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Introducing Kids to Horror Films

If you dislike horror movies, you might want to shield your children from them, but sooner or later they're going to see something that might traumatize them while visiting friends. If you enjoy horror movies, you don't want to traumatize your child and turn them against the movies you love. There are films made for children that will introduce them to the thrill of being scared -but not too scared. Den of Geek has a list of movies that "offer children a safe, but interesting, introduction to the world of horror, with archetypal tropes, characters and even the odd jump scare." The trick here is to watch with your children, so you can pause, explain, and reassure when necessary.

When your child is older and has seen the movies made for kids, then what? Elementary students and tweens may get a thrill out of gore and jump scares, but to really appreciate the horror genre, they need to see well-made movies that engage the viewer. For that, you might consult the list of 81 Best Creepy Horror Movies, although you'll want to select movies you've already seen to ensure they are appropriate for your children. Older classics like Gaslight or The Uninvited will give them the creeps without the sex and violence of newer movies. Watching horror movies that are age-appropriate will help prepare your children for the time they are old enough to go to a theater without you.


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I remember being introduced to horror via John Carpenter's "The Thing" when I was a kid. Specifically the electro-shocks to the chest scene. Nightmares for weeks... but that still didn't stop me from enjoying the movie years later once I could handle it. Even "The Secret of Nimh" had some scary themes and scenes for a kid.
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The first adult horror film my kids saw was Carrie. I warned them as we went along that it was going to get scary. They were intrigued with the story, then by the time the prom went to hell, it became apparent that I oversold the horror, because they weren't that frightened.
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