Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why it is not a Good Idea for Kids to See Horror Movies

When my son was little we watched The Picture of Dorian Grey as a family. It was the old black and white movie. My husband and I thought he would like it. We completely forgot about the colorized scene in the movie. That one scene terrorized our poor son so badly that he had nightmares for a long time. He is now twenty and he still cannot bring himself to watch that movie.

That movie was tame compared to some recent horror movies.

As kids, my husband and I had been big fans of old black and white movies, especially film noir and horror movies. We stupidly forgot how impressionable a young child is.

I do remember a traumatic experience of my own. When I was 12 years old, my aunt took my cousin and me to watch Mark of the Devil.  It was the most violent, scary movie I had ever experience in my sheltered life!  I do not think my aunt knew what it was going to be about.  We left after maybe 1/2 hour but that movie images stayed with me for a long time too.  

The reason I am bringing this topic up now is because of my nephew. Without giving too much personal information away, my mother noticed that he is very tired and something seemed to be bothering him. Well, it appears he saw a very scary movie about the devil. Apparently, almost all of my family like horror movies. I don't know what movie he saw but the poor kid is very frightened! He is not a little kid either. He is a teenager.

The good thing about this traumatic experience is that being a good Catholic boy, he is turning to God for protection. He recently was confirmed and was given a Brown Scapular to wear. He wears his Brown Scapular continuously. He is also praying more, especially the Divine Mercy chaplet. I know he is in good hands with his mom and our mom to help him during this difficult time.

But just imagine all the poor children out there whose parents aren't aware the damage being done to their child by letting them be exposed to evil in movies; who don't teach that the child can go to God for help.  When I was a kid, it was fun to be get scared watching movies. But back then those movies only implied evil and violence. Movies today explicitly show evil. Some movies can very well be classified as pornographic because of the graphic violence they contain.

Right now there seems to be a debate on whether Catholic kids should be allowed to watch the latest  Harry Potter movie. Ultimately, that is the parents' decision. But why expose children to the dark side in any shape or form?  I know it is all in good fun and entertainment but I think the Devil just waits for any opportunity to try and snatch our children away.


Autumn said...

Horror movies. I don't like them. I've never seen any and don't want too. I saw the Passion of The Christ movie this year for the first time and it scared me. It was to dark and to much of the devil. And in the garden there was no Angel. It creeped me out for weeks, thank God for prayer! Even thinking of it gives me bad chills. Next Easter I'm just watching our 1970's Jesus movie. Its beautiful for me and the POTC is not.
Also I am of the veiw that if you let your guard down and expose yourself to a little evil through movies, books etc. That its easier to allow evil to gain hold in your heart. We must always be careful of what we see and hear.

mary333 said...

I think I saw Mark of the Devil too! I can't believe my parents allowed our teenage neighbor to take us to see it (or maybe they didn't realize which movie she was taking us to see)! I had nightmares for weeks and my parents had to leave the hall light on in my house because I kept having dreams that the devil was chasing me. I can't remember how old I was but I know that I was 9 or under when we saw it at the drive-in movie theater.

The horror movies that are out today are, on the most part, disgusting. Randy and I rarely watch movies but we do take Michaela to the theater. To be honest, I think I prefer the movies for children over the regular movies these days.

I'm sorry about your nephew and I will pray for him. Let's face it:
Hollywood needs a complete makeover. Not much good comes out of there. Perhaps there is a rare exception now and then but overall the stuff is pretty bad.

What is sad is that I think they just might get this makeover but not on their own terms unless there is a complete turn around and major conversion toward the Lord. Too many souls are being harmed by the evil coming out of that area. Young people especially.

Esther G. said...

Autumn, if it weren't for the fact that I want to empathize with Jesus' sufferings, I would not watch the POTC either.

Mary, just thinking about that movie still upsets me. This was a movie about the Salem witch hunt. I can't believe how they permitted kids to see the torture scenes.

I like children films too because I know that we won't be exposed to gratuitous sex scenes, profanity or excessive violence.

Mimi said...

My oldest likes them, and critiques them cinematically. I am not at that level, nor do I enjoy them.

However, I did want to mention that when my oldest was preparing for his first confession, my priest talked to him about the "Picture of Dorian Grey" and what it says about confession, and cleansing our soul. I thought it was a brilliant discussion, but I still haven't read the book. Gulp

Esther G. said...

Mimi, you are right! Good connection there. I haven't heard the book either. I should.

Mary, BTW, forgot to thank you for praying for my nephew.

elena maria vidal said...

Great post. I think some children are more sensitive to horror flicks than others. I know I was VERY sensitive as a child; I was unable to get the images out of my mind. A film like The Picture of Dorian Gray because it is so masterfully done, unlike the run of the mill cheap horror film, can haunt someone forever. The horror builds up so subtlely, everything seems to normal, and then SUDDENLY...yikes! the devil portrait! I'm still scared when it comes on. When I saw The Exorcist in my 20's I had post traumatic stress for weeks and had to sleep with a light on.

Anonymous said...

I was traumatized by seeing the Wizard of Oz at age 7.

Horrible film, almost as bad as the Sound of Music.


Esther G. said...

Elena, I agree that some children are more sensitive. I worry about the ones that aren't. BTW, I forgot about how disturbing The Exorcist was!

Alexandra said...

I still have vivid memories of some movies that I should not have been able to see as a young child such as those violent Charles Bronson films and the Poseidon Adventure.

I was older but, Jaws and The Exorcist still effect me to this day!

We try to stick to the rating system, and Google information about movies. My son is sensitive to gore.

Esther G. said...

Alexandra, we try to use the USCCB rating and will avoid the morally offensive ones like the plague.