10. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)
|Genius, successful industrialist, hates "elf n' safety".|
(Pic : Time Magazine)
I suppose it taught children they shouldn't be a brat. It also teaches them they're dispensable with few consequences. The chocolate factory was some sort of torture dungeon, run off the back of slave labour, and Willy Wonka has the health and safety awareness of a Victorian mill owner. If he were around today, he would be called Sheikh al-Wanka and building venues for the FIFA World Cup. In the real world, children seeming to die at your factory in horrible industrial accidents would've led to strikes and Guardian articles. The book made it very clear the children were alright afterwards, but Gene Wilder was too busy travelling in a lift that went so fast it crashed through the roof ("elf-n-safety!") to point that out.
9. The Shrek Series (2001-2010)
(Pic : huskiesinwonderland.wordpress.com)
8. Apaches (1977)
Not quite a movie, but certainly aimed at children. This "delight" was about preventing children dying on farms. I was shown a different version that I can't remember the name of. Farms aren't exactly at the top of my list of "safe places to raise a child" as practically everything can kill you. Apaches demonstrates this to great effect – being crushed by a gate, drinking chemicals and dying screaming in agony in the middle on the night, crashing a tractor down a hill. The best though was drowning in fermenting animal shit.
7. Labyrinth (1986)
|(Pic : Entertainment Weekly)|
=5. The Terminator/Terminator 2 & Robocop (1984, 1991, 1987)
|Now show the kids how Murphy got in to that suit....|
(Pic : thepoptopshop.com)
OK, I'm cheating a little bit. It's fairly obvious none of these was suitable for children - the latter featuring at least two of the most brutal deaths in cinematic history. There's something about cyborgs and future wars that speaks to the inner boy. However the amount of merchandise and advertising aimed at children (Robocop even spawned a cartoon) - who wouldn't have been able to see them in a cinema - probably makes them the best example, but not an "official" one.
4. Ghostbusters (1984)
This is a straight-up adult-ish film that just so happened to be rated low enough for children. First off there's the references to menstruation, then ghostly blow-jobs and this man not having a dick. Who hasn't jumped at the librarian scene?
3. Return to Oz (1985)
A slightly obscure cult film and sequel to The Wizard of Oz that people will probably remember when reminded of but not off the top of their head – for good reason. First, it starts with Dorothy being treated in a mental hospital. You can see where this is going? The Wheelers are just - even as a concept - quite terrifying. Talking bodiless heads. The costumes of the main characters are pretty out there, and that's before mentioning people turning to stone and a pumpkinhead man almost getting eaten by a giant man-mountain. It's every worst childhood nightmare wrapped in one film.
2. The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985)
I haven't actually seen all of this, but the above five minute segment - in its own right - instantly launches this towards the top. Even if it's an adaption of Twain's short story, Mysterious Stranger, it's one of the most disturbing sequences you'll find – however truthful it is. When dealing with an audience of children, the subject of the nature of reality and good vs evil can be approached in a manner that's a little less on the nose.
1. Watership Down (1978)
(Pic : thegloss.com)