Sometimes Hollywood sets out to make a heartwarming movie for the happy, shiny families to plod along to the cinema and placate themselves with for a few fleeting hours. And, sometimes Hollywood gets it completely wrong and manages to dredge something up that's ultimately more nightmare forming than glee inducing.
I'm not the biggest fan of horror movies, because they used to freak me the heck out. Then I learned their beats and now live my life in relative enjoyment. But every now and again there's a movie that manages to slip through the net and stick in my mind like a bloodthirsty burr to denim.
Like these seven movies for example, taken from my formative years through childhood, up until now. They're not technically borne from the horror genre, but could leave you feeling shaken and visibly edgier after a few rounds.
So have a look and see if you agree:
1. Watership Down
This animated movie lingers on as one of the greatest mistakes I could have made whilst flicking through channels as a child.
What, I thought, should have been over an hour of cute little bunnies and their rabbit hero going through some kind of allegorical, kids adventure, turned into a friggin' gorefest where there was guts, and blood, and dogs tearing apart rabbits, and rabbit heads floating around, seemingly, in utero...
Basically, not for the faint of heart/kids:
2. The Secret of NIMH
Arguably Don Bluth's claim to fame is one of the best animated features to ever be painstakingly drawn, a true feat in movie making. But it's also rather adept at crafting nightmares.
Remember the creepy ass, centuries old rat with the beard and glowing eyes, or the rodents being stuck with giant syringes, or the mice being sucked to their untimely demise?
I do. Too well.
If David Bowie's scrotum isn't enough to strike fear into even the stoniest of hearts, the dark side of Jim Henson's imagination would send any '80s kid to cower behind curtains. Most memorably petrifying scene? the Helping Hands.
What is most terrifying about this movie, though, is the sheer drive of the Goblin King, who works his hardest and most darkest wills in order to get a high school student to fall in love with him. You're a grown ass goblin, man!
4. The Witches
This movie used to scare the shit out of me as a kid, but is resoundingly floaty and light in comparison to Roald Dahl's classic novel. The Witches plan to kill all of the children in the world by turning them into mice and then stomping on them. If that premise isn't messed up enough, remember the scene when the Witches remove their human masks?
5. The Machinist
For those of you that have always wondered what Batman's rib cage looks like, look no further than Christian Bale's stunningly frail turn out in The Machinist.
Similar in tone to the writings of Kafka and Dostoyevsky, regarding the slow descent into turgid madness, being thrust into a man's world that is slowly decaying before your very eyes, and then realizing you can't even trust him or his memories is a feat in psychological terror.
6. Pan's Labyrinth
Not much needs to be said about this absolute masterpiece apart from praising how well it manages to convey its overwhelming themes of isolation, being estranged from adults and being misunderstood, that play so heavily on the tone of the feature.
The setting of the film (Franco's Spanish dictatorship), the creatures Ofelia encounters, the amount of senseless death and one of cinema's most abhorrent villains in Vidal, combine effortlessly to create an honestly beautiful and horrible, in equal abandon, movie that wants us to cogitate on the fact that the great escape from our reality isn't all that it seems.
7. The Act of Killing
Monsters do exist, and they look just like you and I. This documentary follows the surviving perpetrators of a spate of mass murders that took place in Indonesia in 1965, where over 1,000,000 people were killed.
Using their favorite movies as influence, director Joshua Oppenheimer gets these men to reenact their favorite murders with grisly detail, and the results are as harrowing as they are eye-opening. Watch this, and be confronted with the abrasive reality of evil.