Top Five: Scariest Kids'-Movie Good Guys

Categories: Film and TV

Owl bait: Mrs. Brisby in NIMH
Plenty of films have been released over the years that were geared toward the whole family. And yes, a lot of those films featured villains that were far, far too scary for their otherwise innocent subject matter (the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, anybody?). But many of those films actually went a step further and featured good guys who were just as scary, if not scarier, than any of the villains. Here are some of the most skin-crawling cinematic protagonists from the annals of family-oriented film.

5. The Watcher in the Woods
Disney's first attempt at that unique '80s trope, the family-oriented horror movie, wound up with mixed results. A decent story and a great performance by Bette Davis was marred somewhat by cheesy acting from the lead character and a confusing ending. The theatrical ending wound up so confusing, however, because test audiences didn't like either of the original endings. You've had a few decades to watch this damn movie, so please don't complain about the following spoilers: The movie revolves around a creepy patch of woods that everyone thinks is haunted, but the haunting turns out to be the result of a bizarre transporter accident courtesy of some apparently incompetent aliens (really) resulting in the disappearance of a young girl. Well, in the original ending, one of the aliens showed up, and holy shit. Look at that thing. All it did was teleport the movie's heroine up to some kind of stasis dimension where she was able to free the disappeared girl before promptly returning, but with the way it moves, sounds, looks, and shocks the bejeezus out of a guy, kids would've thought it was taking that girl away to skin her alive. Even when the thing returns her, we would have suspected she was now an alien doppelganger, and mere seconds after the credits rolled, her face would have exploded into an array of twisted alien mandibles which she would use to feast upon her former family. Now, clearly the thing was supposed to be kind of scary (it's a horror movie, after all) but it wound up way scarier than intended, which is why the makers of the film left it on the cutting room floor. As creepy as the alien visitor is, though, it's not as creepy as the returned "girl," who looks like Corey Feldman in drag.

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