All kids have some measure of control placed on them by their parents. For those who never had boundaries before the age of 18, things were seen, heard, and experienced a bit earlier than tradition dictated that they should be. My childhood was a dichotomy: having a strict father and a mother who was nearly the opposite allowed me to know what it’s like to be spoiled and sheltered in equal measure. When my father banned me from viewing films that I yearned to watch, running to my mother would nearly always solve my dilemma. This came in handy when I wanted to watch something particularly frightening. I’ve always been fascinated by the macabre and thus, horror films have been near and dear to me for as long as I can remember.
Being exposed to this genre so heavily when I was a child not only caused nightmares, but sharpened my taste between gratuitously violent, overtly sexual scary movies and first-rate horror flicks. I learned to appreciate the difference in cinematic quality between the originals and their crappily-crafted sequels and remakes. Really, when has anything ever topped the original?
Viewing the oldies but goodies before reaching adolescence, like The Shining, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Exorcist, has the potential to scar any unwitting child. However, seeing these classics at such a young age helped me to realize that the good old days were truly better than the present. I don’t mean to say that all films made after the new millennium arrived are tasteless and tacky, it just happens to be that all horror films just aren’t original anymore. Yes, I’m including Paranormal Activity in this generalization for all who think that dime-budget piece of trash is quality. Until new technology comes around that actually places the killer’s knife at your throat, I will cease to be genuinely terrified or surprised by anything that happens in “new, innovative” scary movies.
Is the promiscuous character the first to die? Yes. Is the killer really inside the house? Of course. Is this trivial, plotless piece of shit really worth $12? Hell no. Did seeing horror flicks released before the era of cinematic redundancy truly help me more than harm me? I’d like to think so.
The next time you choose to see a scary movie, go with a classic. I’d rather cover my eyes at the sight of an ax-wielding Jack Nicholson than laugh hysterically at Katie Holmes getting her legs broken into bits in a recently released film that will remain unnamed. Because you know it’s bad when a scary movie unintentionally becomes a comedy.
A DIFFERENT MEANING FOR "FAMILY FILMS"
Jessica Wu, Contributor
As a child, I was far from censored. Protected, yes, but censored, no. For as long as I can remember, our family tradition consisted of my parents, my brother, and myself plopped in front of the TV with dinner plates in hand and eyes fixated on the multicolored screen.
Movies have always been a part of my childhood. I grew up watching the most popular PG-13 and R-rated films of the day. You name it and we’ve watched it.
We were addicted to the action and drama that came in compact DVDs that could turn our otherwise quiet living room into an adventurous, suspenseful environment. It was quite a vicarious hobby. It lightened up the evenings for all of us and evolved into a family bonding tradition.
It’s not like I was some strange child growing up on movies jam-packed with violence and sex in every scene. While I was being exposed to the latest films of the day, my parents were simultaneously lecturing me about the dangers lurking in “the real world.” Movie exposure didn’t go hand-in-hand with actual exposure; they just made me aware of what existed outside of my little bubble (in a more dramatized matter of course).
My acquaintance with an eclectic and eccentric range of films hasn’t propelled me into a crazed desire for sex and violence in my movie selections. If anything, it softened my taste towards movies. I detest excessive violence, gore, distasteful sex scenes, and I’m awful at watching horror movies (read: constant face in pillow).
While I may be cultured in a sense, I’m deprived of what society considers as “the classics.” My family and I only watched movies from a select genre, so I never saw The Wizard of Oz, Grease, The Sound of Music, or Mary Poppins.
Growing up with such mainstream movie content taught me to branch out my interests, whether it’s in music, movies, or fashion. My heavy exposure to mainstream content made me desire something different than what everyone else was into. Now, I prefer quirkier foreign films, love stories, and novels-turned-movie. My favorites include My Sassy Girl, Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War, The Help, Perfume, and, of course, the Harry Potter series.
Censorship only prevents you from knowing what’s out there. Censoring you from the controversial issues in life will just make you more vulnerable.
A STAND ON SILENT HILL
Ingrid Rosales, Contributor
When I was in eighth grade, my thirteen-year-old self stumbled into a Blockbuster and impulsively rented a videogame called Silent Hill 3. I had no prior knowledge of the game or its predecessors, but once I started, I was immediately hooked. So I spent the next couple months raising enough money to actually buy the game and its other installments. The Silent Hill series soon taught me about life, love, and religion—to think critically and realize that not everything can be viewed in black and white.
And if you’ve ever played this series, you’d know that one of its main purposes of existing is to scare the living shit out of you. My parents quickly discovered this, and I watched in amusement as they conspicuously cringed every time they passed through the living room. But the only warning they ever gave me was: “Don’t play that too long. You’ll have nightmares.”
Reflecting on it now, their apathy towards my source of entertainment was not alarming parental neglect—it was confidence in my decisions. My parents, though somewhat frightened at the grotesque images on our television, ultimately believed that I had a level head on my shoulders, and therefore knew I would never take the game too seriously.
While I agree that giving a third-grader a copy of Silent Hill is probably not the best idea, I think it’s okay to let a consumer play what they want, so long as a person understands that the themes behind the games they are playing are ideas that they do not (and most likely should not) have to accept.
To this day, I play old, worn-out copies of my Silent Hill games with a sense of nostalgia and gratitude. I’ve enlisted several friends into the fanbase throughout the years and anxiously await the next installment to the series.
So I’m appreciative to my parents for trusting me to make smart choices in my gaming purchases. And look! Having the freedom to play whatever I wanted clearly didn’t maliciously affect me. I’m a dedicated college student seeking fun, adventure, and whatever else that will thrill me. But my mom was right. I do have nightmares.