There were plenty of times that a particular cartoon might forget it was intended for children, but some shows in general just seemed to revel in showing us things that were either horrifying, gross, or just plain weird. In particular, these 11 cartoons were the biggest offenders.
Courage The Cowardly Dog
A show that was entirely about showing the most messed-up things possible, Courage had to constantly save his adoptive parents from all the terrors that routinely showed up in Nowhere. The show was pure nightmare fuel.
The characters in the title are actually the villains, and man did Hasbro ever go out of their way to make them unsettling. Not only that, but it was really gory and brutal for a kids show, leading to complaints from parents groups. Of course, we just loved it more for it.
Ren & Stimpy
More on the humor side of “messed up” than the creepy side, Ren & Stimpy had some of the most whacked-out imagery this side of an acid trip. Pretty sure that’s why kids loved it so much, but still, WTF?
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
A show about a society of creepy-yet-adorable monsters whose jobs are literally to go to the human world and scare children, this was like the substantially weirder prelude to Monsters Inc. The show was great, but in retrospect, what was this doing to us?
Yeah we mostly know the show for silly voices and wacky antics, but it really isn’t afraid to get weird at times. Anybody remember the episode with monster footage from the 1922 horror movie Nosferatu? Yeah, that happened.
Disney was no stranger to weird imagery in their movies, and one that’s been burned into our memories ever since was the “Pink Elephants on Parade” segment from Dumbo. Seriously, who thought the hallucinations of a tiny elephant were anything but horrifying?
The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh
For the most part, this is a light, funny, adorable kids movie. That is, until Pooh has a nightmare where he floats through an empty grey dream space, only to be confronted with the “Heffalumps and Woozles” song and dance routine. It is so freaking creepy.
The Real Ghostbusters
It’s not surprising that a show about fighting ghosts had some creepy stuff in it, but some of the episodes went above and beyond. Whether it was following ghosts into some weird pseudo-Hell dimension, or even going after the actual Boogeyman, it got absolutely messed up.
For the most part, Fantasia is a fun and lighthearted demonstration of how animation and music can blend together in perfect harmony. That is, until “Night on Bald Mountain” happens. This is where a giant demon (referred to as Satan in the movie, but as the Slavic deity Chernobog in the supplementary material) plays with the souls of the damned. Creepy stuff.
Given it’s a movie about dogs freaking dying, this movie already has some strange and sometimes depressing imagery. Then you get to the Hell sequence, and everything just gets about a thousand times worse.
Rocko’s Modern Life
Much like Ren & Stimpy, this show thrived on messed up imagery and situations, like how at one point the main character works at a loveline. Wonder if the upcoming sequel will be as weird?