Kids in Danger: Top 10 Craziest ’80s Kids Movies

Published 5 years ago by , Updated May 20th, 2014 at 9:00 am,

labyrinth movie Kids in Danger: Top 10 Craziest 80s Kids Movies

Labyrinth (1986)

When I first started compiling this list, I knew that Jim Henson’s bizarre fantasy film Labyrinth had to be on it. Just consider the plot: A 15-year-old girl wishes her baby brother away to Jareth, the King of Goblins. If she doesn’t make it through his labyrinth in 13 hours, her brother will be turned into a goblin. The stakes don’t get much higher than that. Throw in the fact that David Bowie’s genitalia is exposed by his skin-tight costume throughout most of the film, and it’s hard to argue that Labyrinth doesn’t belong on this list.

You may wonder why a film like Labyrinth makes the cut while the arguably more menacing film The Dark Crystal doesn’t, but there’s a simple explanation: As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, this list is focused on movie plots where real kids are in danger. To paraphrase Star Wars, The Dark Crystal takes place “a long time ago in a [fantasy world] far, far away,” so it doesn’t count. Same applies to The NeverEnding Story.

flight of the navigator1 Kids in Danger: Top 10 Craziest 80s Kids Movies

Flight of the Navigator (1986)

Another sci-fi film, Flight of the Navigator cheerfully toys with the idea of a 12-year-old child being abducted by an alien spacecraft and then returned to Earth eight years later. The catch: he’s exactly the same age and doesn’t remember any of it. Of course, everything gets sorted out and the kid (David) learns some valuable life lessons on the way, but if you take a step back and really look at this movie, it’s pretty messed up.

This kid disappears for eight years. God knows what those aliens did to him while he was gone. Even worse, when he gets back, he’s poked and prodded by our scientists to find out why he hasn’t aged. Also, can you imagine what his family had to go through? They thought their son was dead. They went through the five stages of grief and everything. Then out of the blue, their kid comes back and he looks exactly the same! Now that’s truly crazy.

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  1. “Sloth is a monstrous man-child who has spent the majority of his life chained up in a basement.”

    Thanks Rob, that really made me laugh.

    • That comment about Sloth could ALMOST describe my sister-in-law, except for one detail: Sloth has better manners and better social skills.

      Seriously…I just found out why Sis-In-Law has basically hated me from Day One of our meeting 17 years ago [Before reading this, please be securely seated and have your mouth empty of all food/drink, as I don't want you to damage your computer]…Ready?

      It seems that I committed The Most Unpardonable Sins One Can Make:

      1. I was correct in spotting/recognizing Brent Spiner in a non-Star Trek role on Night Court; S-I-L, the self-appointed Trek Expert, said it wasn’t him.

      2. Three months into dating my future wife, I grievously offended future S-I-L by CHANGING THE TV CHANNEL!

      These are the reasons S-I-L hates me…for those who think S-I-L needs serious therapy, Jesus Christ will be starring in the next Bill & Ted movie (standing in for Keanu Reeves) before S-I-L ever goes to therapy.

      • That is one of the most awesome comments I’ve ever read in my entire comment-reading career.

        The last half was absolute comedy gold. Pitiful childish behaviour, hilariously retold. Laughed even more the second time I read it. Bonus lulz for the numbered bullet format.

        And get a load of your introduction. Pure win. On moment you’re talking about a character in one of the movies above, then with an amusingly flimsy segue you grab us by the throat and launch into this random p!ss funny rant about your sister in law.

        Bravo! Walk away from it! Now it belongs to the ages.

  2. What about The 3 Ninjas? Or their horrific sequels? :-)

    By your rules, I wouldn’t put The Labryinth on the list, since it was in a fantasy world. If it does belong there, then so should The Neverending Story.

    • I would say Kicka**. It is not an eighties movie,b ut confused me as it seemed aimed at kids, yet it was too violent. Still confused about what age group they were aiming at.
      (I did not spell the whole movie name as there is no profanity written above this comment box).
      I loved the Sister in law post. I have a brother in law who hates me. Before I married my husband brother in law, his wife, and two sons borrowed money up in the thousands from my single husband. I didn’t know all this until my husband told me in a way to say, “I am a good man, I help my family when they need it.” I took it as my husband has a good heart.

  3. what about……children of the corn, people under the stairs, lost boys ?

    • I dont think Children of the Corn is a kids movie.

  4. You forgot Coak & Dagger!! Oh and D.A.R.Y.L.

    • Cloak*

  5. never ending stories

  6. Explorers (1985)

  7. It is amazing how many had Fred Savage

  8. I would’ve put The Dark Crystal up in here…

  9. Yes lovin this list! They don’t make them like they used to! Infact taking my son today to see 30th anniversary exclusive one day one showing event of ET at the movies tonight. I’m 30 yrs old this will be both our first time to see ET on the silver screen!

  10. How is Time Bandits a drama?-its a pure family film, thats like picking on The Goonies for swearing and some slightly scary scenes! Anyhow this list is redundant without the mighty Time Bandits.

  11. The Peanut Butter Solution is hands down more bizarre and scary than anything listed above.

    • I am watching Peanut Butter Solution on YouTube right now. Strangest movie ever but I thank the YouTube gods for putting the whole movie on there for the world to see (and then to scratch their heads in confusion).

  12. Looking for the name of the movie with the two squirrels or chipmunks named no-no and clicko I think..they fly out of a building..old 1980 kids movie

  13. Not sure how you can make a list like this and NOT include the best film of that era that was made for this category: The Lost Boys

    • Absolutely agree

  14. What about Stand by me? or Liscence to drive? or The gate? or Tennage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Ghostbusters 1 & 2….So many to mention..and don’t forget it was the MTV era

  15. Grabbing the brass ring by producing film fantasies for adolescent boys does little for humanity, and is anything but innocent.

    Investment in vulgarity and irresponsibilty is the equivalent of the Pied Piper leadin children off the cliff with entertainment.
    Surely, greater callings can be found.

  16. The Gate
    The Stuff
    Invaders from Mars
    Critters
    Poltergeist
    Ghoulies
    Troll
    Something Wicked This Way Comes
    Bloody Birthday
    The Return of Swamp Thing
    Garbage Pail Kids The Movie
    That Adventures of Mark Twain
    The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
    Rainbow Bright and the Star Stealer
    Santa Claus
    Legend
    Return of the Ewok
    Red Dawn
    Going Bananas
    Popeye
    Moonwalker
    Krull
    Howard the Duck
    Hope and Glory
    Harry and the Hendersons
    Fortress
    Firestarter
    Explorers
    D.A.R.Y.L.
    Secret of NIMH

    • (typo: The Adventures of Mark Twain)
      Maximum Overdrive
      Shogun Assassin
      Child’s Play
      Children of the Corn
      Colors
      Christine
      Night of the Comet
      Earnest Goes to Camp
      Teenwolf 1 & 2
      Honey I Shrunk the Kids
      My Science Project
      Back to the Future trilogy
      Neverending Story
      The Golden Child
      Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome
      Commando
      Mr Mom
      Once Bitten
      Phenomenon
      Once Upon a Time in America
      Plain Clothes
      Raising Arizona
      BMX Bandits
      Six Pack
      Overboard
      Solarbabies
      The Lost Boys
      SpaceCamp
      The Heavenly Kid
      The Last Dragon
      The Last Emperor
      The Legend of Billie Jean
      The Worst Witch
      The Wraith
      Time Bandits
      The Tank
      WarGames
      Willow
      The Chocolate War
      Wolfen
      Young Guns
      The Blob
      License to Drive

      honorable mention – Soul Man

      • Ps White Water Summer

  17. Drop dead fred!!