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Mark Kermode | 17:17 UK time, Friday, 21 October 2011

I've been thinking a lot about Lynne Ramsay's new film We Need To Talk About Kevin and how it fits into a sub-genre that really interests me - movies that explore a strange fear of children and young people. Just why is it that we seem to be afraid of our own kids?

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I have this hypothesis that it has to do with the nature of children as unformed potential people. There's an inherent uncertainty as to how they will turn out. It could go either way: little angels, or little devils. How many people do you know, under 40, named Damien?

  • Comment number 2.

    I think the root of paedophobia has to do with dependancy, as babies children are dependant on their parents. As they get older that dependancy diminishes to the point where the balance of power tips over to the child and the parent becomes insecure. To use the analogy "baby alligators, grow into great big alligators".

  • Comment number 3.

    Maybe it's a kind of fear of the unknown (as Brian more or less says above) - after all, who can remember exactly how they thought as a child? Maybe there's something inherently alien about children, because we'll never be able to relate to them in the same way that we can relate to other adults?

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm not quite sure that We Need To Talk About Kevin fits into paedophobia and the fear of children. I think it has a much more deeply provocative theme: the hatred of children. Throughout the film Eva shows a loathing for her child, even at the end when everything is revealed, she still hates Kevin, not fear him.

  • Comment number 5.

    I was about to launch into a waffle about how Alien could be seen as paedophobic, but then I remembered that it isn't.

  • Comment number 6.

    [ TECHIES: hey is the video missing, or have you changed how you deliver it. I can see video on other entries of this blog, but it doesn't appear here. I've tested it under multiple browsers / computers ]

    I think there is an element, even for those of us with relatively happy childhoods, that memory of how deeply unpleasant children can be to each other, especially those moments when as soon as adult supervision disappears, it can turn on a dime and go all Lord of the Flies. These films tap into that helplessness in the face of irrational, merciless cruelty. Also, perhaps the great magnification of emotion in childhood (if the film of Where the Wild Things Are was successful at anything, it convincingly replayed that bipolar intensity), leads both pain and rage to be writ large, and we rightfully fear the power of that monster, moppet, child.

    Of course the theme isn't only on the big screen, but in lit and on stage as well. Apart from Lord of the Flies, there's Ray Bradbury's The Small Assassin, William March's The Bad Seed (subsequently an adapted broadway then film hit by Maxwell Anderson). These play with the notion that children are indistinguishable from sociopaths (and vice versa when they are pint sized), as it is only as they mature that they are seen to conform to those societal and social rules that keep us from maim, murder and mayhem.

  • Comment number 7.

    Village of the Damned

  • Comment number 8.

    The Picturehouse Exeter have We Need to Talk about Kevin as their Big Scream club (film screenings exclusively for parents with babies under one year old) this week - now that's challenging film scheduling

  • Comment number 9.

    The video doesn't show up on my computer either. So the issue is indeed on the end of the beeb.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think #6 (Brian) may have hit the nail on the head there. That (the obvious fact that children lack the judgment that (most) adults do have) was what I was going to say too but then I changed my mind.

    Anyway, I assume that's one of the main reasons one could be uneasy around children.

  • Comment number 11.

    Isn't it just a variation on the fear of the unknown, the fear of change? Children represent our future, but that future isn't known, and it's a very human thing to fear what we don't know. Haneke got to the very root of this in The White Ribbon, where the children represent the future of Germany, the generation who would mature in the 1930s.

    I'm not even sure that paedophobia is that dominant a theme in cinema, since there are just as many that deal with its flipside, the sins of our fathers - A Nightmare on Elm Street, Pan's Labyrinth etc.

  • Comment number 12.

    [Thanks TECHIES!] Now that I've seen the video, I'd say my shot in the dark comments above are slightly beside the point that Mark has made, but that these films prey on a set of anxieties that include both the fear of the wild irrationality of children, and the nagging suspicion that they've smarter. This means they've out evolved us, and made us obsolete, and may have no compunction about doing away with us if it suits 'em.

    That's why Hollywood makes films aimed at teenagers, to keep them dazed and confused, entertained, and therefore docile. We've got to stop Mark Cousins trying to teach children how to make movies themselves, we'll have outlived our usefulness. God bless Michael Bay, he's making the future safe for everyone over thirty.

  • Comment number 13.

    As a teacher and hopefully one day parent, I agree with some of the posts here that liken the fear of children or young people as a fear of the unknown. The thing I'm most fearful of when becoming a parent is that despite my efforts my children will turn out corrupt, socially inept or just plain bad. Often people blame parents for wayward children, and while this may on the whole be a worthy argument there are many instances when despite the pained efforts of loving parents their children turn out...well...just plain wrong and there's nothing that can be done to influence them. Now how scary is that?

  • Comment number 14.

    Hello from the Good Old USA

    I have two suggestions:
    1) The Shining - I believe that the between the twins who talk in monotone and at the same time and Mr "Redrum", "The Shining" has some terrifying children.
    2) Paranormal Activity 3 - Come on, those two girls were terrifying, and furthermore, why did they have to wear those white gowns? I thought those were only required for people going through an exorcism.

    Have a great day good doctor

  • Comment number 15.

    When you say "they're smarter than us", I don't think it's necessarily rational, IQ-type smartness. Sure, better diets, as a result of raised standards of living in the last century, may have improved human brains somewhat.

    But I doubt that is what the horror genre is concerned with. I'm convinced it has more to do with the fact that we see children as being closer to nature, and thus potentially feral, because they have not yet been conditioned and domesticated to the level of civilized adults. Not that adults are less violent, it's just that adult violence has been given a seemingly justifiable context, such as "defending the fatherland" or more recently, "spreading freedom and democracy". The violence of children does not have such a "reassuring" context and can thus be seen as diabolical. The horror genre, being romantic, has always considered nature as being more powerful than civilisation and thus something to be feared.

    As you alluded to, with the rise of mass media the role of conditioning children has been increasingly taken away from parents. And the media itself have become more visual, and therefore more prone to conveying irrationality (more nature-like), which children, with their not yet fully-formed rational defence mechanisms, connect to far more easily than adults. Adults (in particular parents) may feel "left out", and in the horror genre this "bond of irrationality" is often given a hyperbolic, consipiratorial angle.

  • Comment number 16.

    Dr. K.

    It's funny you should bring this subject up. I am film school graduate and am currently writing a horror feature on this very subject. It still needs work but I'm very excited.

    As you are a horror fan and authority on the genre it would be great to get feedback on the concept and script.

    If you feel like it.

    It's a long shot, but hey you know.

  • Comment number 17.

    Can't believe you quoted Stephen King but failed to mention Children of the Corn! Or Who Can Kill a Child? for that matter.

  • Comment number 18.

    One of the most interesting things about We Need to Talk about Kevin the novel is it is essentially written by Eva. The reader has no idea whether she is telling the truth and she seems to think that Kevin, even when crying as a child is doing it to spite her.

    I have not seen the film yet but am incredibly exited to. It looks incrediable.

  • Comment number 19.

    Great timing for this blog entry.
    I've just recently seen "The Exorcist" for the first time (really great movie, although I'm not sure I would consider it to be the masterpiece Dr.K. sees it as), as well as the original "Ringu". I love horror movies with scary children. They really hit a nerv in me and I can't explain why. Maybe it has to do with the fact, that the children we see and meet in our daily life are laughing or crying, are innocent and occasionaly clumsy. The children we see in horror movies are often portraid in a way that you wouldn't expect from a child. Many of them behave in an unusual way, like Regan in "The Exorcist" who uses very stong language with sexual content that just doesn't seem right with such a young girl or Lilith in "Case 39" who psyco analyses the adults around her. Others are shown to be emotionless and cold for example Damien in "The Omen" or the little boy in "The Grudge" (not a very good movie but this little kid freaked me out like hell!). A cold, expresionless child face has something very unnatural and scary. It simply can be very frightening when you have a child which is capabel to hide it's emotions, because usually children are exactly the opposite. The usually have their emotions written all over their faces.
    I think the best example for those scary elements is Sadako in "Ringu". She's not scary, because she has those dangereus powers. She is scary because you can't see her face and therefor no emotions. Also her body language is completly unnatural. Slowly walking, hanging arms and sholders... if anything she moves more like an old person than a young girl.

  • Comment number 20.

    Possesion is something different to a realistaion. At some point you start to realise the spawn of your loins might be the son of Satan and causing your friends and family to die in nasty ways is pretty terrible. Gregory Peck tried to kill Damien. Ellen Bernstein tried to help her daughter who was possessed and hadn't really done anything other than swear and annoy the Pope.

    A more apt question would be, if your son was Henry from 'Portrait' or Pesci in 'Casino' or Hitler from 'WW2' perhaps...

    I'm actually not even sure what your question is really, is this a test of the morality of the readers and contributers to your blog? Are you perhaps trying to weed out those with Satanic, serial killer or possessed off spring?

    Paranoia is scary, reality is far worse, being a prisoner to your fears is terrifying.

  • Comment number 21.

    To start with, the Exorcist works because it just is a great movie, end of. It would work in any decade!
    I think the fear of children in these films is all about the replacement of innocence with evil.We have a rose tinted image of the joys of childhood, santa,etc,etc. We expect children particularly young children to show innocence, if children are the opposite and exhibit adult malevolence we find that very disturbing.
    There are lots of obvious examples of this, but for me one of the most subtle and disturbing examples is in the fabulous `Heartless`where the lovely little indian girl is constantly telling our lovely sensitive hero, to do terrible things. this one of the reasons this film is wonderfully tense ;shoves a fist into your subconscious and wriths around all over the place.Is her fear ,that motivates her actions ,just a front,just another part of his manipulation ??

  • Comment number 22.

    Hi, Mark,

    Don't want to veer off-topic but I cannot quite understand your dismissal of The Omen as an Exorcist "rip-off". Other than them both being horror films that feature children I'm struggling to see what you mean by that.

  • Comment number 23.

    I've always liked films where kids are scary, or have the upper hand. Maybe it's because I never did! I'm looking forward to seeing this film; but there's one thing I've gleamed from the trailer alone, that I think the film fails on - The looking-under-the-eyebrows-to-look-more-threatening thing. The kid in question has got an otherworldly look about him; a bit like Swinton. So looking straight at camera would've been enough. Leave the leers to Jon Voight, and the movies of the 60's, nowadays we don't really need it to tell that someone's naughty.

  • Comment number 24.

    Perhaps children and young people are often feared because, inevitably, they will consume all that we are as adults, they eat us up! They are the future. Their very existence must likely bring about a real sense of our own mortality. Surely that is a universal building block for fear and distrust?

    Not necessarily being able to communicate as effectively as one might with an adult just exacerbates that fear.

  • Comment number 25.

    If you read or listen to Noam Chomsky on the way the modern education system is structured it very much echo's Mark Kermode's point. Not only that but this "fear" is driven by short-term economic interests (i.e. why students are driven into debt and those studying law or the sciences have to find jobs for large corporate firms).

  • Comment number 26.

    The simple reason as to why kids are more threatening in this day and age is because they are more aware. They know that up until a certain age, nothing serious, punishment-wise, can be meated out upon them. The medias obsession with both child and 'physical' punishment is responsible in part for this.
    You only have to walk into a town center on a saturday afternoon, and watch how they behave around the police. Seeing how far they can push, and how much they can get away with.

  • Comment number 27.

    I have to advocate the good old traditional Freudian interpretation of peadophobia.

    When we were children our parents spent a great deal of effort suppressing our sexual and aggressive impulses - stopping us from beating our siblings to death with improvised weapons, stopping us from pooing wherever we felt like it, stopping us from playing with our genitals in front of visitors. This inevitably set many of us up for feelings of resentful ambivalence towards our parents and civilisation in general.

    Once we have children that ambivalence is intensified because the oppressed (ourselves) become the oppressors (of our children) as we similarly seek to suppress the sexual and aggressive urges of our own children.

    I'd argue that parents are scared of their own children because their children seek to express the same impulses that the parents have but that parents know must be suppressed in the cause of social harmony and acceptance.

    I'd argue that parents are not afraid of their children being smarter than them but are afraid of their children "losing control". The problem with all of the children in the movies cited are that they are beyond control. They act on their impulses with no self-control and beyond parental control. It's the lack of self-inhibition that adults find most confronting with children.

    Freud knew a thing or two.

    I'd really like to read your Ph.D thesis Mark. Any chance that someone could direct us as to where it can be found on-line?

  • Comment number 28.

    Dr K, I think your point about A-Level results is spot on. I think the current A-level courses are actually harder than they were when I did mine ten years ago (they have to be more thorough about citing sources for one thing). Whether that makes our education system any good is another thing, but I feel sorry for every generation that does well only to be told that it's just because their subjects are 'easier' by people who don't have the first hand experience.

    I actually caught myself out recently when I saw a group of schoolkids playing with their smartphones. "What on earth do kids at school needs those fancy phones for? I never had a phone when I was at school" I thought. And then I realised; that was it, I was only angry because I'd never had one. I had plenty of things when I was that age that someone 15 or so years older than me wouldn't have had - video games, portable CD/MP3 players etc - I was either being envious or reacting out of spite that they had something I didn't at their age. Their childhood was different from mine, they were growing up in a slightly smarter, more advanced world, and in a way I was maybe slightly jealous and slightly scared of that.

  • Comment number 29.

    I feel that using children as a subject of fear plays on the idea people who cannot accept that they might have done something wrong and that when their mistake comes back to haunt them they view themselves as the victim not the source of the horror. Frankenstien plays on this beautifully. Victor Frankenstien creates his monster, he is horrified by it and runs away. The monster than tries to intergate himself into society but is cast out and often attacked and hurt. In the end he seeks revenge on Frankenstien who runs away until he dies of exhaution unrepentant for what he had done to both the monster and the people the monster hurt.

    In the book We Need to Talk About Kevin, Kevin's father has a very set idea of what his world should be like. However when his wife points out something is wrong with his world rather than find out what is wrong with his son and what role he might have played in causing Kevin to act out the way he does, he just tells his wife that she is wrong or that is all her fault. In the end his will breaks and becomes all the motivation Kevin needs to do what he did yet he is still unrepentant for the role he played.

    The same can be seen in A Clockwork Orange, when Alex is released from prison and returns home he finds he has no home to retun to as his parents have taken on a lodger. This scene also shows that while he was inside his parents clearly had no contact with him. in that one short scene he finds out that he has no home, all his belongings have been taken away and that his pet snake is dead and has been for a long time. They also sit quietly and watch when their lodger scolds and belittles Alex in front of him not offering any support to their son or suggesting that they may have played a part in making him the person he was. In the end they only seem to show some sympathy to Alex when he in hospitol and when he says he doesn't want to see them they seem hurt but cannot understand why he does not want to see them.

    We also do the same in real life. In the aftermath of the student riots it turns out it was all the fault of a few young people who just wanted to cause trouble while the fault of the people who created the situation that has forced the fee's to rise, and the choice made by the people who cose to break promise are just cast aside as having nothing to do with what happened, and these people will still maintain this attitude when those who rioted take out their anger and frustration in years to come.

  • Comment number 30.

    @ LSJShez
    I think that's a very good point!
    The fact that the younger the child is the more likely it will get away with very nasty stuff is actually a very frightening thought.
    No matter what a young child does, it will always have the defense: "It's just a child. It's not responsible for it's actions" or even "It's not capabel to do this".
    I think there are a number of movies that play exactly with the idea of a child being protected from any actions the main characters could take agains them, just because they are children. "The Omen", "The Ring 2" or "Case 39" come to minde.

  • Comment number 31.

    @Truchess

    This reminds me of listening to an interview with the creators of South Park: Trey Parker and Matt Stone. When asked about their philosophy on childhood, Trey Parker said "Most people believe that kids are born sweet and innocent and that society corrupts them. We believe on the other hand, that kids are born little monsters, and society has to keep them in line".

    I think that is where an intrinsic fear of children comes from; if the child grow up to do something terrible, it is inherently society's fault.

  • Comment number 32.

    I agree with Vincent Kane's basic point "...but I doubt that is what the horror genre is concerned with...."

    Sure the best horror films have subtext or some core idea that works beyond the surface level, but I think you're seriously overreaching with some of the films you've mentioned. I guess everyone sees things differently, though.

    You have stated that this subject (fear of children) is of particular interest to you. I wonder if that affects how you review certain films that involve children... Fred:The Movie, for instance. And is a movie like 'Parents' an attempt by filmmakers who are also afraid of children to (maybe) strike out at something they fear?

  • Comment number 33.

    Of course children are scary. They have power without control. We give them power by loving them often in spite of what they do, but we put limits on the controls we place around them. Deep down we all know that a smart child could easily quite literally get away with murder.

  • Comment number 34.

    I thins the themes of paedo-phoboia in many of the above mentioned films is really about reminding us what it was like to be a child. I believe these films mirror the feelings we as children had against adults. Children inherently mistrust adults. They generally feel we're up to something, as we keep our cards close to our chest. "There are things they don't want us to know- a world they don't want us to see, so why SHOULD we trust them?" our childhood selves would cry.
    What the good doctor here describes is that feeling flipped on us- suddenly it the children who know something we dont; it's the children holding the cards to their chests; not letting is in on the secret, and that reminds us of all those feelings we had as children.
    I can't but help feeling that these themes are children going, 'see how yo like it' for 90 mins or so...

  • Comment number 35.

    I do not believe that paedophobia has so much to do with our fear that our offspring are more intelligent rather than they are our future. I think John Hughes summed it up best in The Breakfast Club PRINCIPAL VERNON
    You think about this...when you get
    old, these kids; when I get old,
    they're gonna be runnin' the country.
    CARL
    Yeah?
    PRINCIPAL VERNON
    Now this is the thought that wakes
    me up in the middle of the night...
    That when I get older, these kids
    are gonna take care of me...
    CARL
    I wouldn't count on it!

  • Comment number 36.

    Mark is it not the case that society is smarter? I mean information and answers are so much more readily available. And it is no surprise that there is a corelation between the rise of secularism and that of science in our lives. So naturally kids have more access to information than the previous generation and we get smarter all of the time, its part of are evolution.

    In cinema looking at it from a different view how about films like "This Is England", "City Of God" and "Kick Ass" which are all Paedo-phobic in the sense that the Audience and characters are expected to expend some fear or dread of Children and or the upcoming generation.

  • Comment number 37.

    I think the fear (certainly from the book) comes from the central question of nature versus nurture. In other words, was Kevin born "evil" or did Eva's lack of enthusiasm of the idea of motherhood contribute to making him who he became? She feels no connection to him and feels that she's "supposed" to because all parents "feel" that connection to their kids, don't they? Well, we all know that this isn't always true. I think this is more of a central idea of the book than the fear of the next generation.

    Of course, the film may take that as it's central point but, of course, I am yet to see it because my local drooliplexes aren't showing it. ARRRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 38.

    As a legal student specialising in criminology I'm very happy to hear Dr. K mention the legendary Stan Cohen in a (relatively) populist blog! You might also be interested in an article I recently read about A Clockwork Orange as "Art against Torture". The author describes it as fundamentally different to most of the films that we saw coming out of the War on Terror (Rendition, Road to Guantanamo, etc) in that the victim of State torture, with whom we are encouraged to empathise, is a vicious, ultraviolent monster who calculates his every atrocity (indeed, I've seen Alex DeLarge on more than one list of the greatest film villains of all time). In that way, A Clockwork Orange is one of the more sophisticated films to address the issue of security versus liberty because it suggests to us that a being so capable of the deepest acts of misogyny and sadism (exaggerated by his youth) is still a human being, and still has an inherent dignity. The questions this raises - chiefly whether Kubrick (or the even less restrained Burgess) endorses the atrocities committed by Alex by showing him as a human being - are at the heart of the ideas of human rights and civil liberties that so many are quick to decry (against prisoners, for example).

    If I have a point that relates at all to this video, it's that perhaps viewing A Clockwork Orange as a horror movie with Alex as the Monster of the Week demonstrates how effective paedophobia can be. In the UK we have the lowest age of criminal responsibility primarily because of the recorded atrocities of two ten-year-olds that continues to define our approach to juvenile criminality as a nation. Perhaps in paedophobic films, especially those that aren't monster movies, we see a strain of that fear that the primal, the bestial lies in the less-than-formed consciousnesses of the young. But it also perhaps shows an undercurrent of humanity, of paternalistic love that runs through the older generation's paranoia about the younger: Alex DeLarge deserves his free will, Regan can ultimately be restored to innocence, and arguably Kevin could have been different if he had ever had the love of his mother (I think #37 said it better than I ever could). Perhaps paedophobia helps to shed a window on what it means to feel commonality with our fellow humans: the saints and monsters both. Or maybe it's a cheap way to tap into our fear of obselescence. After all, what do I know?

    (For the reference of those with access to the journals, the article I referenced earlier is Carolyn Strange (2010), 'Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" as Art against Torture', 6 Crime Media Culture pp. 267-284)

  • Comment number 39.

    For me the film that immediately comes to mind is Battle Royale, directed in 2000 by Kinji Fukasaku. Whilst it treats the topic of pedophobia in a very pop, ultra-violent fashion, the film no doubt serves as a fantastically entertaining look at pedophobia on a national, government-sanctioned scale (whilst also pre-empting a number of reality television shows).

  • Comment number 40.

    http://blueboyfilmreviews.blogspot.com/ please read some of the posts on this and feedback thanks! :)

  • Comment number 41.

    Hello from Finland Mark!
    A film called The Bad Seed (1956) comes to mind.
    In the film the child is clearly the killer. So there is no question about the child possibly being dangerous. Good film anyway and seemed very dark for it´s time.

  • Comment number 42.

    I feel that the scene in which Eva is driving down her road on which she lives, on Halloween, with all the kids wearing those spooky masks helps to provide evidence to back your point help.

    http://myerlamoviereviews.blogspot.com/2011/10/we-need-to-talk-about-kevin.html

  • Comment number 43.

    Perhaps a more pertinent question should be why do there seem to be more 'paedophobic' films coming out of the UK than anywhere else. My answer is that, as certain studies have shown, life for a child in the UK can be pretty bleak, when compared to other parts of Europe; we seem to fear, loathe children more than most, even when we have no reason to (we assume a gang of kids on the street corner is going to rob us). I can't speak for other nations, but I do agree that we don't treat kids well in this country; we fear, loathe them, and in return they give us reasons for fearing and loathing them.

  • Comment number 44.

    We need to talk about Kevin (McCallister):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsHRY_ed82Y

  • Comment number 45.

    For me the creepiest 'evil child' was in a czech film called 'Little Opik', a folk tale based story of a baby made from a tree root which develops a taste for flesh. Part realism, part stop-motion animation it is seriously creepy. And like 'Rosemary's Baby' and 'We need to talk about Kevin' it also raises questions about maternal complicity or responsibility.
    'Paedophobia' isn't a 20th Century invention, it's always existed in myths and folk tales. Stories of changelings and superstitious beliefs about 'sinister' (left handed) children, the evil twin, or the offspring of incubi. There is a very instinctive fear of the 'cuckoo in the nest', the precious child who drains all our resources and yet is not really 'ours' but using us to further some sinister agenda. Or worse is ours and demonstrates all the flaws we fear in ourselves. We fear their potential for evil. Children aren't born with a moral sense. They are completely ego-centric and have no empathy until they learn it, toddlers will smack a baby sibling to make it cry, because the reward is that the baby does something interesting and they can make it happen, they don't really think of the baby as having feelings of it's own. This capacity for cruelty and indifference to another's pain is what makes children so disturbing. And as a parent the fear of failing to instill that empathy and moral sense into your child is very potent fear. You are responsible for your child and for your child's actions.

  • Comment number 46.

    Mark, you're missing out the classic video nasty Xtro, which - despite the extremely low budget and bad acting - was ultimately rather disturbing. The child, Tony, is possessed by his father who's come back from space through being reborn as a fully grown man. Here, he's capable of making his most macabre fantasies come to life, to the bewilderment and ultimately fear of his mother

  • Comment number 47.

    Dear Doctor,
    As a school-teacher, I find your theory fascinating. While I personally love children, I also get to see their dark side, and can say for certain there is genuine fear in most classrooms.

    Practical fears tend to lead to imagined fears, and anxiety about worse case scenerios can develop into almost superstitious dread. There is of course the nightmare of false accusation. There is bad behaviour, which, if bad enough, can cause continuous frustration, anxiety, even humiliation. It can, at times, take on the appearence of malevolence.

    What's terrifying though is not bad behaviour in itself, but the idea that these little devils just might be a reflection of one's own failures.

    The idea that one's children - or pupils - may be smarter than oneself is an existential one for teachers. It would undermine their role in society, and for some, their very purpose in life. To confront the possibility of one's own redundancy, to daily confront one's doubts and fears, to in some ways be at the mercy of little people with undeveloped or incomplete capacity for empathy, can indeed be an unnerving experience.

  • Comment number 48.

    Hello, Doctor!
    I think the reason these horror films are so effective is because, if a child is really evil, no one would believe you! At least, we can see how it could play out in real life. We can relate to the fear of not being believed, of being falsely accused for something we didn't do. And, there is the reality that everyone will take a child's side before they'll take an adult's side unless the child was caught red-handed. No one wants to believe a child isn't innocent, that he/she isn't innately good. And, in real life, children have less control over what happens to them, and would more likely be in the role of victims rather than victimizers. In real life, we always seek to protect them first rather than take the chance to endanger them further.

    With all the films and TV shows that portray children as smarter than adults, it wouldn't hard to imagine from there that some very smart child could outsmart us and do something really bad without being discovered. If one grew up watching those shows and believed in them, as an adult, would one not have this idea in the back of one's mind?

    As to fearing our own children, did you mean literally our offspring? I haven't seen the film you mentioned. It's mind boggling to imagine fearing my own child. But, even the fear of other children... always, I think of honesty and trust as the issue behind this fear. Is it because most media values honesty and trust, but uses dishonesty so, so much as a means to create conflict/drama for there to be a story?

  • Comment number 49.

    The silence keeps it simple
    keeps you safe for the moment.
    As you are walking away
    your foot steps get louder.
    All you needed was time
    now time will destroy us.

    It will all be over and here they are
    we are stuck inside this salted earth together.
    You'll pierce my lungs
    my limbs go numb
    as my colors fade out.

    You watch me bleed.
    You watch me bleed.

    I gave you everything to die with a smirk
    all you wanted was to live for some time
    you took everything but it left you empty
    you cannot replace me, you cannot.

    It is over and here they are
    we are stuck inside this salted earth together.
    You'll pierce my lungs
    my limbs go numb
    as my colors fade out.jogos de carros

  • Comment number 50.

    My apologies Dr. K , catching up with this VERY late sorry (new member here) But being in my fourties and a huge horror fan I am astonished that no one has brought up Peopletoys or aka Devil Times Five (and various other titles) It's ragged editing and very much period sense of isolation still to this day gets me. I'm sure in my heart it was re-edited to death when first made but I proudly own a pristine DVD copy today. As you said about the fantastic Possesion, it is just a movie that to this day still creeps me out. Sure the budget shows in places and some of the acting is amateurish at the beginning (thankfully that character is killed off soon lol) The directing I think is very good ( the almost completely obscure Sean MacGregor) especially and the use of slo-mo and BW in certain key sequences and the (again) the snowy isolation. The idea of these adults being duped by these children (whom are all deranged!) to me was terrifying. And the kids are uniformily fantastic in these roles and having a great deal of fun especially former teen heart throb Leif Garrett as a 11 year-old transvestite!! quote " Your all mine, Harvey Beckman! " Gives me the chills just writing it. I remeber the response I got when I rented this flick and watched it with some friends who had never seen or heard of it before and I got " Wow lets watch another insane movie like that! " and we did...........it was Videodrome hehe :)

 

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