The most terrifying non-horror movies




Jaws scared me more than any other film. I was convinced there was a shark under my bed.

But I’m forgetting Watership Down:


Groundhog Day.

Facing the same day over and over again, for hundreds of years. Even suicide doesn’t provide an escape. At some point it hits you that you may be trapped in Hell for an eternity.


I wonder how much bigger Large Marge would be 30 years later.


At least Bill Murray could do different things and learn stuff over the dozens, perhaps thousands of years he was trapped in his Groundhog Day. You though, GlenAble, you only imagine you have lived other days; yet this one loop you are repeating through eternity includes wasting these precious moments of your priceless 86400 reading my comment. Mu-Hoo-Hah-Hah Hahhhhhhhhhh…


In Carlo Collodi’s original, the island was called, innocuously, Land of Toys. Disney renamed it Pleasure Island. WTF, Disney?!

In my copy of Pinocchio, handed down from my mother, it wasn’t an island and it was called The Land of Cockaigne. Which seemed a lot more fitting given cocaine’s propensity for turning people into jackasses.


I think that movie is supposed to be an allegory of Buddhist reincarnation. Murry’s character is trapped in the cycle of death and rebirth until he “gets it right”.

…so I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.


Interesting read about that on Wikipedia. Seems Cockaigne was a fairly well-used fictional land.


My daughter, for some reason, found the 1974 version of Murder on the Orient Express to be the scariest thing she’d ever seen. And she’d already seen far scarier movies by the time she watched that; The Others was her favorite movie! She had nightmares about being stabbed on a train. Go figure.

Edit: She’s corrected me. She says the movie gave her nightmares about being kidnapped. The murder victim is a man who kidnapped and murdered a little girl. It was based on the Lindbergh kidnapping. Apparently the 30-second flashback of the girl being abducted was what did it.


I recall as a kid being scared s#!tless by a quasi-“In Search Of”-style Bigfoot documentary that was big in the 70’s, I have tried to find it but the ones I generally come across are a lot more campy (“Sasquatch: Legend of Bigfoot” for example.)

For years I would get freaked out at night, thinking Sasquatch was peering in the windows at night as we slept.


Any of those movies about horrible little kids at camp where the running gag is the incompetent dads (trapped in a nightmare home life) taking damage to the balls.


When I was about ten, 2001 scared the water out of me.


Large Marge???


As much as it pains me to connect the two, The Black Hole is an odd mix of cheesy family entertainment and some elements that can be rather scary if you are a child.


I can’t recall any really scary films from being a kid, but I got a touch desensitized to a lot of movies after growing up with the high-octane-nightmare-fuel of Public Information Films.

Yeah, Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water. Fuck you.


The UK also had a series of films about old abandoned fridges with locks that gave me the screaming horrors when I was little. The thought of being trapped in such a small space to die slowly in the dark …


Yeah. That was some seriously chilling stuff.
Between PIFs, the ever-present threat of global nuclear war and creepy peados on prime-time telly…

I gotta go find me some unicorns to chase. BRB.


There was also the Fatal Floor one: “… and you might as well set a man trap”. Which looks so mild in retrospect, but the still of the fanged mantrap used to give me the chills. Actually, the 1970’s were bloody bleak all round — we even got shown this in full at school: as it was relevant to the rural environment we were in.

So @SmashMartian, did you also ever abandon class for the toilets in anticipation of imminent nuclear annihilation? Counting down the time to certain fiery death alone, but unwilling to let your classmates see you break down? Or was I just particularly neurotic as a child? :wink:


That one didn’t precisely scare me (although the scene of HAL being shut down made me uncomfortable and sad), but it did leave me with the certainty that any movie spacewalk would end badly. It is for this reason I will probably never see Gravity. Noped right out of the theater during the preview.


Can’t say as I did. I did abandon school as often as I could get away with it, though. And that “Apaches” film… No way would you get away with that these days.