Is Hollywood taking fright films too far?

Aug 26, 2011

Director Guillermo Del Toro says the 1973 telefilm version of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is “the scariest movie” he saw as a kid. This might deter some from ever wanting to see it again. In Del Toro’s case, it made him want to be part of the remake. So the filmmaker, who is best known for his acclaimed films Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, co-wrote and produced the new version, which comes out this week. The film isn’t meant for children, but it is about evil creatures that haunt a young girl, her father and his girlfriend. On the other hand, the Harry Potter franchise is largely aimed at kids. Those films, which began with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) and culminated with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011), arguably grew darker and darker as they rolled out. This raised concerns among some parents that they might not be appropriate for kids. The much anticipated The Hunger Games, based on the popular book and set for a 2012 release, features young adults fighting for their lives in a dystopian future. All this begs the question: are movies aimed at children getting scarier and scarier? Or have they always been scary? What movies scared the be-jeepers out of you when you were a kid? Should parents allow children to see such haunting movies? Or are kids capable of judging for themselves just how much darkness they can handle?

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