Tag Archive: fear


The Smell of Fear. . .

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

This past weekend saw the release of It starring Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the deadly clown.

It is a horror movie focusing on a creature that kills children. Then a group of kids, those who are bullied the most, gang together to destroy this thing that they call It.

When I asked my boys if this is a movie I could see, knowing that I have a hard time with horror movies, they said emphatically that I should not see this movie. Both told me that there were a lot of jump scares, in which the movie scene is meant to make you jump out of your seat.

ITThen the older son stated it was a bit gory, that there was some bloody parts and that wouldn’t be good for me at all. Then he reported that the movie has a bit of a psychological element because the creature lives off of fear of the people and that is how he gets his real power although he eats people, too. He also reported that Bill Skarsgard was a great Pennywise, he was creepy and evil in all the right ways.

His description reminded me of how a friend’s daughter once described a frightening roller coaster “It was horrible . . . and great.”

Well, a lot of people must have agreed because the movie broke box office records with an $117+ million opening weekend. Considering the movie was made for $35 million, that is quite the payday. But for horror film wimps and smaller children, I would suggest seeing something else that is lighter and easier to deal with. Even my 20-year-old reported dreaming of clowns and he really wanted to see this movie.

I remember watching the TV Miniseries version of this movie. It made me realize how Tim Curry is such a great actor. Truth is, even in his bad movies Tim Curry makes it better than it should be just be showing up and being snarky.

But when I remember the movie, I remember the scenes in which kids are being bullied or beaten and the adults who witness it do nothing. Yes, there was the terror of something taking kids. But that was a special kind of fear. The worst fear was the everyday sort in which people are picked on or bullied or socially snubbed.

It - KidsThat trend continues in the new movie. One of the story lines in the current movie is how one of the kids in the group lives with an abusive father and, therefore, is not scared by the evil clown. Another is mercilessly bullied for being a fat kid.

The boys said they would watch this movie again and a part of me believes they would. Maybe they would look for all of the little details or maybe it would be so they could be scared just one more time. While I am not a fan of horror movies, I believe their value is in allowing people to deal with their fears in a ‘safe’ setting.

After all, movie scares are nothing like real life scares and there are enough of those to go around.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Just Who Can Hang With Harry?


Family Movie Night

Harry, Ron and Hermione in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, picture from IMDb.com

In case you have not been pay attention, next week is the opening of the latest Harry Potter movie as we move towards the end of the wizarding world saga.

Next Friday, or late Thursday night I assume, people who have followed this series will be standing in line waiting for the second to last movie. Finally we will be able to watch on the screen what we have tried to imagine in our feeble minds.

So the only thing left to do is have a Harry Potter

Marathon!!!!!!

But wait — what about appropriate viewing ages? Good point and thanks for asking because not all Harry Potter movies are for all ages of the family members.  So let’s explore each movie for best viewing ages.

 

Hermione, Harry and Ron in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Picture from IMDb.com

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

In this movie we meet Harry and his friends, Hermione and Ron. We also see the beginnings of a great rivalry. Then there is Professor Snape whose dislike of Harry has everything to do with his father.

This introduction into the series is good for all members of the family. There are scary moments and scary creatures but those scenes are handled in a friendly manner that  makes them less scary.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Here Harry will learn one of his talents that is not popular with his school fellows. With the Chamber of Secrets opened, it is a race to save Hogwarts from a threat that could destroy the student population.

What is scary is a series of events leading to discover who opened the door to the chamber. This movie is still appropriate for early grade school students with some fun scenes dealing with magical creatures.

Gary Oldman as Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, IMDb com

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

A highly dangerous prisoner from the wizard’s prison has escaped and he may be coming for Harry. While third year students can go to Hogsmeade, the only completely wizarding village in Great Britain, Harry could not get permission from Uncle Vernon.

This movie shows the series starting on a path of darkness, with fear becoming a part of the norm. It is a film that is best suited for pre-teen kids and up as there are themes that need greater maturity to understand, such as long-held hatred and a need for revenge.

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

 

I believe this chapter of the story is the last one that is suitable for anyone under the age of 13. There is a constant mood of fear as Harry competes in a contest to find the ultimate magical champion. We meet students from other schools as well as some very scary creatures. What Harry and Cedric face at the end of the movie can be terrifying to younger viewers under the age of ten.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Lord Voldemort, Picture from IMDb.com

These last two movies are best for the teens, especially those who have been reading the series all along. The fear level is intense in both movies as Lord Voldomort is back and ready to rule the world. The action scenes are potent and lives will be lost, people we have grown very attached. I do not recommend these two movies or the one coming out to younger viewers because I do not believe their maturity level can handle the fear, the sadness, the manic need to do something against the tide of evil.

Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, picture from IMDb.com

If I am wrong, please let me know and I will include your opinion in next week’s column.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below.  Become my friend on Facebook.