In 2007, Time Magazine listed “Bambi” as one of the 25 most scary movies of all time. Why would they list a movie that includes the song “Drip Drip Drop Little April Shower” as a scary movie? Because they hadn’t seen “Pinocchio,” that’s why!
Of course, Bambi is scary because of one scene where a hunter shoots Bambi’s mother off screen, leaving the poor little Bambi all alone. Just a little spotted white tail deer. A little spotted white tail deer in the middle of winter. A little spotted white tail deer that was born in April. Why does he still have his spots? Obviously, Disney was too busy demonizing hunters to talk to one.
Of course, Bambi isn’t alone with having a parent die on screen. “The Lion King” and “The Land Before Time” drag out the death scenes for way, way too long. Finding Nemo would be a lot less scary if it just showed Nemo’s mom being swallowed instead of cutting away from the gruesomeness. Then there’s “Tarzan” and “Cinderella” and “Snow White” and the list goes on and on.
But none of them are as scary as Pinocchio. In Pinocchio, we learn that the direct effect of drug use is that you turn into a donkey. I tell you what. As a child, the DARE program was introduced, but I don’t think that it kept me from drugs as much as watching Pinocchio. Thank goodness he didn’t have a mother to kill off.
Scary kids movies are in the forefront of my mind recently, ever since my wife gave me “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” for Christmas, and my daughter insisted on watching it. I’m sentimental about the movie, but I knew it was too scary for the very young. My daughter insisted I could fast forward the scary parts.
So I fast forwarded the kid getting sucked up the pipe (the scariest part when I was a kid, since I’m slightly claustrophobic) , the whirling fan of doom (my wife’s scariest part), the girl getting turned into a blueberry and the boat ride through the tunnel (of course). “Willy Wonka” is a slasher movie, but for children.
My daughter insisted on turning it off when the girl fell down the bad egg shoot. I’m proud of her for stopping a movie when she felt uncomfortable. The funny thing is that she is a big “Star Wars” fan. “Star Wars” is surprisingly a lot less scary than “Willy Wonka.” Of course, we only let her watch the 1977 version, and fast forward all the flaying limbs. “Star Wars” loves to cut off body parts. The movies should have come with tally marks on the bottom of the screen tracking the number of arms, legs and heads that went flying off during their duration.
One of my kids’ favorite movies is “Funny Face,” a 1957 Fred Astaire/Audrey Hepburn movie. It’s not meant for children necessarily, but it doesn’t have any overtly scary parts. That’s fine, those kids’ movies are too scary for us anyway.