Clearly I need no excuse to watch horror movies... but heck, I'll still take any. Today is Friday The 13th and along with Halloween there is no better time to consume stupid amounts of scary stuff. On any other day I will have no reservations in watching whatever the hell pleases me... but on these few special occasions I like to include my kids in the fun and so making a family-friendly choice is important. I don't cotton-wool them but obviously some parental guidance is necessary. They are 12 and 14 years old and each have different thresholds. Violence doesn't phase them but aesthetic does.
I can be very vocal when it comes to the importance of horror and exposing children to it. Certainly, there are degrees to what is appropriate but horror in story-telling is as old as literature itself and once upon a time some of life's important lessons laid within it. The Brothers Grimm would conjure up nasty fables of witches cooking up children and L Frank Baum's magical Oz books told of vicious flying monkeys and nomes dwelling beneath... Roald Dahl's wonderful and beloved books detailed maniacal chocolate makers and witches gobbling up children... and I'm sure everyone remembers the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Horror challenges children. Horror builds resilience and most importantly horror prepares them for some of life's uglier realities. When I was a child I watched some very scary movies like Ghoulies, Gremlins, Ghostbusters and The Dark Crystal to name just some and I feel so much stronger for having been exposed to them. I talk to parents all of the time about the movies they allow their kids to watch and it concerns me. Generally speaking most parents would rather their kids be dumbed down with fluffy shit like Hop or Space Chimps rather than fuelling their minds with movies like The Goonies, Bridge to Terabithia or Coraline. Of course I don't expect that kids should ONLY consume scary movies but having a taste of it every now and then doesn't hurt.
Thankfully my faith in humanity is slowly being restored with a newfound resurgence in scary kids movies. Up until now these types of flicks were few and far between (for every Monster House there were 10 movies like Madagascar)... but now the genre is bouncing back and movies like Paranorman, Frankenweenie and Super-8 are dishing up some frights that will not only freak 'em out but also fill their heads with wonder and excitement.
And so for tonight's Friday The 13th viewing, with my kids a little more resilient, these are the type of movies we might be watching...