Gothic for Children

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Gothic for Children

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Editat: abr. 21, 2018, 5:40pm

Hesitated to add Frances Hodgson Burnett to the list of authors of gothic fiction, since her name didn't show up on any of the lists of reference that were unearthed. So, time to create a new place of honour for books/films that appealed to us as children, to our children, to adults with the child still alive and well within. =)

The Secret Garden novel was a favourite in those early years. We also have the dvd with Maggie Smith of The Secret Garden (1993) and watch it often, as a double feature with A Little Princess (1995).

Editat: feb. 3, 2020, 1:04pm

Then, there are the obvious GOTHIC ALPHABET options;

A is for ... Arachnophobia (1990) is rated PG-13 - Alice in Wonderland (2012) castle/moat/ruins/etc. - Addams Family
B = Batman - comic books - tv series - movies - too many to list here / Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson ... basis for the movie Bridge to Terabithia (2007) - Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo ... basis for the movie Because of Winn-Dixie (2005) - Beauty and the Beast (1991) - Brave (2012) - Babes in Toyland (1997)
C = Catwoman? - Coraline (2009) by Neil Gaiman - Corpse Bride (2005) is rated PG - A Christmas Carol adaptations ie. Muppets Christmas Carol (based on Dickens novella)
D = Dracula (1931) - The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud basis for the movie Charlie St. Cloud (2010) is rated PG-13
E = Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow? (parts are southern gothic)
F = Frankenstein (1931) - The Munsters (1964) - Frankenweenie (2012) - The Frog Prince: Tales from Muppetland (1971)? witch/ogre/castle ... this scared the stuffing out of me as a kid!
G = The Brothers Grimm (2005) - Good Witch (tv series) - Ghostlight by Sonia Gensler - The Goonies (1985)
H = Here be Monsters! by Alan Snow ... basis for the movie The Boxtrolls (2014) is rated PG - Harry Potter (take your pick, books or movies from 1 to 7) - The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) - Hook (1991) - The House With a Clock in its Walls (2018)
I = Ichabod Crane and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
J = Jekyll & Hyde
K = The Kraken?
L = The Lorax (2012)? the Once-ler is in self-imposed isolation in dark gloomy setting - Lost & Found (2016) remote island with buried treasure & riddles
M = Monster House (2006) - A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness ... basis for the movie A Monster Calls (2016) - Maleficent (2014) - The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain
N = The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is rated PG - The NeverEnding Story (1984)? - Nanny McPhee (2005)
O = Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
P = ParaNorman (2012) is rated PG - The Princess Bride (1987)? - Phantom of the Opera (2004) is rated PG-13
Q = Quest for Camelot (1998) castle/swamp/disability
R = Rapunzel, Rip Van Winkle
S = Scooby Doo (books, tv animated series, movies) - The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) is rated PG - The Swan Princess (1994) - The Secret of NIMH (1982) - The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen - skeletons/skulls
T = A Troll in Central Park (1994) - Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
U = Undertaker
V = Vampire
W = Werewolf - Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
X = X-Men? isolated school setting for mutants
Y = Young Frankenstein (1974) is rated PG
Z = Zombie

abr. 21, 2018, 7:04pm

>1 frahealee:

Interesting question. I'm at a bit of a disadvantage as there were many children's authors I didn't read when I was a child (my early embracing of super hero comics and science fiction had a flipside of rejecting classic children's literature, historical novels, pretty much everything Gothic unless it was in science fictional dress). That said, I would have encountered some of these authors' works in school, or on television (in dramatisations but also in straight readings - the BBC had a programme called Jackanory, in which every week a book was read in five fifteen-minute instalments, Monday to Friday).

I suppose there's the perennial issue of defining "Gothic". A non-supernatural story might well tick a lot of Gothic boxes but how far would it differ from simply being an adventure story in the vein of Robert Louis Stevenson (or can we say he's all Gothic, not just Jekyll and Hyde and some short stories? Maybe we can..

On the other hand, some works with the full complement of ghosts, vampires etc. may not have the mood of Gothic at all - in fact be light fantasies that produce the opposite effect of "Gothic gloom"...

So, with due regard for my lack of knowledge and confusion over exact definitions and allowable categories, perhaps I could diffidently offer some names:

As noted above, maybe Robert Louis Stevenson

Likewise Rudyard Kipling?

Two authors active when I was a child:

Joan Aiken

Leon Garfield (in the Stevenson/Charles Dickens mode)

A modern author whose done some M.R James inspired ghost stories for children, Chris Priestley

Neil Gaiman, of course (The Graveyard Book, Coraline.

I've noted before that British weekly girls' comics (as in comic books, rather than comedians) kept the Gothic flame alive well into the 1980s. There was a supernatural-themes title called Misty, a sort of stablemate of the Science Fiction/Fantasy title 2000 A.D. There have been a couple of recent hardcover reprints, collecting serialised stories that ran in the comic.

Of course works originally for adults are also repackaged for (older) children. Look online and lists of Gothic fiction for children include Frankenstein, Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Wuthering Heights...

Editat: abr. 21, 2018, 7:58pm

>3 housefulofpaper: Fun to see several authors unknown to my own experiences/exposure to books, tv, film.

Planning to explore the gamut ... some have a character who is questionable, isolated and odd so kids assume she's a witch ... some have a remote setting ... some have supernatural events that are either explained or not ... some cross into comics and sci-fi ... it is simply fascinating to see if any hints were there early on that we might eventually become die-hard Gothic Lit fans. The more I read and research, the more firmly I seem to be hooked!

-ps- there was one movie Coco (2017) which deals with the 'day of the dead' in Mexico, also known as All Saints Day (November 1st) and All Souls Day (November 2nd), as a cultural entity ... unsure whether to include it here, since it is the similar situation that just because Indigenous stories include themes of spirituality or the supernatural doesn't mean they are gothic in nature - haven't seen it but my son took my daughter and she told me he cried, so he is watching it through a different lens than she is ! also did not see 'The Book of Life' (2014) but it deals with the same subject matter in a similar way (both were original screenplays not based on books, as far as I can tell)

abr. 22, 2018, 3:56am

>2 frahealee:

How about:

Y = Young Frankenstein - PG rating.

Editat: ag. 26, 2018, 11:43am

Mentioned the trilogy of Hotel Transylvania 2012 animated films in another location, and realized it wasn't included on the list above. Covers all the bases!

Dracula - Adam Sandler
Werewolf - Steve Buscemi
Invisible Man - David Spade
Frankenstein - Kevin James
Bride of Frankenstein - Fran Drescher
Mummy / Skeleton / Mrs. Werewolf & cubs / Zombies / Bigfoot / Blob / Gargoyles / etc.

ag. 25, 2018, 5:48am

My mind is boggling at the thought of Steve Buscemi as a werewolf. Got to see that.

ag. 25, 2018, 1:13pm

>7 alaudacorax: The man can do anything he sets his mind to, and he obviously has a soft spot for Adam Sandler. His role in 'GrownUps' makes the whole film worth the price of admission. =) Have fun with it! Some days the world is too sinister to face, and this brings a pocket of absurd relief. Today, trying to balance the indulgence with LO's Henry V commentary...

ag. 25, 2018, 11:07pm

>8 frahealee: ... trying to balance the indulgence with LO's Henry V commentary...

I take it you mean Bruce Eder's commentary on the Criterion edition - for a moment there I thought you'd got hold of one by Olivier himself - 'Why haven't I got that on my DVD!!!' Not that I'm Olivier's greatest fan - think he's overrated, to be honest - but it's a pretty iconic film, so of course I've got a copy.

Editat: ag. 26, 2018, 2:34pm

>9 alaudacorax: Yes, exactly, although I was halfway through before noticing it was not Campbell Scott, who would have been too young in 1978. I like Branagh but his talent is best seen in context with Olivier. (Wuthering Heights 1939) was my 1st film after reading the novel in 1980. I prefer his days with Joan ie. Uncle Vanya 1967, to the Viv-era.

Branagh's foray into Frankenstein was only appreciated after recently reading the book, how much he honoured Shelley's text. I saw I, Frankenstein (2014) not knowing it was based on a graphic novel rather than the 1818 original. It made me want to investigate the source. Loved it.

I bought the DVD at our Stratford (Ontario) Festival gift shop the year I took my eldest to Henry V and its bonus features helped him sort out royal history/timelines. This year, the festival has many temptations, but ticket price hinders.
In order of preference:
Bronte: The World Without (small but mighty production)
Paradise Lost (female Satan, Lucy Peacock)
The Tempest (female Prospero, Martha Henry, astounding talent)
Long Day's Journey Into Night (have not read or seen, but know the gist)
Julius Caesar (female lead, as above, is Seana McKenna)
To Kill A Mockingbird (have read it and watched it countless times, never on stage)
An Ideal Husband (an Oscar Wilde yet unread/unseen)
Coriolanus (need to read it before attempting to see it)
Napoli Milionaria (always need more Tom McCamus)
The Comedy of Errors
The Music Man
Rocky Horror Picture Show

FYI - Posted this summary here, rather than on my 50Bks thread, since I'd share most options with my kids. Not much Gothic, but 'houseful' directed me to Paradise Lost earlier this year ... now I may see Mockingbird as Southern Gothic??!

Editat: set. 6, 2018, 4:55pm

Three more new to me:

John Bellairs.

Edward Gorey.

Charles Addams. Mentioned in Canadian Gothic literature thread (as a spin-off from Yvonne De Carlo).

Jack Black in The House with a Clock in its Walls, resembles Rip Torn, right down to the eyebrows.
Terry Gilliam has a documentary of sorts in the works for 2019 about Gorey.


Listened to an online audiobook (1 hour) last night of Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl, which brought his other books to mind today, including;

The Witches

Editat: oct. 4, 2018, 1:13am

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein

Perhaps not what you meant for this thread, but I got this from Early Reviewers here and I adore it.

Editat: oct. 4, 2018, 10:51am

>12 WeeTurtle: Every offshoot of Frankenstein for kids or YA is welcome here. Thanks for drawing it out of a dark corner into the light! I enjoy variations on original horror or Gothic or fairy tale figures. We need a zombie version of The Tortoise and The Hare!

oct. 5, 2018, 5:05am


Would Bridge to Terabithia really be considered Gothic? I read it back in high school and am thinking about reading it again.

What I love about Mary, is that it's an artistic biography about Mary Shelley and how she wrote the book, and it's pretty accurate from what I've learned. People had complaints about the dark nature of the art, but I'd say it's no worse than what shows up in Beetlejuice or The Adams Family,

oct. 6, 2018, 7:00am

>14 WeeTurtle: Likely so! I've not read the book, but researched the author and her story about why she wrote it initially, including a brief interview with her son (so sad), this was after watching the movie Bridge to Terabithia (2007). The dvd bonus features offered lots of insight with its background material, even revealing comments by Anna Sophia Robb and Josh Hutcherson, young as they were, they understood exactly what was expected of each of them. Casting Robert Patrick as the father was a stroke of genius, because behind the smile and tenderness is always a hint of menace.

Getting back to the Gothic elements, we have; isolated environment with the 'tree house', feisty but lonely female (only child, moving often) who seems to cope by using an extremely active imagination, various bullies both adult and schoolmates, black shadow stalking presence, various 'adapted' versions of schoolmates into manageable foes, etc.

In this case, the bridge goes to an imaginary world of freedom and power and kinship and kingship, rather than to a dismal ruins, but the reality is a broken down old abandoned play space.

Also rather than the female lead being bleak and forlorn and in need of rescue, the trope is flipped with the main male character in need of rescue, by the influence of this free spirit who flits into (and out of) his life. Her temporary presence is what makes this special moment so intense in his memory, but **SPOILER** had she lived, her spirit would have continued to manifest itself in this way, powered by her positive personality. She added the light to his darkness permanently.

Great story, so at some point I must get to the origin story, to read what's between the lines. I only picked up the dvd since my kids liked ASR in Because of Winn-Dixie (2005) so much, seen in the theatre on a whim, but it became a family favourite. Even that has southern gothic elements in it, with the 'witch' played by the incomparable Cicely Tyson. Eva Marie Saint as the lonely librarian also adds credibility to the film. We also saw ASR in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Soul Surfer. She is a supremely talented young actress. She can handle any genre, fiction or non-fiction, with style and grace and intensity. Even her little music video for Terabithia was heartwarming, since (although she was very self-conscious) it helped show the light with which she walked through life, making it more difficult to cope with her untimely death. It was his turn to fill life with his own light, in order to pay homage to her presence and her brief but mighty perpetual impact.

Editat: oct. 6, 2018, 7:07am

>2 frahealee: You'll see Bridge to Terabithia listed under 'B' in the gothic alphabet! So it must have popped to mind when I initially wrote that post! I was just about to add it and it's already there teehee. =)

oct. 8, 2018, 6:14am

>16 frahealee: I believe that's where I saw it, hence my asking. ;)

Now I'm curious to go find the book again. The used store might have a copy but I like new when I can, especially if I plan to keep something. I haven't seen the film for Bridge as I don't like sad (I'm much better with horror). Alas, my aunt took her grand kids to see it and they hadn't read the book. She then started vetting movies just in case. If I had heard, I'd have warned them about it.

I'm not one for dressing goth, or having been in that phase really, minus in my own head. I find that a bit of amusement. I'm fair, being British and Nordic background, little, I dress conservatively, rarely wear make-up, and baby pink is really my best colour. The darkness, gargoyles, lonely oceans and eldritch oddities all live in my head and come out in writing and art.

Funnily enough, I was a total wuss as a kid. I was afraid of Earnest Scared Stupid and I hid under the blankets during the massive Ursula scene at the end of The Little Mermaid. I didn't start getting into horror until later, about the same time I started having issues with depression and anxiety. It's apparently not uncommon for anxious people to like horror movies. I suspect it comes from the horror movie moving feeling of anxiety to an outside target, instead it always floating mysteriously around inside someone's head. I wonder if gothic writing did some of the same thing, in that sour moods could be projected out of one's head by putting it to something else.

There's a book called I, Strahd based on a vampire character out of a DnD campaign setting called Ravenloft that is entirely gothic and gothic stereotype. (They even have an adventure for Masque of the Red Death.) I love the flavour of the setting, and that's a book I've quite enjoyed, though it's not something that would really be called literary. Mad dad looked it over a while back, and told me that it reads just like Dracula, plot-wise, until he becomes a vampire, then it shifts into more fantasy stuff.

Strahd is a shared character, and I've read three renditions of him, but Elrod's is my favourite. He's shifted over time in appearance, with him looking much more like your typical "Ricean" vampire with aristocratic clothes and long hair, over the midde-aged, venerable sort he was back at the start.

And this post is off topic. Not really for kids, but I imagine teens who like fantasy might be interested in the Ravenloft books. I think they are largely out of print now, but I think 6 were re-printed back in the early 2000s, Vampire of the Mists, (Strahd is the main antagonist there) among them.

des. 1, 2018, 5:45pm

Watched Babes in Toyland (1997 today with my daughter and found myself focused on the many gothic elements during the Goblin Forest bit. Even the town at night and in shadow looks like animated gothic perfection. Great bad guy in Christopher Plummer as Barnaby Crookedman. His house is isolated, intimidating, tilted, turret, etc. Fun to keep discovering new ways to see old favourites. Hokey but my daughter loves the musical bits. The lead goblin brought genie to mind if crossed with Aladdin and Jafar with the sinister sides.

des. 2, 2018, 1:25am

I can think of a couple specific movies or entities for a couple letters up there but they are not really kid friendly. U is For Underworld (vampires AND werewolves!) but it's more teen and up I think. And X is for Xenomorph! Of course, if you don't already know what that is, google it and you'll see why it's not kid friendly.

On vampires I just remembered a movie that I I don't think is thought about much and that's The Little Vampire. I haven't seen all of it, but the parts I have seen were so cute! Here's the trailer on youtube:

des. 2, 2018, 9:55am

>19 WeeTurtle:

I wonder if anyone's done any real research on the effects of traditional horror (as opposed to the modern slashers) on young kids. When you think of the gruesome original nature of a lot of fairy tales and children's stories things seem to have drastically changed over the last century, century and a half, on what is suitable for children.

des. 2, 2018, 11:55am

>19 WeeTurtle:
>20 alaudacorax:

Interesting overlap. Yesterday, we also watched Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) and Fred was played by Steven Mackintosh, who featured in the Underworld films. I have not seen any of them, nor The Little Vampire, but have heard of them both. Xenomorph might require some research. The lines between child and pre-teen and teen and youth and young adult are likely more flexible than I'm comfortable with, since I'm a fairly strict parent, even with books.

Caught a YouTube interview of Al Pacino at the New York Film Academy this week, and the man who introduced him spoke of his rite of passage according to his father's insistence, as The Godfather first viewing at age nine. This seems too young to me, even for the son of a stalwart New Yorker or Italian offspring, but I can understand the appeal of a man wanting to bond with his son over this type of fare. The child would not be expected to want to read the book(s) at that stage of the game, but likely later, as a point of nostalgia. My thoughts are similar when it comes to gothic or horror or various other offshoots. I want to share with my sons what is important to me, or what has had the most impact, even if they never share the same opinion. When they see references to assorted books or films, they always trace it back to me. This makes me happy, because often what I think they found intriguing, they did not, and what I thought had little or no impact, affected them deeply. For better or worse. =D

Editat: des. 7, 2018, 6:27am

>20 alaudacorax: There has definitely been a shift in the cultural view of things, death is a big example. Fairy tales come from eras where the deaths of close relatives were fairly common, as well as being at home at the time rather than in hospital or care facilities as those simply weren't a thing. We are much more distant from it than we used to be so are more affected by it. It has, perhaps, fallen a little bit into the unknown in a way.

I think whether children are afraid of something has a lot to do with exposure and the method of exposure (or lack of it). Taking the biography of Mary Shelley that I think I posted up top somewhere. There were comments about kids being scared or disturbed by the "zombie" dissected frog. However, that image isn't really scary accept for the knowledge that it's a dead thing and it shouldn't be sitting up. It's not showing violence or speaking bad language or anything. It's just creepy.

This brought up in a small way in The Little Vampire when the vampire finds out that the protagonist isn't afraid of him and is surprised by it. This, of course, means the movie gets to happen.

des. 7, 2018, 6:27am

>21 frahealee:

The Little Vampire is a 'cute' approach to things like vampires, so I'd call it child friendly, especially as the bad guys are somewhat ridiculous with Ghostbusters looking apparatuses and there's not blood anywhere that I recall. Plus, vampire cows.

Underworld and series is definitely fighting and blood and probably some mature-ish themes. People transforming into things, biting each other, etc.

Xenomorphs are the alien species from all the "Alien" films. So those are definitely in the potentially/likely traumatic territory for people not into that sort of thing. The creative designer for them was H. R. Giger.

des. 7, 2018, 12:42pm

>22 WeeTurtle:

I was actually wondering whether any really scientific investigation has ever proved that it's in reality harmful to children to have the wotsit scared out of them by ghost stories, fairy tales, horror films or whatever, even to the point of giving them nightmares. Presumably the powers that be of my childhood and well into my teens assumed so, as even the kind of horrors made in the '50s, early '60s would have been 'X-rated' and, thus, 16+ in the cinemas (UK).

I can't help feeling that a child growing up without ever having a few nightmares would have had a deprived childhood. I'm reminded of something I read perhaps forty to fifty years ago. Some Israelis were starting to get worried about the way they were bringing up children: the children growing up on the kibbutzes were being carefully given what seemed to be the ideal upbringing - then it started to appear they were raising good citizens, but not future creaters and innovators and leaders.

Apart from anything else, I suspect that if everyone, ever, had had an idyllic upbringing nobody would have created the subject matter for this group's threads ...

As above, I'm making my own distinction between horrors, which are rooted in fantasy, and slashers which are based in reality - everyone would agree (presumably!) that it's bad for young kids to learn umpteen ways of eviscerating people slowly, and I gather that the connection between screen violence and violence in society was proven beyond doubt way back in the sixties.

des. 8, 2018, 1:20am

>24 alaudacorax:

I'm not really sure. I believe that we are over-censoring things. I know that the movie ratings and such that are used in the USA are often a step higher than they are in Canada, and people worry a lot about exposure but I think a lot of that creates conditions for fear. The more we shelter kids from problems and challenges or fears, the fewer opportunities they have to learn how to cope. I know it is a concern in psychology that parents that see to everything their child needs and hides them from life problems creates teens that have no coping skills or ability to face the everyday problems that come up in real life.

I'm told as a child I had night terrors, and my cousin mentioned that she knew how to deal with her child's night terrors was from dealing with me. I was too young to remember so if I can react that badly to something that had no outside stimulus (that we could see), then hiding things doesn't seem to have much of a point.

Only once I do I recall something I saw giving me nightmares, and that was something that I associated with Doctor Who, and I think it was less that the scene was scary but that it was too real to me and I could imagine the situation a little too well. Alas, that moment of fear has deprived me of many years I could have been watching the show but I refused to until only a year ago or so. It's entirely possible that all this time I've been blaming the wrong show. I think I was about 4-5 at the time.

des. 8, 2018, 11:32am

>25 WeeTurtle: ... that had no outside stimulus (that we could see) ...

Perhaps your subconscious thought some rites of passage were missing from your life so manufactured some simulations?

Editat: des. 8, 2018, 10:02pm

>26 alaudacorax:

Maybe. I found it interesting to note that authors and creatives types in the strange end seem to have a penchant for psychological things like night terrors. H.R. Giger, P.K. Dick, Lovecraft, etc. It might just be because we are looking at them more closely than other people, but I found it interesting to note.

There does also happen to be some ghost activity in my family, including a haunted house back in New Brunswick. Sadly, it's gone now. We're trying to track down a picture.

I don't think I was ever scared of ghosts, but mom would also comment about things like that. I was watching Poltergeist and mom was in the background, "Poltergeists don't act like that!" And then gripe at Hollywood for making these things evil and scary.

Editat: des. 9, 2018, 6:19am

>26 alaudacorax:

Just watching a documentary right now called "Why Horror?" that's looking at why people like to be scared or watch horror in general. It hasn't talked about very young children, but it brings some of this thread to mind. It's brought up how watching a scary movie is often considered a right of passage of sorts, sort of like spending the night in a haunted house on a dare from friends, and the like, and that watching the first horror movie through represents an achievement.

Seeing horror through contained circumstances like movies or movie theaters (and I'll add video games) makes it something that we can experience in a controlled fashion which means we can also run away from it. Since we know it's the movie we are afraid of, we also know what we are scared of and that makes it something we can try and "beat" such as by sitting through the whole movie. Jurassic Park scared me so much as a kid that I left the theater. Eventually, piece by piece, I did see the whole movie, and I remember that this was such an awesome thing to adolescent me. I suddenly felt more powerful.

I think here how some of gothic horror is fear of the unknown. A moan on the wind is creepy until we know what's causing it.

People do get desensitized to horror, going by the narrator's brain scan in this documentary, and that's been an argument again horror and scary things. But in a way though, it's also an armament of some kind. It's common enough in my experience that after watching horror movies and such, my friends and I critique the film, even if it's just talking about how stupid the characters were and why they didn't try x or y to save themselves or kill the monster.

I encountered an article a while ago in a random Reader's Digest magazine that looked at gamers and dreams, and found that people that play a lot of video games (2 hours a day) tended to be disturbed less by nightmares. It wasn't that they didn't have nightmares, but that they were more likely to keep sleeping and deal with the nightmare rather than wake up afraid.

It seems to amount to exposure functions as a sort of mental practice for dealing with frightening things.

Oh! Enter Walpole and The Castle of Otranto! (Now I REALLY need to read that).

They have here that Gothic horror becomes the birth of modern horror, and takes horror from "moral instruction" (those nasty fairy tales and nursery rhymes) and makes it entertainment.

This documentary isn't bad. :)

des. 9, 2018, 10:47am

>25 WeeTurtle: it was less that the scene was scary but that it was too real to me and I could imagine the situation a little too well .

Oh, this rings a bell with me. It wasn't a drama though, it was the decision, whether by the BBC or the Government I don't know, to schedule Public Information films (PSA's in the States?) just before or just after the early afternoon programme for pre-school children.

So I would be sat down (alone, while my mother got on with some housework) to watch Trumpton or The Herbs and be forcefully introduced to the dangers of, inter alia, driving on bald tyres, driving without a seatbelt, drink-driving, carbon monoxide poisoning, placing a rug on a polished wooden floor ("you might a well have laid a man-trap"), not having a chain on the front door (we didn't have a chain on the front door, which became a source of anxiety), introducing rabies into the UK by smuggling an infected pet across the channel, swimming in dangerous waters (dangerous sea-tides or treacherous overgrown lakes and rivers), "stranger danger", flying kites near power lines....

des. 9, 2018, 12:09pm

I am enjoying the discussions on this thread. It seems to be stirring up allsorts. I have only one enduring fear which began in childhood and I shall never lose it, but am quite thankful there is only one. Didn't Divergent characters have four or more ?! teehee

des. 9, 2018, 11:42pm

That scene is still nightmare inducing to me because I never did know what it was, and it's just creepy. It was a guy with something similar to an oxygen mask on, but a black one like fighter pilots wear, and he was looking around and then tried to pull it off. There was a red line along his nose where he was moving it, and a scene later he's screaming and the mask is spraying red something (blood, four year old me imagined), and he (I think he) is screaming like crazy. I think it was the face covering that was spraying something that got to me most.

Maybe it was a fighter pilot or something and some dead guy wound up in his oxygen supply and he was wondering what the deal was, cue upset at realization he's breathing some guy's blood.

I find that a less disturbing option.

The documentary did go on to talk about Japanese horror and cultural tie-ins, Resident Evil and the creation of the "survival horror" video game genre, and the potential affect of horror on young children. That part wasn't really answered.

I remember safety PSAs consisting of fitness, house hippos, and a cartoon light bulb that explained electrical safety with catchy jingles. Among other things.

Editat: des. 10, 2018, 10:00am

I think habits factor in. My preference is always to read the book first before seeing the film, if possible, which softens the story somewhat. The criticism of what has been left out of the movie is an ongoing issue of course, but knowing the ending makes it less startling, no matter how it's depicted. Some flicks from teen years have stuck with me because I didn't know the story first, just tagged along with friends to the theatre or drive-in (ie. The Howling 1981 and Scanners 1981, the summer I was 16). The Birds 1963 (which I've mentioned before) terrified me as a kid, but I didn't watch the whole thing, and it wasn't a voluntary thing - it was some psycho babysitter assigned to watch several of us during an evening wedding reception far from my home town. Egad, I still remember that, but have no fear of birds and have even had a few trapped in my house over the years both in Ontario and Alberta. It wasn't until recently reading A Bird in the House by Margaret Laurence this year, that I learned it forewarned death! Glad I didn't know that at the time...

Poltergeist 1982 was unsettling when I watched it as an adult ! As was Jurassic Park (watched it with my kids for the first time in the past dozen years). My boys loved it but I was concerned about my daughter, her ability to rally with concepts of fear. Special Needs (Down syndrome) complicates the concept of fear and horror and weird because I'm not entirely sure what gets absorbed and what doesn't. She loves Jurassic Park (the original and the remake with Chris Pratt) and laughs at things that I thought might disturb her. She dislikes quick moving animals (we have no pets so she's not used to them, due to allergies) and loud unexpected noises, but seems fine with ghosts and vampires and oddly presented villains in both books and film. A nice surprise I suppose, that I can share non-hardcore horror with her now that she is 18. We trade off the dark with the light, as she cannot get enough 'musicals' which make me bonkers. Twenty years of kid content has desensitized me to most animation but still we persevere. I was surprised that she really liked the movie that gets a lot of bad press, even from the director, The Brothers Grimm 2005 with Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Monica Bellucci, Peter Stormare, Jonathan Pryce. My boys saw it on a cadet field trip bus some years back, and found it creepy. My daughter loves her dvd of it and watches it at least every other month. No rhyme or reason... She also likes tigers, wolves, honey badgers, wolverines, etc. from her 'predators' book and seems to have no fear of otherwise terrifying events. Her fight/flight response must be substantially suppressed. I must admit that I find this charming. She teaches me something new everyday. But in the event of a zombie attack, she and I would likely be the first to go ! =D

des. 11, 2018, 1:44am

>32 frahealee: Well, the zombie thing would depend on how fit you both happen to be. ;)

I think finally watching Jurassic Park helped a lot as far as getting me into scarier movies. I remember being proud of myself for it. I'm still not totally sure how I went from "Rated R? I can't watch that! Not allowed! Not allowed!" to "Horror! Weeeeeee!!!" but I'm pretty sure my step-sister had something to do with it. I also think at some point it became a matter of bravery and honour. I got a little tired of being a wuss and missing out on things because I was too scared of the non-scary film.

Helplessness was a thing though, now that I think about it. Earnest Scared Stupid bothered me a lot, and I left the room eventually. The monster scared me but I think it was all these kids meeting and getting turned into wood by the monster that bothered me more. My step-sister called me back in the room once the people figured out how to fight them, and it was a monster "death" spree and I thought it was the most wonderful thing ever. The dog was saved!

This reminds me of a Gaiman quote I encountered recently: "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten"

This goes back to that documentary that traces horror origins into morality stories with villains like the Big Bad Wolf. (Of course, in those days, women had to go find someone manly to defeat the villain. We're getting better about that. ;))

Editat: des. 11, 2018, 5:50am

Wonder of wonders, Teri Garr is 71... happy birthday Inga !!! How is that possible, that Young Frankenstein 1974 was so many moons ago?! Might revisit that one in honour of a truly smart sexy funny lady, who started out as a dancer in Elvis movies (I remember VLV & Clambake!) and continued to ply her craft, via scooter (re: MS). Respect due and given.

des. 11, 2018, 6:26am

>34 frahealee:

I've never seen that film...only the beginning, and just far enough in to understand that it's "EYE-gor." ;)

des. 11, 2018, 8:15am

Oh, you really should finish it, >35 WeeTurtle:. It plays hilariously with so many scenes you'll be familiar with from old horror films. You probably should be familiar with all the Frankenstein classics first, though.

des. 11, 2018, 8:20am

>36 alaudacorax: I am currently watching 30min of bonus features outtakes. I may get nothing else done today.

des. 12, 2018, 12:45am

One day, I will re-watch piles of movies so that I can hear the commentaries attached to them.

It occurs to me, that with the talk about horror and overcoming your monsters/demons/video game villains, is it not a trait of Gothic horror that this is often difficult or impossible? Like it's a horror that sticks around and the ending is not always happy.

Editat: des. 24, 2018, 3:40pm

Any favourite Christmas or 'holly jolly 'tis-the-season' movies ?!

Want to see but haven't yet:
A Christmas Story 1983
The Nightmare Before Christmas 1993
(I have seen bits of it, but not the whole thing through beginning to end)

See every year at least once:
A Charlie Brown Christmas 1965
How the Grinch Stole Christmas 1966
Alastair Sim in A Christmas Carol 1951, and maybe George C. Scott in his version A Christmas Carol 1984 if there's time.

Personal favourite: The Holly and the Ivy 1952 ... in no small part thanks to Aunt Bridget !
(not a typical kid movie but I first saw it as a child and it had a huge impact with the unsweetened black/white approach to the family dynamic ... it is hard to find here and thus more valuable than ever)

The Polar Express 2004
(I know Tom Hanks is talented, but the style of motion-capture creeps me out somewhat ... although I love the character on top of the train with his coffee and cook fire, which definitely adds gothic tinge)

Christmas Vacation 1989
The Man Who Invented Christmas 2017

They may not have a purely gothic setting, but there is enough in common with the genre that there are links even if broken in places.

Happy Christmas to all, with yuletide-filled wishes (prayers) for a new year brimming with wonder and grace. I might even toast you all with some Harvey's Bristol Cream. =D It always made Mum's ears turn pink. Our book tradition is a read through of 'Twas The Night Before Christmas from a 1968 copy given to me by my grandmother when I was four. Its assorted velvet patches on each page make my tactile daughter smile. My twins make great elves. My eldest is away for the first time ever. Ugh.

-ps- Only just realized that the Signal-man and the son in The Holly and the Ivy are one in the same!

des. 24, 2018, 6:08pm

I do like The Nightmare Before Christmas.

What about Gremlins? or Batman Returns?

I remember the 1947, and what must have been the 1973 TV Movie version of The Miracle on 34th Street being shown one Christmas in the 1970s, and both holding my attention.

A Val Lewton film I haven't seen yet is apparently set at Christmas, The Curse of the Cat People.

Similar to your experience of The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Amazing Mr Blunden is a film I haven't seen all the way though, but it's a Gothic ghost story aimed at children, but with a big budget and excellent cast (it was Lionel Jefferies' follow-up to The Railway Children).


I was just a few years too old for this, but there's a lot of affection online for the BBC's 1984 adaptation of The Box of Delights.

The "Charles Dickens" episode of Doctor Who from 2005, "The Unquiet Dead".

If you can find it (it's available as part of a DVD box-set in the UK, the Goodies' pantomime episode, "The Goodies and the Beanstalk" (who are the Goodies? imagine a sort of politically-, or at least satirically- inclined Monkees (they did get into the UK charts more than once) operating right through the 1970).

Merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year to all.

Editat: des. 26, 2018, 6:04am

>40 housefulofpaper: Some great ones listed there to look forward to...

Somebody posted TNBC online so I watched it just now, and love the spider web Cmas lights at the 25min mark! That was 25yrs ago and the level of creativity was astounding, even the Elfman music, to capture the tropes we know and love so well. Wonderful! =)

Anyone have a favourite version of Good King Wenceslas for today?! I had to play it in a Christmas piano recital duet at age 7? (grade 2) so mixed emotions with this one, blah. Always loved the lyrics though. La la la … on the feast of Stephen... la la la. Some things never change. "Wealth or rank possessing, Ye who now will bless the poor Shall yourselves find blessing." Happy First Day of Christmas! I know everyone is likely sick of the carol and of the marketing ploys enveloping the custom, but it actually begins today, and extends to the feast of the Epiphany on January 6th. I like to watch my Twelfth Night dvd just for a fun tie in. Now, off to find some Christmas pears... (my kids still expect little treats daily, so would hate to disappoint).

Editat: des. 26, 2018, 6:06am

The Nightmare before Christmas is one of my favourite holiday movies, and movies in general. My favourite Christmas movies are still The Muppet Christmas Carol and Die Hard. ;)

Good King Wenceslas is a song I forgot about a lot, but my favourite "version" is actually just a little music exercise my sister and I did when learning to play flute (me) and clarinet (her). I'd start and we'd alternate lines for a verse. It was fun at the time. :)

We listened to Nana Mouskouri's christmas album yesterday and it's something my friend loved so we' just listen to nothing else when decorating the tree. It's still where I get my version of songs I (try to) sing. I've decided to try and seek a casual vocal coach just so I can learn to adequately cover the ranges I mangle so I stop offending myself.

des. 27, 2018, 7:09pm

>41 frahealee:
I don't have a favourite version of Good King Wenceslas (I assume you mean recording rather than arrangement?). It's a carol that we learned at school and so that "right" thing to do, I instinctively feel, is to sing it myself, rather than listen to someone else sing it.

Mind you, the muscle memory, or whatever it is, that's telling me that, belongs to the little boy I was 45 or more years ago, so I'd better NOT try to sing it as I did then!

My mother always played Perry Como's Christmas album (or one of them. Was there more than one?) in the run-up to the day itself, but I gather in recent years she's transferred her affections to Michael Bublé...

des. 28, 2018, 7:03pm

It's fun to draw out memories long overlooked, at the close of the year. They are still there for the taking. Blows my mind that my sisters are all grandmothers, so I am reaching for my youth perhaps, as epic distraction! We had no Perry Como or Nana albums, but record numbers of Enrico Caruso and Guy Lombardo!

Editat: des. 28, 2018, 9:15pm

>41 frahealee: For anyone interested in the tradition trivia behind the 12 Days of Christmas;

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" is an English Christmas carol. From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly, so this carol was written as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known to RCs. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember. To fit the number scheme, when you reach number 9, representing the Fruits of the Holy Ghost, the originator combined 6 to make 3, taking the 6 fruits that were similar. There are actually Twelve Fruits of the Holy Ghost.
Charity (or Love) is the love of God and of neighbor, without any thought of receiving something in return. It is not a "warm and fuzzy" feeling, however; charity is expressed in concrete action toward God and our fellow man. Joy isn't emotional, in the sense that we commonly think of joy; rather, it is the state of being undisturbed by the negative things in life. Peace is a tranquility in our soul that comes from relying on God to provide for them. Patience is the ability to bear the imperfections of other people, through a knowledge of our own imperfections and our need for God's mercy and forgiveness. Benignity (or Kindness) is the willingness to give to others above and beyond what we owe them. Goodness is the avoidance of evil to embrace what's right, even at the expense of earthly fame/fortune. Longanimity (or Long-Suffering) is patience under provocation. While patience is directed at other's faults, to be long-suffering is to endure quietly the attacks of others. Mildness (or Gentleness) is to be forgiving rather than angry, gracious not vengeful. Like Christ Himself, Who said that "I am gentle and humble of heart" (Matthew 11:29) the gentle person is meek and yields to others for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Faith means living our life in accordance with God's will at all times. Modesty is humbling yourself, acknowledging that any of your successes, achievements, talents, or merits are not truly your own but gifts from God. Continence is self-control or temperance, not denying oneself what one needs or even wants (so long as it's something good). It is the exercise of moderation in all things. Chastity is the submission of physical desire to right reason, subjugating it to one's spiritual nature (indulging our physical desires only within the appropriate context, marriage).
The "True Love" in the song is Jesus Christ, because Love was born on Christmas Day (the Incarnation). The partridge in the pear tree also represents Him because that bird is willing to sacrifice its life if necessary to protect its young by feigning injury to draw away predators.

The two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

The three French hens stood for the Theological Virtues of faith, hope, and love/charity.

The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The five golden rings represented the first five books of the Old Testament, which describe man's fall into sin and the great love of God in sending our Savior.

The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of Creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represented the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit bestowed in the Sacrament of Confirmation; prophesy, service, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership, and mercy.

The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes, from the Sermon on the Mount.

Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit; love/charity, joy, peace, patience/forbearance, kindness, generosity, faithfulness/fidelity, gentleness/mildness and self-control.

The ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.

The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful Apostles.

The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in The Apostles' Creed.
FYI: this info is a hodgepodge collection from many different sites, placed here mostly for my own quick reference