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Nordling's YA KNOW, FOR KIDS : Horror Edition!

 

YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS!

Nordling here, with another installment of YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS!  For those unclear what this column’s about, basically, it’s about growing up geek, and being a geek parent.  So much nowadays is advertisement, and I want to write about those films that got you excited when you were a child and how you can share that excitement with your children.  I’ll also review modern family films, helping you determine the quality stuff that the entire family can love and enjoy, as opposed to the treacle that seems to pop up every few weeks.  I’ll take those hits so that you might not have to.

Now, it might not be clear to many of you, but I won’t be strictly writing about just animated features or what the studios might call family films in the commercials.  I will be reviewing those, for sure, but my main goal in this column is to get parents and kids together to enjoy and discuss those movies that may be outside that definition.  I don’t think families should feel like they are limited to just the latest cartoon or children’s fare.  When I reviewed TRUE GRIT, I wanted to go outside the box on what most people consider to be a family film.  If parents think their kids can handle the subject matter, then I feel there’s no limit in choices for film entertainment out there and it’s possible that these films can stimulate learning and debate.  Movies aren’t babysitters, in my opinion.  They’re opportunities for discussion and education.

I’m going to say this up front – I may not have a frame of reference as a parent to the movies I’m going to discuss here.  For starters, my daughter won’t watch scary movies.  Won’t have anything to do with them.  She’s terrified of nightmares.  I’ve tried several angles in how to approach these films with her.  I’ve told her what’s on screen isn’t real, I’ve told her how movie magic can make the impossible possible, but she has a real sense of empathy to what she sees onscreen and high violence and scary situations make her tune right out.  She’s seen films that have scary elements in them.  She’s seen all the HARRY POTTER films, and THE LORD OF THE RINGS as well.  But she’s very squeamish about blood.  She even has to leave the room when Elliott cuts his finger on the table saw in E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL.

That’s okay.  I’m not going to push it.  I don’t think it’s a good idea for parents to do that.  Kids know what they can handle.  And it’s very possible she just doesn’t have a taste for those kinds of films.  But I do think that introducing your kids to horror films, in a gentle way, helps them understand their fears and it helps them process them in a safe, even fun manner.  Now, I’m not saying to go out and rent THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE for Family Movie Night.  But here are some suggestions for parents out there who want to show their kids scary movies that are fun, thrilling, and open up discussion.

JAWS

 

We’ve all seen this one, so I don’t have to go over too much of the film’s details when it comes to the gore and the nudity.  Short of a few key shots, JAWS isn’t as graphic as you might think.  Much of it is in the mind.  But when I first saw JAWS in 1975, the film obsessed me in a way that I can’t remember any film doing before then.  I was 5 years old, which seems rather young for a film like this.  You have to remember though, that being 5 in the 1970s isn’t the same as being 5 today.  Not to sound all “get off my lawn!” but childhood was just different then.  Kids could stay outside all day and never set foot in the house until well after sundown.  Our fears as parents now are much more defined, and it’s changed our perceptions of childhood, for the worse, if I may say so myself.   I don’t know how it got that way.  Maybe we’re so inundated with fear – fear of the other, the dangers of the world – that it cripples us as parents.  I hate that it’s that way, and at the same time I feel helpless to change it.

When I was 5 my parents took me to see JAWS.  Now, my family loved to fish.  They purchased boats, went deep-sea fishing, and bought expensive rods and reels, the whole smash.  So when JAWS opened, my entire family went to see it.  Not just my mom and dad, but my grandparents, my cousins, uncles, aunts – we must have had 20 people in the theater that day.  I may be remembering it wrong, but as seeing JAWS may be the earliest, most vivid memory of that time, I don’t think I am.  I distinctly remember telling my dad to tell me when he thought a scary part was coming.  He never did.  When Ben Gardner’s head came out from the hole in the boat I screamed so loudly, but I was drowned out by my other cousins.  And JAWS suddenly became the center of my universe, at least until 1977.  I became terrified that JAWS was going to come through the drain and get me, even though my mom insisted otherwise.  But I saw the movie; I knew she was wrong.  Jaws could get anywhere he wanted.

I read everything I could about sharks.  Everything.  I checked out so many books at the library I remember that other kids were complaining that they couldn’t get any of the shark books because I had them out for so long.  I wrote a short story called SHARK! where police chief Bill Graham had to stop a monster shark from terrorizing a town – not very original, I know.  It ended when he dumped a bunch of poisons and chemicals in the water to kill the shark, and my young mind probably didn’t grasp the idea that he probably killed all the other fish in the area too.

Here’s the thing about movies like JAWS – they inspired me to educate myself.  I not only learned about sharks, but other animals of the sea as well.  I learned about oceanography, and abyssal trenches, and the tides… I won’t say I’m Jacques Cousteau or anything, but through JAWS I discovered many things about our undersea world.  JAWS got me interested in science.  And it got me fascinated in filmmaking, a bug that I’ve never lost in the years since.  And I’m certain I’m not alone.

Kids tend to obsess about things that make them afraid, and then they turn it over in their head so much that they get over their fears and turn it into a learning experience.  At least that was true for me.  I imagine after JURASSIC PARK came out there was an influx of kids getting their hands on any dinosaur book they could find.  JAWS was an incredible gateway for me into a better understanding of our world.  Now, you know JAWS.  There are harsh moments in it.  The death of the Kintner boy is probably a traumatic moment for any child to watch, and that’s probably one of the scenes that terrified me the most because kids were supposed to be safe in movies like this.  So my self-education about sharks wasn’t just to sate my knowledge, it was a form of protection.  If something ate me in the water, I’d know what did it, at the very least.  As for parents out there cautious about sharing a movie like JAWS with their younger kids, you know as well as I do that it’s a fairly intense movie, and what your kids can handle.  But if you’re available to them and for any questions they might have, I think JAWS would be a rewarding film experience for you and your kids.  Just don’t expect them to jump in the bathtub straight away.  Just kidding.

SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

 

I just watched this recently and I was surprised by how well this held up.  Based on Ray Bradbury’s classic (and he wrote the screenplay as well), this story of a small town visited by the darker elements of human nature and the two boys who fall into its clutches was a different kind of film for the Disney Studios at the time.  I know at the time of its release that Disney was trying to move to more mature films, probably due to the success of films like JAWS and STAR WARS.  Of course, everyone knows the juggernaut that is Ray Bradbury, one of our greatest American writers.  This film went a long way to introducing me to his work when it was released. 

Jonathan Pryce plays Mr. Dark, the head of the carnival that sweeps through Green Town, with gleeful malevolence.  He promises every wish, and turns those wishes on their ear, transforming the baser natures of humanity into their eternal nightmares.  Jason Robards plays the father to Jim, and as he’s more advanced in age, he feels that he’s missing his son’s childhood because he’s unable to participate in activities that other fathers routinely do with their kids.  Robards is a terrific actor as we know, and I think this is my favorite role of his, as he goes up against force of evil beyond his imagination with simple good will.

This is another gateway movie; at least it was for me.  Because of SOMETHING WICKED, I dove into Bradbury’s books with abandon.  I especially enjoyed his short story compilation THE OCTOBER COUNTRY (which was actually a reprinting of most of the stories in his classic Arkham House compilation DARK CARNIVAL) and “The Veldt” is another personal favorite.  It opened me up to not only Bradbury, but other writers of fantasy and horror, like H.P. Lovecraft and Robert Howard.  But more importantly, Bradbury’s stories are fun and thrilling, and I think most kids could dive into his books with little difficulty.

As for the film, I think kids would enjoy it.  It’s scary but not overly bloody or violent and kids would relate to the adventures of Will Holloway and Jim Nightshade.  Parents could also relate to the struggles of Charles Holloway, who is trying to do right by his son but feels he’s not adequate for the job.  And Mr. Dark is all darkness and sin, temptation and evil.  My favorite scene in the film is when Dark tempts Mr. Holloway with youth, and as Dark rips the pages of each passing year offered to Mr. Holloway if he would give up the kids, Jason Robards’ face is a mask of regret and sadness.  It’s a wonderful performance by both Robards and Pryce.

LADY IN WHITE

 

In 1962, young Frankie Scarlotti (Lukas Haas) gets locked in the cloak room of his school on Halloween night.  What happens next puts Frankie on a journey of mystery and discovery as he tries to discover the mysterious identity of the ghostly Lady in White who roams the cliffs outside of town, and works to unravel the mystery of a murder of a little girl over ten years before.  This film was released in 1988, but did little business.  It became something of a cult favorite once it was released to VHS and cable.

This is a very effective horror film, at times quite scary, although there’s very little gore in it.  It’s a great introduction for kids into the ghost story genre.  Lukas Haas is very engaging as the little boy who unravels a deep mystery about the town he lives in, and although the film deals with child predators it does so in a way that’s not too terribly threatening (but be ready to explain some things to your children after seeing it).  It’s very slice-of-life in its depiction of 1962 New York state, and the murder mystery that surrounds the central plot of the film is thrilling.  For parents who haven’t seen it, I don’t feel comfortable spoiling the intricacies of the story, so I’ll just say that you’ll likely be able to figure out who did what pretty early on, but how the mystery unravels itself is what makes it worth watching.  It’s quite well done, and I’m curious how Frank LaLoggia didn’t have a larger career in filmmaking after this.  It never condescends to kids as the story plays out – both Frankie and his brother Geno are portrayed very realistically as just everyday kids caught up in something much larger and more mysterious than themselves.

The film’s tone and style are more reflective, more thoughtful than you might expect of a film like this.  It is an honest portrayal of small town life in the early 1960s, and though kids may find the setting different than what they’re used to, I think the story’s compelling enough, and the thrills of the mystery surrounding the story intriguing enough, that kids will fall into the story with little difficulty.  It’s got a terrific ending, too – I’ve seen it a few times now and it never fails to keep me riveted and moved.  It’s one of those 1980s movies that seems to have fallen between the cracks, and that’s a shame.  I think it’s very effective and a terrific film in which to introduce kids to the horror genre.

I think kids are resilient when it comes to scary films.  I tend to think that as parents we play it a bit too safe.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t have any discretion when it comes to showing your children films that you think might be too much for them.  As always, it’s your call.  But people seem to forget that in the right place and at the right time, being frightened is fun.  It’s a test of your own personal will in a way to see just what you can handle.  In the safety of a movie, you can indulge these darker aspects of yourself.  In the light of day, and with the parents there to guide them, being afraid can reveal things to your child about themselves that they may not have been aware before.  And kids are at once excited and intrigued about the things that frighten them.  Speaking from personal experience, when a movie scared me I dove right into the library to learn more about what frightened me, and in a way I built up a shield of knowledge around myself.  It made those things that scared me much less scary.  And somewhere in that time, I learned a thing or two.  Let’s hope it’s the same for your kids.  Horror films, if presented to them in the right way, can open up their minds in ways they didn’t believe possible.  Bravery can come in many ways, and one of the things that horror films can teach kids is just how to be brave in the face of the unknown, even if it’s just in the confines of the living room.

That’s it for this installment.  This was actually going to be centered around another property, but I’m still trying to crack that article so that will be the next installment.  Here’s a hint… “YES?! MAY I HELP YOU?!”  Can’t wait to share it with you.  See you next time.

Nordling, out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 29, 2010, 11:54 p.m. CST

    Great Job!

    by HEADGEEK

    Nordling's YA KNOW, FOR KIDS Horror Edition Is Killer!

  • Dec. 29, 2010, 11:59 p.m. CST

    New Rango trailer is out..

    by CodeName

    It looks good, too.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 12:06 a.m. CST

    Awesome idea!

    by HOTDOGVNDR

    This is great timing for me and my family. My kids are just now at the age that I was when I started watching the movies that I now hold near and dear to my heart. I can't wait to see these updates. Keep them coming Nordling!

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 12:49 a.m. CST

    I'm always gonna chime in on this column

    by smittylancearthur

    as the parent of a 2 year old girl. She just got her first scare from film via PRINCESS BRIDE. She loved the sword fighting, loved the shrieking eels, but was terrified of the ROUSs. First time it's ever happened. And she's seen SOMETHING WICKED, as well as WATCHER IN THE WOODS (a favorite of her Mum). I'm still searching for the line, and finding that it wavers from film to film. Thanks for this column- I'll always, ALWAYS formulate my opinions when it comes to my daughter. Okay, my wife and I will. But I certainly appreciate this column and find myself in accordance with your views, Nordling. Kudos. You're 2 for 2 in my book.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 1:13 a.m. CST

    don't make kids watch scary movies

    by antonphd

    if they are afraid then the last thing they should be subject to is being forced to being afraid.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 2:50 a.m. CST

    Other suggestions

    by Quint

    I'd include Curse of the Were-Rabbit as well, especially for the young young kids. It's a way to expose them to horror formulas without the gore or terror. Think about the movie. It's a slasher, but with vegetables instead of sorority girls. The Universal Monster movies are also great bridges to horror... atmospheric, but not traumatizingly scary... Start with The Wolf Man and go through all of 'em and Abbot and Costello Meet Frankensten... then end with The Monster Squad if they're old enough and you'll have a little monster nerd running around. Love the picks so far. All of them are absolute quality. I grew up with them myself and can vouch that they didn't turn me into a (convicted) serial murderer. Especially love the inclusion of The Lady In White, one of the best Halloween-set ghost stories ever and one of the most underseen '80s movies.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 2:51 a.m. CST

    Great column!

    by Bob Loblaw Law Blog

    I don't have any kids... but my nephews, who are 8 & 6, absolutely love it when I bring over movies to watch. I showed them GREMLINS a few months ago and they were hooked (they even had fun with the sequel, but then told me they thought it was a little "silly" compared to the original. Love it!). This is good stuff. Keep it up!

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 2:55 a.m. CST

    Anton

    by Quint

    Really? You think keeping a child scared is a better route then helping them face their fears through storytelling? Is it not better to guide them as a parent, explaining their fears, than to let it simmer in their minds? I don't think anybody is saying sit down your two year old to watch Freddy slice up Tina or Regan masturbate with a crucifix. I'm sure someone will now, but you know what I mean.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 3:16 a.m. CST

    human centipede

    by crimsoncinder

    I honestly cannot come back to this site until that cartoon is down. First movie in years I almost vomited from.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 3:35 a.m. CST

    Advice does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Nordling, I know you mean well but...<p><p> aicn is the last place any person should go for parental advice on films.<p> This is a site that currently has its founder re-enacting HUMAN CENTIPEDE in cartoon form at the top of the page.<p> This is the site in which Harry constantly brags about showing his very young nephew hard graphically violent adult movies. Not caring / understanding that a child doesnt have the emotional capability to process what they're seeing on screen.<p> This is a site where another contributors fave movie of the entire decade was IRREVERSIBLE. Mr Beaks, who claimed to have enjoyed it so much he watched it 3 times in one weekend, a rape-marathon.<p> I repeat this is the last place to go for parental advice on film.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 3:51 a.m. CST

    you'd be surprised...

    by Loosejerk

    or maybe not that many parents let their children watch pretty graphic horror films. As a counselor, I know I have an upward battle when working with kids that have been allowed to watch and hence been desensitized) to those movies. Research tells us that the child's brain (boys even moreso) isn't developed to the point to handle with the themes and images these movies contain as well as the emotions that are elicited. Still, I'd say you've got a significantly better chance with a child whose parents watch the movies with them and process these things. Most I have contact with sit them in front of screen as a babysitting tool leaving them to sort out what they've just been exposed to.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 4 a.m. CST

    Who cares if BrainDrain is tired of JAWS

    by STICKY WHITE

    Who? Cares?

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 4:22 a.m. CST

    HOHOHO <--not Santa, top view of human centipede

    by Prof. Pop-Cult

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 4:55 a.m. CST

    come on now

    by The_Crimson_King

    what card carrying pop culture geek HASN'T seen Jaws as a kid? I certainly did, I also saw Alien as a kid and was quite intrigued by Ripley in her underwear near the end

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 5:35 a.m. CST

    cobra-kai

    by Nordling

    I know Gio, I've met him. And he's the most well-adjusted kid his age I've met in a while. He's as passionate about film as his uncle. He's smart, articulate, and frankly it's no one's business but Harry's family on how he's brought up. I think we've brought up kids to be incredibly soft this day and age. Having said that, parents know their own kids best and what they can handle. I didn't recommend any movie up here that was worse than a PG. (Not sure if LADY IN WHITE is PG-13, but I can't imagine it would be. might be wrong though.) It's not like I recommmended THE EXORCIST or a slasher movie. These movies are entry points to the genre. As far as Beaks goes, he can watch and recommend any film he damn well pleases. That list wasn't 100 Best Films Of The Decade For Children. Beaks is a fan of Gaspar Noe, who makes incredibly challenging films. For him, IRREVERSIBLE is amazing filmmaking, and that's what he's responding to, not the film's depiction of rape. It's pretty awful that you'd insinuate that, frankly. As for the animation in the top, well, it made me laugh. Mostly because Harry said that you have to watch it for 15 minutes to see the end, and I stared at that damn thing for that long until I and several other Twitter people realized that was Harry jacking with us. It's... hypnotic. But you do have to scroll down to read the article, so it shouldn't keep you or anyone else from reading. This article isn't meant to be parental advice. I'm not here to tell anyone how to raise their children. I want to suggest fun films for the horror genre that would make great entry points and films that would open up discussion and could be enjoyed by the entire family. No one here's trying to tell anyone how to raise their kids and it's insulting to think otherwise.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 5:37 a.m. CST

    I've always been an advocate of "watch 'em with your kids".

    by RedEgiraahgnal

    Because let's face it: They will watch these movies sooner or later anyway, so why not make sure that YOU have the control about HOW they watch them? Alone at night in their bedroom or together with you, being able to take the tension away, discuss it and if necessary tell them when something questionable comes up. We always forget that kids LOVE to be scared in a certain amount! Otherwise the HARRY POTTER books, weren't that popular. (Yes, they are often way more "inappropriate" for youngsters than the movies.) Now it's of course not that I'll go like "Hey kids, wanna watch THE HILLS HAVE EYES with me?" (Or as mentioned above THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE) But some movies are not just less questionable, but also work surprisingly well. Damn, when I was a kid, I love CAT'S EYE, because it was about that cute cat who witnessed these awesome stories and saved in the end even a little girl! And I watched the crap out of BEETLEJUICE! I seriously approve on this column.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 6 a.m. CST

    I'm not sure about this.

    by SUPERJIM

    As a parent to a 7 year old I try not to shield my son too much but feel you need to know what's coming before they are exposed. Often I realise too late that something is coming up in a movie that he shouldn't be seeing but he is rarely bothered by the things I think will upset him. Even when he was much younger his threshold was much higher than I expected. That being said, you can never predict these things. When he was around 3 years old there was a tv show about a clown who taught children sign language. He loved it but 1 episode had him dress as a baby with a small body and adult head. This terrified him beyond belief and he was upset by it for a number of weeks. This show was on a BBC channel specifically for pre school kids so was obviously age appropriate. You need to be careful what you expose your children to but there is not a lot you can do (outside the obvious) to protect them completely.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 6:15 a.m. CST

    Nordling does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Nordling, cheers for the well articulated response. To tell the truth my post was meant partly in jest but there's some truth in it.<p> Harry's young nephew may well be a great kid, and he may well be super passionate about film. Doesn't mean Harry or his family ought to allow him to watch films meant for adult eyes and adult intellect. Maybe Harry could use his knowledge to pick the cream of the crop from the thousands of family movies to show the boy?<p> 'Let children have their childhood', and all that... the guy above who is a counsellor knows that... and really any human being with a conscience knows that.<p> As far as IRREVERSIBLE goes, I don't think anyone would have batted an eyelid if Beaks had that rape-fest somewhere in the ranks of his 100 faves. But to have it at number one?! Dude! That's gotta be wrong!

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 6:25 a.m. CST

    it depends on the kid

    by hippolyta

    Some people like scary movies, they like the thrills and screams. They get scared while watching but when it ends it ends. But to others the scares last with them for a long time. Even if you tell them "hey it's just a movie" your kid might not think so. I haven't seen the other two films so maybe they're not that bad, just making the comment in general. All I know is JAWS traumatized me, but I guess growing up in 2010 is going to be different than the 80's.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 6:34 a.m. CST

    My kids are getting old enough to watch these

    by vic twenty

    so I appreciate some of the flm selections, like Lady in White, which I had forgotten about. I am always surprised at what movies (and video games) other parents allow their kids to experience for endless hours. Horror video games are much more intense than most horror movies and these parents don't have a clue as to their content. I had a discussion about this with one of my son's friend's parents, and they believed that Dead Space was just silly fun where the kids blew up robots (so the kids told him). Don't be that guy. Know what your kids are storing in those brains of thiers. Now you damn kids get off my lawn.......

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 6:38 a.m. CST

    Laudible sentiments, but you're missing something crucial...

    by BiggusDickus

    ...namely, the amount of explaining that you, as a parent, have to get involved in in order to share your cinematic treats with your own offspring. Having recently sat through 'Beetlejuice' with my seven-year-old daughter, I can assure you that it's no fun being bombarded with 'who's she?', 'what's he do that for', 'where did the worms go?' at five minute intervals throughout the entire film. Wait 'til they're twelve and then break out the DVDs. That's my recommendation...

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 7:05 a.m. CST

    Jeez

    by 2LeggedFreak

    Who'd be the child of a geek. For God's sake leave the kids to find their own thing. They don't need you influencing them at an early age. Let them discover things for themselves and then when they are a bit older and can have a conversation on a level with you (without thinking Daddy is right on everything) you can point out things you think they might like. Leave your daughter to do her own thing Nordling. Do you want her to grow up as like you, a sycophant to a declining web site who despite every possible bit of ass-licking still doesn't qualify for their own black-boxed comments. Doesn't it shame you to see the patronising fuckers come on here and say well done to you in their little black boxes. Grow a set man !!!

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 7:22 a.m. CST

    loosejerk, would you be so kind as to direct me to those studies...

    by Toruk_Makto

    I was ten when A Nightmare on Elm Street came out. I remember having a blast sneaking to enjoy both that and the terminator. From what I recall the events seemed pretty clear cut (no pun intended) to me at the time. Perhaps my understanding of time travel paradoxes was a little dodgy, but aside from that I don't recall my brain having much difficulty with the 'themes' flying about. But I'm extremely interested in reading the findings of the psychological studies you've cited.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 7:26 a.m. CST

    I LOVE THIS COLUMN

    by enoodle123

    This column inspired me to take my kids (8 +10) to go see True Grit the other day, and we had a blast. It inspired a pretty good conversation about who in the movie had "true grit". They were pretty surprised when I suggested that Little Blackie the horse and even the Barry Pepper character displayed some strength of character. Just a fantastic experience. This particular column comes at a particularly interesting juncture in my kids movie watching, as the oldest one has had the pants scared off of him by his retarded uncle showing him things that were vastly inappropriate. I am slowly winning him back with things like Gremlins and Poltergeist. I don't normally like to link my blog (come on! Look what I wrote!), but it seems appropriate in this case: http://ericgottateach.blogspot.com/2010/11/sometimes-you-just-want-to-smack-people.html

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 7:31 a.m. CST

    I saw Jaws when I was 10 ...

    by I_am_not_Henry_Silva

    ...it was the back-up feature (believe it or not) at the drive-in with Buck Rogers. (yes the pilot film was released theatrically). My Mom tried to leave after the feature (having already seen Jaws) but I somehow convinced her to stay and let me watch. She told me it was scary but I figured I could handle it and I did! Except for the end when Quint is being eaten (spoiler?) I was able to watch, but my 10-year-old hand still had to creep over and turn down the sound on the window speaker as the screaming was really scaring me! I still don't know how I was able to convince my uptight, prude of a Mother to let me see this movie but it remains one of my faves!

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 7:31 a.m. CST

    Another suggestion

    by RexKramer1

    "The Watcher in the Woods." It's a bit more uneven than "Something Wicked" but it was one of the more effective horror flicks for kids. "Ring Around the Roses, it was..." And I can't wait for next week's column. BTW, if Segal et. al. don't find a way for that line and role to be reprised, they'll be missing on a golden opportunity.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 7:36 a.m. CST

    O Brother, Where Art Thou?

    by Larry Knowles

    Harry...a plead from your brother, Larry. I realize that we have been estranged for most of our adult life and that you publicly don't recognize my existence. But, now, to turn your back on this site that you've dedicated years of your life to...? Your family is worried about you, Harry. I am worried about you, brother. If you don't want to connect with me, at least consider salvaging this site...it's not completely beyond repair. A breaking story or a movie review once a week might be just enough to stop the bleeding and encourage a few departing fans to keep you in their 'favorites'. Please, brother, don't throw this site away. I love you. Larry Knowles

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 7:42 a.m. CST

    Harry Potter movies

    by ufoclub1977

    Have managed to include elements of horror far more intense then any of the stuff I saw on tv in the 70's. I really wanted to see Jaws at 6 years old, but was not allowed. Instead we saw that movie about the dad that gets fed up and moves his entire family out of the city into the mountains. But getting back to Harry Potter... it has more horror elements in it then almost any of the classic genre films I saw as a kid. It wasn't till sneaking into Excalibur that I saw what I would consider intense horror imagery on the big screen. Of course on the small screen I saw Halloween and The Exorcist on network tv. And they were a bit intense, but I really loved them. Jaws also caused me to start drawing/painting a lot and reading up on sharks/etc. I was already up on dinosaurs and could tell you that a T-Rex belonged in the Cretaceous period (not Jurrasic) in 1977.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 7:45 a.m. CST

    Is Human Centipede appropriate for kids?

    by Larry Knowles

    I know it has an R rating but I feel there might be some value in exposing a developing child to some of the ideas explored in this movie. For instance, a doctor's desire to advance medical knowledge for the betterment of society by attempting to improve the digestive system of a grouping of people. My eight year old daughter wants to be a doctor when she grows up and I think this might be just the type of movie she needs to reinforce that ambition. Also, Harry, please call me when you get a chance. Larry Knowles

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 7:45 a.m. CST

    Also, Quint...

    by ufoclub1977

    "You think keeping a child scared is a better route then helping them face their fears through storytelling?" A movie is not normally addressing a child's fears. It is usually creating fears that were not even imagined or felt. So watching a scary movie is by no means a natural therapy for nurturing a sound mind!

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 7:57 a.m. CST

    Not taking my little kids to True Grit

    by theBigE

    I had half a mind to take my 8 year old to see True Grit after Nordling's recommendation. I saw it with a group of adult relatives instead - no way I'm letting my daughter see this for a few more years. Great dialogue, too much violence. Kids are all different as to what is scary for them. In my experience, kids who watched R-rated horror films as young children grow up to be less sensitive teens (I teach HS and I've worked with 1000's of teens in my career thus far). As for my own kids, my youngest both admitted to nightmares after seeing Michael Jackson's Thriller video at 3 and 6. They have handled the last 2 Harry Potter films in the theatre just fine however, at ages 4&5 and 7&8. The medium plays a role as well. Heck, one of my kids was terrified of War of the Worlds in the cinema at age 12. Seeing movies on the big screen has a much different effect than watching them on your TV.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 8:08 a.m. CST

    UFO

    by Quint

    It is if you're being anywhere near a responsible parent and watching with your kids, answering questions or talking them through things they have difficulty with. True, some kids can't handle scary stuff and if they have no interest of course don't force them. There are adults that can't stand the most banal, neutered studio horror flicks. Kids will watch these movies whether with you or not. Trust me, I grew up in the '80s when you couldn't flip the channel without seeing a Jason, Freddy, Myers, Chucky or any of the millions of rip offs of those movies. Every kid at school was watching. My friends, the geeks, the sports kids, the asshole bully kids... everybody. I'm talking elementary school kids. If it was common then it's gotta be even moreso now considering the ease of watching movies these days, both legally and illegally. I think those knee-jerk reacting against this idea somehow think when someone like Nordling or myself suggest watching genre with your kids we mean strapping them into a chair Clockwork Orange style and putting on Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. And the argument of "let the children have their childhood" is so full of shit. One of the biggest joys of my childhood was exploring these risky, more adult (and sometimes "forbidden") movies with my friends. Most kids (not all kids) like being scared. There's a connection you can make as a kid that you can't as an adult. That very connection seems to be what those railing against this concept are concerned about, but they either have very hazy remembrances of their own childhood or are incredibly overprotective parents. My first movie memory was seeing the coffins shoot up out of the ground in Poltergeist... I woke up on the couch as my babysitter was watching the movie on TV. My next movie memory is Song of the South in its theatrical re-release. Think back. You may not have been a gorehound, but there was a delightful joy in scaring yourself silly after watching something that got under your skin. Whether it's The Shape outside your window or Jaws in the bathtub we all had something and that something was what made childhood fun. At least that's how I see it.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 8:17 a.m. CST

    Quint

    by 2LeggedFreak

    None of the experiences you relate seem to hinge around your parents pushing you into watching something ? So its you who is full of self-justifying shit. Leave the kids alone, they'll find their own way.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 8:44 a.m. CST

    "Something Wicked"-Not living up to its full potential?

    by Anna Valerious

    I read an article on Jim Hill Media some time ago when they discussed how long it took the film to be made, and how a discarded scene at the beginning utilized CGI...of course that was the early '80s, so it didn't look great. My question is, doesn't anyone think there should be a redo as CGI is perfected that we could have the shadow carnival set up in there and to not look for a man missing an arm and a leg to play one character and just digitally erase those parts? (You know, like they did in "Forest Gump".) Of course, they should get Michael Sheen as that creepy ringmaster and Jonathan Pryce as the dad this time around...

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 8:51 a.m. CST

    this is a great memory sparker

    by solitaire

    I love my Dad, but he could be quite odd about this stuff too. He didn't want me watching kung fu movies, but one night when I couldn't sleep he gleefully invited me downstairs to watch trillogy of terror with him. That f^%king doll still scares me and I'm thirty six with my own kid. he tried it with the original Don't be afraid of the dark, but that just made me kick our handyman in the nuts and want to break open our fireplace to find a secret passageway. Eventually, he rented Silver Bullet as our first official horror film, and I deeply love that film to this day. As time went on we did alien, exorcist, the thing, but he told me to see the Hammer stuff on my own, as he didn't want his own exuberance to color my enjoyment. I have an unabashed love of horror films nowadays I might not have had if my Dad hadn't ushered me in...though we should have skipped Ghost story - as much as I loved it then and now, a young boy needs not see a flying penis with his father

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 8:53 a.m. CST

    Funny, I saw Jaws 3-D when I was 5.

    by Fawst

    And it scared THE FUCK out of me. True, Jaws is not that gory, aside from Ben Gardner's head and the poor bastard's leg in the pond. But Jaws 3-D starts out with a half-eaten fish floating at you, with its mouth slowly opening... TO EAT YOU FROM BEYOND THE WATERY GRAVE!!! Yeah, that freaked my shit out as a kid. The arm, complete with broken bones COMIN ATCHA IN 3-D!!! I was done. I hid in the back of the theater and peeked my head out once in a while. When Bess Armstrong ever lifted that sheet off of Overman's corpse... fuck me. In short, Jaws 3-D is not for kids. Jaws, on the other hand, sure. I saw it when I was 7 or 8 and it didn't affect me nearly as much as J3-D. To be fair, it also completely captured my imagination and made me a film geek.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Also, Nordling..

    by Fawst

    Good call on The Lady in White. That is easily one of the best "kids" horror movies ever. It doesn't quite hold up for me as an adult, but as a kid, it was amazing. I'd suggest that Monster Squad is another good one. The dad's partner getting fried by Drac was pretty shocking as a kid...

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 9:02 a.m. CST

    How about some of the George Pal's that I watched growing up?

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    Like War Of The Worlds, or The Time Machine? Or are they too cheesy nowadays? Would Spielberg's remake be too intense? I really can't recall the transition films my daughter saw between Disney and High Tension (she's 18 now), but she did love Jaws and even (what can I say?) Sommers' The Mummy.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 9:14 a.m. CST

    I'll probably do a sci-fi edition sometime down the road.

    by Nordling

    I have a few ideas to throw on it. And none of them are STAR WARS.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Wow,

    by D.Vader

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Wow, someone at AICN is actually trying!

    by D.Vader

    Way to go Nordling! You've been on fire here lately.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 9:33 a.m. CST

    My dad showed us horror films as a kid

    by D.Vader

    I saw Nightmare on Elm Street when I was probably 7 or 8. But my dad always presented thr films in the right context and never let me forget what I was watching was fake and not real. He pointed out the effects and told me how they were done. Sure I was scared, but I was educated too, and talking about how the movies were made lessened the tension in the room. I later did this same trick when showing my young cousins Poltergeist, particularly the face-ripping scene. After telling them how it was done and how to tell it was fake, they loved it and even laughed a bit (maybe to hide some of their fear too). I was so concerned with the 10 and 12 yr old that I didn't pay much attention to the 14 yr old thinking she could handle it. She later had nightmares of corpses coming out of her attic crawlspace at night. Oops.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 9:53 a.m. CST

    So here's a challenge for you

    by 2LeggedFreak

    Any of you folks ever show your kids a film that you didn't like ?

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 9:54 a.m. CST

    Devil's Backbone

    by Gidney

    seems like a good starting point because it's mostly kid POV, the lead faces his fear and finds it to be not as scary, the message you can't trust all adults isn't inappropriate, and they seem happy enough in the end to allow smaller brains to finesse what's what.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 10:10 a.m. CST

    Movies that scare..

    by The_Mad_Groper

    I've been showing my kids movies like this since they were born. I always take the time to show them how its done and they love it! Night of the Living Dead (the orginal of course!) is an excellent one. Not TOO much gore and the focus is where it should be. I showed this to the kids and how the zombie make-up is done and now they all want to dress up like zombies for halloween every year! The middle one (who is now turning 7) wants to be zombie Mario now!

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 10:28 a.m. CST

    toruk

    by Loosejerk

    Here is one: http://tinyurl.com/27uts3c and another: http://tinyurl.com/29od7cc There are several mentions of a study paid for by NIMH with blurbs about the findings...I'm having a hard time tracking down the actual paper.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 10:43 a.m. CST

    2leggedfreak

    by solitaire

    Its not horror, but I rewatched E.T. with him. I despise that movie on nearly every level, but he loved it. I watched close encounters next (which I love) and he farted around with his legos till he fell asleep. to each his own, I guess...

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 10:58 a.m. CST

    The "ending" of the new Harry animation.

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    I haven't seen it yet, but I'm pretty busy still trying to get to the end of Pitfall on my Atari 2600.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 11:02 a.m. CST

    solitaire

    by 2LeggedFreak

    I salute you as a proper balanced parent !!! On the other hand if he messes about during Close Encounters I'd suggest adoption.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 11:05 a.m. CST

    While I don't have kids of my own...

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    ...I do have a 12-year-old nephew (his voice just started changing), and I introduced him to Godzilla movies last year. Those are a good way to introduce kids weaned on today's CGI effects to horror flicks...it's easy to tell the monsters are guys in suits or giant props being flown around on wires, and it takes the sting out of potentially traumatizing stuff. Then again, I saw Godzilla 1985 at the theater in 1985 (I was 11 at the time), and was scared SHITLESS, especially the scene there the guy finds the boat filled with dead bodies and gets attacked by a giant lice(?). Kids SHOULD be allowed to few scary movies, but it should be taken in stages. A five year old can watch Wallce & Gromit: Curse Of The Were-Rabbit, an eight-year-old should be able to handle the Universal horror pictures of the 30's and 40's, a ten-year-old should be able to handle Godzilla, a twelve-year-old should be able to take a light PG-13 flick like Poltergeist, ect.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 11:30 a.m. CST

    Carpenter's The Fog

    by Jak0lantern01

    I used to work at a video store and when parents would come in asking for a scary movie their kids could watch, one of the top titles we'd recommend was The Fog. By today's standards, it's pretty tame (the R rating is pretty silly today). There's no blood or nudity, only suggestive adult situations and a gooey shot of wormy ghost-face. The parents were always pretty happy with the suggestion. Then again, there was that less-than-bright co-worker that was asked for the same type of recommendation and suggested Last House on the Left, but that's a whole different story.........

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 11:47 a.m. CST

    jak

    by 2LeggedFreak

    Thanks for that...you just made me spit Toblerone all over my computer monitor!!!

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 11:53 a.m. CST

    I'm happy you enjoyed that last bit

    by Jak0lantern01

    You should have seen the mother's reaction when she returned the movie. She described the scene of watching this with her 13 year old daughter, her boyfriend and the rest of the family all together not knowing what this 'family friendly' flick was about. Too funny, but so wrong at the same time.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 11:58 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    "My first movie memory was seeing the coffins shoot up out of the ground in Poltergeist... "<p> Quint, sadly the brain is very poor at storing happy memories. Traumatic events however make a very deep long-lasting impression. I think you made my point for me.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 12:17 p.m. CST

    the difference is...

    by redkamel

    what scary movies you let kids watch. Things like The Twilight Zone, the melting faces in Indiana Jones, Joker frying a guy in Batman, the entire movie of Jaws...these were things I saw when I was very young, and stayed with me. But they were shown in context of a real story. It wasn't gore, it was a story, a story I was into, and it was part of it. For a kid, to realize that adventures and stories can be scary sometimes is important. Hell, I was watching Akira and Alien/Aliens in middle school, and reading "It" at night (yes, I read a lot) The point of this column, and its a good one, is to get the right kind of movies, in this case "scary" movies, to kids. Movies like the ones above are good stories, not the gross-shock crap thats out today, or what most people consider torture porn. I love a good scary flick, but many of them try too hard. Its not the effects, its the message and how its presented. Jaws is the Saw. Not to mention kids SHOULD watch these movies. When you learn to deal with fear that is from an imaginary source, you can deal with it from a real source later on.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 12:17 p.m. CST

    Cobra Kai never die!

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    CHOP ON!

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Age and discretion...

    by ufoclub1977

    I can tell you about myself and what I witnessed: The Matrix on DVD was considered harmless by parents who didn't let their 2 year old see Jaws (specifically where Quint gets eaten)... but I was watching him, because most of us are numb to actual amount of frightening content in a movie like The Matrix. During the scene where they make the hero's mouth disappear, I saw a look on this little boy's face that was not unlike the shot of the kid in The Shining... eyes wide in a silent witness of horror resulting in a paralyzing terror. I pointed it out, and the movie was turned off. But this kid was two. About myself: at age 4, I could not handle the Gilligan's Island episode with a bank robber posing a slow motion sheet covered ghost... I would run away form the screen, but it was fun. Around the same time I saw a brief part of Little Shop of Horrors that showed the hero feeding the plant a severed hand. That was horrifying to me at that age like watching a Taliban execution video is now. at age 8, seeing Halloween and The Exorcist on tv created a sense of dread that light years away from anything in The Omen or Omen 2. I had to walk away from the tv a few times. But in hindsight, meeting with fellow geeks in elementary school, it was great fun to remember and then re-watch. At age 10, the feeling of mystical horror I got from the laughing golden masked kid leading the hero to a tree of hanged death, had me squirming in true horror... but I thought the gore was awesome. at age 14, I was all into gore like that in Conan, Friday the 13th, or The Thing... but when I saw the chainsaw scene in Scarface, it seemed horrible in a real way. Again the feeling I would get now watching a real execution video. I remember pushing my feet down on the floor because the rainy T-Rex attack in Jurassic Park was so incredibly huge, thrilling, and awesome. I also remember hearing a few little kids crying. At age 38, I saw the fire extinguisher assisted murder in "Irreversible" and was disturbed. I think that recent movie where Jessica Alba gets punched to death slowly (The Killer Inside Me) is also an example of taking gore to a new realistic extreme that should repulse even a grown adult. But is does raise an interesting ethical question doesn't it? And this comes from a late middle school/early high school make up effects artist wannabe... Is the numbing down of the depiction of violence in art by putting up walls built from understanding the technique and cliche a good thing? Is it really a good thing to make hurting, maiming, or killing fun? I dunno. Every year art takes it to another level, and we slowly get more and more numb to it. These days you can easily find real videos of deaths (executions by knife or gun) done with modern digital video recorders. And I think there are people watching these that are getting numb to it. Could it become fun for them? Of course it could. History proves that this is human nature: Coliseums.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Funny how fox buried the Abyss. We didn't

    by UltraTron

    get a 20th aniversery blu in 2009. It's never even been released on anamorphic DVD. Just that shitty old mis-labeled as anamorphic DVD. No wonder kids only have jaws for ocean adventure

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 12:59 p.m. CST

    UFOclub: remember back in 78 there was

    by UltraTron

    a slasher flick where the guy rams the knife through back of chick's head and it c

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 1 p.m. CST

    comes out her mouth reverse blowjob style?

    by UltraTron

    Well we live in a world far worse than that.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 1:04 p.m. CST

    Ultratron...

    by ufoclub1977

    Was that "Happy Birthday to Me"? I was so into that Savini style wave of gore trend, that my 7th grade folder is filled with "slasher" style gore drawings. We'd be trying our own gore effects with karo syrup, aquarium tubing, and a super-8 camera. But forgive me is I am misinterpreting your post... you could be sarcastic and making fun of me!

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 1:08 p.m. CST

    PS in my rambling above...

    by ufoclub1977

    I forgot to name the great film "Excalibur" as one with thick mystical horror (gold masked giggling kid) and great awesome gore.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 1:52 p.m. CST

    2leggedfreak

    by JediWuddayaknow

    "Leave your daughter to do her own thing Nordling. Do you want her to grow up as like you, a sycophant to a declining web site *THAT I APPARENTLY DISLIKE, YET CAN'T STOP POSTING ON* who despite every possible bit of ass-licking still doesn't qualify for their own black-boxed comments. " There. Fixed it for you.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 1:57 p.m. CST

    jedi

    by 2LeggedFreak

    Thanks

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 3:16 p.m. CST

    The Killer Inside Me

    by 2LeggedFreak

    I never understood why people had problems with that scene. For me it was a realistic and honest depiction of what violence really is. All the other casual violence on TV and films is the desensitising shite that I abhor. The Killer Inside me says ( to me anyway) ; "This is what real violence is about. Not your Tarantino pre-pubescent nonsense but real violence. Like it much. No I thought not" I applaud the film for its honest approach.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 3:34 p.m. CST

    Excellent post, Nordling!

    by captaincosmos

    As the dad of two young girls (ages 7 & 5), and a life long geek myself, one of my current joys in life is introducing my kids to the stuff I dearly loved as a kid. And you're absolutely right, a lot of parents DO play it too safe, and would rather let their kids watch mindless "safe" garbage, rather than expose them to something that might require some post-movie reassuring discussion, but also spark their imaginations and create new interests. All October we went on a monster movie marathon at the house. The original King Kong is already one of my girls' favorite movies ever, and we started watching the Universal Frankenstein, Dracula, and Mummy movies that month. They were DIGGING them, man! Then my oldest holds up one of my Hammer Collection DVDs "The Horror of Dracula" and asks, "Hey, Dad, can we watch this one?" I was hesitant, and told them it was more intense, but we decided I'd keep an eye on how they were doing, and if it got to be too much, I would turn it off. Well, there were a couple moments that had them hiding their faces behind the couch cushions, but they were like "Don't you dare turn this off!" After the movie, they told me, "Dad, we like the Christopher Lee Dracual better. Can we watch another?" AWESOME! Of course, later that week we watched Peter Cushing in"Curse of Frankenstein" and they loved it too. And no nightmares or running into our room crying in the middle of the night. They get that it's just a MOVIE, and sometimes, when you're on the couch with Dad, cuddling a blanket and eating popcorn. It's OKAY to be scared. Thanks for letting me share. Gonna order "Something Wicked this Way Comes" on Netflix right now!

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Thanks, Geoffrey!

    by captaincosmos

    Here's hoping you will someday. One of the best bonuses of being a Dad is getting to revisit all your favorite things from your own childhood, and having a totally valid reason for doing so. At least, that's what I tell my wife...

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 3:54 p.m. CST

    My oldest daughter is almost four...

    by boogel

    And we have let her watch most things she asks to watch. Now I don't keep slasher films or anything overtly sexual laying around so that isn't really an issue. But she seems to genuinely love movies with a scare in them. And she gets little obsessions. Like for a while she wanted to watch Hellboy everyday. She thought it was really cool his best friend was a mermaid and he liked cats and candy. So everything get interpreted through a three year olds eyes. Now here is where I step in as a parent. Aside from the two categories I mentioned above I also won't let her watch things that a) imply a threat to her personally. So nothing with a child as a victim. I don't want her contemplating her own mortality at this point. And b) films that might impose a phobia. So Jaws is out. The last thing I want is to develop a water fear in her. The down side so far has been she's a little aggressive. By the time you add up all the superhero movies, with all the adventure/scary movies she's watched she has probably absorbed a lot of 'Might makes Right' thinking. In other words I get declared a dragon/bad guy/monster/ghost daily which is quickly followed by an ass kicking. I will need to channel that toward something involving a little less stabbing at some point. But for now it's just fun.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 3:59 p.m. CST

    Other possibilities.

    by Dr.007

    Pan's Labyrinth - mixes the themes of dealing with imagined and real evil nicely and the imagery while intense isnt too bloody. And maybe some Harryhausen to help kids transition into monsters without their being too scared right off. Or Nightmare before Christmas to do a similar intro to scary figures without any real threat. And thumbs up for Something Wicked ... def an underappreciated gem of a movie.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 4:26 p.m. CST

    geoffrey_fourmyle

    by ufoclub1977

    I can't believe someone is complaining that he/she read a plot detail for a film-that opened 6 months ago-on a film discussion board. PS that plot detail is structured early and cast just like the idea in Pyscho. It's a setup of the situation, not a secret twist of act 2 or 3. This asshole wants to know if there are any other movies on your list we shouldn't discuss in detail here in the threads of AICN?

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 5:58 p.m. CST

    i love this column!

    by ajbowen

    great stuff man! such a great idea and interesting read. cheers!

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 6:30 p.m. CST

    Now that's funny

    by ufoclub1977

    When someone randomly posts on here that you've actually hung out with/worked with... it changes the way the whole thing feels. I feel more accountable and self conscious. Ha. It's like Facebook "walls".

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 6:32 p.m. CST

    Great column

    by dukeroberts

    This is a great column and might be useful for some parents looking for something a little more mature than Hannah Montana-style garbage for the kids. Jaws and Something Wicked This Way Comes are both great choices. I have never seen The Lady in White in its entirety. I always saw bits and pieces on HBO growing up, but now I'm adding it to my Netflix queue. I think Monster Squad and The Wizard of Oz are good gateway films too. The Wizard of Oz has the Wicked Witch of the West and those creepy-ass flying monkeys. Those buggers still freak out some adults! Also, I remember when my nephew was younger, he liked Goosebumps. Some of those were not bad.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 6:52 p.m. CST

    My 9 year old has seen all of these.

    by sweeneydave

    I find that it varies from movie to movie. He's seen all of the Lord of the Rings, but I make him cover his eyes when Smeagol is choking the life out of Deagol. It's stuff like where I don't want him getting pissed and taking it out on his sister because he saw it in a movie. I'm okay with monsters. Not okay with killers. He's never really been afraid or had nightmares because I try to watch the behind the scenes stuff with him before the movie. The only movie that I've really regretted letting him see is Stephen King's It. That movie still scares him when he is reminded of it. I regret it and wish I could take it back.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 10:28 p.m. CST

    "I never understood why people had problems with that scene."

    by Toruk_Makto

    Uhm, I don't really want to see a chick get punched to death slowly. I'm actually rather proud of that.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 10:51 p.m. CST

    it was my dad that turned me on to Alien and Aliens btw

    by The_Crimson_King

    best movie nights ever for sure...

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 11:21 p.m. CST

    To all those who wonder about kids and scary movies...

    by CrusherJen

    While I don't remember a lot of it, my mother fondly recalls the horror movies we watched together when I was very young. As other good parents here did, she was careful about the movies she chose, made sure to watch them *with* me, made jokes as we watched, and monitored my reactions during and after the films. She remembers us crying at the end of King Kong 'cuz the poor monkey died (hey, I was about 2 years old at the time.) She didn't let me see anything she hadn't already seen, and she chose flicks appropriate to my age and maturity levels-- starting out with classics like King Kong, the Godzilla movies, then some of the Hammer Horror movies, the Twilight Zone, and so on. (Oddly enough, the only movies I remember giving me nightmares were the old hokey Blob films. Why, I'm not sure.) By the time I was older, ten or twelve or so, I got to make some of my own choices. I held off a while on seeing Alien" and "Nightmare on Elm Street" until *I* felt I was ready (and thoroughly loved both, with no nightmares, when I did see them.) And you know what? Yeah, I'm kinda geeky, but I turned out just fine. And I *still* love scary movies. I don't see a problem with kids and spooky stuff IF the parent is willing to BE a parent and keep their child's welfare in mind. You can't just plop a kid down and let them watch anything they want-- even if it's Sesame Street. But with care, a child can grow up knowing TV and movies aren't real, and can enjoy a harmless little scare or two. If they don't like spooky stuff, don't force them, of course. But if I'm ever lucky enough to have kids, I will-- carefully-- introduce them to horror and see just how much the taste runs in the family.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 11:37 p.m. CST

    BRAINDRAIN

    by DANNYGL0VERS_DICKBLOOD

    Would somebody shut that asshat up? He's like a gnat on a hot day.

  • Dec. 30, 2010, 11:57 p.m. CST

    Film and the Developing Child

    by ChaunceyGardiner

    My parents were quite strict on what films my sister and I saw when we were children. It was a limiting feeling, being unable to make opinion on films so many other children had seen. But what happened was this: because my mother loved film and was wary what then-contemporary films were peddling, she returned us to the films of her own childhood. We one-by-one devoured the classic film section of the local Ma-and-Pa video store and found ourselves enamoured with the films of Alfred Hitchcock and those of the Universal Monster film family.<P>Its important to find films that fascinate rather than repulse or utterly terrify. I remember watching the opening of Whale's "Frankenstein" as though I were really there in that cemetary. That said, I think that a parent be knowledgeable of their child and consistent with this pick films that will appeal to that child's particular personality. I showed Bird's "the Iron Giant" to one of my five-year old students (the whole class saw it but it was "for" him, with him in mind - mainly because I saw a lot of Hogart in that child and that child needed something of a mirror of himself, of his wonder and curiousity and ultimate bravery in order to build more self esteem, to see himself as the little astronaut that he was and is) and though that film has some scarier elements, I understood what there was of the film that would enbolden him and carry him through those parts that maybe one challange him.<P>That being said, "Creature from the Black Lagoon" is one of the most thrilling films I've ever seen, its scenes of hunting the beast being some of the most ingenuous and adrenaline pumping of the movies, a movie that puts a lot at stake and threatens us at the same time as empowering us, makeing us make conscious choices as an audience, feeling both sides and being torn between - and on the other hand has some of the most beautiful underwater photography you could imagine. It is everything you could want in a "Beauty and the Beast" horror film. A very intelligent and breathtaking film in the guise of genre film makeing.<P>"Monster House" is a film I saw as an adult but could feel myself watching it with the eyes of a child. A great film about the discomfort of helplessness that so many children fall prey to, often warping their personalities in an attempt to discourage that feeling, to escape it without comforting the fact of it. All the while, the film wraps us up in the fantasy of it, that element which so closely binds it to "the Goonies." <P>Those are just two, but they're a good start. There's also Claude Raines in "the Invisible Man," some of the greatest special effects you're kids are likely to ever witness, Henry Thomas in "the Quest," a sort of ghost story masquerading as mysticism. Classic black and white fright films, especially those with good pedigrees, are excellent if your child has a decent attention span (like George Sanders in "the Potrait of Dorian Grey, or many of the Val Lewton horror films with "the Curse of the Cat People" basically being a fable or fairy tale with tremendous atmosphere and a child as the focus). George C. Scott in "the Changeling" is a really spooky movie for adolescents, with a great mystery attached.<P>Its funny, as a child I remember some of my favourite movies, whether they be horror movies or not, because of the frightening moments in them, those being what was most memorable to a child, as anchors for the stories, as representations of the fear that it is sometimes to be a child, as the places where I most associate myself in the characters and bridges to their adventures and ultimate bravery: Eliot investigateing the "coyote" in the backyard in "E.T.". Thinking in this vein I remember Max being surrounded by Monsters on a faraway island and haveing to assert himself and I wonder: how "Where the Wilds Things Are" would play for wise and kind 8 to 10 year olds? Clouzet's "Beauty and the Beast" may be in French but if you explained the dialouge (like I do for my own parents now, their bad eyesight), they might be utterly swept away.<P>And in final note, "Vertigo" blew my mind away and swept up the dust when I was an 11-year old who liked Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton - it was my first introduction to "Tragedy" as a type or genre, a theme, and I think it had a great deal to do with the person I've become, for good or for ill. As I realize those that have stuck with me are probably getting antsy, I'll add that talking about tragedies reminded me of Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood" and I'm sure there are some young adults that would be unable to contain themselves while watching that. These are all films that handle fear and trembling with understanding, great beauty of image, and tremendous feeling. They get to the heart of that which drives us into avoidance, and beguil us as we contemplate that which lurks for us as currents under the water. God bless Film. It's quite a thing.

  • Dec. 31, 2010, 12:22 a.m. CST

    Don Siegel's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"

    by ChaunceyGardiner

    you know, for 10-year olds. (That film, my reaction to it, my mulling over of it, probably one of the reasons that I stopped haveing nightmares of massive crowds of people trying to influence me into following a collective will - basically Zombie dreams but not with all the trappings, but they were the condensed terror of the possiblity of "one vs. the many." I've had that sort of dream since 2nd grade - and if I wanted to, I could give you the real life event that helped to spawn those such dreams - and so it was a fascination with that idea that helped me to relive and escape that overwhelming sense of claustraphobia and an ultimate aggression that stemmed from childhood trauma. The world is truly a frightening place for many, and it is good and true to explore that it our art and entertainment, as long we understand our bounds, are conscious of our decisions as consumers, and are desirous to have resolution of those fears. It is good to move forward - which is why the heavy repetition that is the current crop of slasher films and dead teenager flicks are anthema to some of the greatest of all horor films. They are mean spirited, and they lack imagination. They cheap swill.)

  • Dec. 31, 2010, 12:24 a.m. CST

    anathema

    by ChaunceyGardiner

  • Dec. 31, 2010, 12:59 a.m. CST

    Perhaps

    by 2LeggedFreak

    My views on this are coloured by one of the first films I picked up for my kids from a car boot sale. It was called "Mary Pop-Ins" and wasn't quite what I thought it was. I had my first clue when the cheeky cockney chimney sweep said ;" Hey Mary Poppins, do you like fruit ? Well get your mouth around this, its a peach!" Just managed to get the kids out of the room before the 12 sweep gang bang started but unfortunately not far enough away for them not to hear the refrain of: Supercunnyfrigmyclittydeepeeanddeepthroaters Never again

  • Dec. 31, 2010, 11:34 a.m. CST

    chaunceygardner...

    by eustisclay

    ...great posts. I also liked captaincosmos posts as a few years ago, I did the same thing with my stepson. We are film nuts, if I were a fisherman, I'd be taking my kid out to teach him the right and safe way to fish. So as responsible(?) film buffs, I think we owe it too our children to teach them film in a way to appreciate all classics in all genres. To start them out with the universal horror and work your may up to Hammer and them modern horror is absolutely the way to do it. I had a sister in law that thought if it was on tv, it was ok. Meaning it was fine for her 7 year old to watch Friday the 13th on tv cause it was on the USA and the nudity and graphic violence are editied. But she misses the point. Those films are definitely not for preteens because of the casual attitude towards the violence and basically their disregarde for the victims. I'd keep them away from bodycount movies. I would also want them to appreciate the classic horror before they lose their innocence. If you've got a preteen watching edited versions of r rated horror flicks, they're gonna laugh(and not it a good way) when they see an old Frankenstein film. Maybe we're just a bunch of old farts, but as I said, on this site, we're film geeks, And if we're also parents why wouldn't we want to share with our children the joys of horror films, but in an appropriate way. Now some are gonna disagree with me, maybe they don't find the old films scary, and think them boring. There also seems to be a bragging attitude towards your kids(I watched Dawn of the Dead with my 6 year old and he could handle it). But really, we like to keep our kids from growing up too fast in other areas(especially sex) so why not with films? Before rushing to share Jurassic Park with your children, why not work up to it with The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms and Them, work up to the Godzilla films first? Have fun with them. Look there's a lot of shit out there. They will discover that on their own. Being informed about film, we have the opportunity to guide them with the classics. I actually envy those with younger children, getting to share your love of the cinema. I'm 52, probably not gomnna have that opportunity again to experience early horror films with young minds. We do have a 12 year old nephew that had never seen the Sellars Pink Panther films(thought he'd seen the first Martin one). He loved them. But as I said, have fun with them and don't just let them discover horror on their own on tv. Just because they're editied, doesn't mean they are okay.. Look, I remember going to see Dracula has Risen ffrom the Grave and Valley of Gwangi on a double feature with I was 10 or 11. Dracula didn't have any nudity but did have lots of cleavage and was very bloody. These films were rated G! They were great for me(and as Nordling says, they were diferrent times, I walked about two miles to the other side of town to the neighborhood theater showing it. Imagine letting your 10 year old walk through several different classes of neighborhoods, around the outskirts of downtown to a destination a coupke of miles away nowadays. Even if you felt your kid was safe enough, nost people would think you were nuts and a horrible parent). but G? I couldn't see most 5 year olds trolling into them. A couple of years later, saw the double feature, Taste the Blood of Dracula and Trog. Once again, Trog was a G, I think Dracula was a GP(had a flash of nudity). But i was at a great age, as movies got more graphic as far as violence and sex, I was getting older. I don't know what it would be like if I were a child with access to graphic sex and violence at that age, or had guardians who had no problems showing them to me. Sure, you may think they can handle it, but how do you really know? Maybe there are things going on in their impressionable little minds that may be years before they will surface. I don't mean necessarily that they will become serial killers , but maybe they become desensitized to violence or have dismissive attitudes towards women, I don't know, but just like the fisherman dad, be responsible, you've got a lot that you've learned, don't be impatient to share that knowledge, just enjoy the experience of sharing things, they only get one first time.

  • Dec. 31, 2010, 11:45 a.m. CST

    2leggedfreak....

    by eustisclay

    ...very funny. I had the same experience(though luckily no kids were around). Went to a video store havinf a used vhs sale. Picked up a movie calle Hard Choices. It's a very good film about a young teen who tags along with his older brothers on a burglary, that turns tragic. Almost immediately his life is all but over, faced with life behind barfs. Won't say any more about it, in case there are those who haven't seen it. Now the cassete in the box had a homemade label but that didn't concern me, back then, the manufacturers lbels used to fall off all the time. But later when I watched it, it opened on a california beach in that made for video sheen. I thought uh oh, Hard Choices took place in Texas. Then I noticed during the brief credits that only male actors were listed. Then the image of a nude man in a shower shoving a bar of soap up his ass came on. Shut off the tv, called the video store, explained what happened and told them that even though I've never see a gay porno, I kinda know one when I see one.

  • Dec. 31, 2010, 12:48 p.m. CST

    Or you could try to NOT turn your kids into illiterates

    by Ringwearer9

    like being raised on TV and movies did to you, and get them to love BOOKS. But now, the same pap you were fed, has to be regurgitated for your kids too. We are doomed as a culture.

  • Dec. 31, 2010, 1:20 p.m. CST

    As a kid Hitchcock's The Birds freaked me out

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    Even today the attic scene holds up really well. What scared BRAINDRAIN as a kid? When his Dad came into his bedroom at night, smelling of cheap whiskey and sweat, wanting to "tuck him in" one more time.

  • Dec. 31, 2010, 2:47 p.m. CST

    ringwearer9

    by CrusherJen

    Why can't parents teach their kids about movies AND books, instead of your either/or dichotomy? Sure, Mom and I watched spooky movies as a toddler--but I was *also* reading before I was two years old. (And I continued to devour books throughout my childhood, probably read far more than I watched on TV.) The whole point of parenthood is to teach the tyke (or tykes) as much as possible to make them capable, well-rounded adults. I don't recommend being "raised on TV and movies," but considering how pervasive a force multimedia has become in our society, kids had BETTER learn the tricks and trappings of the silver (or small) screen in order to use the technology-- not to be used _by_ it. What better way to explain special effects and camera tricks than to use the classic Universal horror flicks we loved so much as younguns? Knowing that, maybe the kids will be better able to resist the barrage of commercials and societal pressures to be the perfect people/consumers--just like the (unreal) ones they see on TV, or at the movies, etc. Knowledge is power. It's "normal" to figure "we're doomed as a culture" as we age-- trust me, at 38 I'm starting to feel it myself. But that's been said for centuries-- my parents have said it, my grandparents probably said it, their grandparents probably said it. I'm not sure if it's *doom* so much as the culture shifting to something very different from what we grew up in. The World Wide Web is radically changing so many aspects of how we live-- the dissemination of information, how we relate to each other, and the very fact that instead of having to argue this point in person, I'm probably making my point to people around the globe, electronically, in a matter of heartbeats. It's not a little scary. But our society will somehow survive--even if it's not something we can easily recognize. It's not a horrible thing for us to share our knowledge and passions with the next generation, to give them some of our points of reference to serve them in the world they will inherit. After all, we still read Shakespeare, Dumas, and Conan Doyle, fragments of older cultures now passed away. They still have value, for us and for the future. If any of our modern favorite stories are to survive, it's up to us to pass them down to the next generations. So why shouldn't we? Wow, long-winded much? Sorry for the rambling.

  • Jan. 1, 2011, 3:04 a.m. CST

    geoffry_fourmyle

    by CrusherJen

    Aw, thanks!

  • Jan. 1, 2011, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Great article, man!

    by NixEclips

    I will also say The Gate, Troll and Monster Squad are good to share with the little ones. Accidentally left The Gate at a friends house and the next day couldn't take it out of the DVD player, because the 8 and 4 year old girls wouldn't stop playing it.