How’s everyone weathering this frigid polar vortex that has chilled much of the country? Mrs. Z and I are holed up at home caring for our newborn infants. This got me thinking about what will be the first movie they see when they get a little older. Of course, that got me to wondering about what could be the worst possible movie with which to introduce them to the world of cinema. Let’s toss off some truly terrible suggestions in today’s Roundtable.
If I really wanted to destroy a child’s mind, I wouldn’t hesitate to show them Takashi Miike’s gross-out masterpiece ‘Visitor Q‘. The story of a Japanese family whose life is turned upside down by the mysterious titular visitor features necrophilia, a woman who coats the kitchen floor with her vaginal juices, a prostitute seducing her own father, multiple instances of rape and brutality, and just about any other transgression you can think of. The film is often too graphic for many adults, which means that it should warp the suggestive young minds of any children watching quite nicely.
I’ll use ‘The Human Centipede‘ as a ploy to get my children to be good people, by telling them that it’s a true story about what happens to kids who don’t behave and have good manners. I’m hoping that they get the message.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
I still haven’t mustered the nerve to subject myself to ‘Schramm: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer‘. I wouldn’t even want to guess how deeply that’d warp a teeny, tiny baby. That tyke would be tormented by visions of a dumpy, hairy German guy smearing lipstick on his member before hammering several nails into his foreskin. (Heck, the little guy might’ve just suffered through something similar himself!) The titular psychopath Lothar Schramm is plagued by haunting visions of a toothy vagina monster. The movie has geysers of blood, the corpses of Schramm’s victims arranged in deviant sexual poses for his Polaroids, visions of his severed leg on the bed, this hirsute German having his way with an inflatable torso while listening to his prostitute neighbor at work next door… and I haven’t even gotten to the necrophilia and eye gouging yet. Ugh. I feel like I need to take a shower just talking about it.
Call me cowardly, but don’t let a baby watch anything ‘Scooby-Doo‘ That stuff used to give me serious nightmares as a kid. I don’t know how, or why or when it started, but once I stopped sitting down with my sisters to watch ‘Scooby-Doo’ in the afternoons, I stopped having nightmares at night. Scary, scary stuff.
M. Enois Duarte
I made the mistake of allowing my daughter to watch ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space‘ when she was too young to understand the joke. She was about five-years-old at the time, and by then, she had already consumed a good deal of movies beyond her years. I stupidly figured that she’d see that the mayhem was all in jest. While she did get a kick out of the over-the-top silliness, she saw clowns in a different light thereafter. Today, people dressed in bright colors and makeup don’t scare her as much, but you can tell that she’s a bit nervous around them and refuses to watch the movie ever again. Apparently, with comedy horror, no matter how corny or absurd it may be, the genre is too much for young minds to handle.
I’m not sure if ‘Eraserhead‘ would be the worst possible movie choice, but it’s the one that I’d be most curious to see a young child’s or baby’s reaction to. Would the background noise of the movie lull a child, or would it cause anxiety? How would the child respond to the incessant crying? Would they be afraid of the baby or just curious? Would the contrasts of the black and white photography draw them in as they do with developmental toys? People have such varied reactions to this movie that I can’t imagine how children, with their inherent openness coupled with their limited life experience, would react. Anyone want to find out?
It’s bad enough that parents have to worry about their little ones when it comes to coffee table corners and electrical outlets, but I can’t imagine a young, impressionable mind seeing ‘Jackass: The Movie‘ for fear of what what the kid might eventually try. If Superman causes kids to jump off furniture trying to fly, what bad seeds will be planted if the first thing they see is people intentionally snorting wasabi, eating yellow snow they created and giving themselves paper-cuts? And those are the milder stunts on display.
Look. it’s tough to pick out movies for kids, particularly because so many seemingly innocuous classics are actually traumatic night terrors waiting to happen. Case in point: ‘Pinnochio‘ (1940). I’ve seen a lot of scary movies – even the really bad Japanese stuff that I can’t unsee no matter how much I want to. None of it compares with the sheer terror I experienced during the Pleasure Island sequence, in which helpless orphans are turned into donkeys. Yeah, things turn out fine for our little wooden friend Pinnochio, but there’s no happy ending for the kids on that island. They’re ruined for life! I can’t even watch that scene today. Seriously, I even freak out on the “Pinnochio’s Daring Journey” ride at Disneyland. I just curl up into a ball and zone out while my wife tells me that everything’s going to be OK. Usually, I can parlay this semi-breakdown into her treating me to one of those Mickey Mouse ice cream cones, but even then it’s not worth it. Please don’t show this to your children until they can drive.
We have some great (or awful, I suppose) recommendations for scary movies to traumatize the little ones. Personally, I most worry about my sons getting bad ideas from terrible role models. That’s why I won’t let my kids watch any of the ‘Home Alone‘ movies. That little shit Kevin McCallister is a nightmare.
What other movies will ruin a child forever? Tell us in the Comments.