I used to love movies that put kids in peril.
I love scary movies. Well some scary movies. The ones that have some artistic value, and more suspense than slashing. I'm talking Psycho, Halloween, The Legend of Hell House, anything with Christopher Lee, or Boris Karloff.
One of the movies I loved in my younger days was Pet Semetary. An adaptation of a Stephen King novel, it was a classic "Steve knows what scares you" work. Without going into too much detail, in case anyone hasn't seen it and plans to, lets just say something very bad happens to a small child in this movie. In my younger days when I watched it I cringed a little when I watched the scene, but enjoyed the movie in general.
Then I became a mom. The next time I sat down to watch the movie I fast forwarded through the scene in question. I haven't watched it since. Its just too traumatic as a parent to watch.
I found myself deliberately avoiding other movies that feature children coming to harm. I have never watched The Deep End of the Ocean, Mystic River, or The Lovely Bones. Although I like the cult classic Pumpkinhead, I have to skip or look away from a certain scene in which, you guess it, a small child comes to harm. I know they are all artistically amazing films, but I just can't take it. Between my experiences as a 911 operator and my experiences as a mom I find myself in empathy hell.
I find there are limits to my dislike. Realistic violence (intended or accidental) disturbs me far more than fantasy. For example I have no real qualms about watching It, an adaptation of one of my 2 favorite Stephen King books (the other is The Stand). For some reason I am only mildly upset by a predator clown that keeps abducting and killing children in a town. Its partly that what is going on is clearly fantasy violence and not realistic that my empathy doesn't kick in. It's also because I always find myself totally in awe of Tim Curry's performance that I forget to be disturbed.
But for the most part police procedurals and scary movies that put kids in peril will have me reaching for the remote. I just can't watch them anymore.
This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday. To find out what other writers used to love, click here.