn’t even realize this movie might have been inappropriate for children until I read this. Even though it is definitely geared toward children, there are some mildly frightening, disturbing, or just plain depressing scenes mixed into the story. I honestly don’t remember any of them bothering me as a kid, but looking back on them now they are pretty intense, especially that clown bit in Toaster’s dream.

There are plenty of things I liked about this movie though. All of the main characters were very interesting and likeable in their own way. I’ll always remember the radio (voiced by Jon Lovitz), the only character without the anthropomorphic eyes and mouth, cheering everyone on by playing Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti.

Overall I’d say this movie might actually be good for kids; the characters face these bizarre hardships but in the end everything works out for the best. There is no actual gore or violence, only a metaphorical representation of violence done against machines rather than people. In a careful way it might be trying to teach hard lessons to children… or it might just be the brainchild of some freak that likes to scare kids. Judge for yourself.

Big (1988, rated PG)

In a way this movie is perfect for kids, and in another way, it totally isn’t. This movie is about a kid becoming an adult, and in order to fully appreciate this change in perspective, you need to know what it’s like to be a kid and an adult. For example, when Josh (Tom Hanks), the kid turned grown-up overnight, gets his first paycheck, he is thrilled by the amount: $187. A coworker (Jon Lovitz) next to him comments, “Yeah, they really screw you don’t they?” As a kid I didn’t really get the humor in this scene, since I thought $187 was a pretty good amount of money, and the phrase ‘screw you’ was not quite in my vocabulary.

Another thing that disturbed me slightly as a kid, and disturbs me way more now that I have the sensibility of an adult, is Josh’s relationship with his coworker, Susan (Elizabeth Perkins). At first they are just friends, which is hard to believe to begin with considering how twelve-year-old boys usually react to girls. Then, they start to become a little more than friends. Josh invites her to ‘sleep over’ at his apartment, and frankly says, “I want to be on top!” Little did Susan know he was referring to bunk beds. Joke’s on her. Too bad kids don’t really get the joke. Later on, the two of them get very intimate. They start to make out and Susan takes off her shirt and Josh cups her boob! Come on man, she’s as old as your mom! Needless to say, this is so wrong.

The Pebble and the Penguin (1996, rated G)

It is now my pleasure to introduce to you the king of all crazy movies for kids, Don Bluth. This man directed All Dogs Go to Heaven, the story of the dirty underground dog crime world that ends in one dog’s murder, subsequent reincarnation and revenge. He directed A Troll in Central Park, which I’ve mostly blocked out, but definitely featured horribly ugly troll creatures, including one that could turn you to stone at the touch of her thumb. And, how could I forget, The Secret of NIMH, which is just downright scary.

The movie of his I remember the best is The Pebble and the Penguin, because I watched it ceaselessly. It has some of the catchiest songs of any animated film I have seen, and it amuses me to no end even at my current age. The weird things about it include anthropomorphic penguins with hands at the ends of their flippers and teeth in their beaks, and a merchant ship called Misery that is stealing away penguins to sell to zoos. Out of all of the films on this list, this one has got to be the healthiest for children. That doesn’t stop it from being weird though.

Gnorga and friends from A Troll in Central Park. Ugly aren't they?
Gnorga and friends from A Troll in Central Park. Ugly aren't they?

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Comments 20 comments

scla profile image

scla 6 years ago from Southern California

These are some great movies from my childhood also. I really enjoyed BIG and Beetle Juice. I can still watch them now and really enjoy them.


film critic profile image

film critic 6 years ago

Great Hub! I am now thinking of my own childhood movie theatre ventures. As kids we only went a few times - Jaws 2, Creepshow, The Boogens (another horror movie,) and a Christmas Story. The rentals were often horror movies as well, so I wasn't phased (fazed?) by the dead football players in Beetle Juice, but loved it anyway.

Also, I've never seen Grease, and can't bring myself to. I feel like if you didn't see it by a certain age, then it's just too late.


girlincape profile image

girlincape 6 years ago from California Author

@scla: I feel like I enjoy those particular movies now more than I ever did before.

@film critic: I haven't seen many horror movies in my life, let alone as a kid! That must've definitely affected your tastes. I remember watching A Christmas Story though. Never really liked Chevy Chase... As for Grease, it's not really worth seeing unless you're really into musicals or 50s culture or you feel like making fun of how cheesy it is.

Thanks for the comments!


film critic profile image

film critic 6 years ago

Hello Girlincape, just to clarify... A Christmas Story is a different movie - not a Chevy Chase movie. It is the one where the father won a leg lamp as a major award.


girlincape profile image

girlincape 6 years ago from California Author

Oops, sorry I totally mixed it up with A Christmas Vacation. Totally blanked. My bad. I don't think I ever watched A Christmas Story but I've heard of it.


hubpageswriter 6 years ago

I have a fun time watching Grease when I was small. Nice hub.


girlincape profile image

girlincape 6 years ago from California Author

Thanks!


Simply Jill profile image

Simply Jill 6 years ago

Grease was a big favorite of mine, and still is :)

Enjoyed this!


girlincape profile image

girlincape 6 years ago from California Author

Thanks! Lots of love for Grease in here!


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

I loved Beetlejuice, I still watch it whenever it is shown on tv. As for Grease, it will always be one of my all time favorites. You picked some great movies. Great job.


girlincape profile image

girlincape 6 years ago from California Author

I was just lucky I had these movies in the house as a kid! I really started setting the bar high early on in life. :P


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

..how about trying another hub called: Kid movies I have watched when I was strange!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

...and yes you do movie review hubs justice with your research and passion for film review .....maybe they should make a movie about your righteous hubs ......

and maybe you could do one about your top ten favorite films - and maybe some paper or online magazine should just pay you to be their next film reviewer ......sweet!!!!!!!


girlincape profile image

girlincape 6 years ago from California Author

I've always been strange ;)

I have an article listing all of my favorite films. It's really hard to limit them to just 10.

Being a paid film reviewer would be nice...


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 6 years ago

Wow, that's quite a list. For a while, I thought me and brother were only ones that were introduced to a lot of weird movies as a kid. Although my mom used to have me watch various disney movies as a child, my father used to have me watch adult oriented stuff that wasn't. Like he had me watch films like "predator 1 and 2", "terminator 1 and 2", "beetlejuice", "heavy metal" (you now the animated film with naked girls and tons of violence), "secret of nimh", "big", and many others. Of course, my mom would always get mad when she found out what I was watching. However, my dad didn't really seem to care.

Although one would think with the amount of sheer freaking violence i grew up with watching as a kid, you'd think i'd be scarred for life, but im not. nah, i just kind of got caught up with the stories, even though I couldn't understand certain parts of them at the time when i first saw them. as far as the nudity goes in some of those movies i listed that i saw as a kid, lets just say that it was a really good thing i got into girls really early as a child to enjoy them. ;) lol. seriously, i was like six years old and i already liked girls by that age. lol. pretty funny, huh? oh well, i guess you can say, i've always been a weird person.

anyways, thanks for the great read and keep up the good work


girlincape profile image

girlincape 6 years ago from California Author

It's good to be weird! As a kid I pretty much refused to watch any Disney movies with princesses, which all the other girls just loved. I think even at that age I could sense how, well, dumb most of them were. I never watched anything with extreme violence or nudity like you did, but I don't have any problem with it today either. Repeated exposure can make you more desensitized than scarred it seems.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 6 years ago

lol. that's cool. yeah, being normal is over rated if you ask me. lol. i know me and my brother joked once where he said if you stop to think about it. almost all the disney animated movies (with an exception to a few here and there), are generically the freaking same. where you have some damsel in distress and the hero swoops into rescue her or kiss her, and they live happily ever after. lol. which if you stop to think about it, majority of the earlier animated disney films were like that. lol.


girlincape profile image

girlincape 6 years ago from California Author

Most of them are totally like that and it annoys me. Also, the trend of the main characters missing at least one of their parents-- that's just weird. So many Disney characters have one dead or disappeared parent. It's freaky.


Christina J. 4 years ago

My favorite movie when I was 3 was the original Nightmare on Elm Street. My mom let us watch scary movies all of the time, I still love them, and it didn't effect me badly. I think there's nothing wrong with Freddy Jason Michael Meyers. The real scaries are the ones based on real life. Ahhh The Brave Little Toaster. I loved that movie too.


Discordzrocks profile image

Discordzrocks 11 months ago from Austin TX

i think you should add Poltergeist

otherwise a likable list, and Beetlejuice is PG

I did something similar to Beetlejuice in my hubs if you wanna check it out

Signed Zoidberg

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