The Incredibly Strange Film Fiends Who Had Kids and Became Mixed-Up Horror Dads, Part 2

This is part 2 of a discussion that began last week.  Our participants continue to be Jeff Allard, Dennis Cozzalio, Greg Ferrara, Paul Gaita, Nicholas McCarthy and yours truly, Jack the Ripper.

DENNIS COZZALIO:  I wonder if anyone here has a movie they’ve loved in their previous life, only to have their minds changed about it by the event of fatherhood.

NICHOLAS MCCARTHY:  One of my wife’s favorite movies is DON‘T LOOK NOW (1973). We have not revisited it since the birth of our daughter, but obviously that would be a much more wrenching experience now.

DENNIS COZZALIO:  My wife shares a passion for this movie, yet we’ve never gone back and looked at it after losing our first child, and especially now that we have two beautiful daughters. This is not to say that we never will but the likelihood seems less.  Whether or not it’s perverse, I found watching Lars Von Trier’s ANTICHRIST (2009) incredibly cathartic. The movie deals in many tropes and conventions familiar to horror fans but it was an excruciating movie to watch, given our particular history.  Yet also psychologically very credible. Strangely though, I found myself unable to forget it, thinking about it constantly– in much the same way I thought about AUDITION (1999) after seeing it– and I am greatly looking forward to seeing it again.

RHS: I had the same reaction to Lynn Littman’s TESTAMENT (1983), which I watched on YouTube last year.  Not a horror movie, per se, but what could be more horrifying than watching your children die slowly from radiation poisoning?  I saw the movie originally, and appreciated it, nearly thirty years ago but seeing it again as a parent I felt literally haunted by it for a good week afterwards, especially the scenes in which Jane Alexander’s character tends to her youngest son as he slowly fades away in her arms.

DENNIS COZZALIO: I doubt very highly if I would think ANDY WARHOL’S BAD (1977) was very funny anymore. And one that I have been very interested in seeing again, to track my own sort of before-and-after reaction, is IT’S ALIVE (1974). I thought it was kinda shoddy even back in the day, though a lot of fun. I have no idea what I’d think now, but I’m curious to find out.

RHS: A friend recently showed me something I wrote back when Guillermo del Toro’s MIMIC (1997) came out, in which I praised the movie’s choice to kill off a pair of a pair of loveable street urchins, and asked if I still thought that was a plus point in the movie.  And I said yes.  I wasn’t insensitive then and I don’t think I’m oversensitive now – maybe this proves it – but I think the death of a child or children is certainly a basic horror trope and one that I wouldn’t want to see phased out of the genre because it’s unpalatable or upsetting.  As we all can agree, there are a lot of movies, and horror movies, that truck children in as easy targets and that I don’t like.  How many horror movies have they made in the past ten years whose logline begins “Mourning the loss of their only child…”  One of the things having children has done for me, or to me, is to make me even less tolerant of glibly or shallowly written business between parents and a child or children.  There are so many shadings to those relationships and so many movies just don’t care about getting it right.

PAUL GAITA:  There is a passage in Clive Barker’s Rawhead Rex which describes, in harrowing detail, the title monster killing and eating the main character’s young son. That particular scene is horrifying – but absolutely necessary to the story, on many levels. If the film’s child characters are imperiled simply to tweak my sympathies, I feel cheated, but if there’s a justifiable reason to do it, I’m okay with it.

RHS:  Russell Mulcahey’s RAZORBACK (1984) begins with the title creature invading a desert home and carrying off an infant, who is obviously killed and eaten, though mercifully offscreen.  It’s a very well-crafted scene… the magical/fearful atmosphere of the baby’s nursery, the play of moonlight on a mobile over the crib … which ends on a literal emotional high note of the child’s grandfather, being too late to save the boy, running into the desert screaming his anguish into an uncaring night.  But the movie never finds that emotional honesty again.  As a father, I felt absolutely betrayed by that and I must tell you I gave the rest of the movie quite a frowning.  Quite a frowning.

PAUL GAITA:  I can see that displeased look creasing your face now… There’s a similar moment at the beginning of JEEPERS CREEPERS II (2003), a movie I remember liking in a sort of burger-and-fries way – it’s nothing great, but it satisfied on a base level. The Creeper carries off Ray Wise’s son after an alarming chase through a cornfield, leaving Wise to call helplessly after his son as he disappears into the distance. Again, there’s nothing that follows that has that sort of an emotional impact. I haven’t seen it since it was released in theaters – Mr. McCarthy and I, both fans of the 1st film, saw it at the Pacific – and I wonder, as Dennis asked earlier, if I’d still like the film post-baby.

JEFF ALLARD:  I’m also more sensitive to the reactions of parents in movies now. Not just if they’re experiencing grief but in empathizing with their protective instincts. The remake of THE FOG (2005) was shit but it came out the fall after my son was born and I remember liking that Selma Blair’s Stevie Wayne actually left the lighthouse to go after her kid. That seemed right to me. I must have seen the original THE FOG (1980) about thirty times and never thought twice about the fact that Adrienne Barbeau stayed on the air but when I watched it again after having my son, I couldn’t help but think that it was a movie clearly made by people who didn’t have kids at the time. I still love THE FOG but the idea that Barbeau’s Stevie Wayne would stay on the air no matter what rather than get the fuck back home when the only thing standing between her son and all the shit in the fog is the decrepit Mrs. Kobritz is insane. The hell with staying on the air - get your ass home and protect your kid! For that matter, the old lady could use your help, too!

RHS: Yeah, that really jumps out at you now.  You have a kid and all of a sudden you’re rewriting Jean-Paul Satre:  Hell is other parents.

JEFF ALLARD:  I also had similar issues with POLTERGEIST. It’s presented as a funny scene when Diane is putting a football helmet on Carol-Anne and letting the paranormal energy yank her across the floor. I always laughed at that scene but when I watched the movie again not too long ago all I could think of is what my reaction would be if I came home to my wife in that same situation with my son. To walk in after a day’s work and find out that my wife has been letting my son be used as a hockey puck by ghosts? My response would probably be the stuff of a Mel Gibson phone rant. In general, the Freelings are shown to be terrific parents but that one scene rang entirely false to me – but maybe I’m just uptight and Steve Freeling was right not to fly off the handle.

RHS:  JoBeth Williams is so endearing – and hot – in that movie, you forgive her just about anything.  And she plays the love of her children just right – with those bases covered, I know I’m a lot more forgiving.  The thing I can’t stand in movies with kids is when the actor playing the parent ruffles the hair of the actor playing the child and says “something-something-something kiddo” and that’s the sum and substance of their relationship.

JEFF ALLARD: I agree – and JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson are two of the most believable movie parents I can think of, my one minor quibble aside. And really, between all the weed he’s smoking and with his wife being so super-fine, an affable reaction by Steve Freeling to almost anything in his household isn’t too hard to figure.

RHS:  Speaking of parents, the obvious question at this juncture might be how did our own tastes in these subjects develop?  Were we encouraged, discouraged, counseled, thought strange?  For my own part, even though my parents wanted a football player and got a right weirdy, they were always supportive of my interest in monsters.  It helped that my tastes were never destructive or self-destructive… they reflected an enthusiasm and any good parent wants their child to be enthusiastic, to be involved and interested.  I was and my Mom and Dad supported that, even though it wasn’t what they ordered.

GREG FERRARA:  My first genre love was science fiction, which goes hand in hand with horror in so many ways.  It was all the late night movies, like WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951), THIS ISLAND EARTH (1955) and EARTH VS THE FLYING SAUCERS (1956) that really held my attention.  Later on I saw the big ones, FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956) and THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951).  During this period my love of movies on the whole was sprouting and my parents and relatives started giving me film-related books and things for birthdays and Christmas.  I saw JAWS (1975) with my Mom and Dad when it opened and loved it, but the big event that I remember, the one that has really stuck with me, was when the local college’s film society had a revival series that my mom told me about.  It was in October and all horror/sci-fi.  She showed me the calendar and I picked the double-bill CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) and IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (1953), both shown in their original 3-D!  Oh my god, it was so effing awesome!

RHS:  It’s becoming increasingly rare for people to be wowed by something that old.  Maybe it was rare then, too.  Maybe we’re all exceptions to the rule in that regard.  When I was 10 or so, I was getting into stuff that was then thirty and forty years old.  And I still love that stuff best.  A lot of the horror product I saw in the 80s I don’t need to have in my collection, although it’s fun in a nostalgic way to look at FRIDAY THE 13TH or FRIGHT NIGHT (1985) from time to time.

JEFF ALLARD:  I know that as a kid I was into much older stuff that didn’t hold much interest for kids my age, or even for a lot of adults. Films like THE HAUNTING (1963) and PSYCHO (1960) were considered boring by most people I knew. Maybe when you’re a fan, you’re just predisposed to getting back to the roots of where this stuff comes from.

RHS:  I remember seeing PSYCHO, not for the first time, in college in 1980 or so, as part of a film class, and the shower scene provoked huge screams in the auditorium.

GREG FERRARA:  My mother was a big supporter of my love for film and my love for sci-fi because she herself was a huge fan of THE WILD WILD, WEST (CBS, 1965-1969), which I often watched with her, although my favorite show in syndication in the early seventies was VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (ABC, 1964-1968).  I have loved a particular brand of sci-fi/horror to this day and I think I see this in Elle too. I have always enjoyed fantasy sci-fi and horror over realistic sci-fi and horror.  By “realistic” I don’t mean it’s grim and gritty and could really happen, I mean it has a seriousness about it that makes it more grounded in drama than sci-fi.  The same goes with horror.  I’m more apt to put a FRANKENSTEIN, DRACULA (Hammer version especially), THE BRIDES OF DRACULA (1960), CITY OF THE DEAD (1960), etc., over a body count horror movie any day of the week or even over the acknowledged masterworks of the genre, THE EXORCIST (1973), PSYCHO and THE SHINING (1980).  Maybe Elle is like that too only because she’s too young to watch the harsher more frightening kind of horror but I suspect that she is more like me regardless of her age.  She likes her sci-fi and horror to be fun and, really, people being viciously slaughtered every few minutes isn’t really that fun.  Well, not to me anyway.

JEFF ALLARD:  My interest in horror was probably inevitable. I was born with a double cleft lip and palate, which – thanks to plastic surgery – is very fixable.  But “fixable” or not, as a kid it still sucks. Being the least bit different as a child is isolating – even something as innocuous as having too many freckles can make someone into a freak! My defect, which wasn’t fully repaired until my high school years (and even then the definition of “fully repaired” was something of a stretch), automatically made me feel like an outcast. Given that, being introverted and fascinated with monsters and deformity came naturally to me. Had I been born otherwise would I still be a horror nut? Maybe. I don’t get how any kid doesn’t love horror. But I do feel that my physical issues nudged me in that direction.

As for my parent’s influence, my parents divorced when I was five, after which I lived with my Mother. Because of his personal troubles, and the bitter acrimony between him and my Mom, I didn’t see my Dad after I was about ten and when I was twenty I found out through an obituary in the local paper that he had passed away. While he was in my life, he was always trying to get me interested in sports, which I wanted nothing to do with. Every few months he’d buy me a whole new set of gear – whether it was hockey, baseball, or whatever. And it would always go in my toy box or closet, unused. He also bought me a guitar and paid for guitar lessons but while I made an effort to go along with that, it just didn’t stick. I don’t think I ever discussed movies with my dad but one of my fondest childhood memories is of sleeping over his place at some point after my parents had separated, both of us camping out in his living room, and watching THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT (1975) on the ABC Friday Night Movie.   I also remember driving with my dad past a local theater playing DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (1968) in re-release in the early ’70s) and saying no thanks to his suggestion of checking out a matinee of it. However old I was then, I hadn’t seen a lot of films in the theater at that point and no horror or science fiction films at all. At the time, I didn’t even know anything about Godzilla. All I knew was that the title DESTROY ALL MONSTERS sounded too scary for me. On television, that was one thing – but to see something like that on the big screen was too intimidating. In retrospect, I so wish that I had said yes. It would’ve been a cool memory to have, seeing that with my dad. Knowing so little about my father, I often wonder if movies would’ve eventually turned into the area where we could’ve found a mutual interest, even if he wasn’t as avid a fan as I was.

RHS: I never watched a horror movie with my Dad but I have strangely fond memories of staying up late after he and my Mom had gone to bed and watching the local late night double feature.  My Dad would wake up during the night and – and this seems strange to me now – smoke a pipe for five minutes before going back to bed.  He’d come into the living room and sit down in his pajamas, fire up his pipe, puff thoughtfully while watching whatever abomination I had on and then ask “spookshow?”  And I’d say yes and that was all that was said between us.  Except that before he’d go back to bed, he’d set his pipe down to cool and warn me not to touch it because it was hot.  He’d still tell me that even when I was 18 years old, like the first thing I’d do after his back was turned was pick up his pipe and burn myself.

JEFF ALLARD: For years, I thought my mother was a horror fan. But as it turned out, that wasn’t the case. As a kid, I watched plenty of horror movies on TV with her – like THE FOG, THE LEGACY (1979), COMA (1978), and the 1978 INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS remake – but I think because she was a single working mom who didn’t have a lot of time to spend with her son, if I wanted to watch a movie, she was going to watch it with me rather than go off in another room. So I have a lot of nice memories of sharing those movies with my mom but as I got older and as horror films got gorier, me and my mother mostly parted ways in that area.   And when Fangoria came into the picture, my interests really started to concern her. She didn’t get splatter movies at all – I’m guessing not a lot of mothers do – but to her credit, she expressed her disdain but didn’t try to block my interests. She didn’t let me see everything I wanted to see back then – not even close – but I think that’s reasonable. In fact, I think at least a little parental disapproval is essential in building a love of horror. Compared to how I grew up, Owen practically has free reign but he’s still more interested in the movies he can’t see more than the ones he can.

DENNIS COZZALIO:  Jeff, your story makes me think about the kinds of fans horror fans tend to be, especially as kids. I am assuming my own perspective on this is somewhat universal. One of the reasons I took refuge in the world of monsters and horror films – as a subset of my interest in movies in general – was because I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere within my group of peers. I grew up in a farming and lumber community in Southeastern Oregon in the ’60s and ’70s, and consequently if you weren’t part of a ranching or farming family, or if you weren’t good in sports, or if you didn’t feel like going out drinking with all your buddies every weekend, there wasn’t a hell of a lot else in which to pour your passions. I was a band and drama kid, pursuits which fit in perfectly with my movie love, but within those two activities there were only two other kids in town who were my age, who really understood my passion for movies and shared it. So I definitely perceived my own position in my peer group as an outsider, and even though I was pale and small for my age I couldn’t say that status was in any way based on the physical, at least as Jeff understood it in his experience. My parents were indifferent to my interests at worst. My Mom was of the “anything that makes you happy” variety, and God bless her for that, though I never had moments where I could share my movie love with her in any profound way. My Dad, on the other hand, was a big outdoorsman. It ate on him that I was so bookish and uninterested in fishing and hunting and the kind of outdoor activities he offered the family on weekends, and he made it clear he thought an interest in the movies was childish–except those movies that featured outdoor activities, of course.  He and I saw Richard Harris in MAN IN THE WILDERNESS (1971) together at the drive-in, but I remember him walking in the house one Sunday afternoon and openly mocking ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968) as “boring” and “a movie where nothing happens.” Of course I like fishing now, and he’s more open to movies now that he has grandkids. I got most of my movie-loving support from my Grandma on my Dad’s side. She knew all the old stars and always watched old movies with me on TV.

RHS: My Dad was very athletic, had played football, baseball and basketball in high school, college and in the Air Force, was a judo instructor and an avid golfer when I was a pre-teen.  He couldn’t sit still for movies very often but we would sit together with my copy of Parkinson and Jeavons’ A Pictorial History of Westerns and he’d tell me about all the old cowboy stars.

DENNIS COZZALIO: I think it’s interesting that we outsider kids would take to the horror genre specifically in such great numbers when the horror genre is itself fairly conservative.  By that I mean it’s a genre that posits the presence of an outsider who may express the kinds of fish-out-of-water feelings we all must have felt at one time or another, only to have those disruptive forces put back in their place by providence or the military or some other force for “good.” And even when those outsider forces remain uncontained at the end of the picture– Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) being the seminal example of this for most of us, I’d guess, or maybe PSYCHO– it isn’t seen as such a good thing. I’m not saying at all that as kids who felt like outsiders that we would see a movie like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and identify with the zombies. But we certainly identified with the Frankenstein monster and other characters like him in classic horror films, and despite the fact that these characters repeatedly came to dire ends (only to be resurrected in time for the next movie), we loved those movies, perhaps because they confirmed what we believed/felt about the world treated us, or perhaps because they gave us 90 minutes to revel in an expression of how we felt like treating the world.

RHS: I sometimes think NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was made to teach us about our parents!

DENNIS COZZALIO: This is one of the things I’m most interested in tracking with my own kids– trying to figure out how they look at the characters and situations in these movies and how they see them. Greg is absolutely right that there’s no molding their personalities when it comes to things like this– just ask my dad– and our jobs as fathers, it seems to me, is to give our kids a point of view from which to choose and then watch them make their own choices. Some of us get lucky– most of us here would probably count ourselves blessed that we have kids who to one degree or another enjoy the experience of horror films– and some of us are profoundly disappointed. But then again, if my girls suddenly became sports fanatics at age 12 and never expressed desire to see another movie of any kind, what am I gonna do, lock ‘em in the basement? But while they’re watching, I’m going to be watching with fascination to see how their tastes develop, to see what kinds of films they gravitate to, all the while offering suggestions and guidance, of course.

GREG FERRARA:  As for the “outsider” kid theory, I’m afraid I don’t fall into that one so I don’t know what my excuse is.  I was on the basketball team and the track team and was always among the first ones picked for games of any kind.  I didn’t have any sense of not fitting in at school or in the neighborhood so it didn’t come from any of that.  Maybe a part of it is where I grew up.  I grew up in Mount Pleasant, SC, a suburb of Charleston.  We had a house on a lake – there’s water everywhere in Mount Pleasant – with a creek running beside it.  There was a bald eagle refuge in the area and I regularly saw bald eagles scoop fish out of our lake.  Alligators were another common sight – I once almost ran over one with my bike before braking hard as it dashed into the water.  Also otters, water fowl of every kind, foxes, six foot poisonous snakes and so on.  So nature and athletics and outdoor games were all around me and movies about monsters or aliens provided a change of pace from all of that.  So many people I meet talk about how they envy how I grew up but all I wanted was to live in a big city where happening across a gator in your yard wouldn’t be a possibility.  Since I couldn’t have the big city I took scientists and labs and electrical arcing thingys as creatures were created and aliens defeated, as my substitute.  Now that I’m older I enjoy watching things like KING KONG (1933) over and over again to relive not just the sci-fi/fantasy/horror fascination of my youth but also because the jungle scenes remind me of my childhood home, which I can’t believe now I ever took for granted, but I did.

DENNIS COZZALIO:  Don Mancini, who wrote the CHILD’S PLAY series (1988-2004) and directed SEED OF CHUCKY (2004), the much-maligned 5th segment (which I think is actually a terrific movie), is one of my closest friends. One night when she was 7, Nonie walked into the room when I had the DVD menu for SEED up on the TV. She ran away screaming and ever since cannot bear to even hear the name Chucky – she insists on referring to him as  “my worst enemy” – let alone allow the movies to unspool in her presence. Don loves Nonie and Emma both, and we often go see movies together.  Nonie will often ask Don “You’re so nice. Why do you make such awful movies?!” His answer is a good one: “Because it’s what I’m interested in.” But he always adds, “My guess, Nonie, is that in about five or six years you’ll think Chucky is pretty cool.” My guess is that he’s right– she’s the HELLBOY fan, after all. But the fact that Nonie despises his creation kinda kills him too. He once told me that if it was anyone other than Nonie who was terrified of Chucky, he’d think of it as a triumph of sorts. I definitely get that. And Nonie is evolving to the point where she is still terrified of that doll, but there’s a little bit more of a frisson of fun mixed in there these days. I remember that feeling from when I was a kid, too, with certain characters and images– Godzlilla and Julie Newmar’s Catwoman — being objects of primal horror for me when I was her age.  I’m not being mean or perverse when I say that I think Nonie’s lucky to be a kid who has a horror icon (totally removed from the gore factor– she’s never seen any of the movies) that she finds frightening. With any luck Chucky will be an important figure in her development as a true appreciator of horror movies that she can look back on and think positively about when she’s on a panel like this one someday.

JEFF ALLARD: Well, Owen hasn’t seen any of the CHILD’S PLAY movies but thanks to seeing the DVDs in my collection he’s fascinated by Chucky and loves to draw his own version of the DVD covers. It’s the kind of thing that gets my wife bent out of shape when she walks in and sees her five year old displaying his lovingly detailed Chucky illustrations but hey, whaddya gonna do? The kid’s got talent and taste to spare! And I agree with you that SEED OF CHUCKY is terrific.  As for your childhood experiences in Oregon, I have to say I’ve always felt lucky that I was never ostracized by my family or friends because of my disinterest in so-called “normal” things. My Stepdad was a sportsman and a hunter but he never pressured me to be like him. I did participate in a few things along those lines with him, like competitive archery, but movies were still my thing and I never had to feel self-conscious or defensive about it.

NICHOLAS MCCARTHY:  Here’s my origin story.  I’m the youngest of four, raised in a Catholic family in New England.  My two older brothers were and still are jocks, and my sister was a girl so I can’t count her as a role model.  My parents were public teachers.

RHS: Mine, too!  My Mom was my 3rd grade math teacher and my Dad was my high school principal.

NICHOLAS MCCARTHY: My Dad was my high school principal, too!  Ever since I can remember I was deeply interested in horror movies, which I first saw on television in the 70s: the Universal horror films of the 30s, and in particular the 50′s science fiction/horror hybrids.  The seminal theatrical experience for me was JAWS, which I saw during a re-release with my sister in the late 70s.  I’ve sometimes tried to analyze my interest in all of this, but the theories never stick.  Maybe I felt like an outsider because I was the youngest.  Maybe I was fascinated with blood because I was raised Catholic.  These things may or may not be true.  It’s still most interesting to me to watch anything made from the 1930s – 70s.  The 80′s cut off point coincides with when I became a teenager.  I can only conclude from this that my interest and understanding of the cinema is rooted in my childhood.  That said, I’ve enjoyed many of the horror films made in the last decade that Dennis mentioned.  I like to see the genre change, and the last decade has been pretty crazy.  MARTYRS (2008), INSIDE (2007), AUDITION (1999) and ANTICHRIST (2009) were all important films to me for different reasons.  Speaking for myself, they are harder movies to process since I think they have something to do with my feelings as an adult vs. the childhood connection to the genre that I revisit so often.

One thing I’ve reflected on is how I was hardly an adult before I started to feel a nostalgia for the movies I loved as a child.  When I was 13 I saved up enough money babysitting to buy a VCR and the floodgates opened to a whole world of genre films, many that I had only read about or I had previously been forbidden to see.  And I started to see every new horror film that opened.  Then at age 16 or 17 I rented a tape (made by a Boston film collector) that consisted of an hour of 50s sci-fi trailers.  I watched this tape 100 times.  I recognized a good deal of the movies (stuff like THE DEADLY MANTIS) but there were many I had never heard of that boggled my mind (THE ALLIGATOR PEOPLE, ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES, THE SCREAMING SKULL…).  These were movies I might’ve seen as a child, but hadn’t.  It was an instant connection to my childhood, and I began to track down these films.  I still am tracking down these films.  I think why many of us kids raised in the 60s and 70s liked older monster movies was because they were the only genre films on television (besides made for TV horror movies, which many of us have a fetish for as well).  Cable and video changed and expanded the menu a lot in the 80s, at the expense of a lot of older films.  My experience mirrored that.  Now it seems like there’s a couple of generations of parents who like to turn their children on to the monster movies they loved as kids (and still love).  Hearing Greg, Dennis and Richard write about their kids digging Universal monsters and Hammer films is really inspiring.  I hope, though realize I cannot count, on showing my kid this stuff too.

Part 3 of this roundtable discussion will appear here next week.

12 Responses The Incredibly Strange Film Fiends Who Had Kids and Became Mixed-Up Horror Dads, Part 2
Posted By Jenni : July 30, 2010 11:57 am

Great second segment,and am eagerly awaiting the third. I have very fond memories of viewing classic horror movies with my kids, Creature from the Black Lagoon,Frankenstein, The Wolfman,The Thing,The Day the Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet. There is a sense of fun in sharing these well crafted gems with one’s kids, to see their reactions, and to see their appreciation for the films, too. The slasher films don’t interest me at all, though we did give in and watch the first Chucky film last year, and we laughed our way through it! My oldest 2 have seen Psycho, and then we foolishly watched the remake. When Vince Vaughn showed up in the dress and wig, we were all rotfl! Why do filmmakers want to remake popular movies from the past? I wish they wouldn’t.

Posted By Jenni : July 30, 2010 11:57 am

Great second segment,and am eagerly awaiting the third. I have very fond memories of viewing classic horror movies with my kids, Creature from the Black Lagoon,Frankenstein, The Wolfman,The Thing,The Day the Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet. There is a sense of fun in sharing these well crafted gems with one’s kids, to see their reactions, and to see their appreciation for the films, too. The slasher films don’t interest me at all, though we did give in and watch the first Chucky film last year, and we laughed our way through it! My oldest 2 have seen Psycho, and then we foolishly watched the remake. When Vince Vaughn showed up in the dress and wig, we were all rotfl! Why do filmmakers want to remake popular movies from the past? I wish they wouldn’t.

Posted By July Links : The Shadow Cabaret : July 30, 2010 1:22 pm

[...] Turner Classic Movie “Morlocks” offer a roundtable discussion of what parents have learned about themselves while watching horror films with their children. You can read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. [...]

Posted By July Links : The Shadow Cabaret : July 30, 2010 1:22 pm

[...] Turner Classic Movie “Morlocks” offer a roundtable discussion of what parents have learned about themselves while watching horror films with their children. You can read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. [...]

Posted By sleepy17 : July 30, 2010 2:07 pm

When my girls, one of them three and the other a few months, were bored, we would play the “It’s Alive” game: I would hold the infant like a football head-first and chase the older girl around the couch and through the house, yelling “It’s Alive! It’s the killer baby from outer space!” Great fun, and a great way to entertain both of them at once. They still remember the game fondly and will probably try it out on their own offspring when they appear.

Posted By sleepy17 : July 30, 2010 2:07 pm

When my girls, one of them three and the other a few months, were bored, we would play the “It’s Alive” game: I would hold the infant like a football head-first and chase the older girl around the couch and through the house, yelling “It’s Alive! It’s the killer baby from outer space!” Great fun, and a great way to entertain both of them at once. They still remember the game fondly and will probably try it out on their own offspring when they appear.

Posted By smallerdemon : July 31, 2010 12:39 am

Great fun with this and greatly appreciated (my kiddo turns two in August, and I tussle her hair and call her “kiddo” btw). I will probably ultimately make PDFs of all of these so that when my daughter starts hitting the age to watch movies that I can see what you guys had to say. I want her to be able to enjoy black and white horror and Hammer horror and fantastic performances of great people like Vincent Price and Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and not think of 50s special effects as “old” but as what they were at the time: what could be done.

Posted By smallerdemon : July 31, 2010 12:39 am

Great fun with this and greatly appreciated (my kiddo turns two in August, and I tussle her hair and call her “kiddo” btw). I will probably ultimately make PDFs of all of these so that when my daughter starts hitting the age to watch movies that I can see what you guys had to say. I want her to be able to enjoy black and white horror and Hammer horror and fantastic performances of great people like Vincent Price and Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and not think of 50s special effects as “old” but as what they were at the time: what could be done.

Posted By mrchicken66 : August 2, 2010 3:56 pm

I dig this discussion and struggle with this issue just about daily! My son is 10 now and enjoys a good horror show and I want desperately to share. I was about 12-13 by the time I’d seen just about everything you could see (i.e. “Clockwork Orange,” “Exorcist”) so my sense of what’s OK — filtered through my parents — is very different from my wife’s. Now, I wouldn’t show either of those to my son, but I did let him watch “Shaun of the Dead” on network TV (no swearing, less violent), changing the channel for the whole scene involving the mother’s death (that i deemed too much). He loved it. Why wouldn’t he? But I still feel that maybe I should have waited. Right now we’re going through the Amicus omnibus movies and enjoying them greatly; they’re creepy, very little blood, and perfect for short attention spans. He also loved the Rod Taylor “Time Machine” and we’re fairly religious “Doctor Who” watchers; that can be scary, too (“Blink”).

My 7-year-old daughter is proving more difficult. I wouldn’t show her anything beyond “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstien,” but she loves reality ghost shows (!). She wants to watch them, but they scare the snot out of her and sometimes give her nightmares. When I was her age, “The Tingler” scared the snot out of me, I loved it and it occasionally gave me nightmares.

Oh, and when my son was born, my wife threw out my Chucky poster. Booo!

Posted By mrchicken66 : August 2, 2010 3:56 pm

I dig this discussion and struggle with this issue just about daily! My son is 10 now and enjoys a good horror show and I want desperately to share. I was about 12-13 by the time I’d seen just about everything you could see (i.e. “Clockwork Orange,” “Exorcist”) so my sense of what’s OK — filtered through my parents — is very different from my wife’s. Now, I wouldn’t show either of those to my son, but I did let him watch “Shaun of the Dead” on network TV (no swearing, less violent), changing the channel for the whole scene involving the mother’s death (that i deemed too much). He loved it. Why wouldn’t he? But I still feel that maybe I should have waited. Right now we’re going through the Amicus omnibus movies and enjoying them greatly; they’re creepy, very little blood, and perfect for short attention spans. He also loved the Rod Taylor “Time Machine” and we’re fairly religious “Doctor Who” watchers; that can be scary, too (“Blink”).

My 7-year-old daughter is proving more difficult. I wouldn’t show her anything beyond “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstien,” but she loves reality ghost shows (!). She wants to watch them, but they scare the snot out of her and sometimes give her nightmares. When I was her age, “The Tingler” scared the snot out of me, I loved it and it occasionally gave me nightmares.

Oh, and when my son was born, my wife threw out my Chucky poster. Booo!

Posted By Bob Gutowski : August 2, 2010 4:18 pm

This goes in your book, Richard! Great stuff. My dad was trouble, but he bought me my first FAMOUS MONSTERS and my first Aurora monster model. I can remember two out of the many times we watched horror on TV (Channel 9 both times, incidentally) seeing something that made us look at one another afterwards, as if to say “Naw, that didn’t just happen, did it?” The first was when I was about 11, and it was the operating sequence from EYES W/O A FACE (ok, THE HORROR CHAMBER OF DR. FAUSTUS). Face off! The second was when I was a teen – the cleaver murder of the psychic, Helga, early in DEEP RED. Oh, and I think that Steve Freleng is too stunned to get on Diane’s back, btw, but he does order everybody out of the kitchen when he gets his breath, doesn’t he?

Posted By Bob Gutowski : August 2, 2010 4:18 pm

This goes in your book, Richard! Great stuff. My dad was trouble, but he bought me my first FAMOUS MONSTERS and my first Aurora monster model. I can remember two out of the many times we watched horror on TV (Channel 9 both times, incidentally) seeing something that made us look at one another afterwards, as if to say “Naw, that didn’t just happen, did it?” The first was when I was about 11, and it was the operating sequence from EYES W/O A FACE (ok, THE HORROR CHAMBER OF DR. FAUSTUS). Face off! The second was when I was a teen – the cleaver murder of the psychic, Helga, early in DEEP RED. Oh, and I think that Steve Freleng is too stunned to get on Diane’s back, btw, but he does order everybody out of the kitchen when he gets his breath, doesn’t he?

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