Because of its intrinsic appeal to children, animation is rivaled only by clowns in its ability to scar young viewers for life. The Canadian YouTube series MindChop has created a testament to that long-buried trauma in the form of a nightmarish little video called “5 Most Terrifying Children’s Cartoons From Around The World.”
With their whimsical titles, offerings like The Moomins and Dot And The Kangaroo might not sound all that scary at first. But make no mistake: These shows are not for the weak. Take The Animals Of Farthing Wood, a 1992-95 series produced in England and France. Based on the books of Colin Dann, the show follows a group of “cute little critters” seeking out a nature preserve after humans destroy their forest home. It all sounds perfectly adorable—until the field mice are impaled on thorns and a pheasant is shot, killed, and eaten. Sorry, kids. That’s just how the world works.
Things only get worse from there. Poland’s The Moomins is plagued by a Grimace-like creature called the Groke, whose very breath can kill. Elsewhere, the young, shoplifting heroine of Rodrigo Blaas’ Pixar-esque short Alma finds herself transformed into a doll, paralyzed except for her eyes. And viewers of Australia’s Dot And The Kangaroo may need years of therapy to erase “The Bunyip Song,” an ode to an unstoppable ancient evil.
But all of this is kid stuff compared to The Plague Dogs, a grisly 1982 British film from the makers of Watership Down, and a movie that starts with a dog drowning:
Later, another dog accidentally shoots its owner in the face before fleeing “in terror.” Those who watch The Plague Dogs—or any of these cartoons, to be honest—may find themselves doing likewise.