I can't speak for anyone else, but I've been obsessed with horror movies for as far back as I can remember. As a kid, I used to pore over the VHS tapes at the local video store (conveniently located inside of a liquor shop, because it was the '80s).
My parents reluctantly allowed me to rent a tape every now and then, but we never knew what we were going to get. Even a good horror movie isn't necessarily a good horror movie for prying young eyes. My mother once let me rent Return of the Living Dead (1985) after I caught some of it on USA Up All Night. After she went to sleep, I popped the tape in and discovered that there were a lot of, uh ... adult sequences cut from the basic cable version.
And while kid me relished in the deviance discovered "on accident," the truth is that, as an adult, I'd like to have a little more control over what horror movies my kids might see. And I imagine a lot of you horror hounds are the same.
There have been a lot of lists like this, but consider mine to be the best and most thoughtful because I asked nicely. Here are ten films, most of which feature child protagonists, most of which are appropriate all the way through for younger viewers, and all of which are absolutely scary, be ye child or be ye grown.
That's my list. I encourage you to share your own lists. And, hey, why not share the horror movies you saw as a kid that you absolutely shouldn't have? I saw Troll 2 (1990) on VHS, by the way. I can't say much for certain, but that movie isn't a good viewing experience for a person of any age.