Animated objects seem cute when they're on screen. But when the movie ends, the idea that the objects around us have human feelings can be pretty damaging. There are a ton of movies seemingly designed to turn your child (or your inner child) into a quivering, ultrasensitive ball of neuroses. Here are ten movies with adorable anthropomorphized objects and creatures that will deliver screaming nightmares if you think about them afterwards.
A Pixar powerhouse, Cars let kids see expressions on the faces of the cars all around them. It invested cars, in a humanless world, with hopes and dreams and personalities, and then let them race their way through triumph and tragedy. And that's fine, until your kid first sees a traffic accident. Or a junkyard. Cars might even be a predatory movie, since it would take other movies out of the running for kids' attention. You can't exactly take kids to an action movie with car explosions afterwards. What would you say? "Hey kids! It's Lightning McQueen! With his head on fire!"
9. The Brave Little Toaster
The eponymous character of this was so beloved that 'brave little toaster' became an actual phrase used to convey affectionate admiration for people who take on tough situations. The Toaster's friends, a lamp, radio, a blanket, and vacuum cleaner went looking for their owner after being left behind in a cabin in the woods. Not only will it break your kid's heart when the toaster has to be chucked out, it will terrify them on lonely nights. "Listen. Do you hear that? It's all those toasters I've left behind over the years. They've come back. There's probably one letting its cord tap just slightly against the bedroom window. Tap. Tap. . . . . . Tap. Sleep well, honey."
8. Beauty and the Beast
This movie is tough on kids because the objects in it aren't just magic objects, they're actual people. When you're bending a spoon, you could be causing some human, trapped in spoon form, extreme agony. Most of it's okay because the named objects don't show up in everyday homes. Not many people have a feather duster or a candelabra sitting around. But then there's Chip. Chip was the adorable, lisping son of Mrs. Pots, the teapot. He was a cup with a little chip in it. And kids who are just getting to the point where they're old enough to get their own snacks will definitely find a Chip or two when they look for glasses. And then Chip will disappear one day. "Where did Chip go, honey? Well he grew up! Into a very nasty character called Crack! And I smashed Crack to pieces, and buried him under the dirt in that planter to make sure it would drain properly. Now go pour your juice in another glass."
7. The Wizard of Oz
The film combines the misery of knowing that a lovable object is suffering with the practical common sense of letting strangers lure you into cornfields! This movie creates some very contradictory programming in a kid's brain. On the one hand, everyone their whole life has told them never to talk to strangers. On the other hand - that poor man in ragged clothes needs your help! You'll have to be careful to deprogram them. "Yes, darling, in Oz that kind of things works, but in real life the Scarecrow would have killed Dorothy and left her corpse in the fields to have its eyes pecked out by the crows."
What childhood is complete without a good dose of rejection? Pinocchio is made by Geppetto, who invests a lot of time in making him perfect, but mourns the fact that he's just a puppet. Then, in an incredible act of magic, he is brought to life by The Blue Fairy. This miracle, this act that has never happened before or since, is met with joy! And then with the outwardly-expressed wish, by every character, that Pinocchio could be 'real'. Being alive, able to think, feel, and express wishes, move, dance, give others love and attention, and, oh yes, being living proof of a miracle, is just not enough if your body isn't a squishy stack of organs. Add to this the fact that Pinocchio was brought to life because Geppetto wished upon a star and the Blue Fairy thought he was good enough to merit giving life to a puppet, and you'll have kids across the world knowing that their stuffed animals didn't come to life when they wished it because they weren't 'good' enough. There's no better way to crush a developing ego. "Of course you did well, sweetie! I just wish - I wish. Well. Nevermind. I suppose we have to be content with this."
One minute, there's an adorable dancing mop that helps Mickey Mouse, Beloved Children's Character, carry some water. The next minute, Mickey is hacking the broom to death with an ax. The next moment after that, each of the shards becomes its own broom and they all try to murder Mickey. So far, most of the movies brought up feelings of guilt among kids. This should properly terrify them. "Yes, Mickey had to kill all the mops. He had to. They were multiplying and it was him or them. Speaking of, that plate you broke yesterday had a lot of sharp edges, didn't it?"
4. The Red Balloon
Yes, that's a great idea. Let's center an entire children's movie about a precocious little object that is one-hundred percent doomed to die quickly in the real world. Even if it isn't murdered on screen, the way it is in the movie, there is absolutely no way that a child can keep a balloon from deflating. This is basically a way to introduce your child to the helplessness and inevitability of watching a loved one die if their grandparents are all irritatingly healthy. "Sure, we can get a balloon! And maybe if you're really careful, this one will stay forever!"
3. The Snowman
Same idea as The Red Balloon, but with something your child actually creates instead of just purchasing. "I think it would be best to make a Snowman that looks like you!"
2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
There's no real psychological torture here. Just death. Just the awful, screaming death of a little animated shoe as it gets slowly lowered into a vat of acid. Although some people consider this to be an adult's movie, almost everyone I know first saw it as a kid, and it's rated PG. This scene was meant to demonstrate that 'dip' was a way to kill cartoon characters. The problem was that it was demonstrated in such a way as to completely overshadow the rest of the film. No one got their steam back after seeing a judge casually torture a cute animated character to death. I can't watch the scene even now. "Don't worry honey! We can just go to a store and buy more shoes! Life is dispensable and interchangeable! That's why I had your brother! We needed a back-up. Just in case."
1. The Toy Story Series
These movies are downright sadistic. Not only do they show kids the agony and heartbreak of toys that are played with too hard, aren't played with enough, are stored, are collected, are recycled, are in daycare centers, are in homes, and are in stores - they do it and then market those very same heartbroken toys to the kids that they've traumatized. And each successive story keeps getting more sad. It started with a toy just being jealous that he wasn't the favorite anymore. It ended with a bunch of toys in a prison colony while others prepare to be locked in a box of eternal loneliness. No amount of Barbie and Ken jokes will soothe that wound.