• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

Alice and Bob are two mischievous little kids aged around 8-14. One day, they decide they'll go to the movies. Their parents are fine with this, but warn the two of them not to see that new horror film that just came out. Alice and Bob swear they'll see an age appropriate kid film and go off to the movies innocently. Of course, they'll go see the horror film anyway, either getting in easily or sneaking in if the guy at the ticket booth won't let a pair of kids in. This backfires when they find out how terrifying and gruesome the horror movie is, and nearly end up half-traumatized. The rest of the episode will usually consist of them having nightmares and eventually being outed to the parents at seeing the film. Another common version is the kids watching it at home when the parents are out. Sometimes, though less common, the parents will be there as well.

Of course, in Real Life, a lot of children enjoy a good horror movie. At least depending on their age.

If this trope pops up in a kids' sitcom, it will almost always overlap with Can't Get Away with Nuthin'. See also Girls Are Really Scared of Horror Movies and Scare'Em Straight. When something like this happens in Real Life, see What Do You Mean It's Not for Kids?. It can sometimes be inverted, where adults are terrified of the film but kids love it. (See also Fridge Horror for that case; perhaps the kids don't understand why the events of the movie are something to be afraid of.)



  • In the first Home Alone movie, Kevin watches an old gangster movie that he was previously not allowed to see. It ends up scaring him, but he later uses the audio of that scene to ward off the burglars (as well as to scare the living daylights out of a pizza deliveryman). He watches another in the second one and the same thing happens, except he uses it to ward off the hotel staff instead.


  • In the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book Dog Days, Greg and Rowley watch a B-Movie called Hello, You're Dead that they found in Rodrick's room, featuring a muddy hand. Rowley has his eyes covered the whole movie. Greg doesn't find the movie all that scary... until the end, when the "muddy hand" crawls straight to the screen, meaning the "hand" is coming for the viewer next.

Live Action TV

  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody has the twins take their dates not to see the kiddie film "Doggie Came Home", but the horror film "Zombie Mom". Zack ends up having nightmares and sleepwalking in the hotel, stacking the lobby furniture against the door to stop the zombies.
  • A variation happens in an episode of Lizzie McGuire where Matt gets scared watching a horror film, though it happens with his parents present. He ends up trying to Feng Sheui the house to get rid of evil spirits.
  • Not a horror film, but in Raising Dad, Sarah takes Emily with her and her friends to see an R-rated movie called "Love To Love". Emily ends up trying to practice making out with a boy from school. At the end of the episode, Sarah reveals that she's been lying to her dad about what movies she sees for years.
  • One episode of Hope & Faith has the family try to convince Hope to quit her chef job by showing themselves pretending to be completely lost without her. Justin's part?

 Justin: I was up all night watching The Exorcist. I will never go to church or sleep again.

Hope: Charlie, how could you let him watch that? He still has nightmares from Elmo In Grouch Land.

  • On Full House, Stephanie wouldn't eat Jell-O for a month after watching The Blob, but she demands to be allowed to watch The Wolf Man with D.J. and Kimmy. When Jesse caves in, she winds up scared by that too, and he winds up dragooned by Joey and Danny into helping her get over her alarm by playing a slacker teen wolfman in an improvised skit.


  • Possibly referenced in the opening to the Moxy Fruvous song "Splatter Splatter":

 Kids in their PJ's, big bowl of Nachos

Another perfect day in Rhododendron Park

The sun is shining, now dad's reclining

Roll down the shades to watch a movie in the dark


Newspaper Comics

  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin, allowed to stay up one night without a babysitter, decides to rent a VCR [1] and a bunch of scary movies. The aftermath:

 Calvin's Dad: Well, the house is still standing. Calvin must have gone to bed.

Calvin's Mom: His light is still on. Calvin? Are you awake? (opens bedroom door, gets hit by Bucket Booby Trap) EEP! Did you watch a scary movie?!?

Calvin: No. Don't come in. The rug is rigged too.


Standup Comedy

  • Bill Cosby
    • His famous "Chicken Heart" routine is this with a horror radio show (Arch Oboler's Lights Out). It culminates in him smearing Jell-O on the floor to trap the giant heart and setting the couch on fire.
    • Another routine involves him and a friend going to the movies and trying to watch Frankenstein, and never opening their eyes to see the monster. This leads to them staying at the theater for hours, through multiple showings, trying to build up the courage to look at the monster. Afterwards, he and his friend walk home, late at night, scared that the monster's going to jump out and get them. This leads to them running into a wino, mistaking him for the monster, and running up his front and down his back, and all the way home.

Western Animation

  • In The Simpsons:
    • Homer takes Bart and Lisa to see a horror film about a possessed doll. All three end up terrified that there's a monster in their attic, which leads into the episode's real plot about Artie Ziff living in their attic.
    • "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken" has the neighborhood kids sneak out after curfew to a drive-in to watch The Bloodening (a parody of Village of the Damned).
  • Doug has had this happen on one occasion or another.
    • In "Doug on His Own", Doug and Porkchop were watching a horror film about a cursed house that, along with every other inanimate object in it, comes to life and kills and eats everybody. Everyone agrees that watching a horror film while being left home alone for the first time while a thunderstorm is approaching is never a good idea. After the house eats a bandit trying to rob it, Doug and Porkchop zap themselves into the TV with the remote control to warn the main character he'll be eaten by the house, too, but shortly after the warning, it was already too late, until Porkchop zaps him and Doug out with the remote control. When the storm causes the power to go out and Doug and Porkchop go into the basement to reset the circuit breakers, their decision to watch that movie comes back to haunt them big-time!
    • In "Doug's Nightmare on Jumbo Street", Doug kept getting nightmares for two nights in a row after watching the movie "The Abnormal". Those particular nights, it was on the days after he saw the movie, he had only seen the monster's shadow and he couldn't keep his eyes open long enough so he could actually see it in person. The third time, however, he actually does see it, and not only does he find it's not scary, but the zipper in the back is showing.
  • Pepper Ann
    • Pepper Ann gets invited to a slumber party where they will be watching the R-rated film "Gutter Clowns", which Lydia warns Pepper Ann against seeing. At first, Pepper Ann tries to stop the girls at the party from watching the film, but ends up watching it anyway, and is terrified for the next few days.
    • Subverted with her friend Nicky watching the movie right next to her, and she's amused by the So Bad It's Good Cliché Storm.
  • The Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Duck in the Dark," where Plucky watches a marathon of "Eddie Cougar" horror movies, including one that has him attacking a screaming Bambi. It ends up giving Plucky horrible nightmares.

 Plucky: Only a total idiot would be afraid of these movies!

Buster: I rest my case.

  • The Veggie Tales episode "Where's God When I'm S-scared" starts with Junior Asparagus watching "Frankencelery," and becoming frightened by everything in the house after that.
  • Subverted on Arthur. Muffie's parents try to ban the "Scare Your Pants Off Club" books (an Expy of Goosebumps) after she has nightmares from reading one. It turns out that she reads them all the time and that the nightmares were caused by her sneaking ice cream.
  • In an episode of The Buzz on Maggie, Maggie and Rayna sneak into a scary R-rated movie. Rayna ends up so traumatized she'd rather watch the baby movie that's playing on another screen. Maggie plays it cool at first, but eventually starts hallucinating the movie's monster everywhere until she confesses to her parents. They decide her trauma from watching the movie was punishment enough.
  • Johnny Test
    • One episode has Johnny and Dukey, after several attempts, getting an M-rated game. They get nightmares after they play it.
    • Another episode had Johnny stay up late watching a horror movie marathon despite his dad telling him not to. To ensure that he wakes up on time and keep his illicit film-viewing a secret, he steals his sisters' alarm clock, which just happens to be programmed to record the sleeper's dreams and make them real.
  • Upon unexpectedly having to work late, The Iron Giant's Annie Hughes forbids her son Hogarth from gorging on snacks, staying up too late, or watching scary movies. So, naturally, he plunks down in front of the TV with a box of Twinkies to catch the midnight Creature Feature as soon as she's gone. And it's his paranoia over being hearing noises after being creeped out by the movie that leads him to leave the house with his flashlight, helmet, and BB gun, and discover the Giant for the first time.
  • One episode of the Dexters Laboratory reboot has both Dexter and his dad sneak up after bed time to watch a late night b-movie horror flick. This results in the two of them getting increasingly freaked out when searching the dark house after the movie is over, and the next morning has both of them frozen in a catatonic state in the hallway.
  • An episode of Kid vs. Kat has Coop and Dennis both staying up to watch a Creature Feature style horror show, which Kat takes as an opportunity to scare the hell out of them.
  • Camp Lazlo: In "Movie Night", according to the Bean Scout regulations, Edward is too young to watch Mountain Zombies of Scab Lagoon (rated BB, Big Boys), and has to watch Mr. Cotton Goes to Bubbleland instead. He later locks himself in the projection room and watches Mountain Zombies of Scab Lagoon alone and scares himself silly.

Real Life

  • Some children will be terrified out of their wits by some movie scenes that turn out to be Nightmare Fuel but are in films that aren't even meant to be scary.
  • There are many people for whom this was the way they were introduced to horror movies.
  • Just about any kids who are too young to understand will probably be scared by a lot of these movies while older children will be tuned in.