Scary kids TV shows had a real moment through the late 90s/2000s, didn’t they? Why? Why did our national television stations enjoy scaring the living daylights out of their youth population during some very formative years?
As a creative brain, I feel like I was really affected deeply by some of the fucked up shit that accosted my eyeballs between the hours of 6am-9am / 3pm-6pm on weekdays. Cartoon skeletons that lived in basements? Bellowing beings in huge empty castles? Horrendous stuff.
Since it’s Halloween on Thursday I figured I’d draw out all our repressed memories and recount the scary kids TV shows our stupid parents let into our homes!
1. Trap Door
Absolutely fuck this show and especially fuck it’s TERRIFYING intro, which has already scared me at 12.16pm as a grown adult. I hated “The Thing Upstairs” so much, even if Bert himself was quite cute and sweet.
2. Lift Off
Yes yes, EC was the scariest doll on Australian television. But let’s not forget all the other creepy cartoons and puppets.
Why did they all have ginormous mouths and terrifying eyes? Just make normal puppets like Sesame Street did?
You absolutely had an older sibling who was all ~Animorphs is a big kids show~, which is exactly why you wanted to watch it. It’s also why the morphing faces of kids that turned into scary large animals fucked you up. As my colleague Georgia said, “I was convinced I was gonna be an eagle for the remainder of my life. How would my mum know it was me and that I wanted dinner?”.
4. In The Night Garden
I always have grand plans to get stoned and re-watch this bizarre kids show. I was too old for it to scare me, but it’s undoubtedly terrifying if you’re not 3 years old and have at least some sort of idea of what’s normal (not making weird squeaking noises, having eyes with eyelids) and what’s not (talking at 4,000 miles an hour, looking at you Macca Pacca).
5. Johnson & Friends
You: I wish my toys would wake up when I left the room and play games together
Also You: Why the fuck is my accordion smiling at me like it’s planning to shank me in my sleep?
6. Ren & Stimpy
Again, a show for teenagers not for tiny kids. Every single episode of this funny-but-fucked cartoon had some alarming image, like Ren opening his skin to show his RIBS AND HEART, or whatever.
7. Fat Dog Mendoza
I do NOT remember this show, but my colleague Spyros said this about it.
“It was cooked… the kid was a superhero or pretending to be a superhero and it pretty much just followed their adventures – had all these weird characters that made you feel uneasy.”
8. Horrible Histories
This was one of those shows where now, as a grown adult, you can see the humour in it. But if you ever came across it as a little kid you were like, FUCKKKKKK THIS IS SCARY AND IT ALSO HAPPENED IN REAL LIFE.
Goosebumps – the books, the tv show, whatever – were fundamentally NOT for kids and horribly scary.
10. Angela Anaconda
There wasn’t anything creepy about Angela Anaconda, but as far as scary kid’s tv shows go it was TERRIFYING just due to the visuals – it’s pretty brilliant using sketches as cartoons, but also as a 6-year-old I was like “why is this girl’s face black and white”.
Steph from my work said she once had a nightmare where Angela Anaconda chased her around a Quidditch pitch pelting her with oranges, so there’s that.
11. Round The Twist
Based on those equally fucking scary Paul Jennings books, Round The Twist is probably the scary kids TV show you bring up most over beers with your mates – the nose-vomiting guy? The peeing contest? THE FOX SCARF?!
Fuck all of that.Image: Goosebumps