1 October 2012

Is it safe to come out yet?

Courtesy of Wikipedia
 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!

38 comments:

  1. Hi Love, I really dislike children being introduced to these things. I know some people as you say will believe it is just a film but why would you want to introduce talking to the dead and other such scry things to children. Whats wrong with fun fantasy, fairies and super heroes. Why not concentrate on happier things that will make children feel positive.
    I knwo life isnt full of happy thoughts at all times, but Im not sure primary school aged children need to worry about such things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. Let's keep their ears and eyes away for as long as possible. Thanks for commenting x x

      Delete
  2. Certainly an interesting topic. We saw the trailer with our 5 year old when we took her to see Ice Age 4 a couple of months back. The film didn't ring too many alarm bells with me but I am not going to go out of my way to take Grace to see it. She recently saw 'Brave' and had to sit on my lap because she was scared of the bear. That said, I believe that she would not have done this should she have watched it on the TV without surround sound in a dark cinema. She also watches Dr Who from behind her fingers!
    I feel that the subject matter for ParaNorman is slightly contentious for a child but so are things like Beetlejuice and Coraline for that matter. I am not going to push Grace to see ParaNorman but I won't stop her.
    As for the Human Centipede - what kind of sick person made that?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Disgusting isn't it? I couldn't even put into print what the sequel was about! My kids are all pretty sacred of this stuff and I don't want to induce nightmares unnecessarily so we didn't see Coraline either. Thanks for commenting :)

      Delete
  3. Hi! I am outraged about the content of this movie. I too would have taken the same stance as you have. I dont have children but I fully believe that as parents it's our responsibility to keep them save body and mind. Well done for standing your ground! It takes guts but it sometimes does to do the right thing :) xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks zmelsnie. Unofortunately it is going to get harder but I think it's important to stand with what you believe in, even if tht make should unpopular at times. X

      Delete
    2. Thanks Zmelsnie?! Predictive text gone wrong!

      Delete
  4. I can see where you're coming from - I won't take Flea to see the movie Frankenweenie because I have issues with a film about children raising the dead. But children have always loved being scared in a controlled manner, hence the success of Grimm's Fairy Tales onwards - it's often adults who worry more about these things than the kids!

    I did take Flea to see Paranorman and I'd say it's not especially scary - as Flea said, the film is spooky rather than scary.

    The ghosts and spirits are friendly and helpful, and even the scary zombies turn out to be misunderstood good guys, too. As for the witch, the message there is that bullying is wrong, even if you're bullying because you were being bullied. There's also a strong message in the film that it's okay to be scared of things - and being brave is about confronting things that are scary, not never being scared. I really liked that.

    The scares in the film don't particularly come from the subject matter - they're mostly jump scares of the sort you'll see in lots of kids' films. You know - something pops up on screen, or a loud noise makes everyone jump, sort of thing.

    If you have a child who is generally scared of monsters and Halloween type creatures, or if you have a strong faith that means you'll object to the depiction of the paranormal, then it's definitely not the film for you, but if your kids love the idea of monsters and ghosts, then I'd say it's fine for children aged 8+ (which the film is aimed at, I think). Certainly, Flea, at just turned 7, wasn't scared and she loves slightly spooky things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree Sally. It is up to parents to make an informed choice based on your own child. Hopefully most parents will do that, without just 'assuming' its ok. Thanks for commenting :)

      Delete
  5. The human centipede sounds horrific! Really not a fan of sick horror like Saw etc. as for Paranorman - the trailer looked good- but I think , as with all films with a PG rating, the onus is on the parent to decide what's suitable for their child on an individual basis. Have no issue with the subject matter- I was Big Adams Family/Munsters fan as a kid and from the trailer this looks in a similar vein. U is aimed at younger kids, PG covers up to 12 really. I may take a 9 year old to see something that I wouldn't take a 5 year old to see. I see no harm in spooky tales as long as is kept appropriate for the audience- something only the parent can judge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you find that subject horrific, why would a parent let a 12 year old watch it.. I was really shocked! Thanks for commenting :)

      Delete
  6. We won't allow our 11 year old to see a 12 film until he's 12 as we want to stand firm no matter how many of his friends are allowed to see films or play games which aren't age appropriate. As for ParaNorman, I am completely outraged that this would be deemed appropriate by any film maker. My 6 year old has repeatedly asked to go and see it but we decide what he can watch. Sadly I fear all too many parents cave into to their children's demands.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think parents often go by what the film-makers say is ok but sometimes films aren't suitable for your child and that's where parents come in. Thanks for commenting Esther x

      Delete
  7. An interesting post and some great discussion points. I actually think that even when children are older than the certificate it doesn't necessarily mean that the film will be suitable for them. All children develop differently at an emotional level and have different tolerances. My 3 year old has cried at a number of U films - over things that I wouldn't think would be upsetting for a 3 year old, but clearly are to him, he can't rationalise to wait for the happy ending that usually, is inevitable. I find the certification of some cartoons very surprising, even some Disney movies, rated U, can be rather dark for young children.

    You know your daughter beter than anyone and have the best view about whether the movie will upset her, and equally, you have your own beliefs about whether the subject matter is appropriate/ something you want to expose her to. I guess the hard bit will come if you decide not to let her go to the party (if she wants to) and explaining why. These are exactly the sort of dilemmas that make parenting so tricky. Good luck x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you about the rating of films, some 12s seem fairly harmless and others not so, it is all down to the child and the parent making an informed decision. Sadly, some don't bother :( Thankfully, my sensitive and easily-spooked daughter, knew that this film would be too much for her, even at nearly 11 yrs old! So I politely declined the invitation. Phew! Thanks for commenting x

      Delete
  8. I haven't seen it, but middle child (nearly 9) has asked to go. That isn't going to happen because I think it will freak my daughter out. Madagascar 3 is out soon and we can all go and enjoy that! Bet you don't lose views or followers - bet you get even more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am aware that by putting your real view out there, sometimes it doesn't go down too well. I didn't want to come across as too preachy (if you know what I mean?) There are so many great films out there, think we weill be sticking to those too :)

      Delete
  9. Hi Suzanne, fantastic post! In complete agreement with you. Also, I read this recently about Paranorman - it's well worth a look. http://kristinemcguire.com/why-i-have-a-problem-with-paranorman

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that Ruth, have read it and commented. I thought you might like this post! ;)

      Delete
  10. Hi Suzanne. I wanted to stop by, say "hello and thank you" for commenting on my own blog post about ParaNorman, and agree with you whole heartedly. There is so much being touted as "suitable for children" which is frighteningly unsuitable. Many adults are enamored by the occult so they see how problem when it's presented to their children as a cartoon. However, it's conditioning children to accept things which God has deemed unacceptable according to scripture. Parents are indeed the gatekeepers for their young ones and should not be afraid to share the truth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting Kristine, it's good to know that I am not alone in this :)

      Delete
  11. Very interesting post, I can definitely see your point.
    I agree that it is our job as parents to decide what is and isn't acceptable for our children. The only differential factor is that some people's children may be more emotionally mature than another's so are better prepared to rationalise such a film.
    My lg is 2 next week and we settled down to watch Beauty & the beast last night. It got as far as the wolves outside the castle before I turned it off. She didn't seem phased by it but to me it seemed far too scary for her to understand. I know a young 7yo boy who often plays on Call of Duty which is a certified 18 game, it's disgusting.
    I suppose what in trying to say is I most definitely Agee with you but I wouldn't judge another parent for it as each child is different x

    ReplyDelete
  12. PS: I watched the Human Centipede before I knew what it was about - absolutely horrific. I refuse to watch the second and from what I've heard and seen in the trailer, it's a very good thing it's banned!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another friend said the same today, she has been traumatised by that film :( I understand what you're saying about so-called 'children's' films and as you say, each much be judged by it's own merits and with each child in mind. Thanks for commenting :)

      Delete
  13. I saw a trailer for ParaNorman while in the cinema with my kids awaiting Brave! and I was pretty appalled by it. I don't think what you say is contentious in the least; it's common sense. At least it's easy enough to check a film's suitability; what took me completely unawares, having grown up a Doris Day fan, was the problem of song lyrics. When your 8yo buys a CD from HMV you have no idea what profanities and sexual explicitness will be hidden in the compilation because few carry warnings unless they are really near the knuckle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree on the music thing - I asked my sister to buy a Katy Perry CD for my daughter once for christmas and it was marked 'explicit material'! Thankfully, my sister decided not to buy it, based on that sticker :) We need to be very vigilant as parents these days.

      Delete
  14. H hun. Great post! I totally agree that children should not be subjected to violence and disturbing images such as that vile film the human centipeade. I cant believe a 12yo was able to watch it. I also woukd not let my kids watch a "horror" animation either. My OH lets my eldest watch star wars, DR Who and I even ban scooby Doo now. My eldest is 5 this month & had hoped to take her & a friend to the cinema for her birthday, but all I can find showing are these films & madagascar 3 (not seen the other 2) Cant our babies stay babies just a little longer? Why scare them about such a natural thing as death...isnt there enough of it in the real world?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel quite strongly that people can be harmed by what they watch :( And yes, why subject children to disturbing concepts if not necessary?

      Delete
  15. I am in agreement with you and so many of the above comments (as you can see - your post hasn't scared anyone away :o) ) Each child is so different, and you can only be the best judge for your child, to decide what they can and can't see. This area is a mine field - do directors/ producers who make these films (and those in charge of certifying the films) really understand the imaginative limits of young children? I think if you are particularly concerned about a film, go and see it first, before taking your child. My parents let me watch video nasties when I was a young teenager - I wish they hadn't - it was totally inappropriate - that film you mentioned (caterpillar) sounds awful. X.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am pleased that so many parents agree and I just hope that those who may not consider the content before allowing their child to watch, might now do so. You are obviously a prime example of someone who was affected by watching nasty films as a child - it really is quite scary isn't it?

      Delete
  16. I haven't had chance to read all your comments so I hope they are in the majority in agreement with you as I certainly am! I totally believe children should remain children for as long as possible - B Lloyd cannot even watch Tangled without sobbing her way through the evil witch part. She doesn't like it and it scares her. She is only 5 but I don't think she needs at this point to be exposed to things that are going to worry her and upset her. I am sure there would be people out there that will say this film isn't directed at my daughters age, but then even in another 5 years when she is 10 I don't think I would be particularly happy for her to see it as I think it would still upset her. I of course will have to wait and see but the idea of a child watching the other film you mentioned sounds awful and I would maybe be concerned how she had come to see it if it is banned in the UK? A great post Suzanne and not one that you should have worried about writing about, you clearly did your homework first, and its a very important issue X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think that the film-makers are clear enough on who the film is aimed at and personally, I don't think that any age child should be exposed to this kind of subject matter. I think it's because of Halloween but as a family, we don't celebrate that either, for the same reasons - but that's a whole new blog post! Thanks for your comment and I'm glad to see it's not only me :) x

      Delete
    2. Thank you for not making me feel like an abnormal parent! I hate this time of year as like you I try and protect my children from this sort of rubbish. Even the adverts for this and other such films are frightening my seven year old who I have just had a long chat with about ghosts as he has been scared witless by some kids at school telling ghost stories. I believe children should be children. So many of my friends expose their kids to inappropriate games and films and my eight year old makes me feel guilty as he is often the only one in his class who hasn't seen or played on certain things. But I stand my ground and explain that when he is older, he can make that choice. Why are we in such a hurry to make our children grow up?

      Delete
  17. Good thing you looked into it. Did you stop your middle child from going to the party? Have got all this to come!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm horrified at reading your post that such a film would be granted a PG. I am totally against this, what is wrong with our children enjoying their childhood?
    Why do we have to scare the life out of them and grow them up too quickly? For what reason?

    Very good debate and I'm with you, thank goodness you did do your research as I'm not sure what good could come form seeing such a film in all honesty.
    Thanks for adding this to the @BritMums #MBPW

    ReplyDelete
  19. The film sounds scary to me, who hates horror movies so I can't see how a child wouldn't react the same! My ex let my daughter watch Jurassic Park when she was 7 and she had nightmares for weeks. He wasn't the one who had to allay her fears in the middle of the night and just didn't get why I was so angry about it. Great post

    ReplyDelete
  20. I totally agree with you. My boys are 13, 2 and 1. Being a single Mum to the eldest I found it quite easy to avoid anything I didn't deem suitable. (We didn't even have tv as he mainly watched kids videos) When I met my husband he had grown up in an unrestricted house and didn't see the problem with films or games. Over the last few years I have reluctantly given in as I can no longer control what my eldest is exposed to as he goes to his mates or his Dads instead. I find it very sad that I can no longer parent the way I would like as it has been taken out of my hands xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment Kat. It's very hard to control things as your children grow up - there are so many influences on them. You obviously have it doubly hard, being that your son is often with his dad who sees things differently from you.

      Delete

Thank you for reading. Your comments make my day! x

UA-39296960-1