After Guardian writers reminisced about the films that caused nightmares in their younger years, you responded with a long list of alternative options

The Birds

I was about four years old, being babysat by my cousin who was more interested in snogging her boyfriend and didnt realize I was watching it. Freaked me out to such an extent that I would scream my head off whenever we went to the beach and a seagull came within a few feet of me, and even now I cant stand the evil buggers. Thanks cousin Catherine! steena

My sister and I nagged and nagged our parents to let us watch what may have been the first UK TV showing of Hitchcocks The Birds. They relented with a dont blame us if you have have nightmares. We were fine up until the moment Rods mum finds that guy laid out in his trashed kitchen. The genius of that scene is that there is no big jump shock with a blast of discordant music, just a slow pan to where he lays with both eyes pecked out and a horrified gasp from the poor lady. We had nightmares. ID9879446

This movie literally traumatised me for life. Saw this as a kid and there are scenes engraved on my memory that terrify me still. Its not really a very scary movie, but I think I was just too young to have seen this and the angst of the unknown threat of these crazy birds haunts me still. I think Hitchcock would be rather thrilled actually. Parmenidas

A Night to Remember

The Titanic story 1958. No great effects just unrelenting tension and lots of stiff upper lips. I dont remember much about it, I already knew the ending, but it terrified me and to this day I wont watch anything about the Titanic. Im 70. thepree

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Photograph: Allstar/Warner Bros.

I guess I was about five years old when one evening I saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on TV. My mum had gone out shopping and unbeknownst to me my dad had gone upstairs for a nap. The scene where they drink the fizzy drink and float up towards the spinning blade freaked me out and I screamed in horror only to realise I was alone in an empty house. (My dad did not wake up). So I ran outside still screaming, leaving our front door wide open. Opposite our house there were builders who were kind enough to take me in and I waited for what seemed like hours for my mum to come home. tpmv75

An American Werewolf in London

A truly great film, for many reasons, but the real terror for me didnt come from ground breaking special effects of lupine metamorphosis.

The loneliness of a late night tube station, the sheer horror of the masked Nazis slaughtering an all-American family, the strange and creepy emptiness of a London hospital ward at night, and most of all, Brian Glover telling a racist joke over a pint in the Slaughtered Lamb, with an unexplained pentangle on the wall next to the dart board. dylan37

I didnt see the film, but walked past the local cinema and saw a number of posters promoting it. I was terrified by nightmares for weeks afterwards. jonnyjonny

I saw An American Werewolf in London at a local youth club in Hastings when I was 14, well I say saw, I managed half an hour of it and had to leave the room, I was bricking it!

For a couple of years after, walking back from my friends homes involved going around a dark corner garden plot with old trees and mature bushes, very poorly lit, I would literally run as if I was in a 100m race around that corner until I got home!

Even today, werewolves still scare the bejesus out of me. The one in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was particularly traumatic!! TruthSayer666

My dad let me watch the first half hour when I was about 10, it was another decade before I could bear to watch the rest. steventudor

I still feel nervous outside when the moon is full My family find it hilarious. Joanne Ogarro

Superman III

The part in Superman 3 where the computer turns the woman into a kind of human robot hybrid terrified me. BradGoodman

One Saturday afternoon youre watching a lighthearted Superman adventure about super computers, the next youre watching some poor woman sucked into said machine, screaming for her life as the machine starts welding bits to her horrified, agonised face. I was seven or eight when I first saw it, it leapfrogged Robocop & Terminator as the most terrifying thing Id ever seen. David Perkins

Superman III you know which bit. dothestrand


I saw Psycho as a teenager and in the 55 years since then, when alone, I have NEVER had a shower without checking that all doors and windows are locked. pineapplesage

Mars Attacks!

I was less than 10 and had already watched a bunch of slasher/horror movies with no effect on my psyche, but Mars Attacks with those creepy little aliens and their seemingly all-powerful technology straight up traumatized me! I got barely any sleep for months, nightmares galore when I did fall asleep, and all sorts of anxiety, to the point that parents sent me to therapy. The therapy didnt help at all and I never even came close to understanding why Mars Attacks freaked me out so bad. I love horror and sci-fi cinema, but its been over 20 years and I still havent watched Mars Attacks a second time. It did become a running joke for my whole family and about 10 years ago my dad gave a DVD copy to me as a gag birthday gift which I gave to a neighbor as soon as he left! Jolly McMaster

I watched The Exorcist when I was 10, didnt have an effect on me. Mars Attacks on the other hand, nope. Terrified. Im scared of movie aliens, even ET. The only one that doesnt scare me is, ironically, the Xenomorph. VickyRagDoll


Dario Argentos Suspiria. Photograph: Allstar/Anchor Bay Entertainment/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar

My most profound horror experience was seeing Dario Argentos Suspiria for the first time at 12. Other than Hammer fare on TV with my dad, I had never seen a horror film before, and this was thrust on me via a random video rental of my friends dad. The mobile video van (ahh the memories) had a rent 2 for the week policy, and he rented French Lieutenants Woman as the other title. I remember we put in the other tape every so often to calm down. Ive never had such an intense experience watching a movie, and it kickstarted a lifelong love of euro-horror an Argento obsession, and a film degree. I now dread to think how many times Ive upgraded Suspiria in my collection. Didescharlie

Scary from the start for no reason you can readily determine London61

When a Stranger Calls

I did a lot of babysitting as a teenager and student. This terrified me. I always made sure I knew exactly where to find the phone in someone elses house (no mobiles then). I still shiver thinking of it. Janetgilbert

A Tale of Two Cities

In 1958, when I was seven, my mother took me to see A Tale of Two Cities. I have never forgotten the guillotine scene at the end. Realised for the first time what the death penalty was and imagined the horror of someone having having their head cut off. ormond

The Company of Wolves

Photograph: Ronald Grant

The only movie I ever walked out of, about a quarter of the way through. As soon as the man started changing into a wolf, I really thought I was going to faint with horror. Im an animal lover and a big fan of dogs, so I dont know exactly what it was; but even now, as an elderly woman, I still cant watch it. I was a grown woman when I had this terrified reaction, and I still dont know why it hit me so hard. grumpyoldgirl

Angel Heart

Absolutely terrified us (teenagers having a pyjamas party). We could not sleep at all that night, and we had to take turn to go to the bathroom while the others kept watch behind the door (there was a little window in that bathroom, and we were scared to death that we might see those red eyes). And I spent the next few months with my duvet pushed back on my bed, so that I could be sure I would not come across a mummified hand in it. gladarvor

Angel Heart was a truly disturbing horror film, Robert de Niro was terrifying, couldnt look at a boiled egg in the same way after seeing that. ukbazza

Edward Scissorhands

Photograph: film co handout

I saw Edward Scissorhands at about 6 years old, and was utterly terrified for years. I eventually had to swap bedrooms, as I was so convinced he lived in the built-in cupboard in my bedroom at the time. And still had to keep a torch by my bed to check all dark spaces in the new one bedroom.

Still havent watched it again in the 25+ years since. It may well not actually be that scary, but having to move bedroom again, which would just be a massive hassle and hard to explain to the wife. Rugly

The Power

My Dad was on a business trip. So my Mum and I thought wed watch a film together to keep each other company. She selected The Power (1968). I was nine.

Its not a great film. But it has the esteemed honour of recording celluloids first death by centrifuge. The bulging eyes of the hapless victim, as he lolls from the pod, still inform occasional nightmares. I am 52. ferger

The Neverending Story

Neverending Story was bone-chilling as a nipper. Now its on Netflix, I watched it recently for the first time in about 30 years, which felt like just about enough time to confront that childhood trauma. The interminably slow horse drowning scene in the swamp of despair is still quite intense! I wonder how kids today would react to it. JacksSR

Nothing comes close to Artax sinking in the Neverending Story, I mean COME ON! That plus the whole Nothing wiping everything out with sadness … god Im covered in goosebumps just thinking about it! Terrifying! asantesana



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