Top 10 Creepy Children’s TV Shows

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Television is a ubiquitous part of any child’s young life and helps them to see another window to the world they wouldn’t see otherwise. All of us have those shows from our past that we loved unconditionally as kids and still carry with us into adulthood nostalgia. On the flipside, we also all have those shows that made us feel funny, disturbed, and downright scared and you’d all be pleased to know that tradition of adults frightening children via the use of puppets and psychedelic imagery took place all over the world and is still going strong today. Strap in and I’ll take you on a ride through some of the creepiest and most bizarre television shows ever created for children, a ride you may never recover from.

10. BooBah

The best way to describe this show, believe it or not, is that it consists entirely of multi-colored creatures with anime eyes, dancing and floating around in a hyperbaric nightmare dimension full of psychedelic rainbows and sparkles. Any child who doesn’t nervously back away from the television mouthing “…what the hell…” will no doubt suffer an epileptic seizure soon enough. The show does an admirable job of combining the drug fuelled cacophony of the 70s with inherently scary doll heads and warped alien bodies. There’s no story, no sets, no writing, and no voices save for an annoying child who screams “Boobah!” every few minutes and yet, it’s difficult to imagine anything that would cause children watching to question the purpose of their little worlds more. There is nothing creepier and more unsettling than the wanton destruction of one’s own sanity, let alone a child’s.

9. Peppermint Park

Peppermint Park was pretty much the epitome of the art of creepy puppets. Lifeless rolling eyes, rigid plastic bodies with cloth human hands, and voices that sound like they were recorded in an insane asylum all culminate in a perfect storm of childhood trauma. The show featured a couple different sets of puppets, one of which was a perverse rip-off of Bert and Ernie if Bert and Ernie suddenly devolved into autistic ape-men, while the other set were a couple of semi-lobotomized dragons (dinosaurs?) with voices even more odd than the “human” puppets, which is saying something. The show was bargain basement stuff and it looked it, complete with filthy curtains that flank a dingy cellar window, creepy stock footage of random children playing in a playground, and completely pointless Dixieland performances. All the show was lacking was an unpainted van lurking around.

8. Jay Jay The Jet Plane

Something about putting oddly shaped, realistic faces on airplanes and helicopters is very unsettling, especially considering that, in the show, these creatures are completely sentient with minds of their own. It begs the question, in this universe where airplanes are alive, do people ride in them? Are they enslaved to serve man or just another species of animal? How are new planes “born”? Anyway, where Thomas the Tank Engine succeeds in placing a face on an otherwise inanimate object without making kids nervous, Jay Jay does not. The faces dominate the planes they are stuck onto, have bulbously inflated features and are strangely rigid. In fact, the only parts that move are the eyes (barely) and the eyelids. Yeah, eyelids on an airplane. There’s a bunch of other weird imagery that pops up every now and then like naked cartoon monkeys and virtually featureless, rubbery human characters but it’s the airplanes themselves that really take the horror of the uncanny valley and bludgeon our children with it.

7. Rupert The Bear

Rupert the Bear

Starting the tradition of disturbing TV shows designed to freak out many a British child, The Adventures of Rupert Bear was born in the decade few want to remember; the 70s. Those who have good memories of this show probably only remember the animated version that came later which was relatively harmless and most likely aren’t aware of the marionette version that came before. Marionettes are creepy enough by themselves, but when they come in strange shapes vaguely resembling anthropomorphic animals wearing clothing operated by amateurs who clearly forgot how a body is supposed to move, the creepiness factor skyrockets.

Besides Rupert, there were a myriad of odd looking characters in the show including a deformed sheep, a floating fireball with legs, and most notorious of all, Raggety, who looked like a gnarled and haunted tree branch crossed with a Snork. Research has shown that many a British nightmare in the early 70s was centered on Raggety. Reportedly all the episodes were lost in a fire, and I like to think it was God’s way of expunging the Earth from the unholiness that was Rupert.

6. Pipkins

Pipkins was another British TV show in the 70s that featured, you guessed it, puppets. Puppets aren’t inherently scary and can be used to great effect on shows like Sesame Street and Lamb Chop’s Play-A-Long when operated correctly and made with love. You can’t just find a ratty piece of carpet, shove your hand into its ass and call it good children’s fare. Well, Pipkins did just that which led to a rich cast of misfit puppets with regional accents that no one wanted to love. Most famous of the bunch was the character of Hartley Hare. He is one of the skankiest, dirtiest, and spazziest puppets to ever appear on kids TV. Not only did he look like a deceased pet that was dug up and brought back to life after being dead for three weeks, but his repertoire consists mostly of snide comments and innuendos. You know, for kids!

5. Dirtgirlworld

Dirtgirlworld is a relatively new show that is currently being shown in the UK, US, and Canada and is about a girl who loves to go outside and get dirty. Not a bad idea, but there’s something wrong with this girl though as she can’t decide whether she is a human or a badly animated cartoon. She has a huge cartoon head and barely perceptible nose, but real human eyes and a real human mouth which all top a disproportionately tiny and childlike body. Even worse, the eyes seem to move independently of each other and with her mouth flying all over her face, dirtgirl constantly makes some very disturbing facial expressions. It’s as if Jessica Rabbit hooked up with Eddie Valiant instead of Roger Rabbit and this girl was their half human, half cartoon love child. Alongside her is a male equivalent who is just as messed up, a yellow worm thing with Super Dave Osborne’s face, and a human/cricket hybrid abomination that wears a short bus helmet as if to telegraph the reason to everyone why insects and humans shouldn’t mate. What’s wrong with using just humans or just cartoons? Stop trying to combine them! It’s weird!

4. Terrahawks

This show itself isn’t too bad despite prominently featuring marionettes, otherwise known as “the devil’s toy” which are usually creepy enough in their own right. What puts Terrahawks on this list though is the character of Zelda, who is probably the scariest looking villain to ever appear in a kid’s show, and her equally frightening henchmen. Zelda is scary on a real level as she looks like a mentally unstable grandmother wearing a shrivelled and rotten apple skin on her face. She is the inspiration of old crones everywhere who aspire to achieve her Freddy Krueger claw, scraggly dead hair, and ghostly nightgown. As for her henchmen, one of them looks vaguely like Frankenstein, but with evil eyes and a voice that sounds like he’s gurgling the blood of innocent children with every syllable. The other is a mute that looks like Zelda but with clown makeup, a very fake looking yellow wig, and a stoma. Yea, a stoma; one of those throat holes smokers get after a losing battle with cancer. Charming.

3. Jigsaw

Jigsaw was a British show (good lord, what is it with the British and giving nightmares to children?) in the early 80s that featured a few standard human presenters who come together to solve riddles and puzzles along with the children watching. Pretty normal stuff really, however one specific character from this show, Mr. Noseybonk, has single-handedly placed this program in the hallowed echelon of children’s nightmares that stick with them to adulthood. Any description of this character wouldn’t be half as unsettling as seeing a picture of him, or even worse, watching him grow more demonic noseybonks in his greenhouse. I like to think this show is where the Jigsaw killer from the Saw films got his inspiration from. Instead of using the warped puppet that rides the tricycle though, Mr. Noseybonk would have made a much scarier and foreboding calling card for Jigsaw. In fact, I don’t think there’s anything more terrifying to be alone with in a dark room than that white mask with its big white nose, soul-less eyes and hellish grin. Some messed up person actually thought this was something kids would love to see and be charmed by.

2. EI EI Yoga

Creepiness comes in many different flavors and we’ve covered many of them already; puppets, marionettes, dingy sets, bizarre CGI, etc. However, we’ve neglected one of the major pillars of childhood terror: pedophilia. That is, until we visit that little corner of Hell known as EI EI Yoga. Only existing on VHS tapes, this program was about Yogi Oki Doki and his Rastafarian rooster pal (no, really) teaching children how to do yoga because everyone knows how much rastamen love to do Yoga. It’s one of the most disturbing things a normal human being can see and yet, like any train wreck featuring a big chinned hippy and Jamaican rooster, you can’t take your eyes off it. Yogi Oki Doki prefers a hands-on approach to teaching so throughout the “lesson”, he often hugs and touches all the children as they do various Yoga poses in skin-tight leotards because, why not put them in skin-tight leotards, right? At one point, he even begins moaning and uncontrollably uttering “Mmm mm mm” sounds as he inspects his harem of Yoga youth as if he were admiring a juicy hamburger. You know the old saying, “whenever you see a grown man who is really excited to teach Yoga to children, call the police”? What, that’s not a saying? Well, it damn well should be!

1. Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson

Neither Christian nor scientific, the Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson is an abomination placed on this Earth that may never again be repeated. Completely orchestrated by a borderline schizophrenic named David Hart, the public access show relies on puppets, uncomfortable human accomplices, and horrifically bad religious songs to bring its message to children. The puppets are, as you’d imagine, the freakiest looking figures ever put to screen and could hang with Chucky in terms of scare factor. They literally fall apart as the program goes on, and since Hart controls each one individually, characters which were previously animated suddenly fall lifeless when he switches to a different puppet as if their very soul itself was torn away. Flanking the puppets are human beings in alien masks, someone’s grandfather wearing face paint and Elton John’s glasses who scowls at the camera, and myriad other nightmare fuel. Words just cannot do it justice.

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Matthew Hayden currently writes for http://www.thebestcolleges.org


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32 Comments

  1. TerraHawks! … Used to scare the hell out of me, i was about 4-5 when that was on tv and used to hide behind the sofa when them wrinkle faced things came on screen

    • May be you were too young for that kind of show. I was around 10 what this show was in my country, and I was running from school every day not to miss an episode. I loved them a lot.

  2. David hart is now on “Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job” on adultswim. He sings songs about being in love with an insect woman and about the benefits of email. And yes he still has his puppets

  3. tassie devil on

    I had all the Terrahawk action figures and a few ships when I was a kid. New, in box, Terrahawk action figures now go for around $350 each!

    • In my opinion, teletubbies kinda look like monkeys and don’t really scare me, but I guess it could be creepy, I think the baby sun is…weird.

  4. Peter Fitzhugh-Goode on

    I have no doubt as to the mental and physical benefits of yoga, but EI EI Yoga was just beyond the pale- WOW!!! I wanted to quit watching it but like any good train wreck I. just. could. not. look. away. This has got to be the creepiest thing I think I’ve ever seen… My only question- WHERE WERE THE PARENTS?!?!

  5. sorry but think dirtgirlworld is great, as does my one year old son. actually teaches kids good lessons about gardening. do some research and you might find a show called “Mulligrubs”, god that show was awful. Anything to do with religious programming is plain scary, for kids or adults.

  6. Boobah is a really fun show! and it does have stories there’s characters like Brother and Sister, Mr. Man, and grandma who do little vignette that are great.

  7. OH WOW!! and i thought Teleltubbies was creepy.. but THE YOGA GUY???? who the heck put hm on any type of show// esp a KIDS SHOW! and yea WHERE WERE THE PARENTS??? i am totally creeped out!!

  8. Ok, that clip of El El Yoga is possibly the creepiest thing I have ever seen. It was creepy from the first frame, and it just got worse. Some guy putting his grubby hands all over a bunch of kids in leotards… oh hey, lets make a kids show of it!!

  9. Sid and Marty Crofts HR Puff N Stuff is the creepiest kids show ever! In fact I am getting the willies right now just thinking about it, bwaaa..a…a.a.a!

  10. Hey no Moomin here? The Groke from Moomin scared the hell out of me as kid!!1 And she still gives me the creeps. ugh.

  11. There was a show at aired on KABC TV back in the mid 1970’s called Domingo! (Sunday) About the adventures of Chavo (a boy) and Chivo (his goat sidekick) where the freakiest part about this show was a freaky looking character that looked like a severed head with floating eyes rolling around “floating” all over the place like a beach ball! That freaked me out everytime that character came on!

  12. Hate to say this but the 1970’s version of Rupert Bear that was reported lost by a fire has now resurface on YouTube nd the videos of the 1970’s series is now owned by Carlton International. And you’re right that one character Raggety is one so freaking scary that even Freddy Kruger would be afraid of !! eeek!!!

  13. Arandompersonn on

    What? I LOVED Jay Jay the Jet Plane when I was a kid! One of my favorite shows from when I was pretty young. I never thought it was creepy, certainly nowhere near as creepy as teletubbies!

  14. That was some scary stuff, as a Christian Scientist I don’t know if i should be laughing or crying.  I just heard some of my most beloved church hyms massacred and sung by a scary looking pedo and his puppets, the result being my ears are now bleeding and i may need to go pray to recover …huddle in a corner saying oh dear God, oh dear God repetitively   lol

  15. Anyone know a children’s series from the 70’s that was shown on the ABC in Australia? I think it was British, and possibly even in black and white. It had giant pumpkin things rolling around a village and eating people (NOT attack of the killer tomatoes!). There was something to do with a Granny and her sewing machine…. This may have been a real-life traumatic event in my life that I suppressed.
    It was like a 10 part series, so it didn’t run for long. But I was terrified and still think about it now! Thanks.

    • I would give anything to find out what this show was called! I remembered being utterly terrified! I remembered it as a big magical evil pumpkin that if it touched you then you would also become an evil pumpkin, but I was so young I probably mis-remembered the details but I have tried to find out what it was for years. Please leave an answer here for me if you ever find out what it was. Cheers!

    • Trudie Watson on

      Yes, I’ve just spent about 2 hours tonight looking for it myself! My sentiments exactly, absolutely terrified me. I had a feeling the word “Garden” was in the name. I can’t remember if it was Australian but if it wasn’t most of our TV came from England and then America back then. Your comment is the only reference I’ve found for this show. Was it a brother and sister and they used to access the garden through a clock/cupboard??? Can’t remember but I’m glad I’m not the only one who was traumatized by it.

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