Ten of the Scariest Characters From Our Childhood

scary1pennywise Separator

By: Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher)



It’s the most wonderful time of the year…No, not Christmas, but Halloween. And what better way to celebrate Halloween than remembering the characters that scared the living bejesus out of us as children?

These are just a few of the frightening characters that helped shape our fears as adults and is in no way a comprehensive list. With that being said, who else would you add?


Clowns, specifically Zeebo of the episode “The Tale of Laughing in the Dark” from Are You Afraid of the Dark and Pennywise from It

(Picture above)

These characters are responsible for causing a generation of children to be afraid of clowns. Though they look and behave differently from each other, their individual terrorizing actions and overall creepy vibes still cause shudders of fear in people that should be too old to be afraid of them. Clowns may have been originally intended to make people laugh, but these cause them to run away screaming.

Chucky from Child’s Play

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Chucky is literally a serial killer inhabiting the body of a doll. A doll! Something you should want to cuddle and play with, but no, it wants to kill you! Chucky was so terrifying and his first film so successful, it spurred the creation of five more movies in the franchise. Though those subsequent movies were not all as scary as the first, Chucky still remains to be part of the reason some people find dolls so unnerving.

Gooey Gus from Ghostwriter

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Looking at this character now, he almost resembles a California Raisin who is melting, but when you’re seven years old, this is the most terrifying thing you’ve ever seen in your life. In fact, I don’t doubt the way he was created and what he was made of caused many kids to temporarily stop chewing gum. Sadly (or not-so-sadly, depending on how you look at it), the episode of his introduction, “Attack of the Slime Monster,” was the last episode produced of Ghostwriter so it was the last we got to see of Gooey Gus.

The Gentlemen from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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No other character has been so scary without saying anything at all. In fact, the episode they appeared in, “Hush,” was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing even though there were only about 17 minutes of dialogue in it. That just proves how creepy these silent monsters were as they floated through town silencing peoples’ voices and cutting out their hearts.

The Wicked Witch and her Flying Monkeys from The Wizard of Oz

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Consistently rated as one of the best villains of all time, the Wicked Witch did everything in her power to destroy Dorothy Gale and her companions. She felt the ruby slippers Dorothy took from her sister were all she needed to help her conquer Oz. Granted, Dorothy did drop a house on her sister and kill her, but the torturous trials the Wicked Witch put Dorothy through – including, but not limited to, attacking her with flying monkeys – were a little overboard and actually quite horrifying.

The Crypt Keeper from Tales from the Crypt

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Who thought having a reanimated corpse host a show was a good idea? Well, if the idea was to scare the living daylights out of everyone, they succeeded. He may have attempted to make things funny with his use of puns in introducing episodes, but in a show with no rules regarding censorship, his addressing of the audience bookended episodes dealing with profanity, gore, nudity and sexual situations. He may have been a puppet, but he’s the scariest puppet I’ve ever seen!

Stripe from Gremlins

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Not only is this little guy evil, he also enjoys popping up out of nowhere and scaring people when they least expect it. Jump scares are the worst! Combine that with his abuse of Gizmo, his stubbornness in the face of death, and those beady eyes, pointy teeth, and claw hands make for one frightening figure.

Hexxus (The Smog Monster) from Fern Gully

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In Tim Curry’s second appearance on this list, Hexxus may not be a character you remember by name, but certainly remember the fear felt when he manipulated his way back to life when the tree he was trapped in was cut down. Despite only being toxic pollution goop, the wrath Hexxus brought upon the fairies of Fern Gully was very concrete. And who could forget his eerie musical number “Toxic Love”? It sends shivers down the spine, even now!

Ursula from The Little Mermaid

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Ursula is arguably the most manipulative of all the Disney villains. She threatens Ariel, steals her voice, and when things don’t go how she planned, she sabotages the bargain she made with Ariel and turns human herself. When that doesn’t succeed, she grows larger than anyone could have imagined and almost succeeds in killing Ariel’s father. Her evil plans, calculating nature, and wicked laugh are enough to scare any child, and probably a few adults, too.

Dementors from Harry Potter

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What is scarier than a flying, faceless monster that kills you by depleting all the happiness from your body? Nothing, that’s what. These soul-sucking creatures have a presence so strong, it can even be felt by Muggles. JK Rowling created Dementors to be an allegory for depression, which means the feelings felt by the characters in the wizarding world are the same ones felt by people all over the world every day. That means these characters are, in a roundabout way, the most real, which may in fact make them the scariest of all.


    12 Comments

  1. JeanneOctober 15th, 2013 at 2:15 am

    Barlo from Salem’s Lot He’s scary the hole movie is

  2. HeatherOctober 15th, 2013 at 9:54 am

    The T1000 ranks up there pretty high.

  3. SarahOctober 15th, 2013 at 9:56 am

    What about the Gmork from The Neverending Story? I’m terrified of wolves because of that thing.

  4. ClareOctober 15th, 2013 at 10:33 am

    The Child Snatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

  5. FREYJAOctober 15th, 2013 at 10:48 am

    “URSULA” IS THE MOST “INNOCENT”… LOL

  6. TristanOctober 15th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Why is E.T. not on this list!?

    Also, the Jabberwocky from Alice Through the Looking Glass (80’s film maybe?) scared the ever-loving crap out of me when I was 6. Looking at a pic of it now, I can’t stop laughing. That thing actually *scared* me. Ha!

    E.T. will never not be horrible and terrifying, though.

  7. MarianaOctober 15th, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    The Leprechaun from the 90s movie of the same name gave me nightmares for weeks!!!!!

  8. JuarhelaOctober 15th, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    LARGE MARGE from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. She STILL freaks me out and I’m in my 30s now.

  9. draysnOctober 15th, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    The Wheelers from Return to Oz always creeped me out.

  10. ChrisOctober 16th, 2013 at 2:02 am

    It’s definitively Pennywise, i have a childhood trauma from “It” and still hate clowns

  11. AnitaOctober 16th, 2013 at 2:25 am

    ah definitely nothing beats old school Daleks for me! even now…

  12. JayneOctober 16th, 2013 at 6:58 am

    Aw Tristan … I thought ET was really cute!! But I suppose I didn’t watch it until I was older …

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