This Halloween, we're going all out. Our house is covered -- ceiling to cellar -- in phony cobwebs. We've got an unbroken chain of Jack-O-Lanterns lining the perimeter. And, yes, on the porch, completely unguarded, sits a tremendous black witch's cauldron filled with suckers, bubblegum, chocolate bits, gummi-everything, movie theater candy classics, and so on.
Like dough-eyed moths pulled inescapably toward our flickering All Hallow's Eve flame, the children -- decked out like Lady GaGa and Moammar Gaddafi -- will run and scream with delight toward their sugary bounty.
Until, that is, we hop out from the bushes, brandishing a cleaver and wearing a bloody potato sack over our head. What can we say? We like the look on their faces. After the cut: Cultist's Top Five movies to scare your kids shitless.
5. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
Roger Rabbit ranks at number five because while not an explicitly "scary" movie, the film's noir aesthetic (paired often in direct tandem with contrastingly bright and peppy cartoons) will definitely inspire ominous dread in children of all ages. Not to mention Judge Doom and his pack of (literal) weasels, the Toon Patrol, melt animated characters alive.
4. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Move over, Wallace and Gromit. Tim Burton's stop-motion masterpiece may scare your first-grader, but when that kid hits high school, she's going to thank you for the crash course in drama club goth aesthetics.
3. The Hobbit (1977)
The Lord of the Rings live action trilogy was relatively "dark" but this '70s animated adaptation of Tolkien's LOTR prequel is positively grim.
2. All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)
So many Disney movies feature super-humanized animals exploring the follies of existence ... like death, violence, drinking, smoking, gambling, demons, and Hell.
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1. The Dark Crystal (1982)
When you go from Muppets to flesh-rotting monsters, you can't blame your audience for giving pause. Jim Henson's special-effects wonder, The Dark Crystal, was like Labyrinth but waaaay more gruesome and sans David Bowie's mammoth wang.