Let me state the obvious to anyone that knows me or this blog. I am not a fan of horror films.** While I may seem prudish, I do not like to fill my mind with nightmare inducing scars which include images that I will want to purge from my psyche. So, there you are. I don't think today's horror films are healthy or beneficial, desensitizing us to the horrors around us and causing us to accept more than we should culturally. It is my conclusion that a film such as The Passion of the Christ was seen as powerful and not disgusting because we have become so conditioned to blood and gore that many people "needed" such an overdose of violent images to "feel" what Jesus had done.
Also, when I was a youth minister, I could see how the constant horror watching was not healthy for the young men of our group. Now, I do not believe there is a direct correlation between horror films, violent imagery and school shooting, or any of the reductionist ideas given by Nanny Staters. The market can make films and market them and hopefully people will use their brains and stop watching the sick stuff.
However, I have my limits. While watching The Passion of the Christ, I looked on in horror as a couple brought their 8 year old child to see the film. The child was sniffling, crying and noticeably upset, while the parents were constantly telling the kid to quiet down. Eventually I said something to the parents who told me to mind my own business (which I expected). Remembering such, I usually don't say anything to parents about their film choices for kids, opting to be careful with my own kids. Too often my children ask me about a movie a friend saw that I deem unacceptable and explain to our kids why they cannot see it until they are much older.
Those limits were pushed well beyond the breaking point on Saturday night while Kristi and I were standing in line for tickets to the high-minded artistic enterprise Role Models. At the 8PM showing there was an older teenager, a grandmother that spoke no English and a beautiful young child, no older than our daughter. I assumed they were in line for Madagascar 2... a little late for the showing, but acceptable. Imagine my horror when the young man asked for 3 tickets to SAW 5.
That is correct. This 6-7 year old girl would be sitting through an absolutely sickening display of blood, dismemberment and graphic violence, all approved by her family. The ticket seller told me that it happens all the time and wondered how these people could sleep at night, but he had no authority to stop them.
In my eyes this behavior is nothing less than child abuse. I think it would be healthier for a little girl to be sitting alone in her home than to have her mind filled with such vile imagery. As I type this, my hands shake thinking of my precious children subjected to such a film and wonder if there is nothing, in a free market society, we can do about it. Can theaters and chains decide to refuse to sell tickets to parents that bring children under a certain age to a film? Would they do that and lose money? Can the MPAA that is so concerned that Kevin Smith films don't go over some line become concerned with things that matter, namely children seeing movies that would have been rated X a generation ago? How many times do we hear of a film almost rated NC-17 for violence? How about a "no children after 8PM in rated R films" rule? Heck, I don't care how we solve this. Even without government intervention it must be solved.
As they say on SNL, "FIX IT."
Any advise beyond letters to companies and the MPAA? Kristi and I may have a new crusade.
*pretend that is the movie poster for the film I am speaking of. I did not want anyone to have to look at the picture while reading my blog, even though it is always better to put images on blogs... according to the experts.
**Shaun of the Dead is the exception
BTW- Role Models is quite funny.