I thought I'd mix things up a little bit and put in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. For the most part, he likes this one as well. He loves the Dwarfs, especially when they're singing. However, whenever the evil queen and her magic mirror comes on the screen, he gets a panicked look in his eye and yells, "No! No! No!"
Part of me is actually relieved that he's showing some fear, as I was beginning to worry that nothing would scare this kid. But at the same time, I don't want him to be scared of things that can't actually harm him. Don't get me wrong. I don't turn up the volume and force him to watch it. I fast-forward to the happy parts, but I don't make a big deal about it. I say, "Okay" to him in a calm voice, and I don't act like there's anything actually wrong.
Yeah, this is the kind of thing that I think about. The reason why is that when I was growing up, I was always scared of stuff that I'd see on TV or in movies. So, no, I absolutely was not a horror fan when I was a kid. I was always worried that I would get nightmares. Much of this probably has to do with how my brain works, I'm sure. To this day, I'm still not a huge fan of horror, and I avoid anything in the "torture porn" category. Plus, when I read about the plot to The Human Centipede, I literally got depressed about it for a few days. However, I must point out that it's not quite the same thing as when I was a kid. I definitely am a fan of some horror movies like The Silence of the Lambs, The Shining and many of George Romero's zombie movies (plus the direct successor of that with The Walking Dead).
It wasn't just horror movies that bothered me. I remember that I refused to see Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when somebody told me about the guy getting his heart pulled out of his chest. There were other movies that I avoided for similar reasons. People would tell me about the gory bits, and of course, my imagination would make it out to be a billion times worse than it actually was. (I should point out that I started to lose this particular quirk when I was a teenager. Still, when I was little, many of my friends had no problem with gory and scary movies.)
One thing that no doubt made my irrational fear of horror movies worse was that growing up, I thought all of that evil spirit stuff was real. When people would tell me about The Exorcist, I used to think that stuff like that could and did actually happen. This particular memory came back to me recently when a friend of mine asked on Facebook for some advice regarding her daughter. Apparently, her daughter likes horror movies, and she wasn't sure if she should be allowed to see them, even though her ex-husband thought that it was okay to let their daughter decide for herself.
My friend got a lot of useful feedback, but one person responded that she didn't let her kids watch that kind of thing because spirits/demons/etc. were "real" and watching it just opens the door to that kind of a thing. I wrote a response to that, trying to be as diplomatic as possible, but what I wanted to write was: "No! No! NO!!!! Get a grip on reality, lady! Paranormal Activity is fiction!!!"
Setting aside the obvious fact that my son is not even two, my attitude as far as what he can and cannot watch when it comes to what's scary and what's not is this: if he can handle it, he can watch it. Of course, some kids say that they can, and then they get freaked out and have nightmares for weeks. My job as a parent, along with my wife, is to determine exactly what he can handle. Obviously, there will be some things that will be straight-up inappropriate for a little kid to see, and I don't care how much he begs me to see Saw 17 when he's only six years old, he's not going to see it. But when he's thirteen? I think if he really wants to see it, he's going to. Better to have a talk with him about those kinds of movies and what he likes about them. Also, we can discuss things like story and acting. There's no reason why he can't like horror and not use some critical thinking skills at the same time.
Of course, he simply might not show any interest in that kind of a movie at all. I'd rather that he chose not to see them for that reason than because he thinks that some demon will make his head do a 360 degree turn. After all, aren't there enough real things for people to worry about?