The ’80s and ’90s brought us movies with monsters from every possible realm: clowns, hyenas, possessed dolls and dinosaurs, to name a few. Some of these movies our parents told us not to watch and we did it anyway, and then didn’t sleep for a month. Here are a few of our favorite monster movies from childhood.
Note: 16 frightening GIFS ahead — you’ve been warned.
Poltergeist: the tree
Raise your hand if you nearly fainted when the tree in Poltergeist took on a life of its own. As if thunderstorms weren’t scary enough, after watching the tree scene from Poltergeist, we had a whole new reason to jump during storms.
It: the clown
Yes, the clown from Poltergeist creeped us out to the point that we looked under our bed for six months after watching that movie. But did it creep us out as much as the clown from It? A child-killing clown? At least the one on Poltergeist just hid under the bed and perched itself in dark corners of the room. It didn’t actually kill anyone.
Child’s Play: Chucky
Chucky is so scary, he just makes us mad. A mom tries to give her kid a harmless birthday present, but no, it has to be possessed by the demon spirit of a serial killer. What is the return policy on demon dolls? Hopefully we never have to find out. All we know is we’d like to light Chucky and all things that remind us of Chucky on fire.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: the headless horseman
This Disney feature was originally released in 1949, but was released on VHS 1992, making it our favorite movie to watch on Halloween. How suspenseful and surprisingly scary (it was a Disney flick after all) was Ichabod’s ride home from Katrina Van Tassel’s? Was it Brom Bones trying to scare Ichabod off the “fair Katrina” (she was a troublemaker!) or was really a headless horseman demon? We’ll never know. All we know is it sent chills down our spine every time we thought of it!
How much did we dislike the repugnant Stripe from Gremlins for tormenting Billy, Gizmo, Billy’s mom, the family dog and pretty much everything in his creepy, destructive path? Thank heavens demon gremlins have an aversion to bright light!
Jurassic Park: the T. rex
Remember when you watched Jurassic Park for the first time and you forgot that the dinosaurs were not real? Remember how you held your breath when the water trembled on the dash of the car because of the vibration caused by the big, ugly, annoying T. rex? He had menacing teeth, an overbearing roar and absolutely no manners! He couldn’t even wait for the guy to leave the bathroom before eating him. Not cool. Jurassic Park made us feel fortunate that dinosaurs are extinct.
Silver Bullet: no, not Gary Busey — the werewolf
If you missed this movie as a kid, you have to find it somewhere and rent it. In Silver Bullet, Corey Haim (may he rest in peace) played a paralyzed boy in a town with a werewolf, and Gary Busey was his uncle. Talk about having the scales of good fortune weighing against you! This family’s only hope of survival against the terrifying werewolf was a silver bullet that Busey was left in charge of. So which is scarier: A werewolf, or being paralyzed in a town where a werewolf lives and the adult in charge is Gary Busey?
The Sandlot: the Saint Bernard
Hollywood has a long-standing love-hate relationship with Saint Bernards. In Beethoven, the family Saint Bernard was much loved. But in Cujo and The Sandlot, Saint Bernards were much reviled. When the Sandlot boys lose their baseball to a slobbering Saint Bernard, we have flashbacks of Cujo and wonder what poor child is going to be sacrificed to this inordinately large canine beast.