Weekend Roundtable: Baby’s (Worst) First Movie

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.

Daniel Hirshleifer

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.

Bryan Kluger

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.

Mike Attebery

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.

Junie Ray

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?

Gordon Miller

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.

Jack Lilburn

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.

Josh Zyber

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.


  1. NJScorpio

    Well, when I was a small child, one of the first movies I was shown was ‘Easy Rider’.

    Not sure if that turned out to be a good or bad thing…

  2. I have walked out of only four movies out of several thousand seen:

    – Eraserhead
    – Ordinary People
    – Moulin Rouge
    – Notorious C.H.O.

    Put ALL of them on the list.

  3. Alex

    My Dad brought home Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when I was three. I loved every heart-ripping, eyeball-stewing second. My mother was mortified.

  4. Bravo Daniel. I love and own that movie. I love to show that to unsuspecting houseguests or just have at it on in the background at dinner parties. Genius.

  5. William

    I can’t believe no one has brought the ultimate worst movie to show your child- Episode 1. I’ll just throw the entire prequel trilogy into the mix. If you ever wanna make a child grow up to hate Star Wars, show them Episodes 1-3 at a younh age

  6. The first time my mother brought my baby sister to my house for a visit, Hannah wanted to watch “the sock potato movie”. She was something like 2 years old, too young to say “Return of the Killer Tomatoes”, but that’s what she was talking about. Never been prouder.

  7. EM

    Family home movies.

    Also, It’s Alive. Let’s not give the little dears any ideas for imitable behavior.

    Any movie you can’t stand to watch OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

    And any movie with zillions of dollars’ worth of tie-in merchandise.

  8. Drew


    That was a rather asinine statement. Everybody knows that little kids love the prequel trilogy more than the original trilogy.

  9. Jared Chamberlain

    I have to say that for me, growing up the movie that scared me shitless was Return to Oz. I don’t even know why, at the same age Critters and RoboCop were some of my favorites. It may have had something to do with the villain swapping heads constantly, or maybe the wheelers.

    • Justin

      You know it’s funny you say this one. My three year old is obsessed with it. But she always freaks out at the end when the goblin king is going to eat Jack. Yet as soon as it’s over she says “can we watch it AGAIN?” Surprisingly the scene that freaks me out, all of princess Mombi’s heads yelling “Dorothy Gale!!” doesn’t disturb her in the least bit.

  10. Chris

    I saw “Full Metal Jacket” when ai was about 8 years old and had nightmares for a month, crazy-eyed Vincent D’onofrio killing his drill seargent and then blowing his brains out doesn’t do wonders for a kid’s psyche…great fucking movie though…at least the first half.

  11. Scott Hunvald

    The flying monkeys in the original wizard of oz always scared me, no matter when I watch it, they always were creepy to me. The film that scared me most as a kid was terminator2. Cause my parents told me it was too scary, but I watched it anyway. The scene where the cop is killed in the mental institution scared me the most, I would think the T1000 would come up out of the floor to kill me. As for a film I wouldn’t show kids, I’d have to say nightmare on elm street, all you need them to think is some burned dude with knives for fingers is going to kill them in their dreams if they fall asleep, and that is why no dose is so popular.

  12. Tom Tuttle

    My father was watching “Seconds” and had either forgotten that I was on the floor watching, or didn’t realise how freaky the ending would be to a ten year old.
    It’s one of the few film that can creep me out and maybe I’m a bit weird, but it’s also one of my favorite films…

  13. Deaditelord

    Personally, I would go with The Human Centipede 2 (uncut) over the first one. Talk about scarring a child for life. Heck, I wish I could erase that disgusting, putrid freak show masquerading as a movie from my memory.

  14. Rob

    Forget hypotheticals. Years ago, coming out of the “South Park” movie, a woman walks out right behind me with her no-more-than-4-year-old son, telling him “Now honey, I don’t want you to say any of those words at school, okay?” I find myself wondering if that poor kid is in jail by now.

  15. Berk

    I was too young for my first fateful viewing of “A Clockwork Orange”. Had no way to digest that big dose of “Ultra Violence”. That flick had me scared of strangers for a long time.

    As an aside, Wizard of Oz was the first film that really frightened me. The tornado, nasty Gulch woman stealing Dorothy’s dog, the witch of course, haunted trees, flying monkeys, egads!

  16. J

    Bambi – no kid wants to think about mama dying
    Alien/s – nuf said
    Citizen Kane – don’t want your kid thinking all ‘good’ movies are boring do ya?
    Watcher in the Woods – surprisingly tense Disney movie

    • Boston007

      Bambi definitely fucked me up. I still refuse to see it today and I don’t own the blu ray.

      The first Gremlins gave me nightmares for over a week.

      Silence of the Lambs – saw a midnight show with a friend and his mom, I drove home alone so I was arond 18 and scared shitless the whole ride home. I did not sleep well that night at all. I can’t imagine showing that movie to a young kid.

  17. True story (those of you who have read by bio already know this): my first theatrical experience was 1975’s RACE WITH THE DEVIL. I seemed to have turned out okay, right? 😉

  18. Justin

    The Little Mermaid. I’m the father of a three year old girl that for a year was Cinderella and is now Sleeping Beauty. She likes to pretend she is that princess. As a father I feel Ariel is one of the worst role models for a young girl. I could go on for paragraphs on why I feel this way. But I’ll save you my rant.