12 Horror Movies From The '90s That Terrorized Our Childhoods

90s kid ghost

Whether it was through video stores, TV or newspaper ads, or cable TV channels that reveled in only the creepiest of horror delights, the ‘90s were an iconic era for horror movies and the kids who loved them. Sometimes, the movies that hid behind the terrifying trailers or creepy cover art were actually scary as hell, while others didn’t pan out as well as we’d hoped.

It didn’t matter, because one way or another, the horror flicks of the 1990s had a hold on the children growing up in that era - and some are definitely up there with the best horror movies of all time . And in particular, there’s 11 movies from that decade that introduced or reinforced a generation of boogeymen primed to haunt this breed of child up until the present day.

So get under the blankets or behind the sofa, open your laptop, and prepare to journey through the pantheon of ‘90s horror movies and villains that terrorized our childhood! And be warned, you may want to keep the lights on while reading… because you really shouldn’t be reading in the dark anyway.

Arachnophobia (1990)

It’s not bad enough that spiders have always inspired a special sort of fear amongst most human beings on the planet. Nope, legendary producer Frank Marshall had to make his directorial debut with Arachnophobia : a movie that took the already scary Tarantula, and made it into a super-spider bred to kill with one bite.

Thankfully, Jeff Daniels and John Goodman were on hand to save the day, as the dynamic duo of a big city doctor and an exterminator extraordinaire were able to take out the army of killer spiders with their specific set of skills. But that hasn’t stopped us from at the very least flinching when we see an eight legged creature, or Hollywood from trying to make that magic happen again for a new audience.

Child’s Play 2 (1990)

While Brad Dourif’s iconic horror villain/killer doll Chucky had debuted two years earlier in 1988’s Child’s Play , the kids of the ‘90s would probably be more acquainted with his misdeeds thanks to the 1990 sequel Child’s Play 2 , as it was a staple of cable channels like USA Network that would run on any given weekend.

Not to mention, Chucky’s method of execution in the finale of Child’s Play 2 was even creepier than that of his first film’s conclusion. This time, instead of merely being burnt alive and blown apart, the toy from Hell was half melted, and then blown apart. Nothing like making Chucky look like the most vicious Garbage Pail Kid ever created before exploding him into all sorts of plastic pieces.

The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)

Most of the horror movies on this list are the sort that parents of ‘90s kids would have had no problem letting their kids sneak a peek at with their best friends or trusted relatives. But even with the most permissive parents, there was always something verboten about taking a look at The Silence of The Lambs , and it was probably because of Anthony Hopkins’ iconic Dr. Hannibal Lecter .

Dr. Lecter wasn’t your typical boogeyman, as he was a more grounded and realistic evil; parents probably didn’t want to explain cannibalism to their children. That would have been the least of their problems when parsing out director Jonathan Demme’s classic adaptation of Thomas Harris’ best-selling novel, as the kills in this movie are so chilling, they hold their value with even the most mature of audiences.

Candyman (1992)

There’s a reason that the Candyman mythos is being revived for a modern audience, as its timeless brand of horror and social commentary made it a cult classic when it was released back in 1992. Of course, it also helps that Tony Todd’s portrayal of the titular supernatural presence was equally unsettling and compelling. Who knew that a deep soothing voice could override the presence of killer bees and a hooked hand?

While Todd would go on to firm up his title as one of the leading horror icons of the decade through sequels and further genre work, his portrayal of a tortured spirit in this film version of Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden” is still a pretty powerful claim to fame. So much so that it wound up securing Tony Todd’s participation in the modern reboot . Looks like it’s time to be afraid of mirrors again.

Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth (1992)

Much like Chucky and Freddy Kruger, Hellraiser’s Pinhead was another landmark presence that crossed over into the ‘90s horror scene with a huge reputation on his shoulders. Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth was a pretty big deal for its time too, as Doug Bradley’s torturous baddie finally got a backstory, and we saw Pinhead in his previously human form in this trilogy capping event.

While the series would continue into direct-to-video Hell, and even Bradley himself would leave the series behind , Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth felt like a huge leap from its modest beginnings. Also, Pinhead’s very visage itself has always been a selling point to this franchise’s horror legacy; so even if you hadn’t seen the movie as a child, looking upon the face of Pinhead was enough to engrain this one on any ‘90s kids’ brain.

Leprechaun (1993)

As a ‘90s kid, it was hard not to be incredibly terrified of the movie that 1993’s Leprechaun was making itself out to be. With no clear look at the monster himself in the trailers, and a vague enough idea of his horrific appearance haunting every newspaper ad, movie poster, and VHS case for the film, what we didn’t see was really what made us terrified of this diminutive terror.

Watching the actual movie was a different story, as Warwick Davis’ memorable horror creeper was already a master of puns and wisecracks in his first time out. So that monster that Leprechaun horrified us with in its marketing wasn’t as bad as we thought when it came to the actual reality. Though that didn’t stop us from watching with grinning glee through several sequels, as Davis was having so much fun with the character, it was infectious.

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

Freddy Kruger was old hat by time the ‘90s rolled around. Robert Englund ’s legendary criminal turned spectral being had already gone through the eventual process that every horror heavy winds their way through, with Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare fully turning Freddy into a walking punchline.

This left the ‘90s as the perfect time for series creator Wes Craven to return to the series with Wes Craven’s New Nightmare , a tale that would start a new trend in horror: the meta-sequel. With Freddy looking to cross over into our world, and with a more terrifying look than ever, the jokes were done and the terror was back. Everybody loves a winner, and Kruger’s final victory came in reclaiming his horrific demeanor for a new generation to discover.

Scream (1996)

The meta-horror of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare was only a test drive for the horror master’s next trick, as Wes Craven would go on to deliver a new classic in the realm of slashers with Scream . And the best part was, he built this next series of vengeful killers by playing off of the rules he set with his own killer past, while also using something every modern teen was familiar with as a part of the madness: the telephone.

Making the careers of young stars like Neve Campbell , Jamie Kennedy, Matthew Lillard , and Skeet Ulrich, Ghostface’s debut would spawn three sequels, a TV series, and a following that just might see Scream come to life again in a new decade of horror. So add “random phone calls” to the list of things you should start being afraid of again, just in case.

Jack Frost (1997)

Flipping back to the subject of video stores for a moment, the movie Jack Frost owes every frame of its infamous reputation to the rows of horror movies your local rental dealers would maintain. Because if you remember this movie, it’s 98% certain it’s because of the lenticular cover that saw a kindly looking snowman shifting into a large toothed killer.

And before you ask, no this isn’t the Michael Keaton movie of the same title that saw a rock star dad reincarnated as a magical snowman. Though that confusion probably didn’t help when it came to this movie’s reputation for trickery; as this film’s plot was kind of similar. Only instead of a kindly dad getting to spend more time with his kids, a serial killer is accidentally transformed into a mutant killer snowman.

Wishmaster (1997)

Wes Craven, man. When he wasn’t busy making people afraid of boogeymen or random phone calls, he was helping his friends bring horrifying visions to life in other movie series. Wishmaster was one of the most memorable efforts, as horror effects icon Robert Kurtzman took the concept of what we would call a genie, and gave it a more horrifying reality. Sure, we’d already seen tales of how not making a wish specific enough to get what we truly wanted backfire, but not even The Twilight Zone turned people into mannequins or drowned unfortunate wishers in a hellish, slow death.

One more fun note to make when talking about Wishmaster , besides Andrew Divoff’s chilling presence in the title role, is the fact that his character took out some of horror’s greatest heavies, as Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, and even Tony Todd are all victims of his heinous magic.

Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1998)

Speaking of Kane Hodder, if a ‘90s kid hadn’t ever seen one of the previous Friday the 13th entries before Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday , then this film was more than likely their introduction to the memorable series of horror movies that spanned back to the dawn of the slasher era. And how could you blame them, as Hodder’s second to last appearance as the hockey masked hellion made some pretty big promises.

At last, we were going to learn why Jason Voorhees was a murderer! Finally, Jason Voorhees was going to die and stay dead! And last, but not least, we were going to get an explanation for what the hell that worm crawling out of his face on the poster was meant to be! But if there’s anything that Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday should be credited with, it’s the fact that it gave the world the biggest tease ever: a stinger that would eventually lead to the horror match up of the century: Freddy vs. Jason !

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

It might not feel as scary now as it did back in 1999, but when The Blair Witch Project was ramping up to its release into theaters, a rather convincing viral marketing campaign made the danger look more real than ever before. And it was all thanks to the team behind the film promoting it as a documentary, rather than a horror entertainment.

With missing posters, 1-800 numbers, and even a website and mockumentary dedicated to the disappearance of the trio of young film students at the heart of The Blair Witch Project , the lines between truth and fiction were properly blurred. All it took was the promise of a witch behind these heinous events to close out a decade of horror delights on a pretty high not.

Whether you ended up enjoying the movie or not, you can’t deny that The Blair Witch Project had you going for a moment during one of the busiest years in Hollywood history. And much like any of the other films on this list, it was living proof that the horror genre was alive and well through the ‘90s movies that kept its dark heart pumping.

Every decade has its notable beasties, creepers, and heavies, much like those laid before you in this rogue’s gallery of ‘90s horror. Not only ‘90s kids remember these infamous beings, but if you find yourself still terrified by these creatures, thank one of them for keeping these legends fresh in the minds of everyone.


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Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.

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Den of Geek

The Scariest 90s Kids’ TV Shows

Eerie Indiana, Goosebumps and all the terrifying shows the '90s offered up for youngsters.

90s kid ghost

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90s kid ghost

When it comes to spooky, the ’90s just did it best – and ’90s kids couldn’t get enough of it. 

We grew up the last decade when being a witch was cool thanks to that “hippie witch” grunge aesthetic and the popularity of Twin Peaks . Bizarre puppet-driven movies like The Dark Crystal , Labyrinth and The Neverending Story seemed to endlessly play on TV, meanwhile, were you even a 90s kid if you didn’t have the full set of Goosebumps books and a few of the real scary ones… Point Horror!?

With the resurgence of slasher flicks thanks to Scream , television shows such as X-Files ,  Buffy and Charmed and “real stories” found on Strange But True in the UK and Unsolved Mysteries in the US, horror had gone mainstream and kids were more than aware of it – we were hooked on it. If you weren’t sharing urban legends at slumber parties or sneaking downstairs to catch the late night horror film on TV when your parents were asleep, you weren’t living.

What’s more, watersheds were pretty lenient back then not to mention what was acceptable for children. The ’90s didn’t only produce some incredible adult entertainment, but it created some horror-heavy, and often questionable, kids content too. These gateway horror shows sparked millennial curiosity into the darker side of tv and film, and unfortunately, these days there is a distinct lack of newer shows that embrace children’s love of spooky stories due to growing concerns over innocence and increased censorship and media laws. In the ’90s however, we didn’t know how gruesomely good we had it, even if we did turn out a little bit strange because of it. Here are 10 of the most terrifying kids shows to spawn from the decade – and they still haunt our nightmares to this day. 

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Goosebumps TV show

Goosebumps (1995-98)

Based on the hit book series by R L Stine that was a staple on every 90s kids bedroom shelf, Goosebumps saw the books come to life on your super small screened gigantic box of a television set. The episodes are truly mini horror movies, albeit with terrible special effects. Although it is hotly debated which ones are the most terrifying, frontrunners include ‘Welcome To Dead House’, where a family is lured to a town populated by undead folks who plan to kill them, ‘The Mask’ where the mask in question looks very Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is essentially a more sinister version of the Jim Carey film, and ‘Say Cheese And Die’ about a killer camera that foretells your demise. Another standout episode is ‘Cry Of The Cat’, where a girl decapitates a cat with her bike only to discover the cat is evil, has nine lives and turns her into a werecat type creature.

Century Falls show

Century Falls (1993)

Century Falls was a British children’s serial drama (something that doesn’t appear to exist anymore) written by Russell T Davies, who would later become known for his work on Queer As Folk and resurrecting Doctor Who . The show followed up Davies’ sci-fi thriller Dark Season , which had aired in 1991 to critical acclaim. While Dark Season focused on school kids attempting to stop a group of sinister adults from taking over and destroying the world, Century Falls had a far eerier rural gothic vibe – making it all the more creepy. In short, it’s a kids folk horror complete with all the tropes of the genre, weird pagan rural village, odd elderly townsfolk, scary spectral children, old occult ritual gone horribly wrong, terrifying pagan gods… It’s comparable to the ‘70s cult kids tv classic, Children Of The Stones . 

The cast of round the twist

Round the Twist (1990-2001)

Let’s get one thing clear: Round The Twist wasn’t supposed to be scary, it just was. It was marketed a quirky Aussie show about an eccentric family who live in a lighthouse where weird shit happens… but some of that weird stuff was utterly disturbing. Alright sure, the catchy theme song spells it out for you (“have you ever, ever felt like this? When strange things happen, are you going round the twist?”) but it all looked like it should be fun and frolics – there’s no dark gothic horrors presented in this bright, sunny Australian show. But, turns out, the Victorian lighthouse where the three siblings and widower dad live is haunted, from there it just all keeps getting more and more bizarre. In one episode, the eldest son was impregnated by urinating on a tree, talk about disturbing…

Animorphs TV Show

Animorphs wasn’t exactly horror, but the backstory was absolutely horrific to say the least. Based on the Scholastic books of the same name (see a pattern emerging here? Those Scholastic book fairs were mint), the series follows Jake and his sort-of mostly friends who take a shortcut one day only to bump into an alien and be given powers – the power to morph into animals. But why? Because the world is being secretly taken over by a race of other aliens who seek to take over the earth. The worst part? These evil aliens are parasites that look like slugs and are inserted into human brains via their ears (à la The Faculty ), oh, and if the kids morph too long they are forever stuck in their animal form. It’s honestly all pretty bleak, but wouldn’t it be cool to be able to turn into a tiger?

Ohmri Katz in Eerie Indiana

Eerie, Indiana (1991-2)

Eerie, Indiana is essentially the X-Files for kids. The series follows new kid in town, Marshall (played by Omri Katz aka Hocus Pocus ’ Max), who moves from New Jersey to Eerie. Turns out the town lives up to its name, and just like Mulder, Marshall collates his evidence of strange goings on, storing it safely in his basement. Not everything is downright terrifying in Eerie, but it sure is strange – think The Burbs strange. The pilot, ‘Forever Ware’ sticks out in every 90s kids memory as being possibly the most disturbing. It features a Tupperware saleswoman who is quite literally stuck in the past, and seals her children up in airtight containers every night to preserve them as children – an utter nightmare to any kid who is desperate to make it out of eighth grade!

Are you afraid of the dark original cast

Are You Afraid Of The Dark? (1990-96)

The OG of all 90s spooky kids shows is of course, Are You Afraid Of The Dark? . The Canadian show kicked off the careers of Ryan Gosling, Hayden Christensen, Neve Campbell and Melissa Joan Hart. It’s been revived not once, but twice – because it was just that good. And, most importantly, it was down right scary. The Midnight Society would meet in the dark, gathered around a campfire, toasting s’mores and telling utterly terrifying stories such as ‘The Tale Of The Dollmaker’, a nightmare-inducing story where a girl gets stuck in a dollhouse and transformed into a doll, ‘The Tale Of The Nightly Neighbors’ where a girl suspects her next door neighbors are vampires and everyone laughs it off, and ‘The Tale Of The Super Specs’ where a pair of glasses allow the wearer to see shadowy figures invisible to the human eye. 

Tales from the Cryptkeeper show

Tales From The Cryptkeeper (1993-99)

Anthology horror and sci-fi tv shows were huge in the 80s and 90s, there was Tales From The Darkside , The Outer Limits (resurrected in 1995), Monsters , Freddy’s Nightmare , Deadly Nightmares , The Twilight Zone (the remake), and of course the young adult programs mentioned above: Goosebumps and Are You Afraid Of The Dark? In fact, anthology shows have always been pretty popular with the horror crowd. But there is no horror anthology quite as famous as Tales From The Crypt. While many of us would happily watch the original (uncut versions were on constant syndication during the day in the UK – God bless the lack of 90s censorship), a kid-friendly animated version of Tales From The Crypt , Tales From The Cryptkeeper , was available for those of with a more delicate palette. Tales From The Cryptkeeper still boasted some scares if you were a young ’un. Introduced by an animated verions of the creepy skeletal crypt keeper from the adult show, it was a rite of passage into the classic horror worlds of vampires, zombies, phantoms and more – and was a tad creepier than Scooby Doo . 

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So Weird

So Weird (1999-2001)

This one only just makes it into the 90s, as it began in 1999. So Weird was the darkest show to ever air on the Disney Channel at the time, and it quickly drew comparisons with cult favorite The X-Files . The protagonist, teenager Fiona Phillips, investigates everything from ghosts and will o’ the wisps to bigfoot and aliens which she keeps a record of via a website entitled Fi’s So Weird Webpage. The show was particularly creepy thanks to its foreboding atmospheres and inclusion of real life folklore and paranormal conspiracies. The show even got downright conceptual in some of its horror, like the episode ‘Strange Geometry,’ which uses the Fibonacci spiral as a premise for multi-world portal traveling.

Courage the Cowardly Dog

Courage The Cowardly Dog (1999-2002)

Courage wasn’t supposed to be scary but he was supposed to be scared. All the time. Hence Courage The Cowardly Dog instilled a lifetime’s worth of anxiety on every kid who watched it. For starters, the titular Courage lives with two pensioners in the middle of absolutely nowhere. The place is actually referred to as Nowhere. Pretty terrifying. If that wasn’t scary enough, Nowhere attracts weird stuff and the poor pup is often dragged into disturbing and/or paranormal situations that explain why Courage is oh so scared all of the time. Like a number of 90s kids tv shows, most of which found their home on Cartoon Network, it is full of surrealism and the kind of dark humor that is pure nightmare fuel, leading it to scar numerous younger millennials for life. From Courage’s owner Muriel’s creepy as hell Nephew with a permanent sneer on his face to The Exorcist homage episode, ‘Demon In The Mattress’, somehow the anxiety-ridden Courage managed to make it through them all. Lord only knows how he is doing today, poor pooch.

Alice Pattillo

Alice Pattillo

Alice Pattillo is a journalist, writer and editor. Former online editor of Metal Hammer, she has over eight years experience in magazines. Part nerd, part goth,…

5 Nostalgic '90s Kids Horror TV Shows

Back in the '90s, there were many TV shows aimed at kids that were fun to watch and genuinely terrifying.

While there are many horror movies about kids that give audiences the creeps, whether they sense a supernatural presence or they're ghosts themselves, it's hard to think of contemporary TV shows that are terrifying and also aimed at child viewers. But back in the '90s, it was a totally different story. There were countless series, whether animated or live-action, that told scary stories for kids. While these were definitely appropriate and not on the same level as horror films that adults watch, many episodes were genuinely freaky, and chances are that '90s kids remember being scared of at least one storyline.

From episodes about bullies and werewolves to plotlines featuring spirits and werewolves and urban legends, these TV shows from the 1990s tell fascinating scary tales for children.

RELATED: 10 Terrifying Horror Movies About Evil Children

Goosebumps (1995-1998)

Split image of dog with lit up eyes and haunted mask in Goosebumps

With the exciting news that there will be a new Goosebumps TV show , it's fun to rewatch the '90s children's horror series based on the book series by R.L. Stine. Many horror fans grew up enjoying this show which taught them the power of telling a smart, concise, half-hour scary story.

Goosebumps focuses on a variety of horror topics, from haunted masks to zombies to freaky dolls, ghosts, werewolves, freaky worms, mummys, vampires, and a school that turns kids into clones. Fans remember the episode "Say Cheese and Die" about a kid named Greg (Ryan Gosling) who found a camera that showed bad things that would happen in each photograph.

Are You Afraid Of The Dark? (1990-2000)

The cast of Are You Afraid Of The Dark? screaming

There are some terrifying Are You Afraid Of The Dark? episodes and many people remember watching this show, which began airing in the early '90s. Like Goosebumps , it's a horror anthology show and in each episode, a group of kids who call themselves The Midnight Society each tell a horror story. Fans love when the kids head into the woods and make a campfire as it adds to the creepy environment. The original series ended in 1996, then the show came back for two seasons in 1999 and 2000, and there was a two-season revival series in 2019 and 2021.

The show works perfectly since kids often tell each other scary stories and get totally freaked out as they believe that there must be some truth to them. Some episodes focus on haunted houses or apartments, like the season 2 episode "The Tale of the Thirteenth Floor" when a brother and sister are scared of this floor of their building. Other episodes are about spirits, like "The Tale of the Shiny Red Bicycle."

Eerie, Indiana (1991-1992)

Omri Katz as Marshall on his bike in Eerie, Indiana

There are some great horror movies for children and this science-fiction/horror TV show is especially creepy. Eerie, Indiana aired for one 19-episode season and focuses on friends Simon and Marshall. After Marshall begins living in this weird tiny town, he befriends Simon and they start investigating what's going on.

Each episode focuses on a truly terrifying situation that Marshall or his classmates are dealing with. In one particularly strange episode, "Heart on a Chain," Melanie is given the heart of Devon, a kid who passes away, and then she begins acting totally different. The show was definitely ahead of its time as the episode "Reality Takes a Holiday" finds Marshall starring on Eerie, Indiana . The show appeals to kids who become interested in Marshall and Simon's friendship and who want to figure out the mysteries of this town along with them.

Freaky Stories (1997-1998)

Split image of title credits and cartoon of two faces in Freaky Stories

While the '90s horror movie about urban legends takes a look at these "true" tales, the '90s horror series Freaky Stories also shares tales that have "happened to a friend." The show stands out because it's animated and it manages to be both scary and compelling, which makes it tough to stop watching.

The main characters are Maurice the Maggot and Larry de bug, and the show looks at famous urban legends like "The Babysitter," "The 13th Floor," "Fountain of Youth," and "The Killer in the Backseat." It's a brilliant idea as kids are bound to become invested in a show that tells horrifying tales with cool animation. While the show isn't talked about all that much anymore, those with the streaming service Tubi can check it out.

Tales from the Cryptkeeper (1993-1999)

Green creature in a cape in front of a house in Tales From The Cryptkeeper

Horror fans loved Tales from the Crypt , the comic book series and HBO show adaptation, and there was a version for kids, too. Also a Canadian animated horror TV series, Tales from the Cryptkeeper aired on ABC and YTV is also part of the horror anthology genre . The episodes are fascinating self-contained stories about bullies ("Hyde and Go Shriek"), a ship of spirits ("Ghost Ship"), and a fun storyline about a carnival in the episode "Uncle Harry's Horrible House of Horrors."

Like other horror TV shows aimed at children, this one was genuinely scary, and it was always fun to see which story was being told next. Like Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? , Tales From The Cryptkeeper focuses on subjects that affect kids, like bullying and fitting in, and that feels particularly interesting during those tough growing up years.

MORE: Fans of Coraline Will Love These Spooky Kid's Movies

12 ‘90s Ghosts That Scared The Pants Off You

90s kid ghost

I know it’s only August, but I’m already getting super hyped up for the Halloween season. Why? Because it’s the one time of year that my bizarre fascination with ghosts and weird stuff comes in handy. Take, for example, these ghosts from the ‘90s that scared the pants off all of us when we were kids: If I’m really honest with myself, I think about these spooky, spectral figures all the time. But once the summer starts to draw to a close, the air gets crisp , and the leaves begin to change? Well, let’s just say that both my imagination and the nostalgia center of my brain go into hyper drive.

Many like to scoff at ghost stories, but on some level, I actually think we need them. Whether or not we believe in them, the possibility that they might exist can help us cope with difficult events — or, they can help us experience the sort of risk for which we have a psychological need , but don’t always encounter in our everyday lives. And even though some might maintain that kids should be kept away from scary stuff, I think we need to start being exposed to it when we’re young, too. Psychologist Bruno Bettelheim was right on the money with his 1976 book The Uses of Enchantment : The dark themes of fairy tales do let children begin to learn how to navigate their fears in symbolic terms. Ghost stories let us do that, too.

So here. Let’s take a look at just a few of the ghosts that populated a ‘90s childhood. There’s a reason we loved them so much — even as we hid our heads under the covers.

1. The Lonely Ghost

“The Tale of the Lonely Ghost” is one of the earliest episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? — the third one of the first season, to be precise — and it’s become so iconic that just this one image is enough to give most ‘90s kids nightmares. Like many of the ghosts featured in Are You Afraid of the Dark?, this one wasn’t malevolent; she just wanted a friend. Unfortunately, she had a truly horrifying way of asking for it.

But that’s far from the only Are You Afraid of the Dark? ghost most of us found absolutely terrifying. There was also…

2. The “I’m Cold” Ghost

Who could forget this Season 2 episode starring Melissa Joan Hart? Not unlike the Lonely Ghost, the poor dead kid in "The Tale of the Frozen Ghost" didn’t want to hurt anyone; he just needed someone to find his dang coat for him. Still, though — the number of times I stayed away from my window at night for fearing of spotting a spectral child freezing his non-corporeal butt off were too many to count.

3. The Girl With The Green Ribbon Around Her Neck

OK, to be fair, I’m not actually sure whether the Girl with the Green Ribbon Around Her Neck is a ghost or something more like a zombie; either way, though, there are few things as unsettling as asking the love of your life why she’s always worn that ribbon, only to watch her head fall off when she unties it.

The tale is an old one — Washington Irving published “The Adventure of the German Student,” which uses the ribbon-keeping-your-head-attached convention, in his 1824 collection Tales of a Traveller — but Alvin Schwartz of Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark fame terrified a huge number of ‘80s and ‘90s kids with his version, “The Green Ribbon,” in the 1984 collectio n In A Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories .

4. Bloody Mary

Strictly speaking, Bloody Mary isn’t limited to the ‘90s ; according to Snopes’ entry on her, research about the legend dates to 1978 and folklorist Janet Langlois’ essay “‘Mary Whales, I Believe In You’: Myth and Ritual Subdued.” But back before the internet was rife with creepy ghost games , Bloody Mary was the OG for many of us — our go-to for sleepovers and other spooky get-togethers.

5. The Many Terrifying Ghosts Of Hey Arnold!

90s kid ghost

Because somewhat astonishingly, there was more than one: Four-Eyed Jack , who conducted experiments on cooking beans in the cellar of the boarding house and died after a horrific pressure cooker accident; and the Ghost Bride (seen above), who killed her husband-to-be and her sister with an axe after they eloped right before what was supposed to be her wedding day, then jumped out a window in order to escape capture by the police. Oh, and there was a haunted train , too. Hey Arnold! was frequently surprisingly dark .

90s kid ghost

YA author Mary Downing Hahn specialized in making it impossible for kids to get to sleep in the ‘80s and ‘90s — and she’s still at it today: Her most recent novel, Where I Belong , was published in 2014. But without a doubt, it’s 1986’s Wait Till Helen Comes that most ‘80s and ‘90s kids recall with a creepy yet delicious sense of dread. Toxic friends are bad enough on their own, but when your worst toxic friend has supernatural abilities? Uh… yikes.

Also, the book was released with a new cover in 2008 , and it is suitably freaky:

90s kid ghost

Or perhaps more accurately, It as depicted in the 1990 miniseries adaptation of the 1986 Stephen King novel . And even more accurately, the Pennywise the Clown incarnation of It. I don’t even know if It technically classifies as a ghost — it’s probably closer to a “demonic entity” than an a straight-up ghost — but, I mean, let’s be honest: When most people think “malevolent ghost,” they usually think of It.

8. All Those Living Dummies

In case you forgot, Slappy isn’t the only living dummy in the Goosebumps series; the main antagonist of the very first installment of Night of the Living Dummy is actually Mr. Wood . It’s only after Mr. Wood’s untimely demise that Slappy takes center stage — and as it turns out, they’re brothers, both carved from the wood of the very same coffin. We know considerably less about Mr. Wood than we do about Slappy, unfortunately — the only additional information we have is that his first name is Wally — but given that we find out later that Slappy is actually the spirit of a sorcerer living inside a ventriloquist’s dummy, I think it’s safe to assume that Wally has something similar going on. Ergo, they’re both ghosts.

And, really, they would be creepy enough all on their own, even without the whole evil-spirit-trapped-in-a-doll thing. Ventriloquist’s dummies are terrifying .

9. The Vanishing Hitchhiker

You know this story: Someone picks up a hitchhiker — often a young woman — in their car. Sometimes the driver drops her off at her home, while sometimes it’s at a cemetery; either way, though, she usually a) leaves something behind in the car, or b) accidentally takes something with her when she exits — a coat, typically. The next day, the driver heads back to where he dropped the hitchhiker off to either return what she left or retrieve their own belonging… and then discover that she was dead the whole time.

The Vanishing Hitchhiker is usually more sad than scary, but it’s spooky nonetheless — the kind of story we used to tell each other at sleepovers. It’s got a long history — the earliest versions actually date back to antiquity — but we were definitely super into it in the ‘90s. Probably movies like Urban Legend, which was released in 1998, helped.

10. Kyra Collins

AKA, the ghost played by Mischa Barton who appears in Cole's room in The Sixth Sense . I mean, yes, not unlike our two previous Are You Afraid of the Dark? ghosts, she wasn’t malevolent; indeed, she’s actually something of a hero — by appearing to Cole, she helped bring to light the fact that her mother actually poisoned her, saving her younger sister from the same fate. Still, though — you’d think she’d have wanted to find a less frightening way to deliver her message, right?

11. Old Man Stauf

It’s true that the PC game The 7th Guest hasn’t aged particularly well — having replayed it last year, I can definitely attest to that fact — but at the time of its release in 1993, it was just about the highest tech thing I’d ever seen in a computer game. The story of Henry Stauf, his incredible yet deadly toys, his mysterious mansion, and the unknown fate of his guests that night always had me looking over my shoulder as I played — and I can still recite that nursery rhyme that spoke of the horrors that once occurred: “Old Man Stauf built a house, and filled it with his toys. Six guests were invited one night, their screams the only noise…”

12. The Blair Witch

Or whatever the heck that actually was out there in the woods of Burkittsville, Md. This is one of the many movies I watched as a kid that taught me that what you don’t see is almost always scarier than what you do see — a valuable lesson in effective storytelling.

Not going to lie: I am definitely going to see the newly-revealed sequel when it comes out. Yes, even if it’s bad. Don’t judge.

Images: Nickelodeon (3); Giphy (7); Harper Collins; HMH Books for Young Readers

90s kid ghost

90s kid ghost

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90s kid ghost

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  • 31 Nights of Horror

31 Nights of Horror 2022: 90s Kids Horror

I’m a 90s Kid, and while the 90s isn’t necessarily known for the best horror movies, it no doubt ( pun intended ) had the best horror for kids . Whether it’s a Disney Channel Original, a TV show (or whole series), or a movie with horror elements that happens to be kid-friendly, we’ve got a spot highlighted for it each day in October. Check back every day to see the next mini-review!

October 1 — Are You Afraid of the Dark: The Tale of the Dollmaker (S3E5, 1994)

Out of all the AYAOTD episodes, this is one of the ones that stuck with me the most. A girl visits her aunt and uncle, only to find her friend has disappeared. The mysterious dollhouse in the attic has a lot to do with it, and the girl finds herself in the same danger when she decides to play with it. White porcelain faces, a toy house that seems to be alive, and the thought of slowly becoming an unmoving doll are more than frightening enough without adding in the very real feeling of having a child disappear without a trace. While I have a lot of logistical questions now, it scares me just as much as it did seeing it as a kid. 

October 2 — Goosebumps: You Can’t Scare Me (S2E7, 1996)

I don’t know why, but this episode feels the most like my childhood. Hoping to one-up the smartest girl in class, two boys plot to scare her with the tale of the local Mud Monster. Little do they know, the monster is very real. I love this episode, so much that I have an Etsy notebook made from the hardcover itself. It’s a simple tale of kids trying to prank someone, only for it to go wrong. But not so wrong where people actually get hurt. It’s kids fun with a monster twist!

October 3 — The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Jack Skellington and Halloween Town is everything I ever wanted to be. This Tim Burton/Henry Selick masterpiece gives us the crossover of all time: Halloween x Christmas. A skeleton longing for newness and excitement decides to try Christmas, much to the chagrin of his neighbors and our human world. This is the movie that everyone knows, regardless of if they’ve seen it or not. A timeless story and characters, Nightmare is the pinnacle of kids horror and an aesthetic orgasm for young and old ( poor wording, but you get the gist !).

October 4 — Legends of the Hidden Temple (series, 1993)

This isn’t technically horror, but it did scare me as a young kid. In this game show, groups of kids compete to answer questions and do small-scale stunts for a chance at the final round: the Temple Run. At this point, a player would run through an laser-tag-style maze, completing puzzles and escaping temple guards. Hidden Temple was intense, to say the least. As a person with anxiety, I can only imagine trying to make it out alive as guards pop out of nowhere like scareactors.

October 5 — The Addams Family (1991)

Sure the Addams’ have been around since the 60s, but this 90s family is the one we all wanted to be neighbors with. Creepy and kooky indeed, this family hilariously and scarily goes through the motions of everyday “normal” life while trying to find their long-lost uncle, who has lost his memory. Every character is played brilliantly, from Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia as Morticia and Gomez, to Christina Ricci and Christopher Lloyd as Wednesday and Uncle Fester. I can watch this all day, every day!

October 6 — Addams Family Values (1993)

The first was so good, we had to do a second! The Addams’, now with another sibling (hilariously named Pubert) once again have to save Uncle Fester when he’s seduced by Pubert’s nanny and serial killer in disguise, Debbie (played by the amazing Joan Cusack). She could fit in perfectly with the family… if only it weren’t for pastels. Debbie really makes this movie, and it’s a fun ride seeing the family somehow make it in this strange world.

October 7 — Goosebumps: One Day at HorrorLand (S3E8-9, 1997)

A family lost in their car stumbles along a roadside attraction run by what they think are people in costume: HorrorLand. All of the rides are scary, some even deadly. All of the food is gross and ghastly. And the staff happen to be actual monsters. This episode is good for many reasons: it’s fun for the kids, and it has fantastic plot points for the parents watching. HorrorLand could of course be done up bigger, but for a smaller-scale show it was adequate. The first installment of this two-episode story is better than the second.

October 8 — Halloweentown (1998)

Fuck yeah, the OG! If you haven’t seen Disney’s Halloweentown , get with the program, alright? One Halloween night, Marnie and her two siblings find out they are actually a magical family, something their mother was trying to hide. They travel to Halloweentown with their witchy grandma to help save its citizens from an evil warlock’s curse. This is probably one of the first “horror” movies many millennials have seen, and I appreciate it for that. It’s attention to detail on monsters, magic, and good ol’ Halloween fun is astounding, so it’s no wonder we come back to watch every year. Scary? Hell no (c’mon, it’s Disney!), but it sure is nostalgic.

October 9 — Eerie Indiana (series, 1991)

I didn’t watch this during its original run, but I pulled up a few episodes for this year’s 31 Nights. Think of a mix between something like Are You Afraid of the Dark , The X Files , and Unsolved Mysteries ; a teen and his friend investigate odd occurrences around their town (Eerie, Indiana), and come across urban legends, monsters, and more. While I appreciate the slightly-darker tone compared so Goosebumps or AYAOTD , I had already had my fill of those. I loved the atmosphere though. It’s almost like an R. L. Stine’ s The Haunting Hour of the 90s.

October 10 — Hocus Pocus (1993)

Another OG, and this time, ready for the sequel this year! Surprisingly, I had never seen this before, but pulled it out just for you guys. Three wicked witches, who were sentenced to death in 1600s Salem, are accidentally resurrected by present-day kids; the witches must go through trials and tribulations to gain power again, but the kids spoil their plans. I may not be a huge fan of Disney, but they really did know how to do 90s Halloween. Like Halloweentown , Hocus Pocus makes Halloween a very family-friendly event. There are witches, monsters, magic, and purples, oranges, and candy, and costumes, and comedy and everything! Do I think it’s the most amazing Halloween movie ever? No, but I can see why it’s enjoyed by both Disney Adults and more “horrible” people like me. 

October 11 — Courage the Cowardly Dog (series, 1999)

Overall, Courage is more of an early 2000s show, but it started in ‘99 so we’re including it. The title sequence explains it all: “ Abandoned as a pup, he was found by Muriel, who lives in the middle of Nowhere with her husband, Eustace Bagge. But creepy stuff happens in Nowhere. It’s up to Courage to save his new home!” This purple pup faces monsters, aliens, crazy cats, and a myriad of other evils trying to save his owners and just live his life peacefully. There are certainly a few more-than-memorable episodes, including said Cat and an Egyptian Pharaoh. It’s all in good fun though.

October 12 — Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Monsters, Get Real (S1E2a, 1994)

While Disney has original Halloween movies down pat, Nickelodeon was ruling the TV series sphere. Three monsters-in-training spend their days learning how to be Master Scarers at scare school, getting into trouble in the real world; in this episode, Ickis endangers the world of monsters by leaving his Scare Manual in the human (surface) world. I love this show, and it’s definitely part of every 90s kid’s memories. Not scary, just normal fun monster stuff and funny cartoon antics here.

October 13 — SpongeBob SquarePants: Scaredy Pants (S1E13a, 1999)

If you didn’t know, pre-first movie Spongebob is my jam! I had a calendar that I kept on a picture of this episode (for October, of course) for years after the fact. Spongebob wracks his brain trying to be scary for Halloween, and ends up terrifying the whole town. Spongebob’s ending “costume” is absolutely iconic, and this is an episode they definitely should play more often.

October 14 — Animorphs (series, 1998)

Ok so I didn’t watch the whole series because it scared 7-year-old me. We did have the books though! Basically, kids can change into animals. It’s a cool concept but not scary; well, except for the little squirmy monsters that crawl into your ears. Fuck them parasites.

October 15 — Don’t Look Under the Bed (1999)

Disney, y’all didn’t have to go that hard! Kids meet the BoogeyMan: not a complicated concept. Usually boogeymen wouldn’t be that scary, but these guys are something else! Pointy teeth, sharp claws, and yellow eyes are the reason this movie is memed as nightmare fuel. It’s one of the few Disney Halloween originals that is actually frightening.

October 16 — A Pup Named Scooby-Doo: The Ghost of Mrs. Shusham (S4 E2b, 1991)

A Pup Named Scooby-Doo is a show that ended way too early (but lucky for us, just into the 90s). It’s Scooby-Doo but they’re all kids. In this episode, a librarian ghost haunts the gang over an overdue book. While more silly than scary, a young me would’ve been scared seeing this, especially because I was terrified over an overdue library book in kindergarten. Technically you could count all of Scooby-Doo and its spin-offs as horror, which I do, but at the end of the day, it’s mainly a kids thing.

October 17 — Goosebumps: Go Eat Worms (S2E6, 1996)

A boy obsessed with wiggly, slimy worms gets more than he’s bargained for. So normal Goosebumps stories don’t really have things that are too bad happen to the main characters; Go Eat Worms is this way, but it’s a different story for the “antagonists.” This child is literally torturing worms – bruh! Serial Killer in the making. Seeing this as a kid, I wasn’t thinking that. Today, however, it’s questionable.

October 18 — Are You Afraid of the Dark: The Tale of the Lonely Ghost (S1E3, 1992)

Alright, so we all know AYATOD can get serious; in this episode, Amanda is forced to spend the night in a haunted house, or face the wrath of her bully cousin Beth. Not only does this make me want to punch Beth in the face, but it also makes me incredibly sad and worried as a mom. I can only imagine the terror of being trapped inside of a mirror (or a house, as this mute ghost is) or the sadness of losing a child. It’s a better (scarier) episode, but I don’t really like to watch it too often.

October 19 — Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998)

There are definitely certain Scooby-Doo episodes and movies we all remember, and Zombie Island is one of them, sticking out because of its scare factor. After splitting up, our favorite Mystery, Inc. members come back together to solve a mystery involving very real monsters, as opposed to the people in suits they were so used to. Just outside of New Orleans, the gang encounters zombies from an old pirate ship, voodoo rituals, and a group of werecats. While I can do without the werecats, the zombies are impressively animated for just the right amount of scare, their faces burned into our little brains to remain there forever. And put that against a bayou background in infamous New Orleans? It’s no wonder this is a favorite!

October 20 — Sleepy Hollow (1999)

If I could pick one Tim Burton film that reigns supreme (for the live action works, at least), it is Sleepy Hollow . We get the American classic of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (and Headless Horseman), Burton’s typical Hallow-Goth aesthetic, and the marvelous main acts of Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci. I could watch this every day and still find something new that was both macabre and beautiful. It also blends truly horrific effects with gorgeous cinematography and set pieces.

October 21 — Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Monsters Are real (S2E2a, 1995)

We’re back with our favorite monsters! This time, Ickis messes up again by getting his picture taken, making the gang go out to retrieve all the copies before the other monsters (and humans) find out. While not scary in cartoon form, imagine this happening in real life! We get the tried and true cartoon antics, which are fun to watch, so it’s no biggie. 

October 22 — Goosebumps: Shocker on Shock Street (S3E1, 1997)

Shocker on Shock Street is what we would get if Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights was year round. Two kids get a chance to tour an amusement park based on horror movies, but everything looks and feels a little bit too real. I hope that someday we can have a real Shock Street amusement park, because I love the idea of having kid-friendly “shocks” all the time. Now, are the monsters the best? No, it’s a kids TV series from 30 years ago. But was it effective? Yes, so much so that I still think about it to this day.

October 23 — Rugrats: Ghost Story (S6E12, 1999)

Does anyone remember that time when Nickelodeon crossed over two series before Timmy and Jimmy? This was it! The Rugrats tell each other scary stories when all of a sudden, the monsters from our favorite scare school show up (in their imaginations, at least). Being a show about literal babies, there’s no way this could be as frightening as some of the other picks on this list. But it is memorable, and it does in fact stay in the Halloween spirit. Horror is funny in that something can be horrifying while remaining fun and playful, just like this episode. 

October 24 — Practical Magic (1998)

Who said horror and Halloween couldn’t be romantic? Two sisters use magic to battle both their hearts’ desires and a murder charge. I love how convoluted but entrancing the story is. Women uniting through the power of love – sounds a lot like magic to me. I also love the thought of magic being used for everyday things, like putting a bit of oomph into your herbal skincare, or casting a centuries-long love spell. Y’know, practical magic!

October 25 — Casper (1995)

Perfect timing between the new Chucky and Wednesday series, because Devon Sawa and Christina Ricci are back! Casper, a friendly ghost, haunts an estate where he gets to meet a teenaged Ricci. In a plot to find some hidden treasure and bring ghosts back to life, Casper and Ricci (“Kat” in the movie) spark a friendship and learn about love and loss. It’s a cute little story with characters that are all likable in their own ways. It’s also nice seeing ghosts as non-threatening for once.

October 26 — Are You Afraid of the Dark: The Tale of the Vacant Lot (S5E10, 1996)

I think this episode is honestly underrated; it’s both scary and teaches a really good lesson for older kids and young teens. A girl, tired of being “average” and “not good enough” realizes the things she’s giving away are a lot more important than running faster or getting the guy she wants. I totally get why someone would want to make the choices this girl does, and The Vacant Lot plays a lot on those sentiments. It also goes to show that someone who is seemingly pretty and has it all can still be a monster in their own right. 

October 27 — The Witches (1990)

You probably have an idea of a typical witch in your head. 1990’s The Witches ramps that up when a coven of beautifully-disguised, hideous witches have their evil plans foiled by a boy and his grandma. This is another one that slipped through my fingers, and I only recently watched this. Honestly, it wasn’t quite for me; it was a very fun movie and I’m not surprised why this stuck with so many people as they grew older. Unfortunately I’ve passed that age and it was just on the better side of OK. But I will commend the filmmakers for the famous transformation scene, where the witches take of their disguises, revealing terrible, ugly faces.

October 28 — Goosebumps: Attack of the Jack-O’-Lanterns (S2E10, 1996)

Never have I ever wanted to be in a Goosebumps episode more than in this one. It’s Halloween night and a group of kids goes trick-or-treating. Not wanting to be scared by some prankster siblings, main character Drew gets help from her “other-worldly” friends. It’s Halloween. It’s pumpkins (and Pumpkin monsters). It’s a good ol’ scare with a twist you might not see coming. Can we have this every night?!

October 29 — A Pup Named Scooby-Doo: Horror of the Haunted Hairpiece (S3E2, 1990)

A hair monster? C’mon! The gang fights against a hair monster that has seemed to spawn from a new video game. We’re all laughs here; if you thought the monsters in Scooby-Doo couldn’t get any sillier, you’d be wrong. Again, it’s very kid-friendly horror (almost resulting in no horror), but everyone needs some kind of entry into the genre.

October 30 — Are You Afraid of the Dark: The Tale of Laughing in the Dark (S1E2, 1992)

Fuck this episode. Possibly the scariest episode that I know of, Laughing in the Dark is an amusement park Haunt that features an evil clown animatronic named Zeebo. Steal the clown’s nose, and he goes where you go. I’m not scared of clowns, but Zeebo is on a whole other level – and he’s not even real! The scares are simple to pull off but extremely effective, and the clown is so well-known, he is referenced in other episodes as well.

October 31 — Goosebumps: The Haunted Mask (S1E1-2, 1995)

Aww yeah, another Halloween episode! This is the centuries-old story of a magical mask that changes the person the longer they wear it. Carly Beth, done with being called a scaredy cat, dawns a grotesque mask from a costume shop and becomes the fright of the night amongst trick-or-treaters. Unfortunately, the mask makes Carly Beth into a monster in real life. She must figure out how to get it off before the change is permanent. Love the mask. Love the story. Love the acting. Love that it’s on Halloween night. Everything about this episode is * chef’s kiss .* There is a part 2, but this first installment is the real goldmine. 

'90s Kids Horror Shows That Are Scarier Than You Remember

Courage and a weird tree

Gateway horror  has waned in recent years. Several decades ago, it seemed that every network had at least one or two distinctly horror-themed shows aimed at young audiences. Currently, the vagaries of genre have shifted more toward fantasy and dystopia, though the advent of digital streaming has reignited interest in several classic pieces of '90s horror media.

These are the shows that an entire generation grew up with. Along with classic television movies such as "Don't Look Under the Bed" and "Cry Baby Lane," these shows gave young '90s horror fans their genre fix, all but guaranteeing a lifetime of horror loyalty. Some of these shows are animated, some are live-action, and some aired for years. Others were cut short far too soon. There are ghouls, goblins, ghosts, and monsters to be found in both overarching narratives and anthologies of terror. In retrospect, these 10 shows are considerably scarier than audiences might remember.

"Goosebumps," adapted from the R.L. Stine's series of books of the same name, is arguably the most famous '90s horror show for kids. It's been so popular, that there have even been two quasi-remakes of the material for contemporary audiences: 2015's "Goosebumps" and its sequel,  "Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween."  That's not all. Disney+ is currently developing another live-action series with the "Goosebumps"  moniker.

What made the series so popular was its adroit balance of family-friendly pathos and some serious scares. Sure, it never pushed boundaries too far, but the likes of such episodes as "Stay Out of the Basement" and "Night of the Living Dummy II" were bonafide scare fests, rivaling adult-oriented fare with their perfect pacing and truly nightmarish imagery. "Goosebumps" ran for four seasons, and while some of its luster was lost the longer it went on, there are few — if any — better gateways for young horror fans.

"Gargoyles" is practically dripping with nostalgia. An animated series airing on the Disney Channel of yore (and what a time that was) "Gargoyles" follows a group of gargoyles reawakened in modern-day New York City. Consequently, they become quasi-superheroes, protecting the city at night from all manner of menaces, including biker gangs, cults, and monstrous hybrids of eels and bats. It's truly scary stuff.

"Gargoyles" has enjoyed a favorable legacy, with IGN even listing it as the 45th best animated show ever made. With layered storytelling, mature themes, and a dollop of Shakespearean tragedy, "Gargoyles" was truly ahead of its time. It is a show that introduced young audiences to superhero mythos, Scottish folklore, and the harsh realities of the real world — all bundled together with stellar animation, fantastic heroes, and engaging narrative arcs. While it currently enjoys a cult following, nothing can match the sheer '90s' pleasure of plopping down in front of the television with a bowl of cereal in the early morning to check in on everyone's favorite stone guardians.


"Ghostwriter" was sort of like an adolescent "Murder She Wrote" if Jessica Fletcher was a spirit and Cabot Cove was a middle school. A group of friends from Brooklyn discovers the titular Ghostwriter, an invisible spirit who can communicate with them through the manipulation of text and letters, in a basement. Together, they become a kind of detective agency, solving crimes around their neighborhood and school alongside guest appearances from none other than the inimitable Samuel L. Jackson.

While not strictly scary, "Ghostwriter" more often than not followed innocuous crimes, including backpack theft and baby arson. Still, there were times when "Ghostwriter" got considerably darker than audiences might have expected, such as the time the crew had to save an actress from a violent homicidal stalker or when they stumble upon a kidnapping plot. Plus, the central conceit, a ghost who solves crimes, is innately scary in and of itself. Good for the "Ghostwriter" crew for keeping it around. Others might have been quick to exorcise a spectral detective from their lives and few could blame them.

"So Weird" premiered on the Disney Channel in January 1999 , airing until its cancellation in September 2001. Teenager Fiona Phillips (Cara DeLizia) tours with her rock-star mom (Mackenzie Phillips) while fancying herself a young Dana Scully. With clear nods to Fox's "The X-Files," "So Weird" was a pitch-perfect gateway for conspiracy-tinged horror fans not quite old enough for some of the truly terrifying "X-Files" beats.

There are gremlins, ghosts, girls escaping adolescent angst with astral projection, and even wormholes and immortal cults. Leaning hard into its forebearer's monster of the week template, "So Weird" practically guaranteed a new fright week-to-week, appealing to fans of all manner of science fiction and horror. It was the kind of procedural horror series for kids that audiences don't quite get enough of these days. Luckily, the series is currently streaming on Disney+ , marking the first time it has been available since it aired.

AAAHH!! Real Monsters

"AAAHH!!! Real Monsters" is really stinking cute. The monsters, Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm, are ugly enough to be rendered lovable. Following the Pixar template, they're frightening while remaining accessible, ensuring that young audiences are more attuned to their hijinks than genuine terror they might impart. The trio attends an underground school for monsters, and most episodes follow their escapades traveling to the surface to scare humans as part of various class assignments.

Like others on this list, "AAAHH!! Real Monsters" was never especially scary, though there were times when it straddled the line and resembled something akin to a full-bore horror feature. "Attack of the Blobs" has monstrous blob monsters hatching and trying to eat everything in sight. "Where Have All the Monsters Gone?" gets truly existential, suggesting monsters disappear when they are no longer capable of being scary. A nostalgic tentpole, "AAAHH!!! Real Monsters" stands among the best of what the early days of Nickelodeon had to offer.

Extreme Ghostbusters

While '80s kids might remember "The Real Ghostbusters,"  adolescent paranormal enthusiasts in the '90s might better recall "Extreme Ghostbusters." A direct follow-up to the original series, "Extreme Ghostbusters" presents a world in which ghostly activity has been on the downturn. It has become all but nonexistent. Consequently, Dr. Egon Spengler (Maurice LaMarche, reprising his "Real Ghostbusters" role) has been alone, caring for Slimer and waiting with bated breath for another sign of paranormal pandemonium.

Luckily, it isn't long before the ghosts are back, and absent the original Ghostbusters, Egon has no choice but to recruit a bunch of college students. Abounding with slapstick comedy and paranormal antics, "Extreme Ghostbusters" never quite reaches the heights of the original, though it still manages a few dark and spooky moments all its own. In "The True Face of a Monster," the show tackles frighteningly prescient antisemitism, and in "The Crawler," the show goes full "Mimic" with bug monsters. Like the movies upon which it is based, "Extreme Ghostbusters" is a worthwhile entry point for young horror fans.

Are You Afraid of the Dark

There's not a millennial alive who doesn't remember the sheer terror of "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" The likes of "The Tale of Old Man Corcoran," and perhaps most famously, "The Tale of the Dead Man's Float," starring none other than Jay Baruchel, are horror staples for an entire generation. Throughout its first five seasons and before its revival at the end of the decade, "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" was never afraid to get, well ...  dark .

With its signature title card, roots in oral tradition (friends huddled around a campfire, telling stories), and bonafide scares, "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" might be the preeminent horror show for young audiences. Like "Goosebumps," "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" always went a little bit further, letting its scares linger for an additional beat to truly solidify itself as the stuff of nightmares. The legacy is so strong that Nickelodeon revived it for two additional miniseries in 2019 and 2021, reminding audiences everywhere why horror isn't just fun — it's necessary.

Courage the Cowardly Dog

"Return the slab or suffer my curse!" Originally airing on Cartoon Network, "Courage the Cowardly Dog" was preeminently concerned with laughs, with Courage, the titular pink dog, playing the role of the Bagges' straight man and responding to the absurdity around him while everyone else remains frustratingly dense. An entire list could be dedicated to some genuinely horrifying episodes of "Courage the Cowardly Dog." Inimitable and so unique to its time, the kind of content "Courage" spooled out regularly stands almost no chance of navigating modern censors.

In "Freaky Fred," Muriel's nephew, with a terrifying intonation, is intent on shaving Courage for being naughty. In "The Demon in the Mattress," "Courage" goes full homage in a love letter to "The Exorcist" after Muriel is possessed by a demon living in her mattress. There are homicidal cats, killer mermaids in rugs, and bonafide allusions to domestic abuse. In other words, "Courage the Cowardly Dog" was fun, funny, and often a stark reminder of just how terrifying the real world could be.

Eerie, Indiana

"Eerie, Indiana" didn't last long, and that's a genuine shame. Airing for one season from September 1991 until April 1992, its final episode remained unaired until 1993. While "So Weird" paid homage to "The X-Files," "Eerie, Indiana" was something of a kids-centric precursor, premiering two years before. Omri Katz stars as Marshall Teller, a teenager whose family moves to Eerie, Indiana, a virtual ghost town. As is always the case, the town is replete with strange sightings and weird happenings, and Marshall takes it upon himself to investigate the strange goings-on.

There are intelligent dogs with plans for world domination, bigfoot creatures hiding in the woods, gruesome accidents, possessed hearts, and all manner of other terrors. Had the show been given time to breathe, it likely would have developed into something truly special. As it stands, "Eerie, Indiana" is a hallmark of early '90s horror, a show as rooted in character as it is scares.

Tales from the Cryptkeeper

HBO's original "Tales from the Crypt" was replete with so much graphic nudity, gruesome violence, and foul language, it was never going to pass muster for a generation of young horror fans. Long before streaming, it was all but inaccessible to younger audiences. Luckily, Warner Brothers and Nelvana saw the potential, curtailing the more mature themes and content for an adaptation perfectly suited to burgeoning horror fans. Consequently, "Tales from the Cryptkeeper" was born.

While it never reached the horror heights of its predecessors on television and in print, it was a phenomenal gateway for young fans that told stories about vengeful fish, phantom pirates, and everyone's favorite — werewolves. Though the content was toned down, the show retained the original's charm, adopting an animation style perfectly suited to young children. Horror shows for kids are always worth getting excited about, all the more so when they're attached to a horror property as groundbreaking as "Tales from the Crypt."

10 Books That Terrified Us as Kids (but We Read Them Anyway)

Updated on 10/31/2017 at 2:25 PM

90s kid ghost

Remember the phases you went through as a kid? The phase where you decided oversize t-shirts with puff-paint designs were super flattering; the Wilson-Phillips-on-continuous-repeat phase; and, if you're anything like us, the superscary book phase. Sure, some of them may have given us nightmares, but the thrill of a good scary book — and how grown-up and daring some of them made us feel — was irresistible. Here are 10 that kept us up at night, and we love them for it.

The Fear Street Saga

The Fear Street Saga

The first book in the Fear Street series, in which we find out our teen boy protagonist's love interest has been dead for 10 years (or something like that), had us hooked. Cheesy and gory though they sometimes were, we couldn't keep our shaky little hands off of R.L. Stine's masterpieces.

Christopher Pike

Christopher Pike

Christopher Pike books had just enough cursing, violence, and suggestions of sex to keep our preteen selves interested, but not enough to make our parents ban them. The YA horror sweet spot!

Lois Duncan

Lois Duncan

Before Jennifer Love Hewitt screamed her way through I Know What You Did Last Summer , we screamed our way through the book it was based on and about 10 other terrifying tomes by Duncan. Who would've thought that the woman who wrote Hotel For Dogs could also strike fear into the hearts of teens everywhere?

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

I can't even look at the cover of this Alvin Schwartz book without getting sweaty palms. Sure, some of the stories were more silly than scary ("The Viper"), but others ("Cold as Clay") still give me the shivers even as an adult. And the illustrations . . . just, yikes.

The Nina Tanleven Series

The Nina Tanleven Series

Bruce Coville was a master at writing moderately scary mysteries for kids, like the Nina Tanleven books ( The Ghost Wore Gray , The Ghost in the Third Row , and The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed ). We were freaked out by the ghosts Nina encountered, but we also secretly wanted to be her, which kept us coming back for more.

The Giver

We realize this Newberry Medal-winning novel by Lois Lowry isn't a horror story by any stretch. But can you deny the creepiness of a 1984 -esque society where everyone has been stripped of emotions and had their fates decided for them by age 12? No, you can't. And it kind of freaked us out.

Caroline B. Cooney

Caroline B. Cooney

Raise your hand if you started examining the photos on milk cartons to see if they were actually you after reading The Face on the Milk Carton ! Caroline B. Cooney had a knack for some pretty scary YA fiction, but this was one of our scaves (scary faves).


Before we dove into Fear Street head first, we dipped our toes in the water of horror fiction with Goosebumps , Fear Street's less gruesome little sister. Remember the TV series on Nick? Not as scary, but still pretty fun.


We know Bunnicula is supposed to be cute and funny and not scary, but when we were young enough, it definitely gave us the creeps! Bunnicula himself wasn't particularly terrifying, but the mysteries the trio encounters in this book and its sequels were a little spooky.

My Teacher Is an Alien

My Teacher Is an Alien

If the Nina Tanleven series appealed to our spunky girlie side, Bruce Coville's My Teacher . . . series appealed to our gross-out, adventurous boy side. The series was fun-scary, but we still didn't really want to read them alone in the dark.

  • The '80s
  • The '90s

The 10 Best '90s Horror TV Shows For Kids, From Goosebumps To Ghostwriter

By Rafael Motamayor on August 9, 2019 at 2:11PM PDT

90s kid ghost

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Following the explosion in popularity of the slashers and the practical effects-driven horror movies of the '80s, many people dismissed the '90s as the transition period before the rise of gore-heavy horror in the '00s. It certainly didn't help that the '90s gave rise to the genre's straight-to-video market.

But if there was one aspect of horror that thrived in the '90s, it was horror aimed at kids. With the boom of Scholastic horror books for kids like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Goosebumps, kids were starting to be treated as a legitimate horror audience, with stories that didn't talk down to them but explored the same subjects that movies for grown-ups did, albeit toned down. Additionally, movies like Hocus Pocus and The Witches offered fun rides for the whole family that could also scare the younger ones. However, it was TV that dominated the kids' horror scene.

With a Goosebumps movie adaptation released in 2015 and a sequel in 2018, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark finally out in theaters , it is time to revisit the best horror TV shows that scared the living hell out of '90s kids.

10. Ghostwriter

10. Ghostwriter

This PBS show revolved around a group of Brooklyn kids who discover a ghost in an old book (kind of like what happens in the Scary Stories movie). Ghostwriter, as the kids called the spectre, could only communicate using numbers and letters, and helped the kids solve neighborhood crimes and mysteries. Though it was mostly aimed at teaching kids to love reading and writing, the premise was a good gateway into the supernatural. Plus there was that one episode with a purple gooey thing that traumatized everyone who watched the show. Oh, and apparently the creators imagined the ghost to be the soul of a murdered runaway slave from the Civil War.

9. Gargoyles

9. Gargoyles

A darker, more fantastical version of Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles was many kids' first foray into dark fantasy and gothic horror. A show about, well, gargoyles, the series had terrifying creature designs (they are gargoyles, after all) and more classic monsters like werewolves. Gargoyles was a rare show for kids since its storytelling resembled that of a drama more than cartoons of the time, with Shakespearean explorations of human behavior and relationships, gun violence, and xenophobia.

8. Eerie, Indiana

8. Eerie, Indiana

A Twin Peaks-esque mystery show starring Hocus Pocus' Omri Katz, this show was the Gravity Falls of the '90s (even Alex Hirsch admitted Eerie was a major influence when he created Gravity Falls).

Eerie, Indiana follows Marshall (Katz) as he moves into a small Midwestern town, and together with Simon (Justin Shenkarow), investigates the many mysteries of Eerie, even if no one else in town seems to be aware of any weirdness. Joe Dante directed the pilot and a handful of other episodes, and his touch can be felt all over the weirdness and love for horror in the show, as episodes include everything from time-travel stories to Bigfoot sightings to ghosts, and even werewolves. Before The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer brought the supernatural to the adult and teen market, Eerie, Indiana allowed kids to explore the weird and bizarre in an entertaining and sometimes scary way.

7. Beetlejuice

7. Beetlejuice

In a time when many popular movies got animated series adaptations for some reason , Beetlejuice was one of the few that was actually good. It was based on Tim Burton's 1988 horror-comedy about newly-dead people who want to get a dopey family out of their house. The Beetlejuice cartoon forgets all about the couple, instead focussing on young goth girl Lydia Deetz and her adventures with bio-exorcist Beetlejuice.

Most of the show takes place in the afterlife plane of the Netherworld and vastly expands the movie's mythology, while introducing audiences to Beetlejuice's family, along with more ghosts and sandworms. Though it was definitely more of a comedy than even the movie, the show leaned heavily into the macabre, choosing grossness over scares. Oh, and there's a ghost called Armhold Musclehugger that's a clear parody of dear old Arnold Schwarzenegger.

6. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters

6. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters

The '90s was a great time to be a Nicktoons fan. Ren & Stimpy, Rocko's Modern Life, and even Rugrats had their fair share of creepy and at times even disturbing episodes, but it wasn't until Aaahh!!! Real Monsters that Nickelodeon had horror at the very center of a show's concept, yet also outright funny.

Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was kind of like Monsters University, but less adorable, more crude, and even putrid. The show dealt with a group of monster friends who have to learn to properly scare humans, and the episodes consist of them heading to a human world and then having to scare their way out of some problems. It was an immature, perverse, and fun show for both kids and adults wanting something different than cartoons about children and/or animals.

5. Tales from the Cryptkeeper

5. Tales from the Cryptkeeper

This is yet another show that takes something meant for adults and perfectly translates it for kids. Based on the very graphic and adult-oriented HBO horror anthology show Tales from the Crypt, which in turn was based on super-gory EC comics from the '50s, Tales from the Cryptkeeper keeps all of the elements of the live-action show except the sex and violence. This time, the titular Cryptkeeper gets a youthful and more playful personality and even taught dished out moral lessons at one point.

Like the live-action show or the EC comics, what made Tales from the Cryptkeeper so good was its anthology format. This allowed the show to feature classic monsters like vampires and mummies, but also vengeful fish, cyclops, and plant people. Even toned down, the series remained as scary as the live-action version, mostly by making the animation style look closer to the comics, and by having kids as the protagonists, making the scares hit closer to home. Honestly, in a time of sequels and reboots, this is one show that could definitely use an update.

4. Freaky Stories

4. Freaky Stories

A sort of Twilight Zone for kids, this animated show consisted of a series of 5-minute shorts of different animation and art styles that revolved around campfire stories and urban legends. They ranged from original stories to well-known legends like "the killer in the backseat", "the hookman" or "the babysitter and the man upstairs," which influenced the movies Black Christmas and When a Stranger Calls.

The short stories also vary in tone, with some being quite comedic or playful, such as "the hookman," which was presented as a musical. Most, however, were straight-up horror stories with twists inspired by The Twilight Zone. They had some sort of message or morality tale at the end, with several episodes devoted to characters committing crimes and paying dearly for them, like an episode about a guy who tries to steal gas from an RV but instead hooks up to the septic tank and gets a nasty surprise. Each episode begins and ends with the phrase: "This is a true story, it happened to a friend of a friend of mine," which made the episodes all the more ominous for kids.

3. Are You Afraid of the Dark?

3. Are You Afraid of the Dark?

A horror-fantasy anthology series, Are You Afraid of the Dark? saw a group of teens--the Midnight Society--meeting in the woods to tell scary stories. These stories ranged from public domain fairy tales and legends, like an adaptation of The Monkey's Paw, to a Nosferatu-inspired tale of vampires, to claustrophobic one-location episodes with evil clowns that haunt your nightmares for days on end.

Inspired by The Twilight Zone, the show was able to present dark content that delved into horror without having to go over the edge. The show could pull chilling moments like even the best Stephen King stories, and body horror that brings to mind John Carpenter's The Thing, all while still being safe enough for kids not to be traumatized.

2. Goosebumps

2. Goosebumps

When it comes to Goosebumps vs. Are You Afraid of the Dark?, the answer is simply a matter of taste. Both shows approach their horror in similar ways and are equally as effective. Where Are You Afraid had the advantage of its simple setting, and brings to mind being by a campfire telling scary stories, Goosebumps was the first taste of the process of adapting a book for many kids.

From the moment the show's theme song started playing over the creepy opening credits and that damn dog's eyes lit up, you knew you were in for a scary time. Fans of the book tuned in every week to see their favorite stories being brought to life. Unlike Are You Afraid, Goosebumps didn't have a connective narrative, but instead offered a pure anthology show that adapted a from R. L. Stone's vast bibliography of horror stories. Some had a moral message, like The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, and others were simply nightmare fuel, like any time the terrifying ventriloquist doll Slappy showed up. The show even introduced a number of original stories, which were then turned into Goosebumps books.

1. Courage the Cowardly Dog

1. Courage the Cowardly Dog

This is it. The best, and certainly the scariest, '90s kids horror show. Courage the Cowardly Dog is set in the middle of Nowhere, Kansas. We follow a pink and easily frightened beagle who lives with the elderly couple of Muriel and Eustace Bagge. The show was a cartoon series of 22-minute torture sessions that pitted Courage against a number of monstrosities as the dog tried to keep Muriel safe.

The show's 52 episodes featured giant spiders, Bigfoot, zombies, demons, aliens, and Fred, the most disturbing man to ever exist in a cartoon. Courage's horror genius was in the way it created jump scares by changing the animation style, like when it introduced a creepy violinist made of Claymation, or the CGI personification of self-doubt in the form of a blue fetus blob that looks like it came from hell itself. The show's ethereal looks and genuinely scary--and sometimes over-the-top violent--plots were balanced with the sweet relationship between Courage and Muriel. Watching Courage felt like surviving a horrific ordeal, ending in a cathartic experience you'd want to repeat over and over.

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90s kid ghost

Screen Rant

10 incredibly dark moments hidden in '90s kids movies.

Hidden in classic '90s kids movies are scenes involving torture, dark historic references, grim realities, and even an existential crisis.

  • Some '90s kids movies have incredibly dark moments hidden within them, which evolved storytelling for children across the decade.
  • Surprisingly, even films like The Muppet Christmas Carol and Beauty and the Beast have dark moments that contribute to the overall message.
  • Some notable dark moments include Bruno transforming into a mouse in The Witches , Scar's song in The Lion King , and Buzz realizing he's a toy in Toy Story .

Incredibly dark moments hidden in '90s kids movies underscore how much stories for children evolved during the decade. On one hand, it can be surprising how much darkness is cleverly tucked inside some of the most foundational and popular kids movies from the 1990s. On the other, it can be argued that many of these moments are crucial to delivering the positive messages and lessons that these films aimed to impart to children.

From the 20th century's best animated movies and live-action children's films to less-known features that adult millennials may remember watching as kids, there's certainly no shortage of incredibly dark moments hidden in '90s kids movies. Some examples are surprising, such as The Muppet Christmas Carol or Beauty and the Beast, which most remember to be completely wholesome. In certain movies like Toy Story and Matilda, however, dark moments are part and parcel of what makes the stories great. Whether for viewers taking a nostalgic trip back to the decade or parents weighing which classics their children can watch, here are 10 incredibly dark moments hidden in '90s kids movies.

The following article contains mention of child abuse.

The Chokey In Matilda

Miss Trunchbull in Matilda (1996)

Harry (Danny DeVito) sells Ms. Trunchbull (Pam Ferris) a car in exchange for enrolling Harry's daughter Matilda (Mara Wilson) into Trunchbull's school. When Trunchbull finds out the car is defective, the despotic principal takes it out on Matilda by putting her inside the chokey. Whoever's inside the chokey must stand completely still in order to avoid the numerous metal spikes pointed at the center. Trunchbull essentially puts erring children in solitary confinement inside a makeshift iron maiden. Even in a fantasy movie peppered with such scenes to balance its overall comedic tone, the chokey still stands out as an incredibly dark moment hidden in a '90s kids movie.

Bruno Transforms In The Witches

Anjelica Huston in The Witches

In 1992's The Witches, at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Eva (Anjelica Huston) reveals that she has a new potion that turns kids into mice. After drinking the potion earlier, little boy Bruno (Charlie Potter) grotesquely twists into different shapes until he fully transforms into a tiny mouse and the room erupts into laughter. The scene is fantastical and well-executed, and it's some of the most graphic child torture depicted in film. The fact that Eva intends to put this potion in sweets to sell to children further underscores how Bruno's transformation is one of the darkest moments hidden in '90s kids movies.

Scar's Song In The Lion King

Scar and the Hyenas sing Be Prepared from The Lion King.

Many remember the death of Mufasa (James Earl Jones) at the paws of Scar (Jeremy Irons) to be the darkest moment in The Lion King. However, most viewers may not be aware that the hyenas marching in unison during Scar's song "Be Prepared" is actually based on a 1935 Nazi propaganda movie, Triumph of the Will . The concept began with a sketch from The Lion King staffer Jorgen Klubien depicting Scar as Adolf Hitler (via Business Insider ). From Klubien's sketch, directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff developed the scenes for "Be Prepared" based on the infamous Nazi film, making it a dark moment hidden in a '90s kids movies.

Related: The Lion King 2019 Ruins Scar's Song "Be Prepared"

The Boo Box In Hook

Pirates drop a scorpion into the boo box in Hook.

As Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) and his men celebrate his plan to kill Peter Pan (Robin Williams), Hook accuses one pirate of betting against him bringing Peter back. Disguised as a pirate, Peter initially thinks that Hook identified him from the crowd, but Hook points to the pirate right next to Peter instead. Reluctantly, the pirate confesses to his crime, and Hook sentences him to the boo box. This delights Hook's men, who immediately carry the pirate, lock him inside a chest, and then drop scorpions into the chest one by one through a small compartment. Apart from depicting casual torture, this scene also features Glenn Close's cameo in Hook .

The Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come In The Muppet Christmas Carol

The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come points off camera in The Muppet Christmas Carol.

While the movie imparts darkly realistic lessons about life, The Muppet Christmas Carol is mostly a wholesome movie. Though unusual, the Ghost of Christmas Past and the Ghost of Christmas Present who visit Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine) look and feel consistent with Jim Henson's whimsical style. This serves to set up the movie's darkest surprise, the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, who is more akin to a horror movie grim reaper than a classic muppet. For its overall design, creepy voice, and how it moves, the first appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come is one incredibly dark moment hidden in a '90s kids movie.

Related: The 11 Best Movie Adaptations Of A Christmas Carol Ranked

Buzz Lightyear Realizing He's A Toy In Toy Story

Buzz lightyear stands in front of the alien toys in Toy Story.

Most audiences remember the reveal of Sid's (Erik von Detten) mutant-like cabal of misshapen toys to be the darkest moment in the iconic kids' movie. Yet, Toy Story 's true darkest moment comes after Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) escape Sid's room, when Buzz sees a television ad and realizes that he is merely a plastic toy. This leads Buzz to almost accepting his fate when Sid straps him to a rocket to die. Few incredibly dark moments hidden in '90s kids movies are as jarring as Buzz's existential crisis, especially considering the implication that all toys in the movie's universe went through the same philosophical dead-end.

Gaston's Mob Justice In Beauty And The Beast

Gaston grabs Belle in Beauty and the Beast

In order to force Belle (Paige O'Hara) into marrying him, the charismatic but spiteful hunter Gaston (Richard White) convinces the townsfolk to hunt down the Beast (Robby Benson) for the safety of the entire town. Despite Belle trying to reason with the people, Gaston forms an angry mob ready to help him mount the Beast's head on his wall of trophies. An incredibly dark moment hidden in a '90s kids movie that mostly went under the radar, Gaston's actions are a realistic warning about mob justice. While the movie ends happily, at one point, Gaston almost succeeded in convincing the town to commit murder, so he can have Belle.

Related: Beauty And The Beast: Ranking The 8 Best Actresses Who Played Beauty

Massacred Village & Slaughtered Army In Mulan

Captain Li Shang and the soldiers discover a destroyed village in Mulan.

In Mulan, Captain Li Shang (BD Wong), Mulan (Ming Na-Wen), and the other soldiers follow the imperial army into the mountains, where they discover a village leveled to the ground by the Huns. After the soldiers find a child's doll among the ruins, they look over a cliff's edge to witness a truly jarring scene: the entire army of General Li (James Shigeta) massacred. The scene is just a brief look into the brutal aftermath of a bloody battlefield, but the sheer amount of death in this Mulan scene secures its place alongside other incredibly dark moments hidden in '90s kids movies. Nonetheless, it helped establish historical accuracy in Mulan .

General Mandible's Coup In Antz

General Mandible in Antz

As the ant army marches to fight the termites threatening their colony, what Z (Marion) and the other soldiers don't know is that General Mandible (Gene Hackman) is knowingly sending them to their deaths. By letting the termites do the dirty work, Mandible massacres the soldiers most loyal to the Queen (Anne Bancroft). When it comes to incredibly dark moments hidden in '90s kids movies, Antz is often remembered for the severed head of Sergeant Barbatus (Danny Glover) saying his last words to Z. However, that moment was only possible because Mandible willingly massacred his own people for his political ambitions - the darkest moment in the animated '90s movie.

Cement Shoes In Aladdin

Jafar's men throws Aladdin into the sea with a ball and chain attached to his feet.

At the behest of Grand Vizier Jafar (Jonathan Freeman), the palace guards capture Aladdin (Scott Weinger) after Aladdin brings Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin) home. After Jafar tells the guards to "make sure he's never found," they bind Aladdin's feet to a heavy metal ball and chain and throw him into the sea. One of the most incredibly dark moments hidden in '90s kids movies, Aladdin's attempted execution-at-sea is highly reminiscent of cement shoes. While this brutal drowning method was popularized by mafia movies, there have been reports of real-life executions performed similarly, likely inspired by gangster films - or this morbid scene in Aladdin .

Source: Business Insider

90s kid ghost

Vintage ’90s Teen Horror To Enjoy

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Kelly Jensen

Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen .

View All posts by Kelly Jensen

With the recent release the first two installments of RL Stine’s Fear Street trilogy on Netflix, there’s no better time to dig into the campy, fun, and sometimes downright terrifying old school ’90s teen horror books. Nineties YA horror runs the gamut from slasher to serial killer, campfire horror to astral projection, and more.

It’s easy to think of only two big name authors in ’90s YA horror: the first being Stine and the second Christopher Pike. Both are beloved and classic for a reason. And while much of old teen horror is quite white and male, thanks to systemic challenges of publishing diverse voices, there are more than those two authors.

One of the most prolific publishers of horror in this era was Point Horror, an imprint from Scholastic. It launched in 1991 and included books by authors such as Stine, LJ Smith ( Vampire Diaries ), Diana Hoh, Caroline B. Cooney, and Christopher Pike, among others. Point helped launch Stine’s career in horror, though the imprint itself faded in the early ’00s. A reboot of the imprint in 2003 didn’t gain momentum and we’ve yet to see another stab at it. That could change, though, both because of the continued growth in horror, the popularity of ’90s YA horror in contemporary nostalgia culture, and because HBO Max bought the rights to develop Stine’s Point books into an anthology project in 2019 (though there’s not been an update to the project since).

Random House got into the game as well. Bullseye Chillers was their response to Point Horror, and those vintage thrills included books by authors like Ellen Steiber, Kate McMullen, and Les Martin.

Series books reigned supreme in this era, so it’s no surprise many of the ’90s YA horror did as well. The series were loosely connected via imprint or via the type of thrills it intended to deliver — Fear Street is an excellent example of this. Other books were part of a larger franchise, including the popular Friday the 13th horror books for teens. Author Eric Morse, likely a pseudonym or name for a ghost writer, penned the trilogy Tales From Crystal Lake , which followed Jason as he continued to create terror for local teens.

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Never fear, those who favor Myers and Haddonfield to Vorhees and Camp Crystal Lake. The ’90s also had a Halloween paperback series for YA readers, written by Kelly O’Rourke.

You can also thank David Bergantino for authoring a series of Freddy Krueger reads, too.

One of the reasons books like these likely thrived during this era was their ease of access and price points. Mass market paperbacks , which are hard to come by in today’s YA publishing world, meant teens could scoop up multiple copies of new or interesting books without breaking the bank. Many of these books featured in beloved Scholastic Book Fairs and fliers, reaching their intended audiences directly. Teens didn’t need to rely on transportation to their nearest bookstore to access them.

It’s interesting, as well as frustrating, to think about the stories and perspectives missing here. Though there were authors of color writing in YA, few were in horror, as this snapshot of the era shows. Aside from the wealth of fictional horror possible, the ’90s were rife with real-life horror for people of color, and it’s a shame readers weren’t given the chance to have those stories when they were of the moment. We’re seeing better representation and a wider range of stories in YA horror now, but it’s still a work in progress.

This category of books was also rife with pseudonyms and ghost writers, further making discovery of authors of color from this era a challenge.

Do the scares from these titles still hold up? Do they lack anything due to the absence of technology from the plot? Maybe…or maybe it’s the fact there isn’t a reliance on devices that keeps these books a deliciously creepy ride.

As is the case for older YA titles, many of these skirt the line of what we now think of as middle grade. The characters may be younger than we’d expect to see in today’s iteration of YA. A number of these also exemplify the reality that horror is a mood and not a genre , as often the stories involve a mystery at their heart and follow conventions of that genre while also encouraging fear and disgust from the reader.

While it might be challenging to track some of these titles down, but the pursuit is part of the fun.

I won’t lie: perhaps my favorite part of this collection of books — this era in YA publishing more broadly — is how easily the books are described. Two words, three words, or a single sentence are often enough for readers to know precisely what they’re in for.

Oh, and the covers . So good.

Get Your Kicks With Vintage ’90s Teen Horror Books

cover image of Appointment With a Stranger by Jean Thesman

Appointment With a Stranger by Jean Thesman

Main character Kelly is super self-conscious about her asthma and the severe attacks they cause, so naturally, she finds comfort in befriending a cute but ~mysterious~ boy near the local pond.

Too bad that cute boy may be related to a 40-year-old local tragedy.

cover image of Class Trip by Bebe Faas Rice

Class Trip by Bebe Faas Rice

It’s And Then There Were None meets a really terrible class trip in Rice’s story. After a storm ruins the camp where they’re staying, Angie and her classmates are stranded on Shadow Island and each of them is meeting a horrible death. That is, until there’s one left and that person must now face the murderer.

Never fear: this did not deter the continuation of tradition, as you can also pick up Class Trip II .

cover image of Crash Course by Nicole Davidson

Crash Course by Nicole Davidson

Not entirely sure who takes an SAT study trip to a remote island, but perhaps this book serves as a warning for why that’s a particularly terrible idea.

Of the eight teens on the remote cabin retreat, one dies and the teacher, out to find help, never comes back.

Will they survive? Will they get back to take those SATs?

cover image of The Curse by Cynthia Blair

The Curse by Cynthia Blair

The first in a series, the story follows Miranda, who is a “stunning beauty” experiencing betrayal from everyone she knows, and Garth, the victim of a generational spell in need of the antidote to that spell to be free.

They’re in love, of course, and it’s through the eyes of a mysterious stranger who may bring them together — or cause them great pain.

cover image of Don't Look Behind You by Lois Duncan

Don’t Look Behind You by Lois Duncan

Though Duncan’s best known teen horror reads were published prior to the ’90s, she still put out some gems worth highlighting, including this one. This is a book about identity, following April as she learns her father’s FBI status has been blown and now her entire family must move and take on new identities. It won’t be easy, of course, to just start all over.

Why does the weapon look like a Swingline stapler on the book cover?

cover image of The Fog by Caroline B. Cooney

The Fog by Caroline B. Cooney

Christina is a “poor hick” islander who leaves her remote Maine island to attend a fancy school on the mainland. But the moment Christina takes her home at the principal’s house, where she’s boarding with another student names Anya, things start going horribly, horribly wrong. The fog — the Evil — has the two girls in its clenches and now they’re trapped in the house alone.

This is the first in a series. The fog/the Evil had it out for some kids.

cover image of Graveyard Moon by Carol Gorman

Graveyard Moon by Carol Gorman

Kelly’s being initiated into…something…in a graveyard and, surprise, discovers a blood splattered body.

cover image of The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton

The House of Dies Drear  by Virginia Hamilton

Hamilton’s Edgar Award–winning book is the first in a series and follows a family who moves into a house and starts to realize it’s not all it seems. See, the house was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and the legends about the murdered enslaved people may not be quite so much legends as they are truth.

cover image of The Initiation by Nick Baron

The Initiation by Nick Baron

Part of the Nightmare Club series authored by numerous teen horror writers of the time, Baron’s entry takes place at a riding academy. Kimberly decides to ditch her boyfriend to become part of the popular clique but suddenly, kids are drowning in a nearby lake and maybe she’s made a pretty poor decision.

cover image of The Man Who Was Poe by Avi

The Man Who Was Poe by Avi

Edmond: alone.

His aunt and sister: missing.

His mother: gone.

Now a mysterious stranger is following Edmond around the cold, lonely city. The stranger offers to help but instead makes a bigger mess for Edmond and simply will not leave him alone.

The Poe image on the cover here is just *chef’s kiss*.

cover image of My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis

My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis

Poor Jenny’s just moved and her parents leave her all alone in their new house that’s surrounded by mountains. Those mountains apparently keep secrets and know what happened to Diana on the day of her accident. And oh, Jenny’s getting phone calls from a secret admirer while also trying to outrun an enemy on an empty road. So does she have the heart to pursue this secret admirer?

If I were Jenny, I’d be concerned about a lot of things, frankly, and the secret admirer seems the least of them.

cover image of Overdue by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Overdue by Richie Tankersley Cusick 

Poor Kathleen was the one who discovered five grisly books about death returned late to the library. They were in disarray, and inside was a bookmark with a warning.

Now people are dying. “Tragic accidents.” Can Kathleen figure out the culprit before she’s the next to fall?

cover image of Pool Party by Linda Cargill

Pool Party by Linda Cargill

Sharon’s mom has an exclusive new hotel and Sharon’s stoked to have a party there and show off to all of her friends. But tragedy strikes first when invites go out early and to people who weren’t actually invited.

Worse: those invitees show up and now it’s less a pool party and more of a blood bath.

cover image of The Possession by Jesse Harris

The Possession by Jesse Harris

The first in a series, Harris’s horror gem follows a teen psychic and her boyfriend who must save a girl named Lilicat. Lilicat needs help because…she bought a haunted shawl at an antique store.

Can’t make it up.

cover image of Prom Dress by Lael Littke

Prom Dress by Lael Littke

Robin decides to “borrow” a prom dress she finds in her employer’s attic, only to discover that the dress was probably shoved in the attic for a reason. The dress lures unsuspecting girls into danger.

Personally, I think the first problem was Robin’s clever act of theft of a prom dress.

cover image of Twisted by Sue Hollister Barr

Twisted by Sue Hollister Barr

A classic tale of teens who go on a cross country road trip to escape whatever it is in their home of San Francisco who is capturing and hacking up young people and how that evil decides to just follow them because it’s got nothing better to do.

cover image of The Waitress by Sinclair Smith

The Waitress by Sinclair Smith

“Will Paula’s first job be her last?”

Paula’s got a waitressing gig at the Dog House, which is supposed to be a breeze. But apparently the work place will kill you for some reason, and now Paula finds herself in big trouble.

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The 20 Best ‘90s Halloween Movies to Satisfy Your Nostalgia

Author image: nakeisha campbell bio

From candy corn and spooky decor to horror movie lineups, Halloween is our happy place. We love curling up on the couch and watching hordes of terrifying films all October long. But if you’re especially drawn to scary classics that practically defined your childhood, then allow us to re-introduce you to some of the best ‘90s Halloween movies, from Hocus Pocus to The Halloween Tree .

The 80 Best Halloween Movies of All Time

1. ‘Halloweentown’ (1998)

  • Who’s in it? Debbie Reynolds, Kimberly J. Brown, Judith Hoag, Joey Zimmerman
  • Rating: TV-PG

It's the Disney Channel classic that made us all wish we could secretly take up residence in Halloweentown. It follows Marnie (Brown), who not only learns that she's a witch, but also discovers the magical world of Halloweentown, complete with vampires, witches and other mythical creatures.

2. ‘Casper’ (1995)

  • Who’s in it? Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty, Eric Idle, Malachi Pearson (voice)

Casper, a friendly young ghost, is in for quite the adventure when a ghost therapist and his daughter Kathleen (Ricci) move into the mansion where he lives. He immediately falls for Kat, but their budding relationship proves difficult to navigate, especially with his mischievous uncles.

3. ‘Under Wraps’ (1997)

  • Who’s in it? Adam Wylie, Mario Yedidia, Clara Bryant, Ken Campbell
  • Rating: TV-G

Three kids are tasked with saving the life of a playful mummy when he comes to life and manages to escape his coffin. Seeing Harold’s misadventures with his new friends just never gets old.

4. ‘Practical Magic’ (1998)

  • Who’s in it? Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman , Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest, Aidan Quinn
  • Rating: PG-13

Two sisters who also happen to be witches are devastated to learn that their family is under a cruel spell that causes the men they fall in love with to be killed. Desperate to undo this curse, the duo goes to extreme lengths to save the latest victim, but this quickly backfires.

5. ‘Scream’ (1996)

  • Who’s in it? Drew Barrymore , David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard

In the slasher film, a serial killer in a ghost mask begins to terrorize a group of high school students in a small town. The clever satire brilliantly balances horror with humor, poking fun at classics like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street .

6. ‘The Addams Family’ (1991)

  • Who’s in it? Anjelica Huston , Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci, Jimmy Workman

Oh, what we'd give to have dinner with this delightfully bizarre family. The black comedy centers on the Addams, who reunite with a man who claims to be a long-lost relative. Unbeknownst to all of them, this mysterious visitor is actually a stranger with ulterior motives.

7. ‘Hocus Pocus’ (1993)

  • Who’s in it? Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker , Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch

A teenager’s seemingly innocent gesture on All Hallow's Eve leads to the resurrection of three villainous witches from the 17th century—and they waste no time in creating chaos. TBH, no Halloween is complete without at least one viewing of this classic.

8. ‘The Haunting’ (1999)

  • Who’s in it? Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones , Owen Wilson, Lili Taylor

A group of guests are invited to a mysterious, secluded mansion to participate in a study. But what these visitors don’t know is that Dr. Marrow (Neeson) intends to use them to study fear. Worse yet, there’s an evil spirit lurking in the home that’s out to get every one of them...

9. ‘Sleepy Hollow’ (1999)

  • Who’s in it? Johnny Depp , Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Christopher Lee

Ichabod Crane (Depp) travels from New York to the village of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a number of murders by the elusive Headless Horseman during the 18th century. The Oscar-winning movie blends suspense with supernatural elements and romance, making it all the more compelling.

10. ‘Don't Look Under The Bed’ (1999)

  • Who’s in it? Erin Chambers, Eric "Ty" Hodges II, Robin Riker, Steve Valentine

In this Disney Channel classic , Frances (Chambers) gets framed for pulling several dangerous pranks in her hometown, and she refuses to believe that a supernatural force might be framing her. This changes, however, when she discovers that the Boogeyman is very real.

11. ‘The Craft’ (1996)

  • Who’s in it? Fairuza Balk, Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Rachel True

When three outcasts and aspiring witches discover that their new classmate, Sarah (Tunney), has telekinetic powers, they team up and use their combined skills to practice witchcraft, which comes with its fair share of negative consequences.

12. ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993)

  • Who’s in it? Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara , William Hickey, Ken Page

Join Jack Skellington, aka the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, as he tries to fill Santa Claus’s shoes by taking over the colorful Christmastown for the first time ever.

13. ‘The Witches’ (1990)

  • Who’s in it? Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Rowan Atkinson

After his parents pass away, young Luke (Fisher) is sent to stay with his grandmother in Norway. But during his stay, he spies on a group of witches and learns that they plan to get rid of all children by turning them into mice. Worse yet, they manage to capture and put their spell on him, making it even harder to stop their evil plans.

14. ‘The Halloween Tree’ (1993)

  • Who’s in it? Leonard Nimoy, Annie Barker, Alex Greenwald, Edan Gross, Kevin Smets

Based on Ray Bradbury's fantasy novel of the same name, The Halloween Tree is the story of a young boy who is mysteriously whisked away by an unknown force while trick-or-treating with his friends. The kids then cross paths with a stranger who takes them on a magical journey to explain the origins of Halloween. (BTW, this movie won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program.)

15. ‘Death Becomes Her’ (1992)

  • Who’s in it? Bruce Willis, Meryl Streep , Goldie Hawn, Isabella Rossellini

Helen’s (Hawn) life is turned upside down when her fiancé leaves her to marry her frenemy, Madeline (Streep). But after she spends a few years at a psychiatric hospital, it appears that Helen hasn’t aged a day. Curious to know her secret, Madeline learns that it’s all because of a magical, secret potion. But little does she know that it comes at a great cost.

16. ‘Double, Double Toil And Trouble’ (1993)

  • Who’s in it? Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Cloris Leachman, Meshach Taylor

The Olsen twins star as Kelly and Lynn, two clever young sisters who learn that their Aunt Sophia (Leachman) has been cursed and imprisoned by her twin sister for over seven years. Will Kelly and Lynn break the curse before their aunt is sent to the netherworld?

17. ‘Army Of Darkness’ (1992)

  • Who’s in it? Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert

In part three of the Evil Dead series, Ash Williams (Campbell) accidentally time travels to the medieval era. While there, he learns that the only way to return to the present day is to retrieve the magical Book of the Dead—but not without battling a few demons along the way.

18. ‘The Frighteners’ (1996)

  • Who’s in it? Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, Peter Dobson, John Astin

Think Ghostbusters , but with a twist. A young man named Frank (Fox) tricks people into thinking that he’s an exorcist when he develops the ability to communicate with ghosts. But his lucrative business comes to a halt when the ghost of a murderer surfaces to attack both the dead and the living. Can Frank put a stop to this?

19. ‘Edward Scissorhands’ (1990)

  • Who’s in it? Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall

If you’re not too keen on watching scary flicks that make you want to sleep with all the lights on, then this feel-good fantasy just might do the trick. Depp stars as Edward, a humanoid with scissor-blade hands who gets taken in by a kind suburban family. While it’s not at all scary, it definitely has a Halloween vibe (especially since Edward has inspired plenty of amazing costumes).

20. ‘Halloween H20: 20 Years Later’ (1998)

  • Who’s in it? Jamie Lee Curtis, Adam Arkin, Michelle Williams, Adam Hann-Byrd

Considered one of the best sequels in the Halloween franchise, this seventh installment follows Laurie Strode (Curtis), a former babysitter turned school headmistress who’s been in hiding for 20 years after surviving a terrifying massacre. Unfortunately for her, the killer tracks her down and intends to finish what he started.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

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Jacob Shelton

The leaves are turning, pumpkin spice is in the air, and grocery stores are stocking candy by the pound: it must be Halloween. If you grew up in the halcyon days of the '90s then you remember the glut of amazing Halloween TV specials that filled the airwaves. The '90s were a decade when you could always count on at least a couple of funny or scary Halloween shows for kids every week in October.

The best '90s Halloween episodes are those that stick in your memory like a dream that won’t dissipate throughout the day. But what were the very best programs?



This Disney Channel special introduced a generation of kids to the magic of Halloween. The TV movie  follows the Piper family as they get lost in Halloweentown. Rather than focus on one aspect of Halloween, the town has a little bit of everything: sassy skeletons, weird goblins, and witches galore.

The story is prime '90s Disney, complete with a magical talisman and a wimpy villain who's easily defeated by a group of kids. 

The Simpsons - Treehouse of Horror Vol. 1

The Simpsons - Treehouse of Horror Vol. 1

Perhaps the most well-known Halloween special of the '90s is the first " Treehouse of Horror " episode from The Simpsons . This second season episode featured three short stories that were a complete break from the family comedy aspect of the series.

The episode included riffs on The Amityville Horror , The Twilight Zone , and Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven . In spite of Matt Groening's worry that the Halloween episode (specifically "The Raven") was too "pretentious," it was a massive hit, and it inspired pretty much every animated show that followed to do something similar. 

Rugrats - Candy Bar Creep Show

Rugrats - Candy Bar Creep Show

The greatest strength of Rugrats is how it shows the weirdness of adult life.This element is on full display in " Candy Bar Creep Show ," a segment of the show that follows the babies as they learn about "Holly Ween" from Angelica, who's in full-on candy overdrive.

After discovering the joys of Reptar Bars, Tommy and the rest of the babies become obsessed with this strange holiday where adults dress up and big kids pull off their faces. The babies go on a journey through a haunted house, get their Reptar bars, and end up scaring the Halloween spirit out of everyone. If you grew up in the '90s, this episode was a classic that you looked forward to as soon as the leaves turned. 

Tiny Toons Adventures - Night Ghoulery

Tiny Toons Adventures - Night Ghoulery

This VHS was a big deal in the '90s. This special plays similarly to "Treehouse House of Horror," but it's perfect for younger kids who aren't ready for the Harvard in-jokes peppered throughout The Simpsons . There's some fairly edgy '90s animation humor in this special, and a very spot-on parody of The Nightmare Before Christmas .

If you want to know what 1993 was like, this is it. The special touches on horror touchstones with vignettes and parodies of Casper the Friendly Ghost, The Tell-Tale Heart , The Twilight Zone , and more. The art in this special is top notch, and remains a high point for Warner Bros. animation.

Roseanne - BOO!

Roseanne - BOO!

Roseanne's first Halloween episode shows the pure joy of being an adult on Halloween. While Darlene and Becky snipe at each about a 10th grader's party, Roseanne and Dan compete to find out which one of them is the master of Halloween. John Goodman is especially unhinged in this episode, showcasing a knack for comedic timing.

In the midst of a silly set up, Roseanne manages to help Becky get over her party problems with one of the greatest lines of the '90s: "There's no chocolate in Hell, that's why it's Hell." The highlight of the episode features Roseanne leading a group of children through her haunted house.

"BOO!" set a high bar for sitcom Halloween episodes, and few series ever managed to ever match it. 

Rocko's Modern Life - Sugar-Frosted Frights

Rocko's Modern Life - Sugar-Frosted Frights

Rocko's Modern Life was too good for this world. Too adult for kids, too childlike for adults, the series never got its due. " Sugar Frosted Frights " cranks the odd sensibilities of the series all the way past 11 as it sinks Rocko, Heffer, and Philbert into a spooky story that's just as much about a ghost as it is the urban legend about strangers sticking razor blades and poison into the goodies they hand out on October 31.

Doug - Doug's Halloween Adventure

Doug - Doug's Halloween Adventure

The orange VHS where " Doug's Halloween Adventure " lived is a prized possession among '90s kids. Simply uttering the name "Baron Von Hecklehoffer" sends shivers down the spine of older millennials.

This episode takes the best pieces of Doug and jams them into one 20-minute stretch. You've got Skeeter dressed like a spaceship from Space Monks (although Roger thinks he looks more like "a hobo in a bath tub"), a haunted mansion that's been turned into a roller coaster, and a Phantom of the Opera-type character who helps Doug spook Roger into being the good guy for once in his life. If you want a good scare, find a copy of this Halloween special and cross the threshold of death. 

Hey Arnold! - Arnold's Halloween

Hey Arnold! - Arnold's Halloween

Hey Arnold! always offered a fun and different take on the classic cartoon model. In " Arnold's Halloween ," the stage is set for a wacky story from the jump when Arnold's grandfather bans him from helping prepare for the Halloween party. Arnold and Gerald decide to retaliate by creating their own War of the Worlds scenario.

Unbeknownst to Arnold, Helga is planning the same thing, and bullying the neighborhood kids into dressing up like aliens so they can scare people into giving them candy. This special showcases the best storytelling elements of Hey Arnold!. Not only is there a dense three story set up going on, but every character gets to shine.

SpongeBob SquarePants - Scaredy Pants

SpongeBob SquarePants - Scaredy Pants

In this Season 1 episode , SponegeBob, exhausted with being a source of ridicule, tries to scare everyone in Bikini Bottom while in costume as the Ghost of the Flying Dutchman. But even after Squidward shaves SpongeBob down and puts him in a sheet, he can't scare a single group of kids.

In fact, he's so bad at scaring everyone at the Krabby Patty that the actual ghost of the Flying Dutchman shows up to chastise SpongeBob and steal everyone's souls. SpongeBob manages to save the day, and actually be scary for once in his life - all he has to do is be himself. 

The Adventures Of Pete & Pete - Halloweenie 

The Adventures Of Pete & Pete - Halloweenie 

The Adventures of Pete & Pete is the one series from the '90s that was able to capture the feeling of growing out of Halloween. After all, the Halloween is presented as a night where kids play dress up and eat candy. But " Halloweenie " explores the nature of growing up, having fun, and not taking things too seriously on the one night where you really get to be yourself. The episode takes places on what could be the last Halloween in Wellsville, and Big Pete has a choice to make. Does he help Little Pete break the world record for trick or treating, or does he give into his darker, and more adult impulses by joining the "Pumpkin Eaters"? 

The episode sends Big Pete on a journey of acceptance, while amping up the idiosyncratic magical realism already present in the series. "Halloweenie" has everything you want out of a Halloween episode: guys wearing pumpkin helmets, beauty shots of candy, characters in ridiculous costumes, and Iggy Pop making Stooges references. 

South Park - Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery

South Park - Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery

Spooky pirate ghosts are bad enough, but when they come to the small town of South Park things get out of hand. After someone digs up the body of Kyle's grandmother, the town loses its mind, believing the desecration to be the work of a local necrophiliac.

The members of Korn - in full Scooby Doo mode - solve the case of the pirate ghosts, figure out what happened to Kyle's grandmother, and jam out on some nu-metal. 

Beavis And Butthead - Bungholio: The Lord Of The Harvest 

Beavis And Butthead - Bungholio: The Lord Of The Harvest 

The Beavis and Butthead   Halloween special encompasses everything people love about this slacker duo, but with an extra layer of creep added to it. The special more or less plays out in the same way as every episode.

Beavis and Butthead watch a music video, they act like dorks, and after Beavis eats too much candy he slips into his raving lunatic "Cornholio" persona. As the episode progresses the "reality" of the series slowly unspools until Beavis starts eating candy in a graveyard and winds up on a meathook in some creepy farmer's barn. 

Arthur - Jekyll Hyde Segment

Arthur - Jekyll Hyde Segment

This three-minute segment from Arthur is one of the strangest things played on television. Throughout the song, Brain explains that stories like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde exist to explain the concepts of good and evil to readers. He likes the book so much that he reads it again and again - so much so that it affects his dreams.

So what does Brain do as Mr. Hyde? He ruins a test, eats a bunch of food, and literally steals second base from a local baseball diamond. But that's not all. Brain's so taken with his new persona that he even renews the book from the library.

Marc Summers' Mystery Magical Tour

Marc Summers' Mystery Magical Tour

Marc Summers' Mystical Magical Tour  was initially released in the late '80s , but Nickelodeon got plenty of mileage out of it. The channel showed this special every Halloween deep into the '90s, but even in the '80s the cheap production value made the special a surreal viewing experience.

The special follows Marc Summers and his three child chums (including a young Jonathan Brandis and Shiri Appleby) as they stop at the Magic Castle to call a tow truck. From there, the group is treated to performances by magicians Lance Burton and Tina Lenert. 

Martha Stewart's Annual Halloween Special 1999

Martha Stewart's Annual Halloween Special 1999

Martha Stewart's Halloween special is scary for all the wrong reasons. In it, Stewart creates haunted house favorites with her usual soft-spoken nature, but things get spooky when she brings in a private audience of children dressed to trick or treat.

It's an understatement to say the kids are unimpressed . They genuinely seem bored by the fact that America's greatest homemaker is preparing severed fingers for them. 

  • Graveyard Shift

Tiny Details in 'Halloweentown'

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‘Fright Time’ – ’90s Horror Anthology Books Deliver Scary Fun for Kids [Buried in a Book]

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Baronet Books is best known for its Great Illustrated Classics series, but in the ‘90s, the Waldman imprint took a walk on the scary side. Between 1995 and 1997, various authors contributed to a set of children’s horror anthologies called Fright Time . Kids who stumbled upon these books — often at local discount stores, such as Dollar General — got their money’s worth, seeing as each issue includes “3 spine-tingling tales for young readers.” That’s two more stories than usual for books aimed at the Goosebumps demographic. There’s certainly an off-brand quality to Fright Time , though the cover artwork is anything but cheap. Illustrations as eye-catching as these are bound to lure in curious readers of all ages. 

On the cover of the first Fright Time — these books have no individual titles, only numbers — a boy creeps outside a house, unaware of the decrepit old man watching him from the window. This picture reflects the series’ inaugural story, Madman on Main Street , written by Elaine A Kule . Michael finds himself the target of the titular villain, a creepy codger living inside a supposedly haunted house. This geezer named Abner Hilks is not only following Michael, he’s also doing all his school assignments without his consent. Although Michael is getting straight As now, there’s a price to be paid for accepting those good grades — the old feller, really a wizard, wants Michael to help him become their town’s one and only ruler. As promising as the setup of Madman is, the follow-through is shaky. Abner’s endgame is not as daunting as before when he was simply a stalker.

If there really is a hell, I thought, feeling sorry for myself, this is definitely it.

With It’s Almost Dark , Jane Ehlers delivers a story in the vein of ‘80s horror movie The Gate . Ben spends a lot of time at the house of his best friend Spencer, whose father unknowingly creates an army of monsters. Spencer’s dad, a game designer, somehow manifests his ghastly creature designs when he feeds them into his new scanner. The origin of this ability is never explained, and instead the tale focuses on the damage. As the adults go out for the night, Ben and Spencer fight off carnivorous goblins. Ehlers ultimately deflates the dread by unleashing a band of cheesy cyberwarriors — also summoned from the scanner — on the goblins.

The first volume concludes with the most effective and suspenseful story here, Scary Harry by Terry Patrick . Jesse and his brother Harry move into a new house, and immediately the older sibling starts to change in both behavior and appearance. Their mother and father win the “least observant parents of the year” award once they overlook the fact that Harry is clearly turning into an ape. His body is covered in hair, his feet look more like hands, and he’s been eating only bananas lately. Jesse and his new neighbor then uncover the lab of the previous tenant, a mad scientist, in the backyard. Something the ol’ doc left behind has turned Harry into an orangutan, and he wants his brother to join him. Unlike the last two stories, this one ends on a foreboding note.

I looked down at the ground again. Who — or what — made these tracks?

The second Fright Time volume is off to a good start with Eve Marko ’s The White Phantom . The cover art captures the two main characters struggling to escape a dreadful cave filled with skeletons. As typical in these stories, the trouble begins when someone moves into their new home. Andy finds large animal footprints outside his house, which his new neighbor, a girl nicknamed Shades, says were made by the White Phantom. Everyone in town knows the dog-like ghost beast guards the Native American burial grounds nearby, but until now, it’s never come this close to someone’s house. From here the story takes on a thorny “white savior” tone as Andy helps the area’s local Seneca Nation population reclaim their land, and exposes the reason behind the White Phantom’s presence. This “make things right” kind of tale indeed feeds into the mysticism stereotype surrounding Native Americans, but it also has the biggest stakes so far in the series.

Sandra Shichtman comes through with an entertaining echo of Jack Finney’s The Body Snatchers and all its adaptations, official or otherwise. Nightmare Neighbors centers around Matt and his race to stop the invasion going undetected in his town. He first notices the problem at home; his mother has a mysterious bandage on her face, and there’s green goop coming out of his TV. Said glob temporarily paralyzes Matt, steals a bit of his skin, then goes away. Soon enough come the interdimensional invaders who aren’t exact replicas of Matt and anyone else they lifted DNA from. There’s enough of a difference in appearance to avoid suspicions. Matt, however, isn’t keen on these otherworldly immigrants, so once he finds out their weakness, he destroys them all. Nightmare Neighbors ends up making you feel sorry for the alleged antagonists, and wondering who was the real monster here.

That’s when I first saw his eyes. Fiery red eyes. Scary, hypnotic eyes. They seemed to drill a hole right through my head. Red-hot daggers started stabbing my brain.

Fright Time ‘s first proper ghost pops up in Claudia Vernakes ’ Camp Fear . This last outing takes place at Camp Sea Dune, which is haunted by a spirit on the beach. The apparition puts people to sleep with magical sand, but aside from that, no one knows what he wants. Initially, the campers from Tent Seven think camp director Skull and his assistant Max have cooked up this ghost as part of one of their secret lab experiments. Later, the spirit is revealed to be that of a homeless man who lived on the island long ago. What he sought in life is now what he seeks in the afterlife: food. The constant mention of a character’s homemade seaweed cookies, as well as the island’s inability to grow seaweed, pays off once the boys realize what the ghost is hankering for.

Time flies when reading  Fright Time . No story is overlong, and if one doesn’t quite work for you, maybe the next one will. The tales in these first two volumes will work better when read by the intended target audience, though they’re amusing to “kids at heart” as well. These books were, and maybe still are, a perfect stepping stone for those juvenile readers who aren’t quite ready for teen-horror, yet they still want to be a little freaked out.

There was a time when the young-adult section of bookstores was overflowing with horror and suspense. These books were easily identified by their flashy fonts and garish cover art. This notable subgenre of YA fiction thrived in the ’80s, peaked in the ’90s, and then finally came to an end in the early ’00s. YA horror of this kind is indeed a thing of the past, but the stories live on at Buried in a Book . This recurring column reflects on the nostalgic novels still haunting readers decades later.

fright time

Paul Lê is a Texas-based, Tomato approved critic at Bloody Disgusting, Dread Central, and Tales from the Paulside.

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‘Beetlejuice: The Official Coloring Book’ from Artist Alan Robert Coming This Halloween!

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Beetlejuice returns to the big screen this September in Tim Burton’s long awaited sequel Beetlejuice Beetlejuice , and an official coloring book for the first movie is also on the way.

The creator of the best-selling coloring book series The Beauty of Horror , Alan Robert  intricately illustrates the most recognizable and beloved scenes of the ghost with the most from Tim Burton’s renowned 1988 film in Beetlejuice: The Official Coloring Book !

Beetlejuice: The Official Coloring Book is full of more than 60 pages of custom art, full of details ready to color, and it’s being released by Insight Editions on September 3, 2024 .

“The brilliance of Beetlejuice made a giant impact on me as a teenager, and I’ve seen it a gazillion times since then, including recently with my own teenage daughter. I know every line by heart,” explains illustrator Alan Robert. “So to be able to bring the ‘ghost with the most’ alive for generations of coloring fans was a huge honor for me. I’ve included a ton of little details in there that die hard fans of the film will definitely appreciate!”

The mischievous world of Beetlejuice™ comes to life in Beetlejuice: The Official Coloring Book , ready to be colored! Alan Robert, renowned illustrator of The Beauty of Horror coloring book series, hand-draws rich, detailed illustrations that evoke the haunting spirit of the infamous bio-exorcist as he tempts the Maitlands, terrorizes Lydia Deetz and her family, counters Otho’s over-the-top hijinks, and highlights all the frights and sights revealed in the afterlife. With more than 60 pages of captivating illustrations from the cult classic film, fans can chant Beetlejuice… Beetlejuice… Beetlejuice: The Official Coloring Book to conjure up hours of strange and unusual fun among the recently deceased.

ICONIC SCENES: Color in Barbara and Adam’s adventures in the underworld, the Maitland’s exorcism, the Deetz’s Day-O dinner party, all of Betelgeuse’s haunting attractions, and more!

BEWITCHING ILLUSTRATIONS: Tim Burton’s afterlife scenes captured the audience’s imagination upon release in 1988, and now fans can color and explore those unforgettable settings!

OFFICIAL COLORING BOOK: Created in collaboration with Warner Bros!

You can pre-order your copy from Amazon now.

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60 Best Kids Movies of the 90s

Live-Action only.

  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • Release Year

1. A Dog of Flanders (1999)

PG | 100 min | Family, Drama

Heartwarming story about an orphaned boy whose hard life is offset by his love for an abandoned dog, his determination to become a great painter, and his friendship with an artist.

Director: Kevin Brodie | Stars: Jack Warden , Jeremy James Kissner , Jesse James , Jon Voight

Votes: 1,009 | Gross: $2.15M

2. A Little Princess (1995)

G | 97 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

Sara is sent to a strict boarding school after her father enlists in WWI. When he is presumed dead, the headmistress, knowing she will not receive any more money, forces the girl to become a servant.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón | Stars: Liesel Matthews , Eleanor Bron , Liam Cunningham , Rusty Schwimmer

Votes: 36,458 | Gross: $10.02M

3. Airborne (1993)

PG | 91 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sport

California born and raised surfer, Mitchell Goosen has to spend six months in Ohio while learning the hard way- love is where the heart is.

Director: Rob Bowman | Stars: Shane McDermott , Seth Green , Brittney Powell , Chris Conrad

Votes: 7,552 | Gross: $2.85M

4. The Amazing Panda Adventure (1995)

PG | 84 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

A young American boy visiting China helps his zoologist father rescue a panda cub from unscrupulous poachers while its reserve is threatened with closure from officious bureaucrats.

Director: Christopher Cain | Stars: Stephen Lang , Ryan Slater , Yi Ding , Wang Fei

Votes: 4,396 | Gross: $7.51M

5. Angus (1995)

PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy, Drama

A miserable fat teenager secretly has a crush on the class beauty, ends up becoming the surprising participant to dance with her at a high school dance, meaning he's got to get his act together with the help of his best friend.

Director: Patrick Read Johnson | Stars: Charlie Talbert , George C. Scott , Kathy Bates , Perry Anzilotti

Votes: 7,088 | Gross: $4.82M

6. Babe (1995)

G | 91 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

Gentle farmer Arthur Hoggett wins a piglet Babe at a county fair. Narrowly escaping his fate as Christmas dinner, Babe bonds with motherly border collie Fly and discovers that he too can herd sheep. But will the other animals accept him?

Director: Chris Noonan | Stars: James Cromwell , Magda Szubanski , Christine Cavanaugh , Miriam Margolyes

Votes: 133,207 | Gross: $66.60M

7. Baby's Day Out (1994)

PG | 99 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

After three kidnappers lose the baby they have kidnapped, both the cops and kidnappers go looking for the baby.

Director: Patrick Read Johnson | Stars: Lara Flynn Boyle , Joe Mantegna , Joe Pantoliano , Brian Haley

Votes: 55,309 | Gross: $16.67M

8. Beethoven (1992)

PG | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

A slobbering St. Bernard becomes the center of attention for a loving family, but must contend with a dog-napping veterinarian and his henchmen.

Director: Brian Levant | Stars: Charles Grodin , Bonnie Hunt , Dean Jones , Nicholle Tom

Votes: 75,974 | Gross: $57.11M

9. Beethoven's 2nd (1993)

PG | 89 min | Comedy, Family, Romance

Beethoven, the St. Bernard dog, becomes a father, but his girlfriend Missy is dognapped, and his puppies are in danger of the same fate.

Director: Rod Daniel | Stars: Charles Grodin , Bonnie Hunt , Nicholle Tom , Christopher Castile

Votes: 29,551 | Gross: $53.35M

10. The Big Green (1995)

PG | 100 min | Comedy, Family, Sport

A teacher on exchange from England is placed in an underachieving Texas school, where she coaches the students in soccer, improving their self-esteem and leading to unexpected success.

Director: Holly Goldberg Sloan | Stars: Steve Guttenberg , Olivia d'Abo , Jay O. Sanders , John Terry

Votes: 10,902 | Gross: $17.73M

11. Black Beauty (1994)

G | 88 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

The fates of horses, and the people who own and command them, are revealed as Black Beauty narrates the circle of his life.

Director: Caroline Thompson | Stars: Sean Bean , David Thewlis , Docs Keepin Time , Alan Cumming

Votes: 10,591 | Gross: $4.63M

12. Blank Check (1994)

PG | 93 min | Comedy, Crime, Family

After a bike accident, a young boy inadvertently gains possession of a check for $1 million and proceeds to spend it, unaware that the gangsters it belongs to are in pursuit.

Director: Rupert Wainwright | Stars: Brian Bonsall , Karen Duffy , James Rebhorn , Jayne Atkinson

Votes: 21,953 | Gross: $30.58M

13. Casper (1995)

PG | 100 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

An afterlife therapist and his daughter meet a friendly young ghost when they move into a crumbling mansion in order to rid the premises of wicked spirits.

Director: Brad Silberling | Stars: Bill Pullman , Christina Ricci , Cathy Moriarty , Eric Idle

Votes: 146,027 | Gross: $100.33M

14. The Cure (1995)

PG-13 | 97 min | Adventure, Drama

Erik, a loner, finds a friend in Dexter, an eleven-year-old boy with AIDS. They vow to find a cure for AIDS together and save Dexter's life in an eventful summer.

Director: Peter Horton | Stars: Joseph Mazzello , Brad Renfro , Aeryk Egan , Delphine French

Votes: 10,572 | Gross: $2.57M

15. Curly Sue (1991)

PG | 101 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

A homeless man and his young companion, who survive by conning people, meet a woman who may need them even more than they need her.

Director: John Hughes | Stars: Jim Belushi , Kelly Lynch , Alisan Porter , John Getz

Votes: 23,092 | Gross: $33.69M

16. Dennis the Menace (1993)

PG | 94 min | Comedy, Family

When his parents must go out of town on business, Dennis stays with Mr. and Mrs. Wilson. He is driving Mr. Wilson crazy, but he is just trying to be helpful, even to the thief who has arrived in town.

Director: Nick Castle | Stars: Walter Matthau , Mason Gamble , Joan Plowright , Christopher Lloyd

Votes: 64,469 | Gross: $51.27M

17. D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994)

PG | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

Can Gordon's team win the Junior Goodwill Games in California in spite of all the set-backs?

Director: Sam Weisman | Stars: Emilio Estevez , Kathryn Erbe , Michael Tucker , Jan Rubes

Votes: 42,776 | Gross: $45.61M

18. Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog (1995)

PG | 81 min | Adventure, Family

Angus McCormick adopts a stray dog and names him Yellow. Several days later, while traveling along the coast of British Columbia with his father, John, he and Yellow become stranded when ... See full summary  »

Director: Phillip Borsos | Stars: Jesse Bradford , Mimi Rogers , Bruce Davison , Tom Bower

Votes: 3,263 | Gross: $11.64M

19. FairyTale: A True Story (1997)

PG | 99 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

In 1917, two children take a photograph, which is soon believed by some to be the first scientific evidence of the existence of fairies.

Director: Charles Sturridge | Stars: Paul McGann , Florence Hoath , Elizabeth Earl , Harvey Keitel

Votes: 6,314 | Gross: $14.04M

20. Fly Away Home (1996)

PG | 107 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

A father and daughter decide to attempt to lead a flock of orphaned Canada Geese south by air.

Director: Carroll Ballard | Stars: Jeff Daniels , Anna Paquin , Dana Delany , Terry Kinney

Votes: 26,975 | Gross: $24.51M

21. Free Willy (1993)

PG | 112 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

When a boy learns that a beloved killer whale is to be killed by the aquarium owners, the boy risks everything to free the whale.

Director: Simon Wincer | Stars: Jason James Richter , Lori Petty , Michael Madsen , Jayne Atkinson

Votes: 82,305 | Gross: $77.70M

22. Halloweentown (1998 TV Movie)

TV-G | 84 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

When a young girl living with her secret witch mother learns she too is a witch, she must help her witch grandmother save Halloweentown from evil forces.

Director: Duwayne Dunham | Stars: Debbie Reynolds , Kimberly J. Brown , Judith Hoag , Joey Zimmerman

Votes: 21,132

23. Harriet the Spy (1996)

PG | 100 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. But when her friends find her secret notebook, the tables are turned on her. Can she win them back and still keep on going with the spy business?

Director: Bronwen Hughes | Stars: Michelle Trachtenberg , Rosie O'Donnell , Gregory Smith , Vanessa Chester

Votes: 10,969 | Gross: $26.54M

24. Heavyweights (1995)

PG | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

Plump kids are lured into joining a posh fat camp with the promise of quick weight loss and good times, only to find that it is a woodland hellhole run by a psycho ex-fitness instructor.

Director: Steven Brill | Stars: Tom McGowan , Aaron Schwartz , Ben Stiller , David Goldman

Votes: 30,423 | Gross: $17.69M

25. Hocus Pocus (1993)

PG | 96 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

A teenage boy named Max and his little sister move to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.

Director: Kenny Ortega | Stars: Bette Midler , Sarah Jessica Parker , Kathy Najimy , Omri Katz

Votes: 155,169 | Gross: $44.34M

26. Home Alone (1990)

PG | 103 min | Comedy, Family

An eight-year-old troublemaker, mistakenly left home alone, must defend his home against a pair of burglars on Christmas Eve.

Director: Chris Columbus | Stars: Macaulay Culkin , Joe Pesci , Daniel Stern , John Heard

Votes: 648,389 | Gross: $285.76M

27. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

PG | 120 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

One year after Kevin McCallister was left home alone and had to defeat a pair of bumbling burglars, he accidentally finds himself stranded in New York City - and the same criminals are not far behind.

Director: Chris Columbus | Stars: Macaulay Culkin , Joe Pesci , Daniel Stern , Catherine O'Hara

Votes: 399,746 | Gross: $173.59M

28. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

G | 84 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

A fun-loving American bulldog pup, a hilarious Himalayan cat, and a wise old golden retriever embark on a long trek through the rugged wilderness of the Sierra Nevada mountains in a quest to reach home and their beloved owners.

Director: Duwayne Dunham | Stars: Michael J. Fox , Sally Field , Don Alder , Ed Bernard

Votes: 50,774 | Gross: $41.83M

29. Hook (1991)

PG | 142 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

When Captain James Hook kidnaps his children, an adult Peter Pan must return to Neverland and reclaim his youthful spirit in order to challenge his old enemy.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Dustin Hoffman , Robin Williams , Julia Roberts , Bob Hoskins

Votes: 271,384 | Gross: $119.65M

30. The Indian in the Cupboard (1995)

PG | 96 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

Omri, a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, receives an odd variety of presents for his birthday: a wooden cupboard from his older brother, a set of antique keys from his mother, and a plastic Indian from his best friend, Patrick.

Director: Frank Oz | Stars: Hal Scardino , Litefoot , Lindsay Crouse , Richard Jenkins

Votes: 30,846 | Gross: $35.62M

31. Jumanji (1995)

PG | 104 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped in it for decades - and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game.

Director: Joe Johnston | Stars: Robin Williams , Kirsten Dunst , Bonnie Hunt , Jonathan Hyde

Votes: 373,394 | Gross: $100.48M

32. The Jungle Book (1994)

PG | 111 min | Adventure, Family, Romance

Rudyard Kipling's classic tale of Mowgli, the orphaned jungle boy raised by wild animals, and how he becomes king of the jungle.

Director: Stephen Sommers | Stars: Jason Scott Lee , Cary Elwes , Lena Headey , Sam Neill

Votes: 18,822 | Gross: $44.34M

33. Lassie (1994)

PG | 94 min | Family, Adventure

When a family of 4 moves from Baltimore to a farm in rural Virginia, they adopt an abandoned collie. The dog becomes the son's companion and protector, helping him adapt to rural life.

Director: Daniel Petrie | Stars: Helen Slater , Tom Guiry , Jon Tenney , Brittany Boyd

Votes: 6,635 | Gross: $9.98M

34. Little Giants (1994)

PG | 107 min | Comedy, Family, Sport

Misfits form their own opposing team to an elite peewee football team, coached by the elite team coach's brother.

Director: Duwayne Dunham | Stars: Rick Moranis , Ed O'Neill , Shawna Waldron , Devon Sawa

Votes: 30,604 | Gross: $19.29M

35. Little Man Tate (1991)

PG | 99 min | Drama

A single mother raises a child prodigy on her own, struggling to give him every opportunity he needs to express his gift.

Director: Jodie Foster | Stars: Jodie Foster , Dianne Wiest , Adam Hann-Byrd , Alex Lee

Votes: 15,905 | Gross: $25.01M

36. The Little Rascals (1994)

PG | 82 min | Comedy, Family, Romance

Alfalfa is wooing Darla and his "He-Man-Woman-Hating" friends attempt to sabotage the relationship.

Director: Penelope Spheeris | Stars: Travis Tedford , Bug Hall , Brittany Ashton Holmes , Kevin Jamal Woods

Votes: 55,651 | Gross: $52.13M

37. Little Women (1994)

PG | 115 min | Drama, Family, Romance

The March sisters live and grow in post-Civil War America.

Director: Gillian Armstrong | Stars: Susan Sarandon , Winona Ryder , Kirsten Dunst , Claire Danes

Votes: 63,110 | Gross: $50.08M

38. Madeline (1998)

PG | 88 min | Comedy, Family

Horrified at the prospect of her beloved school being sold, a young French girl uses her wit and craftiness to attempt to save it, making an unlikely new friend in the process.

Director: Daisy von Scherler Mayer | Stars: Frances McDormand , Nigel Hawthorne , Hatty Jones , Ben Daniels

Votes: 7,986 | Gross: $29.77M

39. Matilda (1996)

PG | 102 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

A girl gifted with a keen intellect and psychic powers uses both to deal with her crude, distant family and free her kind teacher from their sadistic headmistress.

Director: Danny DeVito | Stars: Danny DeVito , Rhea Perlman , Mara Wilson , Embeth Davidtz

Votes: 172,716 | Gross: $33.08M

40. The Mighty Ducks (1992)

PG | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

A self-centered Minnesota lawyer is sentenced to community service coaching a rag tag youth hockey team.

Director: Stephen Herek | Stars: Emilio Estevez , Joss Ackland , Lane Smith , Heidi Kling

Votes: 71,253 | Gross: $50.75M

41. My Girl (1991)

PG | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

Vada is obsessed with death. Her mother is dead, and her father runs a funeral parlor. When Vada's father hires Shelly, a makeup expert, and begins to fall in love, Vada is outraged and does everything in her power to split them up.

Director: Howard Zieff | Stars: Anna Chlumsky , Macaulay Culkin , Dan Aykroyd , Jamie Lee Curtis

Votes: 88,118 | Gross: $59.85M

42. Newsies (1992)

PG | 121 min | Drama, Family, History

A musical based on the New York City newsboy strike of 1899. When young newspaper sellers are exploited beyond reason by their bosses they set out to enact change and are met by the ruthlessness of big business.

Director: Kenny Ortega | Stars: Christian Bale , Bill Pullman , Robert Duvall , Ann-Margret

Votes: 22,381 | Gross: $2.82M

43. Now and Then (1995)

PG-13 | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Four 12-year-old girls grow up together during an eventful small-town summer in 1970.

Director: Lesli Linka Glatter | Stars: Christina Ricci , Demi Moore , Rosie O'Donnell , Thora Birch

Votes: 32,207 | Gross: $27.40M

44. The Parent Trap (1998)

PG | 128 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Identical twins Annie and Hallie, separated at birth and each raised by one of their biological parents, discover each other for the first time at summer camp and make a plan to bring their wayward parents back together.

Director: Nancy Meyers | Stars: Lindsay Lohan , Dennis Quaid , Natasha Richardson , Elaine Hendrix

Votes: 153,009 | Gross: $66.31M

45. Problem Child (1990)

PG | 81 min | Comedy, Family

A young boy just short of a monster is adopted by a loving man and his wacky wife. The laughs keep coming as the boy pushes them to the limits.

Director: Dennis Dugan | Stars: Michael Oliver , John Ritter , Jack Warden , Gilbert Gottfried

Votes: 32,818 | Gross: $53.47M

46. Problem Child 2 (1991)

PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy, Family

The worst child in the world makes an unthinkable discovery: there is another child even worse than he is--and it's a girl.

Director: Brian Levant | Stars: John Ritter , Michael Oliver , Jack Warden , Laraine Newman

Votes: 23,594 | Gross: $25.10M

47. Rookie of the Year (1993)

PG | 103 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

When an accident miraculously gives a boy an incredibly powerful pitching arm, he becomes a major league pitcher for the Chicago Cubs.

Director: Daniel Stern | Stars: Thomas Ian Nicholas , Gary Busey , Albert Hall , Amy Morton

Votes: 30,646 | Gross: $53.58M

48. The Sandlot (1993)

In the summer of 1962, a new kid in town is taken under the wing of a young baseball prodigy and his rowdy team, resulting in many adventures.

Director: David Mickey Evans | Stars: Tom Guiry , Mike Vitar , Art LaFleur , Patrick Renna

Votes: 101,324 | Gross: $32.42M

49. The Santa Clause (1994)

When a man inadvertently makes Santa fall off his roof on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place.

Director: John Pasquin | Stars: Tim Allen , Judge Reinhold , Wendy Crewson , Eric Lloyd

Votes: 132,915 | Gross: $144.83M

50. Sarah, Plain and Tall (1991 TV Movie)

G | 98 min | Drama, Family, Romance

A single New England woman responds to an advertisement by a Midwestern widower in which he asks for a bride to help him raise his two children.

Director: Glenn Jordan | Stars: Glenn Close , Christopher Walken , Lexi Randall , Malgorzata Zajaczkowska

Votes: 2,358

51. Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

PG | 109 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

A prepubescent chess prodigy is encouraged to harden himself in order to become a champion like the famous but unlikable Bobby Fischer.

Director: Steven Zaillian | Stars: Joe Mantegna , Ben Kingsley , Max Pomeranc , Joan Allen

Votes: 42,178 | Gross: $7.27M

52. The Secret Garden (1993)

G | 101 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

A young, recently-orphaned girl is sent to England after living in India all of her life. Once there, she begins to explore her new, seemingly-isolated surroundings, and its secrets.

Director: Agnieszka Holland | Stars: Kate Maberly , Maggie Smith , Heydon Prowse , Andrew Knott

Votes: 44,154 | Gross: $31.18M

53. Shiloh (1996)

PG | 93 min | Drama, Family

A small-town Southern boy named Marty Preston must rescue a young beagle from his abusive owner, Judd Travers.

Director: Dale Rosenbloom | Stars: Blake Heron , Michael Moriarty , Scott Wilson , Bonnie Bartlett

Votes: 3,725 | Gross: $1.00M

54. Sidekicks (1992)

PG | 101 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

A bullied teen who fantasizes about being Chuck Norris' sidekick trains in martial arts to fulfill his dreams.

Director: Aaron Norris | Stars: Chuck Norris , Beau Bridges , Jonathan Brandis , Mako

Votes: 9,707 | Gross: $17.18M

55. Stuart Little (1999)

PG | 84 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

The Little family adopt a charming young mouse named Stuart, but the family cat wants rid of him.

Director: Rob Minkoff | Stars: Michael J. Fox , Geena Davis , Hugh Laurie , Jonathan Lipnicki

Votes: 147,706 | Gross: $140.04M

56. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

PG | 93 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Four teenage mutant ninja turtles emerge from the shadows to protect New York City from a gang of criminal ninjas.

Director: Steve Barron | Stars: Judith Hoag , Elias Koteas , Josh Pais , David Forman

Votes: 104,006 | Gross: $135.27M

57. White Fang (I) (1991)

Jack London's classic adventure story about the friendship developed between a Yukon gold hunter and the mixed dog-wolf he rescues from the hands of a man who mistreats him.

Director: Randal Kleiser | Stars: Ethan Hawke , Klaus Maria Brandauer , Jed , Seymour Cassel

Votes: 22,287 | Gross: $34.79M

58. Wild America (1997)

PG | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Three brothers who are obsessed with animals are given permission from their parents to travel around America with a camera documenting wildlife.

Director: William Dear | Stars: Jonathan Taylor Thomas , Devon Sawa , Scott Bairstow , Frances Fisher

Votes: 7,959 | Gross: $7.32M

59. Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken (1991)

G | 88 min | Drama, Family, Romance

Thrilled by a performance she sees at a fair, Sonora Webster tries to land a spot as a daredevil who rides horses off of high dives.

Director: Steve Miner | Stars: Gabrielle Anwar , Michael Schoeffling , Cliff Robertson , Dylan Kussman

Votes: 5,807 | Gross: $7.30M

60. The Witches (1990)

PG | 91 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

A young boy stumbles onto a witch convention and must stop them, even after he has been turned into a mouse.

Director: Nicolas Roeg | Stars: Anjelica Huston , Mai Zetterling , Jasen Fisher , Rowan Atkinson

Votes: 54,295 | Gross: $10.36M

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    A zombie with his mouth sewn shut crawls out of his own grave and follows the kids, the sisters suck out the soul of a little girl, and Thackery Binx, the lovable black cat, gets run over by a...

  7. 5 Nostalgic '90s Kids Horror TV Shows

    Goosebumps (1995-1998) With the exciting news that there will be a new Goosebumps TV show, it's fun to rewatch the '90s children's horror series based on the book series by R.L. Stine. Many...

  8. 12 '90s Ghosts That Scared The Pants Off You

    1. The Lonely Ghost "The Tale of the Lonely Ghost" is one of the earliest episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? — the third one of the first season, to be precise — and it's become so iconic...

  9. 31 Nights of Horror 2022: 90s Kids Horror

    October 16 — A Pup Named Scooby-Doo: The Ghost of Mrs. Shusham (S4 E2b, 1991) A Pup Named Scooby-Doo is a show that ended way too early (but lucky for us, just into the 90s). It's Scooby-Doo but they're all kids. In this episode, a librarian ghost haunts the gang over an overdue book.

  10. Ghostwriter (TV Series 1992-1995)

    Ghostwriter: Created by Pamela Douglas. With Blaze Berdahl, Sheldon Turnipseed, David López, Marcella Lowery. A group of kids solves local crimes, capers, and mysteries in their neighborhood, with the help of a ghost who can only communicate through writing and words.

  11. '90s Kids Horror Shows That Are Scarier Than You Remember

    Scholastic Productions. "Goosebumps," adapted from the R.L. Stine's series of books of the same name, is arguably the most famous '90s horror show for kids. It's been so popular, that there have ...

  12. The Scariest Movies '90s Kids Can't Forget

    Warner Bros. There's no way the remake of The Witches can be anywhere near as terrifying as the original, starring Anjelica Huston at her most frightening as The Grand High Witch. And before the reboot arrives, discover The Best Horror Films of 2020, According to Critics. 3 Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) Warner Bros.

  13. Scary Kids' Books From the '80s and '90s

    The Giver We realize this Newberry Medal-winning novel by Lois Lowry isn't a horror story by any stretch. But can you deny the creepiness of a 1984 -esque society where everyone has been stripped...

  14. Scary Books That Doomed Millennials as Kids

    The 1980s and 1990s saw the publication of some true giants in children's horror. All of those '80s and '90s babies had to grow up, and our macabre childhood reading influences our current taste. Though it never really went away, true crime has had a massive renaissance in the past few years, in part due to the popularity of podcasts.

  15. The 10 Best '90s Horror TV Shows For Kids, From Goosebumps To

    The 10 Best '90s Horror TV Shows For Kids, From Goosebumps To Ghostwriter By Rafael Motamayor on August 9, 2019 at 2:11PM PDT The 10 best TV shows that first gave us nightmares, from...

  16. 10 Incredibly Dark Moments Hidden In '90s Kids Movies

    Some '90s kids movies have incredibly dark moments hidden within them, which evolved storytelling for children across the decade. Surprisingly, even films like The Muppet Christmas Carol and Beauty and the Beast have dark moments that contribute to the overall message. Some notable dark moments include Bruno transforming into a mouse in The Witches, Scar's song in The Lion King, and Buzz ...

  17. '90s Teen Horror Books for Vintage Thrills

    Aside from the wealth of fictional horror possible, the '90s were rife with real-life horror for people of color, and it's a shame readers weren't given the chance to have those stories when they were of the moment. We're seeing better representation and a wider range of stories in YA horror now, but it's still a work in progress.

  18. The 20 Best '90s Halloween Movies to Watch

    Debbie Reynolds, Kimberly J. Brown, Judith Hoag, Joey Zimmerman. Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty, Eric Idle, Malachi Pearson (voice) Adam Wylie, Mario Yedidia, Clara Bryant, Ken Campbell. From 'Hocus Pocus' to 'The Witches', these 20 classic '90s Halloween movies will give you all the nostalgia this season.

  19. 54 Best Scary Kids Movies for Halloween

    54 Best Kids Halloween Movies. Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island turns 25! Looking for a scary movie to watch with the kids and family? Or a horror movie that won't necessarily send you scrambling beneath the covers, with a 6,000 watt night light plugged in? Then you've come to the right ghoulish place with our guide to some of the best children ...

  20. The 15 Greatest '90s Halloween Specials You Loved As A Kid

    All The Ways 'Hocus Pocus' Is The Best Hallowee... The Best Halloween Candy Ever Wholesome Movies For The Whole Family To Watch ... This Is The Best Haunted House To Visit In Your... Not Only Is 'Halloweentown' The Perfect Hallowe... The 10 Best Horror Movies That Take Place On Ha... The Best Halloween Parades And Celebrations In ...

  21. 'Fright Time'

    September 23, 2022. By. Paul Lê. Baronet Books is best known for its Great Illustrated Classics series, but in the '90s, the Waldman imprint took a walk on the scary side. Between 1995 and 1997 ...

  22. 60 Best Kids Movies of the 90s

    Votes: 4,396 | Gross: $7.51M. 5. Angus (1995) PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy, Drama. 6.7. Rate. A miserable fat teenager secretly has a crush on the class beauty, ends up becoming the surprising participant to dance with her at a high school dance, meaning he's got to get his act together with the help of his best friend.

  23. Ghost of Tsushima

    A 90s Kid Ghost of Tsushima. Poonam; ... Ghost of Tsushima is an open world action-adventure game that combines stealth, combat, and exploration set in feudal Japan. As Jin Sakai, players must navigate through Tsushima island, taking on enemies and choosing whether to fight as a honorable samurai or use stealth and deception as the titular ...