Why We Scare Kids

Don’t be fooled by the recent strong grosses of Goosebumps and Hotel Transylvania 2 this Halloween: the kids are all right, and unspooked.

In fact, they have been unstirred for some time. Nothing to go bump in the night, no nightmares incited by movies targeting their eyeballs and overactive imaginations. Barring older siblings or haphazard parents showing them the still-common slashers and adult-intended horrors, it’s been some time since younger audiences have had something intended on terrifying their specific age group.

See, when I was a kid, we got this:


Have you had any nightmares in the two seconds since looking at this? Because I’ve had seventeen.

If you don’t know what you’re looking at, congratulations on escaping your childhood unscathed and welcome to The Witches. Nicolas Roeg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved book stars Angelica Huston (pictured here drenched in Jim Henson-created creature design) as a high priestess witch determined to eradicate children by plying them with candy to turn them into mice. Though Dahl’s work never shied from children-in-magical-peril situations, Roeg & Henson takes this one to next level freakshow territory with confrontational imagery and ghastly makeup. And all while focusing on a young audience.

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