19 Accidentally Scary Movie Scenes That Still Haunt Me

Yes, the horrible “Thumb Thumbs” of spy on kids will be discussed here.

Hello, my name is Luca and I watch too many movies! Today I want to talk about moments in movies that weren’t ~intentionally~ disturbing, but definitely are.

From weird special effects to unsettling story involvement, these 19 movie moments scared me even though they didn’t mean to:


That hot chocolate musical scene in The Polar Express.

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Pictures from Warner Bros.

I know this movie is supposed to be scary in parts, but in this particular scene the dancing is just too perfect and too well choreographed. The worst part? The dead eyes of the background characters as they stare lifelessly ahead. Cooling.


The horrible “Thumb Thumbs” scene in Spy children.

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These movies always make me feel ~off~, but the feeling is especially strong here. Weird settings that look like indoor play centers are one thing, but when you have a bunch of cheap people running around them, it’s more arthouse horror than a children’s movie.


This sudden and brutal scene in The plague dogs.

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United Artists

For those who don’t know, this animation has the same director as Watership down. If that wasn’t traumatic enough for you, plague dogs had a higher age rating, and you can see why in this scene. The eerie silence, the sudden cut across the man’s bloodied face as he makes no sound of pain, and just the older style of animation. I don’t think you can recreate that unsettling vibe with modern animation.


The vending machine that follows Wallace and Gromit into A great day.

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Channel 4

There’s something super weird about the duo’s first outing — maybe it’s the lunar setting or the fact that it’s their first film. Anyway, I’ve had nightmares about this vending machine driving after me for years.


The iconic cake scene in Matilda.

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Sony Pictures Entertainment

I really feel like I’m the one eating too much cake. I will never look at the screen when this scene happens – ever.


This brief glimpse of the spider alien in Meetings of the third type. (It’s at the five minute mark).

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Pictures of Colombia

I guess it’s the alien head that appears, with its massive, lanky limbs. I really hates long-limbed creatures, but that’s precisely the way he’s ominously lit from behind, and NONE of the other aliens look like him. It always freaked me out with how it suddenly disappears when the camera rolls back.


Shorty gets whipped Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

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Paramount Pictures

This is really my least favorite in the series, and this scene was one of the reasons! It’s ridiculously dark, something the the filmmakers agree with!


This “enhanced” version of a dance sequence in Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi.

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twentieth century fox

Much has been said about director George Lucas’ tinkering with the original star wars trilogy. I maintain that nothing is worse than this monstrosity. Break the fourth wall to star wars is an odd choice, but when it’s done in a new CGI sequence for an ’80s movie, we’ve hit rock bottom. Why is this thing screaming into the camera? !


This woman turning into a robot in Superman 3.

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Warner Bros.

This terrifying transformation is from a 70s horror movie, and my friend wasn’t happy that I “unlocked” the memory of this scene for him.


The electrocution scene in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

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twentieth century fox

Whenever a skeleton is used in one of these family movies, it’s always terrifying. I thought he was actually pulverized into a skeleton when I saw this as a kid.


When this unlucky citizen of Springfield is crushed by the dome of The Simpsons movie.

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twentieth century fox

Ok, I know this is a joke, but the existential crisis the man has before being run over STILL bothers me. But the real horror is that, for the rest of the movie, he’s just stuck under that dome.


See the educational video on how humans “evolved” in Wall–E.

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Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Wall-E has many points where people have thought “This IS our future”, but nothing beats the diagram of how humans have become weaker. It’s shown as a cute visual joke, but maybe something along those lines could happen?


Neo fighting off a massive group of CGI Smith agents in Matrix Reloaded.

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Warner Bros.

It starts out great, but the CGI takes over the scene in a not great way. It looks like cheap video game footage – why does everyone look like rubber? ! When he goes from CGI Neo and Agent Smith to live footage, it’s like two different movies.


The Scorpion King you can barely see is played by the Rock in The return of the mummy.

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Universal images

The Rock is such a recognizable dude, so it’s quite impressive how it takes me a second to say “oh yeah, that’s him” every time I see this CGI nightmare.


When they put on their disguises White chicks.

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Sony Pictures Entertainment

The masks remind me of the movie faceless eyes, which, for a comedy, shouldn’t be the goal, right?


The fish stuck in their plastic bags at the end of The world of Nemo.

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Buena Vista Photos Cast

I know Finding Dory cleared that up, but for years these fish have been trapped in their plastic bags in my mind. I kept asking my parents if they were dead or not!


The sheer violence of the “fish” scene in The little Mermaid.

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When a movie anthropomorphizes animals, the filmmakers SURELY know how horrifying it is to see them used as food!? The scene is supposed to have a dangerous energy to it, but just look at these gutted lifeless fish…


When Patrick and Spongebob are literally dried to death in The Spongebob movie.

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There are a lot of deliberately cursed moments in this movie, and I love them. But we literally see sea creatures slowly suffocating! And there’s the truly diabolical touch of them becoming actual dried items – beyond cruelty!


Well, that should be the whole movie, but this scene in Labyrinth.

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This film gives me a particular uneasiness. Everything about the creatures is pretty unsettling. But it’s the dull color and horrible green screen that combine and send it beyond eerie.

Are there any examples I missed? If so, let me know in the comments below!

Andrea G. Henderson