Creepiest Children’s Shows of the ‘80s

In the ‘80s, camp was king and its empire touched most everything. Some 22 years later, a decade’s worth of camp has since transformed into creepy YouTube fodder – and children’s shows are no exception.


ALF With A Pencil

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Let’s start with the obvious: ALF eats cats. That’s pretty freaking weird. Wanna get a whole lot weirder? ALF is an alien from the planet Melmac. To make matters even stranger, he somehow crash-landed in suburban Los Angeles and took up residence in the garage of the Tanner family. Dad plays the skeptical antagonist, who regards ALF more like a deadbeat stepson than a feline-hungry Alien Life Form.

Small Wonder

Vicki From Small Wonder

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Kids are creepy enough on their own. So what happens when an already creepy-looking kid transforms into an even creepier robot? That’s precisely what Ted Lawson, robotics engineer and Lawson family patriarch, set out to find when he created the robot-child V.I.C.I (Voice Input Child Indenticant – pronounced Vicki). Sure, she almost looks like a regular nine-year-old child, maybe if you squint your eyes and forget about the AC outlet in her arm. While you’re at it, you should also dismiss her super human strength, the access panel in her back, and her failed attempts to learn human behavior.

Zoobilee Zoo

The Cast of Zoobilee Zoo

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Maybe it’s just me but I’ve always found Ben Vereen to be kind of disturbing. He’s just… too happy. Put him in a prosthetic animal nose and a two-bit costume from the original Broadway production of Cats? Wowzers. The rest of the lesser-known actors who comprise the cast are truly the stuff of nightmares. They sing, they dance, and they frolic, all the while wearing greasy face paint and fuzzy polyester wigs. Truly terrifying.

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

Mr. Rogers With His King Puppet

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Four words: old dude with puppets. All he’s missing is some licorice candy in his pocket and he’d be a full-on creeper. Oh, and what’s with his flat, off key singing? And who’s operating the train set? And how does Mr. Rogers’ own an entire neighborhood? And, on that note, what does he do for a living? It is important questions like these, I fear, that just might follow me to the grave.

Bozo the Clown

Bozo the Clown in the 1980s

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Surely the creators of The Simpsons’ character Krustee the Clown had to draw at least a little inspiration from Bozo the Clown. Not only does he look like a guy that probably has some real “sad clown” issues going on, but he is also pretty sketchy-looking. I will concede that I have a bit of a bias against white clown makeup. For starters, it made Bozo’s teeth look super yellow. It also made his eyes appear bloodshot, which would lead most logical people to question his activities prior to taping. Personally, I’d like to see Bozo touch his shiny clown nose and walk a straight line.