Horror and Parenting

Okay, this one’s for all the horror fiends out there who have children. I have two questions for you: how old were you when you were first exposed to horror films, and at what age will you do the same for your children? This has been floating around in my head for some time now. My oldest just turned five last month and he’s already a full-blown monster kid without ever seeing a horror film. Thanks to mommy and daddy’s horror toys, magazine covers and DVD collection, he can spot Pinhead, Freddy Krueger and Leatherface from a mile away. His current obsession is The Ghostbusters (the only thing close to a horror film he has seen), and he even built his own containment unit in the living room for all the ghosts he busts! He often tells tales of his imaginary adventures fighting various ghosts, zombies and monsters of all kinds. I mean, seriously you would think he’d been raised on Romero and King the way he goes on. But no, he just goes on what he hears us talking about, the collectables we have adorning our shelves and the occasional glimpse of daddy’s Rue Morgue and HorrorHound magazines. Which brings me back to my initial point. When will I actually sit him down and let him watch his first horror film, and better still, what will that film be? Do I start off slow and go with the Universal classics? If I do that I could reasonably start him out at a fairly young age. Or do I wait a little bit longer and go straight for my personal favorite boogeyman flick, John Carpenter’s seminal Halloween? It’s a tough call. I’ve often dreamt of a chilly Halloween night that we’d come home from trick or treating and we’d plant ourselves on the couch with a bowl of candy corn, dim the lights and let the movie take him to the place that I’ve found so much joy in since I was a young kid myself. I’d take delight in watching him become mesmerized by the screen, being startled at just the right times. Afterwards we would clink pop cans together and toast all the monsters, slashers and zombies before calling it a night. Then he would stay up half the night in bed, haunted by the shadows and sounds coming from his safe bedroom… Well, that’s how it plays out in my head at least. So tell me, dear reader, what was the first horror film you saw and what film would you want to start your children off with? Leave you comments below.