The sinister side of children’s classics

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There are many films that I loved as a child that I now enjoy watching with my two daughters, Caitlin and Alyssa.

But as I sit there on the sofa with one daughter on my left and the other on my right, I realise that inserted into the fun and uplifting storyline are some bits that are bizarre, creepy and sometimes downright scary.

Take Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, a film that I have enjoyed since I can remember. It’s the story of Charlie, who comes from a poor family but finds a golden ticket to the Chocolate Factory.

We see Wonka’s amazing candy room, where everything is edible, and a stunning chocolate river complete with waterfall. Then all of a sudden, it gets scary with the arrival of Wonka’s boat.

We see a flying monster, a dead man with a centipede on his face and a bird getting its head chopped off.

And this is all in a movie rated Universal – suitable for all.

Then you have the classic Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.

Snow White must escape the evil witch and moves in with seven dwarfs.

But then 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 wanting to cut her heart out and put it into a box.

Again, a movie rated Universal.

Then there is the story of Pinocchio, the wooden puppet who wishes he could become a real boy.

The theme of the movie is honesty and knowing right from wrong and sometimes Pinocchio chooses the wrong path as we see him gambling, smoking a cigar, drinking alcohol and vandalising.

However, I worry more that a boy made of wood finds it acceptable to hold a lit flame that close to his face.

Again this classic children’s movie is rated as Universal.

I think back to when I watched these as a child and these scenes didn’t particularly disturb me or make me hide underneath my duvet for the rest of the day.

In Willy Wonka, I remember wondering what the boat scene was all about and what it had to do with the storyline, but that was it.

I remember watching Snow White and to me as a child there was a goodie and a baddie and that’s what baddies did – horrible things.

I know I watched Pinocchio as a child but I’d forgotten about the smoking scene.

As a non-smoker, it didn’t influence me.

Or maybe it did – to make the right choice.

I’ve not mentioned the horror of Augustus Gloop falling into the chocolate river and being sucked into a pipe, but I feel that’s how he would have wanted to go.