Top 10 monsters for scaring kids with

Back in the day it was no-holds-barred for kids TV, and movie-makers delighted in traumatising the little 'uns...

Jennifer Connolly besieged by the fireys in Labyrinth (1986)

Kids nowadays don’t know how lucky they are with their ‘safe’ cartoons and shows. Now if you were a kid in the 1970s or 1980s there were more than enough scary monsters and super-creeps to fill a child’s imagination with all manner of nasty nightmares. Here is our top 10.

The Fireys – Labyrinth (1986)Of all the creatures and Muppets Sarah has to encounter on the way to the Goblin city the Fireys are the weirdest and most sinister. A cross between foxes and lions, the Fireys at first seem friendly as they break out into a light-hearted song and dance number. However, when you realise that these weird creatures can remove their own body parts, things take a terrifying turn for the worst, as disembodied heads, multi-limbed monsters and even a Firey with removed eyeballs run and chase Sarah down through a very dark and scary wood. Not one for those who dislike puppets…Noseybonk – Jigsaw (UK TV)A children’s TV show from the 1980s, Jigsaw was Blue Peter but with logic puzzles and quizzes. Starring Janet Ellis (mum of Sophie Ellis Bexter) and Sylvester McCoy, Jigsaw was designed to teach kids maths and to try and tease their brain a little with a mix of comedy and questions. The show was also full of questions with one of the characters being called Noseybonk, a weird mime artist’s creation with a huge nose and sinister grin that was a mix of a Clockwork Orange Droog and Cyrano de Bergerac; a nightmare creation so terrifying that it would put the willies up the likes of other nightmare kid’s creations such as Pennywise the Clown or Freddy Krueger. This sinister and silent monstrosity haunts the subconscious of every child ever to have watched Jigsaw back in the day.The Groke – MoominsA represented of the ‘depression’ of long deep winters in Scandinavian countries, the Groke freezes and kills everything it touches. In the Moomins books, the Groke is a nightmare creature told in story form to Moomin-troll, Little My and Sniff as a way of getting them to stay in at nights or when it gets cold. As with a lot of the Moomins stories (and Northern fairy tales for that matter), the Groke is a real threat that lurks in forests. Even scarier is the creature’s representation in the 1980s stop motion version adaptation of the books…Jabberwocky – Alice through the Looking GlassA tall tale told to Alice by Humpty Dumpty, this medieval-like nonsense poem involves knights, hideous creatures and vivid descriptive explanations of what would happen you if you ever got caught and eaten by a Jabberwocky. Bought to life in the 1970s by Terry Gilliam from the illustrations for the original Carroll poem by John Tenniel, the monster looks like a cross between a bulging-eyed gangly dragon and a deep sea creature. Even with a Vorpal blade at hand, this was still a terrifying creature out of a nightmare…Humpty Dumpty – Kinder EggsIf you thought that Jabberwocky was scar,y take a look at this Kinder Egg Advert from the 1980s, which is an even more terrifying take on Lewis Carroll’s egg-based character…The Skeksis – Dark Crystal (1982)Dark Crystal’s creepy bad guys, these vulture-like creatures are another Jim Henson creation that mixed parts of birds and reptiles together to create one of the creepiest movie monsters of all time. Supposedly based on the seven deadly sins, the Skeksis’ creepy appearance was even more emphasised when the snivelling Chamberlain is stripped down and exiled, and we find that under all the opulent they are just skeletal bits of bones covered in weedy and saggy skinned flesh. Creepy and deadly, these are more than just monsters from a child’s under-the-bed nightmares, as kids everywhere could only imagine what scary and nasty things these sharply intelligent nastiest could do to you.Fenella the Witch – Charlton and the Wheelies (UK TV)A Cosgrove/Hall production, this late 1970s stop motion show was based around the trippy premise of a large orange dragon who befriended a set of wheel-based creatures and helped protect them from a vivid green witch who lived in a kettle and who controlled a army of teleporting mushrooms. Weren’t the 1970s great! Fenella was full of insane kinetic energy and was a mix between an ADD kid and a Punch and Judy puppet…The Judder Man – UK Metz Schnapps AdvertA mix of sinister wooden puppet-show toys and northern-European folk-lore, the Judder man is the darkest side of cold and creepy ‘nightmare’ fairy stories. Not only is the design of the character just plain sinister, but the jerky and inhuman movements and use of stop-motion add immensely to the creepily sinister atmosphere of this hugely successful advertising campaign…The Thin Man – The Boy from Space/Look and ReadNot to be confused with the more famous ‘Thin/Tall Man’ from the Phantasm films, this more sinister creature was a terrifying alien from the 1971 series The Boy From Space, a serialised drama shown in the children’s program Look and Read, and written by Robin of Sherwood’s Richard Carpenter. Continually hunting the ‘boy from space’ (Peep-Peep), this older scarier version of the metallic-skinned alien was terminator-like in his tenacity of prey, destroying and vaporizing anything in his path to get to his goal. An unstoppable alien menace with a stoic appearance this children’s TV nightmare has never been repeated which is good news as it would seem for the time being anyway that the sinister Thin Man and his scary appearances are firmly under lock and key in a BBC vault and will not be terrifying the general public any time soon.Grim Reaper – Dark and Lonely Water Public information warningIn the 1970s and 1980s there ran a series of very sinister public information warnings to stop children and adults alike doing, well, quite frankly stupid things (such as picking up a hot sparkler or retrieving a Frisbee off a pylon). However even if some of the warning content seems basic by today’s standards, there is one that even now remains terrifying. Called ‘Dark and Lonely Water’, this showed what would happen if you played near or around water (i.e. drowning). The piece recalls the most horrific of Hammer films and encompasses every child’s nightmare this sinister Grim Reaper figure lurked around rivers, lakes and bodies of water waiting for another victim. Simply terrifying.