Top Five: Moments in Geekdom that Scar Children

Do you have a memory watching a geeky movie/show or reading a geeky book as a child, when a terrifying or disturbing moment came out of nowhere and scarred you for life*?

Yup, me too.

Here is my list of the top five geek moments that have and will ruin the innocent, carefree point of view held by a child.

1. Miss Trunchbull Hunts Down Matilda (And Also Tortures Children)

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When I was younger, Roald Dahl books were all the rage. Of course, this meant that Matilda was made into a movie–and Miss Trunchbull came to life. She’s one of those people that should never be allowed within a thousand feet of a child, but somehow was hired to run a school. As if her treatment of children wasn’t enough, though, there’s a point in the movie where Matilda sneaks into her house to take a doll and give it back to her teacher. Miss Trunchbull realizes that someone is in the house, and almost literally tries to hunt her down. I remember watching this part of the movie and being pretty sure that Trunchbull would seriously hurt Matilda if she found her. You know that grouchy teacher at school? You might find her a lot scarier if you’re eight and have just seen this movie.

2. Hexxus Is Pure Evil

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It should really be enough to say that this baddie is voiced by Tim Curry–nightmare fuel for children–but that character itself is ridiculously frightening for a kid. He oozes around like congealing blood, becomes a giant smoke monster that literally tries to murder everyone and every thing, and he sometimes looks like this:

You spend the whole movie watching this villain get closer and closer to achieving his ultimate plan, and he’s downright creepy and dastardly the entire time. The point is, no child will want to go near funny-looking trees for at least a few weeks after watching this movie.

3. Artax Dies in the Swamp of Sadness

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You knew this would be on this list. It’s the quintessential moment that broke the heart of every child born in the eighties–it made us learn that people you love die, and sometimes it’s their own feelings that kill them. That’s heavy stuff for a kid, which is what puts it on this list.

Fun fact: I re-watched this moment before writing this post, and I still can’t deal with it. This is twenty-or-so years after seeing it for the first time.

4. Jean-Luc Picard is Lucutus of Borg

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This isn’t from a children’s show–neither is the next one–but it’s from a form of media that youngsters experience frequently. Some of my earliest memories are of watching Star Trek with my father. One of my earliest tramatizing memories, therefore, is seeing the strong and stalwart Jean-Luc Picard assimilated into the Borg collective. Basically, as a kid, becoming a Borg is the same as dying. The Borg aren’t human anymore. This showed me that even the best and bravest can be taken down–and instilled in me a fear of losing the part of me that makes me my own person.

5. T-Rex Eats Lawyer Off Toilet

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“What kind of person would let a child watch Jurassic Park?” My grandmother, that’s who. At this point, I was mostly old enough that JP didn’t bother me. But this moment scarred my little sister for the longest time. Think about it–a bathroom is one of the most personal places a child knows, second to (probably) their bedroom. If a T-Rex storms in and eats someone off a toilet, there sanctity of the place is shattered. You’re at your most vulnerable in a restroom, and Jurassic Park shows kids that things will get you when you’re vulnerable.

 

What moments in geeky media scarred you as a kid? Let’s work through this together in the comments.

8 thoughts on “Top Five: Moments in Geekdom that Scar Children

  1. I just started watching The Next Generation (for the first time), and I was pretty bummed about the Picard/Borg thing. You nailed it, though: even the strongest and bravest can be taken down :<

  2. I’m pretty sure Matilda scarred me a bit! Miss Trunchbull scared the crap out of me! And also Matilda’s parents! I think that was one of the first times I realized not all kids had awesome parents like mine.

  3. Actually, ET scared me. I was afraid to eat Resse Pieces because I was worried ET would find me :( I thought he was super creepy with his glowing heart.

  4. Man, Artax and Hexus are up there!
    But I LOVED Jaws as a kid…except when I had to go use the loo in the middle of the night and I genuinely thought Jaws was going to swim straight up the toilet and–literally–bite my ass off! (I was older for JP, so that part didn’t freak me out then…but same idea of “bathroom=sacred”)

    • I think it’s Look Who’s Talking 2 where the toilet has teeth and tells the little boy he’s going to eat him, but that was the movie that scared me about bathrooms :)

  5. I agree with the TNG and Artax moments. The worst for me though, was when my mom and the guy she was seeing at the time took me and my brother to see The Fly and Fly II at the drive in. I was terrified (I was four or five at the time). I will never watch those movies again, thats how bad it was for me.

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