In the olden days, before Pixar took over the world and kids were still allowed to play outside without wrapping their bodies in protective foam, the movie industry was unafraid of making children's movies that were, to put it bluntly, complete and total mindf*cks.
Whereas today's idea of a controversial kids' movie includes one or two subtle penis jokes that will absolutely go over even the most precocious youngster's head, the family movie nights of yesteryear would frequently devolve into a bad acid trip being projected into little Timmy and Tina's developing brains.
In fact, all too many of these "classic" children's films are about 8 times more terrifying than the average Eli Roth movie, yet because our nostalgia tends to focus on the shiny happy feelings attached to them, we often forget just how frankly insane and traumatizing they were.
So you may want to think twice before dusting some of these old, troubling masterpieces to show your own children.
Fantasia may be one of Disney's most beautiful all-around pieces of animation, featuring no fewer than a dozen moments that are still as spellbinding and spectacular to watch today as they were when the film was first released in 1940. Fantasia may also be one of the most utterly disturbing attempts at turning children into weak-kneed, wet-pantsed, uncontrollably petrified jellyfish.
There's something about this colorful, magical, eerily silent cartoon that doesn't sit well even as a fully-grown adult who understands that the probability of mops coming to life to trample and then drown you is pretty unlikely. And whoever's idea it was to end the movie with a scene on Bald Mountain, which our narrator/conductor helpfully explains is "the gathering place of Satan and his followers," is just a stone cold d*ckhead.
Not cool, Disney. Not cool at all.
"Why are their faces doing that?" That's a pretty common reaction to seeing this Robert Zemeckis-directed, computer animated Christmas movie. The second most popular reaction? "Get me the f*ck out of this! I will not be bested by you Satan! NOT TODAY!"
This nearly life-like abomination represents an idea known as the "uncanny valley," wherein certain features look almost realistic and natural, but also move in a way that makes your brain want to murder itself to get away from the creepy images. Or, as Judah Friedlander helpfully explains to Tracy Morgan in an episode of 30 Rock (when Tracy's character expresses his hopes for making a 3D porn video game), "as artificial representations of humans become more and more realistic, they reach a point where they stop being endearing and become creepy."
That's what Polar Express is. Just 100 minutes of nightmarishly un-human Tom Hanks. Do yourself a favor and never watch this movie in HD.