Sunday, June 1, 2008

Cinematic Encounters with the Far-Too-Young-to-be-Seeing-This

Because R and I have very low brow taste in movies (read: an obsession with all things bloody, violent and disturbing), we often find ourselves in movie theaters full of loud adolescents, etiquette-less talkers/screamers and worst of all, baby strollers.

I always hate them all, but somehow by seeing late shows past the 13-year-olds bedtimes or by sticking with the theaters that cater only to a certain kind of individual, we have (mostly) been able to keep our encounters with the first two rude types to a minimum.

But the third seems insurmountable.

No matter what we do--a midnight showing, a high-end theater, a midwestern suburban theater--we somehow inevitably run into the worst offender: the parents who brings their infant to the Chainsaw Massacre.

We have seen infant strollers wheeled into the House of 1,000 Corpses, heard crying toddlers in Rob Zombie's Halloween and dealt with infants in Vacancy. These are seriously graphic, violent (fabulous) movies that disturb most adults. What the HELL are parents thinking bringing a toddler into these movies?

Yesterday, R and I left our babysitter (AKA Mariel) with our baby so we could see the Strangers. Just so we are all clear, this is an R-rated movie about a couple that gets stabbed to death (you know this from the previews). It ain't f@*!@( Nemo, people. This is not Disney fare. R and I both had nightmares last night and we are seasoned veterans of this kind of cinema. I have seen "Snuff" and almost all of Takashi Miike's films. I do not scare easily.

But as R and I walked into the theater, who was behind us? A mother, holding her sleeping child who was roughly Sam's age. As a non-parent, I could roll my eyes and laugh at the stupidity of such parents, but as a parent, I am horrified, absolutely horrified. What will become of this child who sees, at two, what disturbs me at 30. Nevermind how inconsiderate it is to fellow moviegoers to bring a toddler to an adult movie, nevermind how rude I find it to have to watch my blood and gore with a side of receiving blankets. I was furious because in this child, I could imagine the trauma my child would feel should she be subjected to the same thing. Because this parent neglected to hire a babysitter, her daughter will lose a piece of her precious innocence.

Perhaps I am being too dramatic? I am not for sheltering my child from all of life's ills, but a little retained innocence never really hurt anyone. R and I both have a very skewed sense of the world thanks to our love of all things gory and disturbing. I do not need my baby taking on a similar confusion.

I am considering writing a letter to the theater. I am not interested in being all Tipper Gore, but I am also not interested in seeing stabbing deaths beside a toddler and her Dora Doll. Is this so wrong?

It's called a babysitter. I know they can be expensive (we pay ours $15 an hour), but think of the therapy bills you will save later in your life for your effort, not to mention the nightmare-less slumber your children will have and $45 in babysitting starts to look like a good deal.


Lis Garrett said...

Well that's just effed up.

My dad used to let me watch r-rated movies without question. The first one I remember was a George C Scott movie called The Changling. Although it isn't bloody or gruesome, freaky doesn't even begin to describe it. I must have been three or four years old, and I had nightmares for quite awhile after. I would never think of taking my kid to see a horror flick. Never.

Kristi said...

I completely agree with you. In my humble opinion, it's pure selfishness (with a hearty dose of stupidity mixed in) on the part of the parents. They want to see a movie and they either can't afford a babysitter or don't care enough to get one, so they take their baby with them. The thought of staying home would never occur to them.

I was about 4 or 5 and staying over my grandma's house for the weekend. I was asleep and woke up to go find them sometime in the evening. They were watching a western on tv, and I entered the living room just as one of the "bad guys" was getting stabbed with an ax in his forehead. I was hysterical, and wouldn't sleep by myself for weeks.