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Why Are So Many Gothic Stories Geared Towards/Concentrated on Children?

Coraline, IT, Stranger Things, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Babadook…the Gothic and horror genres appear to have a fascination with children. Does it stem from our primal instinct to protect our offspring from threat? Does it illustrate how our childish fears never really leave us? Also, are these texts really geared towards children, or to the adults watching with their children? Or both? So many questions with some possibly fascinating answers.

  • Great topic. There are a /lot/ of examples, including Henry James' long short story "The Turn of the Screw" or the film The Village of the Damned. My initial guess is that there's some sort of play on the oppositions of innocence and monstrosity. (Children can be at least a little monstrous in some ways. One of the characters in Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof calls the children in the play "no-neck monsters.") – JamesBKelley 1 month ago
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  • There's certainly an aspect of empowering, encouraging wish fulfillment in that the kids face the manifestations of their fears and defeat the nightmare monsters. – noahspud 7 days ago
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Published

Mickey or Fieval: Which mouse do you stand behind?

During the creating of "The Fox and the Hound" Don Bluth and several animators left Disney, disheartened with the direction things were going. In the years to come they would produce several critically-acclaimed children’s animated films (to call them cartoons seems rather derogatory in the face of such praise) which not only presented kids with a vastly different group of films to watch, but ones that contained elements different than the Disney pictures of the same time frame. With graphic death, scary scenes and dark lessons, Bluth (often quoted as saying "Kids can accept anything as long as there is a happy ending") has been criticized for going against the grain of what children’s films should contain. Examining this unusual event in film history, as well as other "children’s films" that have been controversial (including Disney’s own "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves"), discern what merits both sides of children’s filmmaking have (traditional and new age) and whether it is more beneficial to take a darker path or only allow happy endings and bright stories to fill the screens of young impressionable human beings.