It's happened to all of us: you go to a movie expecting a thoughtful drama or lighthearted romp. No one warned you — it was all a sick trick to expose you to a vision as bloodcurdling as any "Saw" sequel.
Two hours later, you stumble into the lobby, unsure whether it's tears or your last meal welling up. Maybe it was a disturbing truth exposed in the film that did it. Or maybe the line between surrealist daydream and psychotic nightmare was inadvertently crossed. In honor of Halloween, here's our list of top 9 movies that failed to warn us in the commercials that they'd scar us for life.
9. 'Kids' (1995)
Horror Genre: The "Kids Today Are Out of Control!" grimy drama
Not to be confused with the adorable documentary "Babies" (2010), "Kids" tells the story of Telly, a teenage kleptomaniac who spends his free time -- when he's not stealing or taking drugs -- looking for virgins to sleep with because they won't give him STDs (he's a real thinker). What he doesn't know is that he has AIDS (oh, the irony). Many an unsuspecting moviegoer walked into the theater feeling fine, and walked out craving a shower and a confessional.
8. '127 Hours' (2010)
Horror Genre: The "Please Don't Actually Show It ..." survival story
There's an old Zen Buddhist riddle asking what the sound of one hand clapping is. If you can't figure out the answer, ask rock climber Aron Ralston. In this inspirational tale of survival, Aron (James Franco) cuts off his forearm with a dull pocket knife so as to free himself from under a boulder. That this actually happened is bad enough. That we are shown the entire procedure by a long camera shot that never cuts away is tantamount to eye rape.
7. 'Bambi' (1942)
Horror Genre: The "Children Get Introduced to the Concept of Death" cartoon
After exposing us to children smoking cigars and mutating into donkeys in "Pinocchio," and teaching us what it's like to be drunk in "Dumbo," wholesome Disney Studios completed its "scared straight" trilogy with "Bambi." No one remembers much about this beautifully animated film because cute little Bambi's loving mother is quickly mowed down by hunters. Most children black out at this point or suffer some form of mental breakdown.
6. 'White Chicks' (2004)
Horror Genre: The "Supposed to Be Funny but Is Just Disturbing" comedy
It was horrifying when Michael Jackson did it, and it was just as horrifying when the Wayans bothers did it. We simply wanted to go to the movies for a laugh. Is that such a crime? How could we understand the sheer terror that would be visited upon us when black actors Shawn and Marlon disguised themselves as what appeared to be Joan Rivers impersonators -- if Joan Rivers used an electric sander on her face. It's not funny! It scared us, Wayans! It scared us bad!
5. 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' (2005)
Horror Genre: The "Lure Kids With Candy Into a Factory" psycho-thriller
So ... is Willy Wonka a child murderer? Or is he something else that makes less sense than just being a child murderer? Because he really just seems like he wants to murder children. While this Johnny Depp-helmed take on Roald Dahl's beloved novel does teach kids valuable lessons about the dangers of LSD, and why factory safety regulations are as important as ever, it will most certainly haunt their dreams and leave them screaming in the dark.
4. 'Jesus Camp' (2006)
Horror Genre: The "World's Least Fun Summer Camp" documentary exposé
Hey, remember that time at summer camp when you picketed Planned Parenthood, prayed at a cutout of G.W. Bush and learned about how dinosaurs were on Noah's arc because the world is only 10,000 years old? Takes you back to those sweet summer nights, huh?
3. 'The Wizard of Oz' (1939)
Horror Genre: The "Root of Bizarre Fears That We Will Someday Be Discussing With Our Therapist" family film
There are certain eerie images that stick. And the number one supplier of said images has got to be THIS MOVIE. Every kid's seen it, so every kid's brain contains the following three suspicions: 1) your house might be blown away by a tornado, 2) once crushed under your house, a woman's legs might gruesomely curl up and crumble, 3) flying monkeys are a possibility. That's just three. But there's a lot more. Bet you can tell us another.
2. 'Idiocracy' (2006)
Horror Genre: The "Scary 'Cause It's True" satire
In this Mike Judge farce, the U.S.A. of the future is a nation comprising barely functional morons, owing to the Jerry Springer guests of the world being the only ones having litters of kids. In this dystopia, the president is an illiterate ex-wrestler, law degrees can be earned at Costco, and the Gatorade corporation has convinced everyone that water is bad for you. The scariest thing about this much overlooked comedy is how similar it appears to the present.
1. 'An Inconvenient Truth' (2006)
Horror Genre: The "Things Are So Much Worse Than You Thought" documentary
Inconvenient indeed. Ever since Al Gore's global-warming documentary explained how we are boiling the Earth in our own carbon fumes, the 1/12th of a mile drive I make to Starbucks everyday (I'm not walking up that hill!) has injected a shot of guilt into my $5 latte. This, in turn, has only served to intensify the usual caffeine-fueled incontinence. Thanks for scaring the crap out of us, Al Gore.