Like many, I grew up on Disney Channel Original Movies, and though DCOMs are sadly missing from my life at this moment in time (seriously, Disney Channel, would it kill you to schedule an entire weekend block for some of my favorite original movies?) my heart has never lost its fondness for these flicks. And why would it? These movies took the loyal Disney Channel viewership on crazy adventures through time, space, and, sometimes, even other realms. (When our heroes weren't doing things like competing in inline skating or bowling competitions, of course.) DCOM movies were the best: but let's not forget that they were also some of the weirdest movies to ever grace our television screens.
Sure, not every DCOM was super bizarre, but the ones that were? Oh, boy. Whether it be our heroine battling a (very scary) "imaginary friend" or brothers running from modern-day pirates, not every DCOM was super sweet. You may not have realized that these movies were so high up on the weirdness scale when you were a kid, but looking back, these movies were often seriously eyebrow raising — and often seriously dark.
Here are 11 DCOMs that were a whole lot weirder than you remember them being — and definitely deserve a re-watch.
1. Don't Look Under The Bed
The premise of this just-slightly-too-creepy DCOM? A boogeyman is stalking teenager Frances because she made her brother (who nearly died of cancer, just to add a dose of reality) stop believing in an imaginary friend. The message is loud and clear (don't grow up before you're ready!) but that doesn't change the fact that Frances later gets her first kiss from her brother's imaginary friend. Just chew on that weirdness, for a minute.
2. Tower Of Terror
This film is actually based on the nausea-inducing (but ever-so-fun) Disney World attraction, and is the only DCOM to feature straight-up magical murder. The Halloween flick is a pretty tame ghost story, but the shocking conclusion — that a jealous sister set forth the spell that killed her starlet sibling and four other hotel residents — is a pretty tough pill to swallow.
3. Jumping Ship
This is the sequel to Horse Sense, a Lawrence brother vehicle about two cousins (not brothers, don't get it confused) who overcome their differences and bond on a horse farm. This movie is not about horses: it's about pirates who want to kidnap Joey Lawrence's character for ransom. So that's definitely kid-friendly, right?
4. Pixel Perfect
The music in this movie is so on point, but that doesn't change the fact that the premise is a guy who creates the "perfect woman" (in pixel form) to be the lead singer of his friend's band. How does he do it? By picking out the specific body parts and skills from beautiful and talented women and compiling them together. Mad scientist, much?
5. Stuck In The Suburbs
In this movie, two suburban teens take a pop star hostage (well, virtually speaking, anyway) when they accidentally swap cellphones. Instead of being normal human beings and just giving back the phone, the girls instead use it to mess with their pop idol's life — sort of like if Pretty Little Liars' A was really celeb-obsessed.
6. Phantom Of The Megaplex
This suspense thriller is kinda-sorta based on the Phantom Of The Opera, in the sense that both involve a "phantom" haunting a theater. The weird part of the movie is the dark origins of said phantom: as legend has it, a person was killed while the original theater was being torn down in a horrific accident, leading him to haunt the multiplex for eternity. It's the kind of thing that you only realize the disturbing nature of when you're an adult who doesn't like to think about horrific demolition accidents.
7. Mom's Got A Date With A Vampire
No one wants to think about their parents' dating life, but the kids in Mom's Got A Date With A Vampire really, really don't want to think about their mom going home with the cute vampire she scored a date with. There's something particularly strange about kids attempting to ruin their mother's date in order to protect her from becoming one of the undead. It may be a DCOM, but who says it couldn't be a metaphor for a child's anxiety about a parent's new relationship?
8. A Ring Of Endless Light
This movie stars Mischa Barton as a girl who has a telepathic connection with dolphins. No other explanation needed, really.
9. The Luck Of The Irish
I know, I know — this film was a staple of your childhood. But let's not forget that the premise is just a little bit peculiar: In this DCOM, school basketball star Kyle literally becomes a leprechaun (pointed ears and red hair and everything) after his lucky coin is stolen. In the end, everyone learns something about heritage and America, but boy was the journey to get there strange.
10. Smart House
On the surface, Smart House is a fun sci-fi family flick about a kid who wins a computerized home for his family. Then you remember that the kid (Ryan Merriman, also the star of The Luck Of The Irish) accidentally trains the Siri-esque computer system to become his mom by watching videos of his deceased mother. Re-watch the film in 2015 and you'll be reminded of the often disturbing implications of our technological advancements. (But that automatic snack system? Yeah, that's still just as cool.)
11. Stepsister From Planet Weird
The concept of Stepsister From Planet Weird is so ridiculously DCOM. In this one, high schooler Megan attempts to ruin her mom's new relationship so that her parents can finally get back together. Only problem? Her mom's boyfriend is actually an alien, and he has a daughter who is basically ruining Megan's life because people think her stepsister's "alien ways" are so much cooler than basic Earth girl's. That's not the weird part, of course: the weird part is that on their home planet, all of the aliens are gaseous bubbles — so... the mother is dating a bubble. This is why eHarmony is worth the investment.
DCOMs, I love you, but many of you are far weirder than you give yourself credit for.
Image: Disney Channel