Wednesday, October 21, 2009

13 Days of Halloween: The scariest scene 'for kids'

Posted By on Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 8:48 PM

Considerable discussion of Spike Jonze's hit Where the Wild Things Are concerns whether it's too frightening for kids. The Maurice Sendak adaptation features some admittedly suspenseful, night-time scenes of the (mostly harmless) wild things pursuing a young boy. Of course, often such questions beg the answer, "It depends on the kids." Some young ones can witness unspeakable acts on screen without batting an eye, while others can shriek at seemingly innocuous figures like, say, disembodied Jambi from "Pee-Wee's Playhouse." The wrong scene at the wrong time can create phobias that linger for decades.

Children's entertainment offers countless examples of spooky, potentially traumatic moments, including many early Disney features, the Dementor scenes from the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Akzaban and a close-up corpse grinning in a ghastly rictus in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. (And they can be much scarier in a loud, cavernous theater than on video). Recently Cracked.com ran down some horrifying moments from classic kids movies and included the one that I think lingers the most: it's relentless, hallucinatory and seems out of context of the rest of the film. Plus,the scene supports the idea that the 1970s were the scariest decade ever. The freak-out kicks in around the 2:10 mark. "You're going to love this... just love it."

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