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Daddy’s Little Monster
[Ron McKenzie and his twelve-year-old daughter Emma return with a new installment of Daddy's Little Monster.]
I’ve been holding off on it for a while now. I first saw The Exorcist at 16, and it scared the crap out of me, in a way that no horror film has since. It pulled no punches and had no problems with putting poor little Regan through the wringer. Obviously, as a parent, I just felt that it might all be too much for Emma.
I was wrong. Very, VERY wrong.
[We're happy to announce the return of Daddy's Little Monster! Take it away, Ron and Emma...]
First, a short apology. We’re back, we’re sorry, won’t happen again.
Now, for our return, we felt it would be wise (and appropriate) to look back at the past year and its various highs and lows. We also both agreed that since most – okay, all – of you want to hear what she had to say, I’d let Emma do the talking. Without further ado, Part One of 2011: The Little Monster’s Point of View.
Welcome to another edition of Daddy’s Little Monster. Tonight’s feature presentation? The British sci-fi/horror/action/comedy mash-up, Attack the Block. It’s just opened here in North America but we were fortunate enough to catch an advance screening of it in May. I’m gonna sit this one out and hand over the reins. So, without further ado, a 100% Little Monster’s view of Attack the Block.
Emma: Attack the Block takes place in South London, and it’s about a gang of young-kid muggers – is that a word? (Note: Insert “Yes, it is” from off-mic Dad.) Anyways, the kids are trying to mug this lady, when they get caught in the start of an alien attack. They kill the first alien that attacks them, but they find themselves being chased by the other aliens, and they’re bigger and way meaner. They run back to their apartment building in “the block” to hide out. The rest of the movie has the gang, along with the lady they tried to rob, fighting to stay alive.
Welcome back to Daddy’s Little Monster… minus the Little Monster. As I’m writing this, Emma is off at the grandparents’, so I’m flying solo. Yeah, I know; I’m disappointed, too. I’ll try to ease your lowered expectations.
One of the things we’ve been doing here is helping to figure out what kinds of films are appropriate for the little monster in your life. And it’s not just about “age-appropriate content.” Sometimes it’s just about nurturing a kid’s love for the strange and supernatural – a “gateway.” For a lot of kids, that gateway is through the many fantasy films custom-made for kids and pre-teens. There are plenty of films to choose from here, and I’ve tried many of them with Emma – Cirque Du Freak, The Lord of the Rings and obviously, Harry Potter – all of which failed to strike the right note with her. One film, along with Hellboy, did make an impression on her and ended up shaping her interests in the genre. It clicked, and if your kids haven’t seen it, it might click with them too. I’m referring to 2008′s creature-filled fantasy adventure, The Spiderwick Chronicles.
For most of us, our love of horror begins with one word: monsters. From Universal’s classic pantheon to the rubber-suited mayhem of Godzilla and company, the creature feature was our gateway drug. It was no different for Emma, when she first fell in love with Hellboy and his monstrous universe. Till now, we’ve been looking at films to determine if they’re suitable viewing for your monster kid in training. This time, though, there’s no grey area – this is mandatory viewing for the young horror-junkie, if they haven’t seen it already. Of course, we’re talking about Fred Dekker’s cult classic, The Monster Squad, the first in our series of no-brainer recommendations.
First of all, apologies. We’re painfully aware of our recent absence lately and we’re very sorry. Being perfectly honest, though, it’s all her fault. Between school and the madness that is Junior Roller Derby (Emma skates with the Toronto Knicker Kickers as “Susie Bruisie”), time has been something of a premium. So, if there is blame to be laid, drop it at her feet…. just don’t tell her I said that.
We’re going to make it up to you, though: we’re getting back up-to-speed with a slew of reviews, including one that’s been requested on the Rue Morgue Mortuary, as well as one coming over from across the pond later this summer. But now, we look at something a little more recent and a lot more divisive…
Sometimes, you get lucky. You share something with your child – something that shaped you, that defined your world-view – and they get it. And there are other times where they look at you like you’ve sprouted a second head and started speaking in Esperanto. This was one of those times.
Dawn of the Dead was THE film that shaped my early years as a horror fan. It was the total package – the violence, the social commentary, the sly humour. This film disturbed and entertained me in equal measure. I love it with all my heart, and felt now was the time to share this classic with my young apprentice. The results…were not what I expected at all. (Note: the reason for the slight delay in this review is that this was our third attempt to get Emma to sit through a full viewing of the film, and not for the reasons one would expect.)
I blame Guillermo Del Toro. It was the first pics of Ron Perlman and Doug Jones in full Hellboy/Abe make-up that turned four-year old Emma into the horror kid she is today. While she’s enjoyed the Hellboy movies, she’s been wanting to kick things up to the next level. For some time, she’s been bugging me to get a look at his more mature work, especially Pan’s Labyrinth. I’ve been hesitant: the film is quite heavy, mature and very brutal. There’s not a lot of “fun” to be had, like with our previous choices. After a lot of thought, I decided maybe it was time. And the end result? Read on…
To quote Sara Lee, “Some people don’t like some things, but nobody doesn’t like… brain-eating zombies!” Alright, not word for word, but zombies have always been a popular horror staple, especially in our household. From Romero’s series to Shaun of the Dead, right up to the recent TV adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, the “deceased and mobile” have been a regular fixture in Emma’s “education”. That’s why, for our next film, I decided we should fill in one of the crucial blanks in her zombie repertoire: Dan O’Bannon’s cult classic horror-comedy, The Return of the Living Dead.
Welcome to our newest column, Daddy’s Little Monster. Ron McKenzie and his daughter Emma will be breaching the generation gap to take a fresh look at horror classics, and give their personal spin on contemporary genre films, as well. First up is Child’s Play. Take it away, Ron…
When I met with Dave to discuss ideas for an ongoing column in the Abattoir, we looked at a few options. It was one suggestion he made, though, that seemed like a perfect fit. “You and Emma should do a father-daughter tag team review.” Emma’s my eleven-year-old daughter and a “monster kid” since the age of four. Lately, I’ve been introducing her to the films that made me a horror fan. Some, she’s loved. Others, not so much (we don’t see eye-to-eye on Romero’s Dead series – her thoughts on Dawn of the Dead are controversial, to say the least ).