The creepy side of classic kids’ films

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Over the Easter holidays there have been many classic films on television that have given us as a family the chance to get comfy on the sofa with a few snacks and chill out with a great movie.

As we watch these films, which often come with a ‘suitable for all ages’ rating, I realise that, intertwined with the fun and uplifting storylines, there are some bits that are quite frankly bizarre, creepy and often scary.

Take the classic version of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.

It was released many years before I was born, but my daughters enjoy watching it and it’s a film I have loved for as long as I can remember.

It’s all about a boy called Charlie who, living with his poor family, finds a golden ticket to the Chocolate Factory.

My favourite part of the movie, and also the part that my daughters ask me to rewind to time and again, is Wonka’s amazing candy room, where everything is edible. It comes complete with a stunning chocolate river and waterfall.

Sounds good so far, right?

But then all, of a sudden, it gets scary with the arrival of Wonka’s boat.

While they are travelling from one part of the chocolate factory to the other we see a flying monster, a dead man with a centipede on his face and a bird getting its head chopped off. What’s that all about?

Then you’ve got the major Disney classic Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.

The magical fairytale takes a sinister turn when Snow White goes into the forest where every tree trunk is a monster, the floating logs turn into human-eating alligators and there is a huntsman who wants to cut Snow White’s heart out and put it into a box.

Again, what is that all about?

The film Pinocchio also comes to mind. It’s about a wooden puppet who wishes he could become a real boy.

The theme of the movie is honesty and knowing right from wrong.

Sometimes Pinocchio does choose the wrong path as we see him gambling, smoking a cigar, drinking alcohol and engaging in vandalism.

Yet this is a classic children’s movie rated as ‘universal: suitable for all’!

But I think back to when I watched those films as a child and the scenes didn’t particularly disturb me nor make me hide underneath my duvet for the rest of the day.

I suppose our children’s minds aren’t as fragile as we think they might be.

I’ve not mentioned the horror of greedy Augustus Gloop, who fell into the chocolate river in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory and was sucked into a pipe and was nearly turned into a mass of chocolate, but I feel that’s how he would have wanted to go.

Dad’s hair day: it’s a ponytail

Before my daughters leave our house each day, there is one important task that has to be done. Their hair must be transformed from a crazy bed-hair mess to a style fit for a princess.

This is something I don’t usually take part in, but when I see my girls sitting down with their mum for the big transformation, I’m often amazed at how many hairstyles there are on the unwritten menu.

They might go for the bun, which I’d describe as the hair being tied in a knot and then plonked on the top of their head. Then there is the braid, where different strands of hair are interweaved and overlapped with each other. One of my daughters’ favourites is the plait, which to me looks very similar to the braid.

But there are occasions when mum isn’t available and this dad, who usually stays away from the brush, is called into action and I’m let loose on my daughters’ hairstyles.

Unfortunately for them, on days like that there are only two items on the menu: ponytail or no ponytail.