Traumafessions :: Drew B. on Flight of the Navigator

Hello Kindertrauma,

Just found your website recently. I’ve been scouring it daily reliving past horrors. I gave myself nightmares last night after reading about 10 pages of Traumafessions! It’s nice to know I can still do that…

As is the case with several other of the Kindertraumatized, my trauma comes from a family film not intended to send the mind recoiling in horror for decades.

In the Disney film FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR, a young boy (David) is abducted by a spaceship commanded by a giant Black And Decker Snake Lite voiced by PAUL “PEE-WEE HERMAN” RUEBENS. After zooming through space with his new pal (even introducing the robot to American rock’n’roll music), the boy is returned to his planet only to discover he’s been “missing” for 6 years and presumed dead. His parents have a little more gray in their hair. His younger brother now appears older than HE is. Technology has progressed since he’s been “gone” and he barely recognizes anything. He is sent to some military/science facility to be monitored and researched.


This idea was completely chills me to my core. Always did.

Particularly upsetting is the scene where the space alien introduces David to his other abductees – aliens from other planets. The scene where he gets a little too close to a creature who lurches from his cage and snatches the boy’s baseball cap off and eats it. A moment later, David puts his face up to a tank and a giant eyeball reveals itself and screams at him.

Words can not describe the horror I feel as an adult, reverting back to a childhood state of panic when watching this from my work computer.

Man, Disney really were the masters of the unsettling family film.

Drew B.

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Jami JoAnne Russell
11 years ago

For me it was always that cute little alien. It was The Last Of It’s Kind. So he takes it home with him. What sort of horrors would it visit on the earth? What happens when it becomes sexually mature and wants to mate? What if it could cross breed with some earth creature like a cat or dog? Creating a whole new race of half earth, have alien beings?

Yes, my little child brain thought of all these things. Even to this day I actually wonder about how cute that alien was when it got older….

11 years ago

A former boss of mine swore to me that the makers of Flight of the Navigator used his dog as the Freeman family dog in the movie. He was living in Florida at the time, and the movie was shot in Florida, so I guess it’s believable.

Then again, he was a heroin addict at the time…

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11 years ago

I recall being a little freaked out by this film as well. For me, it was the supposedly happy ending. I had been dwelling a lot on the notion of alternate timelines and alternate universes and just could not shake the feeling that the ship was stealing this kid away from his poor parents in his alternate future at the end. Yeah, yeah – I know that by going back he supposedly fixed things, but I could not convince myself that he somehow wiped this other universe out of existence and felt bad for his alternate universe family.

I loved the ship though

Drew Bludd
Drew Bludd
11 years ago

Thanks for leaving comments, you guys.

I was afraid I might be the only person bugged by this movie. Family movies now are so saccharine sweet – at least in the 70s and 80s they didn’t seem to insult anyone’s intelligence.

Jamie – That cute little alien always bugged me, too. I know we were supposed to like him but if Superman can be the last of his race and successfully breed on Earth – what’s stopping this creature? Yes, having him end up here was very bothersome and stayed with me long after the film was over.

Chuckles – Agreed. David himself must be terribly traumatized by this whole ordeal. How could he ever become a fully functioning grownup knowing he’s seen the inside of a spaceship and transcended time and space?

11 years ago

I love this flick! awesome just awesome soundtrack as well. This one scared me along with a couple other kid flicks from this era. The part that traumatized me was when he wakes up in the foggy ditch and goes home to find out that his parents/family are gone. its that sense of abandonment that scared me the most i think…

Amanda Mullins
Amanda Mullins
5 years ago

I saw this film for the first time in school as a 7 year old. I loved it immensely! I think you have the timeline a little wrong, though.
First he gets abducted, and returned 6 years later, but he doesn’t remember anything about it. It’s only after he’s returned to his older parents and studied in a lab that he finds the ship and escapes the lab, and has fun with his robot pal and teaches him rock and roll and all that.

I’ve always loved that shiny ship!

I was scared by a lot of things as a child, but oddly enough never Flight of the Navigator.