This Is The Most Terrifying Children's Book Author Of All Time

You may not have realized it at the time, but so many of your favorite childhood stories might have started in the mind of a magnificent British author named Roald Dahl. James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The BFG, and so many more were stories whipped up in his whimsical brain. Of course, we adore all of the 20-odd books he wrote for kids.

But we would be remiss not to point out that — for as much as he was skilled at crafting appealing fantasy — Dahl was also a master of working in the perfect amount of darkness. I recall feeling particularly squeamish as a kid reaching the description of the witches in The Witches. "The brilliant snake's eyes that were set so deep in that dreadful rotting worm-eaten face glared unblinkingly at the witches who sat facing her," he wrote of the Grand High Witch. That was the image on the back of my eyelids when I tried to fall asleep at night for months thereafter.

The BFG hits theaters on July 1, and while we're looking forward to seeing the big friendly giant, we're also psyched about all the creepy little details sure to sneak their way into the film. To that effect, we've pulled together some of our favorite freaky moments from earlier Dahl books and films — and it must be said that, to this day, they still send a little shiver down our spines.
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The book turned movie: The Witches (1990)

Why it freaked us out: Nothing like wandering into a room for a snack and getting turned into a mouse for eternity.
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The book turned movie: The Witches (1990)

Why it freaked us out: Um, isn't this your worst nightmare? A room full of women who want to murder children having a fun little hotel convention with their leader?
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The book turned movie: Matilda (1996)

Why it freaked us out: As kids, we knew going to the principal's office was clearly not a good thing. But after reading Matilda, I was personally afraid of it, because I didn't want anyone to swing me around by my hair, à la this scene.
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The book turned movie: Matilda (1996)

Why it freaked us out: Nothing wrong with a little chocolate cake, but if we were forced to chow down an entire chocolate cake that make or may not contain the "blood, sweat, and tears" of the lunch lady, well...that makes us want to lose our cookies a little.
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The book turned movie: James and the Giant Peach (1996)

Why it freaked us out: Sure, the spider is ostensibly good in this movie. But something about the weird pseudo-sexual relationship between her and the centipede was a confusing thing to witness as a kid. Oh, and she always seemed about six seconds away from poisoning James.
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The book turned movie: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory/Willy Wonka (1971)

Why it freaked us out: Because being in a tunnel with strangers who seem to be slowly turning into psychopaths is never not scary.
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The book turned movie: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory/Willy Wonka (1971)

Why it freaked us out: For food-allergy reasons, and also because it seemed like getting drained of blueberry fluid might be even more unpleasant than becoming one in the first place.
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The book-turned-movie: James and the Giant Peach (1996)

Why it freaked us out: After reading this book, I personally developed an irrational fear that my parents were going to get run down by an escaped zoo animal. Seeing the rhino emerge from the sky in the movie sealed the deal and also made me frightened of certain cloud formations.
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