Terrifying Children’s Movies: The Mouse And His Child

The Secret of NIMH is dark, no doubt, but its fear-inducing scenes only scratch the surface of what bottomless anguish can be opened up with the right animated film. If “The Secret of NIMH” is, say, “The Exorcist,” then “The Mouse and His Child”(1977) is “Salò.” Equally obscure, equally nightmarish. It constructs a world unlike anything a sane, happy child could fathom. And it renders it in such brutally disturbing detail that they’ll never forget it, no matter how many My Little Pony parties their mom might throw, complete with actual
pony in the yard.

Trust me, I know of what I speak. “The Mouse and His Child” leaves a deep crater in the
soul of whoever is cursed enough to view it.

I still remember my first time seeing it, when hen I was a wee one wandering my beloved library’s A/V section and saw it inexplicably placed in the kid’s section: “Look, Mommy, a cartoon!” Somewhere, a witch howled with triumphant delight.

The prophecy had been fulfilled. Occasionally over the years that followed, I would mention
to my brother, “do you remember that crazy movie about the two toy mice?” And he
would say “oh yeah…” and then we would share a long silence freighted with deep love
for each other but twinned with the knowledge that our love is worthless in a universe
like this. It’s the type of moment normally reserved for two men who piloted a helicopter
together in Vietnam. “The NIMH Exorcist” can’t touch it. This is some next level shit.


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    • Anonachocolatemousse

      Does anyone remember the Francis book series? Apparently the guy that wrote those wrote the novel this movie is based on. Weeeeeird. Also this was not meant for 6 year olds, but I’m sure everyone has already deduced that fact.

    • Em

      I was a child when “Spirited Away” came out and it was so horrifying I never ever want to see it again haha. I enjoy these articles, keep it up! :)

      • Cassie

        Spirited Away scared me as well… I still own it though, but I tried to get my 3 year old to watch it with me and she wanted nothing to do with it.

      • http://twitter.com/CharlotteNB Charlotte Shane

        I love Spirited Away! I saw it in my early 20s and that scene where the parents turn into pigs still disturbed me. It’s so creepy in the beginning.

    • J

      Oh My God You just ruined my life with this story :O

      • http://twitter.com/CharlotteNB Charlotte Shane

        Best response to anything I’ve ever written. Thank you. My mission has been accomplished.

    • halfpint513
    • elwhy

      OMG. I though I was the only one who remembers this movie! I saw this when it came out and still remember. I cried when the rat smashed them, all they wanted is to be separate as father and son. I’m crying right now writing this comment. Thanks for bringing this up!

      • http://twitter.com/CharlotteNB Charlotte Shane

        We are like family. Anyone who saw this movie as a child has a special bond with everyone else who suffered through the same.

    • ktree

      OH MY FUCKING GOD I started reading this, thinking “that’s a creepy kids movie I haven’t seen,” and then the jack-in-the-box sounded familiar and then the picture of the rat and the cat and holy fuck, it’s all coming back.

    • http://www.facebook.com/hiyazeke Zachary McCallum

      I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to figure out what the horrifically scarring animated film from my childhood was called. All I could remember for certain was that underwater can with “the last visible dog” that held some kind of key to existential completeness. I’m not sure whether to thank you for finding it for mr or cower under my blankets.

      • http://twitter.com/CharlotteNB Charlotte Shane

        Thank God for google—I myself was only able to track it down about a month or two ago after many years of tortured memories.

    • Rachel

      I never saw the movie, but I DID read the book it was based on and it is exactly as awful and possibly worse. Motherfuckers getting shot in the throat with arrows and shit. It also became (and still is, in a way) one of my favorite books ever, so I am probably a psycho.

      • http://twitter.com/CharlotteNB Charlotte Shane

        I bought the book after re-watching the movie! Haven’t read it yet, but there is something wrong with us, no doubt.

    • Beta Recorder

      This is one of my all time favorite films since I was a child. Its actually a co-production between DePatie-Freling and the Japanese company Sanrio (Hello Kitty). Sanrio has even released the film on DVD in Japan fully remastered, although no English audio. Im still looking for a good quality copy of the English language vhs so I can make a composite of the remastered video with English audio and put it online. While it may seem disturbing at times, once you understand the meaning its quite a beautiful film!