->''"It's not too scary, I think it's just scary enough."''
-->-- '''Creator/RogerEbert''' on ''Film/HarryPotter'''s suitability for kids

%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.

A good scare in a controlled environment can be a lot of fun. {{Horror}} movies and roller coasters make their money based on this truth. Well, kids like to be scared as well, and books and movies are produced to do just that.

Defanged Horror is a genre of horror created with kids in mind. However, it has to tread a fine line: being genuinely frightening to children [[MoralGuardians without causing their parents any undue concern]], so the standard scares of adult horror are not an option here.

Instead Defanged Horror will rely on turning the children's imaginations against them. The monster will be [[TakeOurWordForIt vaguely described]]. The consequences of venturing into a forbidden area will only be hinted at. Victims of the threat will simply disappear rather than having a KidHero stumble across their mutilated corpses.

[[TropesAreTools This is by no means a put-down of the genre]]. Hardcore stuff like ''Film/{{Se7en}}'' or ''Franchise/SilentHill'' is not really suitable for giving ten-year-olds a good Halloween scare. This is simply the media version of the campfire or sleepover ghost story. If it's done ''badly'', though, the movie often comes across as simply cheesy.

On occasion, Defanged Horrors [[GoneHorriblyRight can be more scary than the explicit kind]]. This happens when what the average imagination can come up with is scarier than what the average SlasherMovie will come up with. (Of course, sometimes, you can scare kids--or anyone, for that matter--[[AccidentalNightmareFuel without even trying]].)

Strangely, it is often the adults that they are toning it down for, not the kids. As the above paragraph mentions, kids will probably find Defanged Horrors (done well) and normal horror movies equally scary. It's just the parents that'll complain if their children watch a movie with blood in it, meaning less money.

Related to TheTamingOfTheGrue, which may be an eventual byproduct of this. See also NothingIsScarier, where the menace isn't visible but is all the scarier for that. Contrast AdultFear.




* ''Anime/MonColleKnights'' has one episode where Prince Eccentro gets possessed by a vampire before seizing Professor Hiragi hostage. The Knights must fight their way through a castle filled with zombies, suits of armor, Frankenstein monsters, and more. Saban switched this episode around with a much earlier one, which is understandable (i.e. to tie in with Halloween, which isn't celebrated in Japan).
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' uses this sometimes, such as in episodes featuring Ghost Pokémon.
* ''Manga/SgtFrog''. A yukata-clad ghost lives in the Hinata family's basement, Fuyuki is a big fan of the occult, and episodes of the manga and anime center around spooky story contests among the main characters and their friends.
* ''Anime/SpiritedAway'' takes place entirely in a world full of spirits who dislike humans. Both of Chihiro's parents are [[spoiler:turned into pigs after eating some of the food there]]. And that's just the beginning of it all.



* ''VideoGame/EpicMickey''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas'', directed by Henry Selick.
* ''Film/TowerOfTerror'' film, based on theme park ride.
* The ''Watcher in the Woods'' film. No real gore, the fear is in [[NothingIsScarier what we don't see]].
* ''Film/TheHauntedMansion'' (feat. Creator/EddieMurphy) had a plethora of potentially traumatizing elements (especially considering its rating being ''PG'' yet involving ''suicide'' and ''melting faces'').
* ''Ride/TheHauntedMansion'' at Ride/DisneyThemeParks.
* ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'', though like ''Courage'' (mentioned below) it will often take its SurrealHorror elements much further than desired.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBraveLittleToaster'' has several scenes that would be outright {{Gorn}} if it wasn't happening to household appliances. Especially the scene in the shady parts-salesmen's shop, which is played ''exactly'' like a horror scene. Practically [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] in the following musical number, which directly compares the current situation to a number of old horror films.



* Creator/TimBurton owes quite a bit of his career to this trope, especially during his early years as a director (mid-1980s to early '90s) when he was commonly thought of as a ''slightly'' unconventional children's filmmaker. Hence the bitter, outraged backlash against ''Film/BatmanReturns'': Burton tried to be "funny-scary" and [[YouWereTryingTooHard overshot the mark]], becoming "scary-scary" - or, at least, that's what many commentators had us believe.
* ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'''s Wicked Witch of the West managed to be remembered as one of the scariest--and most iconic--villains in cinematic history, even while appearing in a very family-friendly fantasy musical. She never really does anything particularly violent (aside from trying to burn the Scarecrow and threatening to drown Toto), and she has the rather petty goal of trying to reclaim her dead sister's ruby-encrusted shoes. But with Margaret Hamilton's gleefully psychotic performance, combined with some [[UncannyValley deeply unsettling makeup and prosthetics]], well... There's a damn good reason so many kids are terrified of her.
* ''Franchise/WallaceAndGromit: WesternAnimation/TheCurseOfTheWereRabbit''.



* ''Literature/{{Coraline}}'', by Creator/NeilGaiman, and the film adaptation also by Henry Selick.
** [[WordOfGod According to Gaiman]], at least, adults find it much scarier than children do, because children tend not to pick up on the implied {{Adult Fear}}s.
* ''Literature/{{Goosebumps}}''. The stories tread a very fine line, often ''threatening'' something truly horrible (usually in vague language), [[RuleAbidingRebel but not actually going through with it]].
** Taken quite literally with the story ''Vampire Breath'': one of the elder vampires wore fanged dentures because he had no teeth.
* The humourously-titled ''Deadtime Stories''
* The earlier ''Literature/HarryPotter'' books, as per the page quote. The later ones [[DarkerAndEdgier dispense with the "defanged" aspect altogether.]]
* Oh, ''Literature/DeltoraQuest''... Let us count the ways:
** The slow despair of [[CrapsackWorld living under a tyrant for seventeen years with no hope of salvation whatsoever]], and the bitterness that comes with it.
*** The very real danger of choosing a side in a war of tyrant vs. LaResistance.
** BodyHorror galore - the Shadowland prisoners, Fardeep and his "pets", multiple counts of dismemberment at the hands of the Granuous, public branding and execution, a bunch of {{Mook}}s get turned into trees which are explicitly [[DeaderThanDead even more soulless than the regular variety]], not to mention the [[VoluntaryShapeshifting Ols']] true form...
** And, of course, the many psychological horrors - Discovering that everything you've ever been told about your world and your life has been a lie to keep you complacent. [[AndIMustScream Being paralyzed and forced to wait for a horrific monster to eat you]]. Knowing your loved ones are being tortured for information on your whereabouts and being unable to help them, hiding enemy spies that [[ProperlyParanoid could literally be anything from your best friend, to the squirrel that just ran past, to the chair you're sitting on]]. Living every waking moment in fear that someone else is going to die. Honestly, as the series goes on, it's difficult to remember that it was written for kids... particularly if you have a vivid imagination.
* The "De Griezelbus" series by the Dutch author Paul van Loon are a perfect example of this. Almost every installment deals with a group of kids whom are forced to listen to the stories of the [[spoiler:werewolf, and later vampire/undead]] writer P. Onnoval, with a climax at the end of each book. The stories are a combination of horror clichés like vampires, werewolves, etc. and a great deal of suspense, and most stories leave the end open, leaving you to wonder what happened.
* The "Adrenalina" series (of two books) by Brazilian author Lilian Spyriano as well. The names and cover art are already indicative - ''[[http://www.liliansypriano.com.br/img/livros/coracao-acelerando_gg.jpg Coração Acelerando]]'' ("Heart Going Faster") and ''[[http://www.liliansypriano.com.br/img/livros/sobressalto_gg.jpg Sobressalto]]'' ("Jolt", as in JumpScare). Both are ChooseYourOwnAdventure, the former set in a forest and the latter in the city. Both go all the way in the SlidingScaleOfComedyAndHorror, particularly has most endings are kinda tranquil given what you get on the path: for instance, the protagonist feels an evil presence on the elevator going back to his apartment... but arrives safe at home, where his maid says: [[BringMyBrownPants "Throw away this underwear! You're too old for me to accept washing it!"]]
* ''The Teacher from the Black Lagoon'', along with its sequels and has nothing to do with [[Manga/BlackLagoon a manga]], is about a boy who hears rumors that a certain teacher or school staff is a monster [[WouldHurtAChild who will hurt a child]] in a nasty, but [[BloodlessCarnage non-gory]], way. At the end, it is revealed that the rumors are false and the teacher is fun and [[FriendToAllChildren child-loving]]. ''Black Lagoon Adventures'', a chapter book series, does keep the staff as monsters, but they don't do anything scary and the conflicts presented are RealLife [[SliceOfLife everyday problems a child would face]].
* ''The {{Literature/Bailey School Kids}}'' features a quartet of schoolchildren who constantly run into [[MonsterMash horror-movie monsters]] who want nothing more than to... teach and/or coach sports? Of course, the entire premise is MaybeMagicMaybeMundane, so the people they run into could be just plain old weird, rather than out-and-out paranormal.
* Creator/RoaldDahl featured Defanged Horrors in a lot of his children's stories, but ''Literature/TheWitches'' may be his only book to take the full plunge into this genre.
* All over the place in the children's book series ''Literature/BatPat'' and its animated adaptation.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* The ''{{Goosebumps}}'' TV adaptation.
* ''Series/AreYouAfraidOfTheDark'', which uses the framing device of a group of friends telling scary stories around a campfire in order to convey stories of a similar calibre.
* Another literal example, but also a parody: the ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' episode "You're No Fun Anymore" features various uses of the title phrase. One of these is a parody of Film/HammerHorror films, with Count Dracula (played by Graham Chapman) looming menacingly over a sleeping woman. He goes in for a bite...and his fangs fall out. The woman wakes up, looks at him, and says, "You're no fun anymore."
* Space (the Canadian equivalent of the Sci-fi channel) used to have short segments they'd play between shows to fill up their Canadian content requirements. One of the segments was a ''Blair Witch'' style 'recovered footage' short story, where we'd watch regular home movies that invariably took a turn for the strange. These where all done without explicitly showing anything evil, for instance the family who are driving along only to be knocked out and awaken in a vast, empty, rock-strewn wasteland. The second was far more scary, and was the tale of a crypt in the middle of a lost-graveyard containing something. We aren't shown what it is, as our camera man refuses to go down. But needless to say, whatever it is, it starts haunting him, and that book of Eldritch lore his friend recovered before 'disappearing' isn't helping matters.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' is a strange example of this. On the one hand, it's a show filled with cheesy CGI and a handful of mild [[JumpScare jump scares]]. On the other hand, some of the villains can be genuinely scary even to adults.
** ''The Empty Child'' and ''The Doctor Dances'' two-parter takes a fairly traditional zombie movie plot and alters it so there's no blood and no deaths. And it's possibly the creepiest bit of programming ever to be aired on daytime television.
** ''Blink'' gives it a run for its money; it's ''terrifying'', considering there are almost no special effects and only two character deaths, both of which are peaceful, non-violent, and off-screen. In it, the villains are angel statues which move only when they're not being observed. So long as you're looking at them, you're safe - unless, of course, you blink...
** The Silence and the Vashta Nerada are also both disturbing. The Silence combine a fairly unsettling costume with a very creative premise (you forget about them the minute you look away) and the Vashta Nerada are a swarm of living shadows who eat victims alive in a split second. In fact, any episode written by Steven Moffat during Russell T. Davies' tenure as showrunner will probably have an original and terrifying villain.
* ''Series/TheHauntingHour''
* ''Series/{{Wishbone}}'s'' adaptation of ''Literature/ATaleOfTwoCities'' made the guillotine a menacing specter using only cabbages.
* ''Series/HouseOfAnubis''

* Despite the name, Creator/{{Gottlieb}}'s ''Pinball/HauntedHouse'' has no truly frightening aspects, and the horrors are downplayed to a family-friendly level.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* ''VideoGame/BanjoKazooie'' features a witch who wants to steal Tooty's beauty as the main antagonist. Her lair, filled with things like cobwebs, cauldrons, and goblins, comprises the main section of the game. This trope is especially in play in Mad Monster Mansion.
* ''VideoGame/SnowboardKids 2'' features a course called [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Haunted House]].
* ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'':
** The entire series has places with ghosts (especially spherical ones called Boos). Most of these are in haunted houses with suitably creepy music, but there are also places such as [[VideoGame/PaperMario a haunted forest]], [[VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG a sewer system]], and at least two [[VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG sunken]] [[VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld ships]]. Bowser is also known to reside in a gothic castle at the end of most games.
** ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion'' revolves around this trope from beginning to end. This is the reason a hunter ghost was cut; he would have been the only explicitly homicidal ghost and was deemed too scary.
* In the Videogame/EarthBound trilogy, some things fit this trope, such as the Rosemary Manor, the ZombieApocalypse in Threed (during which no actual death and destruction is shown), and Osohe Castle. Moonside might also count. Other stuff in the games, though... not so tame.
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'': Certain Pokédex entries in the series (especially about Ghost Pokémon) are this trope. For example, Gengar likes to imitate people's shadows under a full moon, and then laugh at their fright, Banette was a doll who seeks revenge on the child who disowned it, Dusclops traps anyone who looks into its eye into a void, and so on. Of course, none of this actually happens in-game. Some of it averts this, however, such as Hypno being a prime example of AdultFear. Usually, the Pokédex is considered a prime source of nightmare fuel.
* ''VideoGame/SonicHeroes'': The Hang Castle and Mystic Mansion zones.
* ''VideoGame/JumpStartAdventures4thGradeHauntedIsland'' is this trope of the SurvivalHorror genre. The gist of the game is you are a 4th grader who is [[AdultFear alone on a haunted island trying to rescue the rest of their class from a witch who has turned them into monsters.]] Of course, everything is trying to scare you on the island - Fortunarely, you can't actually die, but a lot of kids who played the game ''were'' quite scared by its atmosphere.
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsDroidworks'' went this route, despite not being outright labeled as such. After the training missions are finished, you get to apply what you learned in several new missions, but this time the Empire's assassin droids are running around, and they will ''hunt you down'' unless you manage to outwit them. These droids have a fairly dumb AI, contrasting their chilling taunts, but the droid you build can't be equipped with [[ThouShaltNotKill any kind of shielding or weapons]], let alone game-saving. What caught many kids off guard is that despite numerous hintings of the droids' presence in the missions, it's never stated that they're actually there until [[OhCrap you see one face-to-face.]]
* ''VideoGame/SpookysJumpScareMansion'' embraces this from the word go: the titular ghost greets you at the door looking like something out of ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'', and the titular jump scares are nothing more than harmless and frankly adorable cardboard popouts of skeletons, ghosts, and the like. [[spoiler: After the fiftieth room, this rapidly gets subverted, with genuinely scary monsters and ApocalypticLogs of the last people to be here.]]
* The "Gamer" minigame from ''[[VideoGame/WarioWare Game and Wario]]'' is ''VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys'' for kids. You play as 9-volt as he tries to game past his bedtime, but he has to watch for his mother, who you must watch on the TV by paying attention to various cues and not being faked out by false cues. Said mother becomes a creepy gray shadow with flashlight eyes, much of the cues involve suspenseful PsychoStrings, and she can invade 9-volt's room with [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6H-UutzUg9I this]] playing.

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' web serials. [[spoiler: Especially Tuyet's death.]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' has lots of very well done instances of kiddy horror.
** The poster boy for Defanged Horrors would certainly be Koh the Facestealer, a massive centipede demon that steals faces. The [[TheBlank faceless monkey]] in front of his lair is a genuine scare, but it's his voice and his words, which are genuinely spine chilling.
** The keeper of the library in the desert is just a very large owl, that's actually very polite and friendly. But it's clearly not a mere mortal creature and it's made very clear that one should not abuse its trust. And when it eventually gets angry, things turn really scary.
** The [[WeirdMoon Blood Red Moon]] during the season 1 finale.
** Even though it's clearly on the side of the good guys, [[spoiler:the Ocean Spirit]] single-handedly (with Aang as a medium) destroying the entire Fire Nation Fleet and its troops, is really a terrible sight to behold. The fact that he's terribly pissed after [[spoiler:the Moon Spirit is killed by Zhao]] helps a lot to drive the hammer home.
** And let's not forget that this is a kids' show set in the middle of a century long war. There's no blood or corpses on screen the entire time, but it's explicitly mentioned many times how relatives died in battle or where executed by soldiers, and it's shown how soldiers abuse helpless farmers or how benders are put to forced labor in concentration camps. There's even a full scale genocide, and open discussions about assassinating the BigBad. If there's a way to expose eight years old responsibly to these topics, Avatar probably comes closer to it than anything else.
** The scene with Hama when she talks about [[spoiler: bloodbending]] with such pride and pleasure also counts.
** The fate of, uh, Zuko's face in "The Storm" is a good use of [[ScreamDiscretionShot three]] [[GoryDiscretionShot different]] [[ShadowDiscretionShot kinds]] of discretion shot to get the point across while still being ([[FamilyUnfriendlyViolence sort of]]) family-friendly. As the DiscretionShot summary states, things can be a lot more horrifying to the fertile imagination if you ''don't'' show it.
** The [[UncannyValley creepy]] [[ParanoiaFuel smile]] of Jo Dee.
* ''WesternAnimation/AaahhRealMonsters'' is a series about, well, monsters that scare humans. All of their "scare scenes" are very effective in showing how the monsters scare humans without scaring the audience in the process, mostly through giving said monsters individual personalities and motives (they're only doing it to complete school).
** And stay alive.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' did this on occasion, such as when Raven pulled Dr. Light into some sort of dark vortex within her cloak, and when he came out he was curled up in the fetal position muttering, "S-so cold. Make it stop. Please make it stop."
** The episode "Haunted" also ranks up there as one of the creepiest pieces of WesternAnimation targeted towards kids. They took Slade, a villain who's already creepy in his own right, and left the audience constantly unsure whether he was BackFromTheDead and torturing Robin, or whether Robin had gone insane and was mutilating ''himself''. [[spoiler:The truth is somewhere in between.]]
* While not borderline scary (at least for the older folks), Danny entering the [[PhantomZone Ghost Zone]] for the first time in ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' was deliberately given an atmospheric, spooky, and naturally ''ghoulish'' feel to it; they were really emphasizing just how vastly different this world is compared to Earth. Of course, it's always a little disturbing ''when numerous skeletons pop out of graves and try to latch onto you''.
** On the other hand, [[VainSorceress Spectra]] and [[FutureMeScaresMe Dark Danny]] aren't "defanged" in the least.
* This trope is the whole point of ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo''. Especially the movies ''Zombie Island'' and ''Witch's Ghost'', where the monsters the main characters confront are ''real'', instead of disguised human criminals.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheMarvelousMisadventuresOfFlapjack''.
* ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog'', which often turned the SurrealHorror up a bit too much, and we all learned the hard way that you can't unsee this stuff...
* Some episodes of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' including "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E17StareMaster Stare Master]]" and "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E3LessonZero Lesson Zero]]" go into this territory.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* In Japan, a popular children's game is ''{{kimodameshi}}'', where kids have to accomplish some minor task in a creepy yet safe environment. Adult guardians will be lurking about to make things ''interesting'' for the participating children. (Essentially a less malign version of the American haunted-house tradition; there are no maniacs with chainsaws in a ''kimodameshi'', but there ''are'' mysterious lights and noises, and ghosts wearing white shirts spattered with red ink. Their imagination does the rest.)
* Deemed necessary by Creator/GKChesterton:
-->"Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon."