I love horror fiction. Not all – blood and guts bores me, can disgust me (just why invent such nasty things) and, at best, makes me laugh – sometimes tomato ketchup and latex looks just too silly.
Horrors that are best are psychological rather than gory – The Shining, The Ring, The Grudge, The Others, The Village, The Sixth Sense and even the thriller series of Hannibal Lecter are all terrific and where there is gore, there is there for a reason rather than just to titillate.
Best though, is to combine sci-fi with horror but you don’t get that too often – not well anyway. There is one classic movie that did it perfectly though but, alas, it’s not appreciated yet in my house.
I’m trying to persuade my son to watch it. Yes, I know, possibly not the best choice for your nine year old boy, but then, censorship was never my strong point. Thankfully, in Bangladesh, this is not an issue.
Long ago I remember my department was asked to lend a video to use for a cover lesson. The class was for some kids who are in danger of exclusion. We gave them one we regularly used in our Film music classes. Later the head came and read us the riot act for giving a film rated 15 for 14 year olds to watch. Come on! These kids were used to much worse! Nevertheless, one of them had noticed and picked a perfect opportunity to raise a complaint and cause trouble.
In Bangladesh, there are no movie ratings and a very different cultural mindset is at work. This culture happily shows photos of the latest murdered person or of extreme violence taking place daily in the newspapers and has no problem letting children watch the most blood-curdling horror movies as we accidently discovered once. We thought we were taking our kids to a 3D show. We actually took them into a horror show made up of all the worst bits from 80s zombie movies! We left, but the Bangladeshi families and their kids remained.
I know several children at LAMB who watch all sorts of pretty gruesome movies. Oddly, none of them are violent, have nightmares, behave in a socially unacceptable way or anything else we see in their UK peers where such movies are usually blamed as the cause. The correlation, I suggest, is actually the other way around. The movies don’t cause the behaviour – the behaviour problems cause obsession with the movies.
As it is, it looks like my son has self-censored. He watched the Alien trailer on Youtube. That was enough for him! I guess I will have to wait a year or two yet before he’s ready. I’ve given up with my scaredy-cat daughter. She didn’t make it past the first few seconds of the trailer.
I guess I’m watching Prometheus, the prequel for Alien, on my own then. Hang on, I know some Bangladeshis who will watch it.
I’ll have to ask them.