September 8, 2007

Wait, Say Again?? Parents Take Kids To Slasher Movies?

Alright, Californian parents, stop talking about the size of your baby's penis and start explaining why the hell you are bringing babies and toddlers to freakin' slashfests. Here's SF Chronicle film reviewer Peter Hartlaub's second post about this mindboggling trend [his first was from February]:

While I thought the new "Halloween" was a pretty decent horror film, nothing in the movie was as scary as the collection of parents who brought small children to last night's critics screening at the Jack London Cinema in Oakland.

The last time I wrote about this subject, I felt guilty about the fact that I didn't say anything to the father who brought his small boy to the remake of "The Hitcher." With "Halloween," my only option to save every kid in the audience was to pull the fire alarm. There were at least 10 small children in the crowd, including what I would guess to be an 18-month-old girl in front of me and two boys maybe 3 and 4 years old sitting a row behind.

When I snuck unto the theater to see Halloween, it freaked me the hell out for weeks. And I was like 10. Even when a friend and I went to see The Simpsons [at a 1030pm Saturday screening], there were dozens of kids as young as our own, ages 3-5, which blew our minds.

So tell me, parents who take their kids to these movies, how can you tell when your child is ready to see the stationwagonful of massacred children in The Hitcher? Can you explain it to me? Because I really want to know.

Here are the movies where kids have been spotted by Hartlaub and the commenters on The Poop. [lol, I feel credible, how 'bout you, babycita? "I agree with Patches..."]:

Halloween [2007 version by Rob Zombie]
The Hitcher
The Kingdom
Eyes Wide Shut
Spiderman 3
Bride of Chucky
Rambo
Passion of the Christ [??!! It's practically a snuff film]
Braveheart
The Simpsons Movie
Superbad
Hostel
Letters from Iwo Jima
Texas Chainsaw Massacre [remake]
The Devil's Rejects
The Omen [2006 remake]
Team America World Police
The Exorcist and Black Christmas ["but I turned out OK"]
Terminator 2
Lord of the Rings
Blade 2
Children of Men
Silence of the Lambs
Pan's Labyrinth
The Departed
Batman
Saw III

The Horror! More little kids at slasher films [thepoop]
Feb07:No Babysitter? No Problem! Small Kids at R-Rated Movies [thepoop]

12 Comments

There's no way I'd show the Simpsons movie to a kid under elementary school age, let alone Halloween. I'm not so concerned about so-called "adult" content so much as the emotional impact of bits like the whole Bart being abandoned naked outdoors by his father...

(I have shown my kid the 30 second Spider-pig clip off Youtube though... not sure what the psychological ramifications of that will be... :) )

I couldn't believe it at the time, but we had a bunch of 3-ish kids behind us at Munich, which is an incredibly violent movie. Don't understand what people are thinking.

Unfortunately, I think people are thinking that the $8 to get a kind into the movies is cheaper than leaving them at home with a babysitter.

A poll of my son's 4th-grade class last year showed that his classmates' favorite movies included Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. Those are probably lullabies by today's standards, but still...

It appears that I am not the average California parent. I neither discuss the sizes of my sons' penises with my friends nor do I take them to horror films. We still see only G-rated films. My boys are 3.5 and I still find PG movies too violent or mean for them. But I think Spongebob is too violent and mean too, so my threshold must be pretty low.

I was just thinking today that there might be a market for shortened versions of movies like Spiderman or Transformers with all the bad/scary stuff taken out so little kids could still see the cool stuff. I guess not.

[Cleanflicks was a Utah video store, which rented edited versions of Titanic with the nude scene and swearing taken out, but the studios sued and shut'em down. That Transformers movie is cruel and unusual punishment in any format, though. -ed.]

I have noticed the same thing - the Jack London theater has long been a problem for noisy ADULTS (I've seen more inter-row slanging matches and even fist fights than I care to remember) which caused me to only go there on quiet weekday matinées and late night showings. But now these seem to be just the shows that parents sneak in little kids when they wont get so much grief from other patrons.

The best reason for going to places like The Parkway is that they do not allow anyone under 18 (or is it 21?) except one night (baby brigade). This supposedly because they serve alcohol and don't want to get busted for underaged drinking, but the knock on effect of no kids is great.

Remember you can try to *shush* a garrulous or cellphone addicted adult - the results are variable. But if you try and do the same to a parent because of their noisy/kicking/whimpering kid and they will bite your head off almost without fail. To criticize a kid in front of them is to criticize their parenting skills and that is something they will not stand no matter how valid it is or how bad the kid is behaving. Chances are they will behave as bad or worse than their kids - such things are a skill passed from generation to generation...

I wish more theaters would eighty-six kids younger than the certificate indicates and provide a specific "baby brigade" night just like the Parkway. Until then I know what NetFlix is for... bust out MY projector, turn down the light and enjoy the movies, no $10 ticket, no $8 popcorn, no $5 soda and in my household definitely no kids (just cats who like to sit on the projector but they respond to discipline).

we took our 5 month old to the simpsons, and (today) superbad. we go to the earliest show on sundays 11am, sit up in the back row corner. we cover her ears during the previews, but she ended up turning around and seeing part of the trailer for resident evil, which made her start crying. we keep telling ourselves that this type of content (superbad, not the simpsons) won't "stick". however, we did decide after today that we're not going to the movies any more b/c of the volume.

[at that age, I think it's really just a volume issue, you're right. -ed.]

Baby Momma and I have noticed this a lot lately. WTFIUWT?
The one that sticks in my mind is when the parents brought their 4-5 year-old to the Lord of the Rings movie that had the big spider in it. You remember that one? With the 15 foot spider chasing Frodo or whoever around the big web?
My kids would go catatonic if the saw that, but I believe this kid had been successfully de-sensitized to violence, probably by a treatment similar to what Alex went through in Clockwork Orange, only in reverse.
I can't wait to see what kind of teenagers kids who are weaned on Rob Zombie movies turn out to be, speaking of Clockwork Orange.

A 2ish girl toddled out of our weeknight 11:15 showing of The Bourne Ultimatum. No pjs, even.

I went to see the re-released version of "The Exorcist" a few years ago and was pretty surprised to see people with little kids there. That movie freaked me out as a teenager, I don't want to think about the nightmares it could have created for even younger kids. Exposing a kid to that kind of imagery is pretty irresponsible.

I honestly think that some parents just have a mistaken idea of what goes on behind a little kid's eyes with this sort of stuff. They assume that they will know it's not real or that they won't remember it, or they won't really know what's going on. Educating people that no, they won't really know what's going on but also that not only will they think it's real, they also think what happens on the screen is happening TO them would go a long way.

[There was an interview with Judd Apatow about how his daughter still doesn't like Paul Rudd because she saw him act like a jerk in some scene in 40-YO Virgin. -ed.]

I was horrified to see small kids going into Pan's Labyrinth and a row of 'em in front of me at the Simpsons. But my first movie was Last Tango in Paris. Maybe that explains my aversion to butter?

-- cg3

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