Scary Kids Movies

Growing up is awesome. For one thing, it means kinky porn and Lars von Trier movies (not to be confused). But it also means not having to sit through any more kids movies, until you have kids yourself and the whole rotten cycle repeats itself. I’m not saying that the hardest part of parenting is dealing with Disney, but it’s gotta be up there. When I was a kid I lusted for the days when I could watch hi-tech sci-fi thrillers and movies involving buzz-saws getting their warranty voided. I’ve mentioned already that I find kid’s television pretty appealing when it comes to dealing with hangovers, but kids movies are in another class of annoying. There’s actually two forces at work here: kids television is often made by public broadcasting corporations like the BBC who have a remit specifically aimed at educating children, so you get to learn stuff I’m still not au fait with like friendship and personal responsibility. Kids movies are under no such obligation, because they’re made by private companies who make deals with fast-food chains to sell your kids crap it doesn’t have the intellectual nous to avoid. So I generally try and steer clear of anything even remotely involving wise-cracking monsters with googly eyes and Bronx accents.
Some kids movies, however, are either outright scary or have some disturbing implications.
Toy Story
Babyhead&Woody
I’ve already mentioned that cartoon I saw where the scientist makes a Zippo lighter sentient and it remains so, trapped inside its corporeal form, for all eternity, and how that filled me with a gut-wrenching existential terror. I’ve narrowed it down to being the creation of David Firth, who achieved internet notoriety several years ago for his extremely-disturbing-yet-somehow-hilarious series Salad Fingers . He’s worth checking out. But to return to Toy Story : the reason the Zippo idea fills me with such terror is that being trapped in an infinite immortality yet being unable to do much about it is very much in the style of films like Johnny Got His Gun, in which a deaf-dumb-and-blind quadraplegic is kept alive to relieve his memories over and over again . That’s my idea of hell. The characters of Toy Story are at least mobile as well as being sentient, but they’re still toys, and they’re not going to age. At all. The story of Toy Storys 1,2 & 3 is basically about their owner growing too old for them while they don’t age. Sure, in the end they get a new owner (spoilers) but you know that’s not going to last. Woody alone has been around since the early fifties without aging a day, and that…that really disturbs me. Imagine being a sentient piece of plastic, destined to end up in a landfill. Jesus.
Finding Nemo
Finding-nemo-dory-marlin
Anthropomorphization is a tricky business however you look at it. Ludwig Wittgenstein once said that “if a Lion could speak English, we still could not understand it”, by which he meant that a Lion’s conceptual reality is totally removed from our own – we have concepts like truth and beauty that just wouldn’t fit a Lion, and a Lion would have a hard time explaining concepts like the adrenaline rush of catching a Zebra or whatever it is that Lions eat. Similiarly, the anthropomorphic entities of Pixar movies are similiarly alien to us. Quite how different can best be illustrated by the film Finding Nemo. It’s a heartwarming tale of a father searching for his son, right? Er…not exactly. Clown Fish (Pomacentridae Amphiprioninae) are sequentially hermaphroditic organisms, which means that they are all born male and the most mature one becomes a female that breeds with the rest. Which means, if you take things to their logical conclusion, that Nemo’s dad is going to turn into his mum and he’s going to make babies with her. I mean, sadistically speaking, how awesome a post-credits scene would that make? Every child for fifty miles would be traumatized.
Return To Oz
The original Wizard of Oz is a fairly lighthearted musical number with lots of kudos and a devoted following of Pink Floyd fans not smart enough to realize that if you look hard enough eventually something will sync with Dark Side of the Moon. Return to Oz is a post-nuclear wasteland of a movie featuring scary rocks, living decapitated heads and men with wheels for feet. It’s the shit-scariest movie to feature chickens prominently. It traumatized me as a teenager and still disturbs me. Children should not be allowed to watch this. However, Return to Oz does have the single finest overreaction of any movie since the “funny guy” scene in Goodfellas.
A CHICKEN??!
Mary Poppins
Round our way Mary Poppins is known more for being the centre of a sprawling fan-theory penned by comic book genius Alan Moore that she’s actually the avatar of The Lord God Almighty, which is reason enough to include her on this list. I don’t know about you but i don’t find the idea of God comforting at all. I like the idea that after I die there’ll just be a GAME OVER / INSERT £2 COINS screen and then black. The idea of an afterlife where I’ll be held accountable for every swear word I’ve uttered or how much blow I’ve hoovered off the tan bodies of European prostitutes frightens the willies out of me. That it might also be Julie Andrews who consigns me to the Pit to spend eternity with The Beast and Legion and Beliel and all the other guys from my fraternity is almost too much to bear. Mary Poppins displays the sort of omniscience and omnipotence you’d traditionally associate with god. And she can fly.
On another note entirely, the stuff you get when you type “Mary Poppins” into deviantart is…um… We’re a weird bunch aren’t we?
mary_poppins_by_pinup_guy-d3lbzmk
All Barbie movies
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I might be alone here (yet again) in thinking that Barbie is a frightening-looking lady. Years and years ago I had a good hard look at Boticelli’s seminal masterpiece The Birth of Venus (it has tits in it) and realized that all the proportions are wrong. Like, totally off. Venus’ neck is a foot long and her shoulders are like those of a corkscrew, while her feet don’t support her weight and her arms are six inches longer than she should be. Barbie is even worse than that. Barbie looks like somebody bleached Megan Fox and hung her over a radiator to dry out. Barbie is the scariest-looking woman ever depicted in popular culture, and I’m including those ten-thousand-year-old stone idols of women with huge breasts and no faces. Barbie is the de facto illustration of how Anorexia gets started. If you’re faced with a “cultural ideal” like that when you’re a pudgy nine-year-old, no wonder you’re going to grow up with your body image totally fucked. You want to know why half our girls are fat and half are too thin? Barbie. Barbie is the answer. Not celebrities who get botox and liposuction. Stop blaming people who operate within the boundaries of what’s physically possible for ruining your children. Look instead at the synthetic bitch with the Stepford smile. Barbie is the reason most teenage girls are miserable. Barbie is the harbinger of the time when our perceptions are so warped it seems like everybody is too ugly to have sex with and we die out. Barbie movies are the most patronizing, crass, offensively pink movies ever made. We don’t even need to go into why, and I can’t bear to. If, god forbid, I ever have a child (assuming they’ve worked the kinks out of a eukaryotic binary fission machine) and that child turns out to be female, she’ll grow up in a world of books and Lego and geeky female aspirational figures like Oracle, Vertigo’s Death, Tank Girl, Cassandra Anderson and Jean Grey. And if she even thinks about asking for a Barbie I’ll take her back to the pound of whatever it is you do with kids.
In summary, Disney movies are creepy, Julie Andrews was oddly sexy as Mary Poppins and I should never be a father. Goodnight.
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5 responses to “Scary Kids Movies

  1. Nemo is creepy enough as is. It’s a feel good story about a wife and children being killed, a child being kidnapped and threatened with abuse and death, a rescuer and his certifiable helper.

    I’m not even going to touch the toys.

    Mary Poppins provides oddly fertile ground for storytelling. Fairy godmother types are interesting, when you consider the how and why of what they do, being a sexy deity is an answer and kind of a fun one, but there’s lots of others. Would recasting her as a time lord be better?

    • I have heard the Time Lord theory and, while plausible, it didn’t grab me in exactly the same way that the Alan Moore/ League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen theory did. There’s a scene in the last episode (2009) where she kills Harry Potter, the antichrist, by turning him into a chalk drawing that dissolves in the rain. And I had never realised, until writing this post, that her film version is actually a little bit sexy…

      And bravo for restating Finding Nemo as the fish version of Taken. That made me laugh.

  2. That’s delightfully disturbing.
    I had been treating the chalk thing as an entrance into an alt reality, but I suppose that take treats it as a superhero transformation power.

    • It’s really disturbing. HP is covered in eyes and shoots lightning out of his junk. The story goes that the whole curse/scar/connection with Voldemort/ prophecy thing was all building to him becoming the antichrist, which made me laugh because he’s such a do-gooder in the books.

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