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As I very rarely use my blog as a virtual soap-box, this is an unusual post for me and one which I have deliberated over writing for a few days. I realise it might not be popular with some readers and I may even lose some followers over it but I don't believe this is a good enough reason to not share my views. My hope is that these ramblings will promote an interesting discussion and at the very least, get people thinking.
Last week, my 12 year old daughter informed me that one of her best friends had seen a film called 'The Human Centipede'. Her friend is 12, the film is a certificate 18. Just to put you in the picture, 'The Human Centipede' proudly touts itself as "the most horrific horror film ever made" and features a scientist who stitches his kidnap victims together, mouth to anus. If this isn't enough, the fact that the sequel to this film has been banned from being shown in Britain, should give you a pretty good idea of the content. The British Board of Film Classification has denied an 18 certificate to the sequel, stating that "it poses a real threat to cinemagoers".
A few days ago, my middle child was invited to a friend's birthday party, where they were going to the cinema to see the latest children's release 'ParaNorman'. Being a Christian and a strong believer that there is real power in the supernatural world - both good and evil - the title of this film had already rung alarm bells for me. Not wanting to make a flippant and uninformed decision, I did a little research to find out what the film is actually about, particuarly as DD2 is pretty averse to watching anything even remotely scary (Enchanted left her with nightmares for weeks!). This American 'animated comedy horror film' is about a young boy called Norman who has the ability to speak with the dead. No-one in his town believes him so he is bullied by classmates and ostracized by his family. Norman sees various frightening visions and goes on to arouse cursed spirits who turn into zombies and relentlessly pursue Norman and his friends. In his vision, Norman sees a wicked witch, Agatha, who was originally a little girl, also a misunderstood medium, just like him. Norman awakens her spirit and confronts her ghost, hoping to get her to release the curse she has placed over his town. As it is 'just a film for children', the film ends with Norman being the town's hero and the zombies and the witch, being able to rest in peace and move into the after-life.
Happily Ever After. Or is it? I have read blogs and tweets recently by parents who have cited this film to be incredibly frightening for children, so much so that they had to leave the cinema. Just look at the content, it really doesn't suprise me at all. This is an American film, a PG, which I imagine has been released in Britiain to coincide with Halloween. I feel sad that the film industry deem the content of this film, suitable for the primary school age group. What's wrong with Jack and the Beanstalk?!
As parents, I believe we have a responsibility to act as the 'gatekeeper' to our children's hearts and minds. For me, this means soliciting any material that they are privvy to, while I still can, including so-called 'lighthearted' or 'fun films'. My motive is to prevent them (as far as possible) from being exposed to frightening things, beyond their years and I believe that paranormal activity is very real today and not something to be 'dummed down' or softened through a cartoon. As for 'The Human Centipede', not even I would watch that, through my fingers or from behind a cushion!
I questioned whether to raise this topic, mainly because I don't want to offend anyone or tell people what to do, it is certainly not my 'right' to do that. What are your views on ParaNorman, have you seen it? What do you think about children being opened up to the world of horror through a cartoon?Pin It Now!