Happy spooky season!! It’s time for orange-creme filled oreos and carving Jack-O-Lanterns! I am not a big fan of horror movies— the dark is scary enough for me—but I can understand wanting to be spooked for an hour or two. For those who do not desire nightmares about haunted clowns or dolls, here are ten movies that are not horror, but just absolutely horrify me.
1. The Kissing Booth (2018)
Of course, the entirety of The Kissing Booth makes us all cringe—from the awkward, territorial, hyper-masculine fights over girls, to the fact that the main character was proudly “not like other girls,”—but the most frightening part is the actual kissing booth. After COVID, the idea of the same person kissing a bunch of different people and spreading their germs around the whole school is terrifying. Why couldn’t they just have a bake sale fundraiser like the rest of us?
2. The Game Plan (2007)
I love the Rock as much as anyone, but as a kid with allergies, the scene where the main character, Peyton, has an allergic reaction to peanuts was viscerally and personally horrifying.
3. Tall Girl (2019)
The scary part of this movie is that this girl thinks that being tall, and also a girl, is the most alienating and oppressive experience one could have. It makes me think she has never left her house, let alone her neighborhood. Maybe she’s trapped?? Would that make it horror?
4. Holes (2003)
I saw this in my sixth grade math class, which is probably where a lot of the associated fear comes from. From my vague memories, it is a very weird fever dream of a movie about a boy (played by Shia Lebouf!!) who gets accused of stealing sneakers and then has to go to jail for kids where they dig holes in the ground. My twelve-year-old self shuddered at the image of being stuck in the middle of nowhere, forced to do manual labor.
5. The Fast and the Furious Franchise (2001-)
While I barely made it through the first movie, The Fast and the Furious isn’t actually scary. The fact that a franchise can have NINE movies, but almost no die-hard fans, is scary. So much footage about men and their cars. I don’t know anyone who looks forward to the release of these movies, and yet they make so much money. At the end of the day, what’s scarier than capitalism?
6. Flushed Away (2006)
There is SO MUCH here. The animation style that makes the rats look eerily human. The fact that they got Kate Winslet and her seven Oscars to be the voice of a RAT. The idea of getting flushed away into the sewers! Until I was at least ten, I thought drowning meant falling down the drain and getting flushed away like the rats in this movie, and I showered as far from the drain as I possibly could stand. SO scary and haunts me to this day.
7. The Cat in the Hat (2003)
Who thought this was a good idea? A live-action version of The Cat in the Hat, with a giant creepy cat who kidnaps kids and takes them on some very weird journeys is terrifying stuff. The smile and blank stare of Mike Myers’s CGI cat face is truly horrifying.
8. Wall-E (2008)
Wall-E is scary because it gives a realistic look at the future of our planet if we do not reduce our consumption and waste. It totally radicalized me as a seven year old, but I have not seen it since. I’m already so scared seeing the state of our planet and climate now, and thinking about how much worse it may get in my lifetime, that I can not bear to rewatch a frightening cartoon about how things could look in hundreds of years.
9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Timothee Chalamet’s Willy Wonka aside, the scariest version of this story has to be the Johnny Depp remake. The plot of this classic alludes to the death/near-death of four kids! The scariest part, though, might be the idea of in-laws living in the same bed, which is a clear recipe for disaster.
10. Home Alone Franchise (1990-2002)
I do love this movie, and watch it every Christmas, but it stresses me out a LOT. The first one is fine, but the fact that this family forgot their kid multiple times seems like neglect, and after thinking about it for more than a minute I feel the need to call Child Protective Services. Also, Trump’s forgotten cameo in “Home Alone 2” was most definitely an element in his villain origin story.