Mamatoga Remembers: Weird Childhood Movies

The other day I was doing some random childhood reminiscing with S. when my mind stumbled on a movie I remembered seeing multiple times when I was a child called The Neverending Story. Not only do I remember seeing it, pretty much everyone I know in my age range (I'm 33) remembers seeing it at some point during their childhood as well. We got into a discussion of how different this particular movie is from movies we show our children today, and I was fairly sure I would never, EVER show my own children The Neverending Story. Why, you ask? I'm sure plenty of you are shaking your heads at my statement right now, thinking to yourselves "But I LOVED that movie growing up!". Well I'll tell you why, in four words, the Swamp of Sadness. Do you remember that part readers? I do. Not only do I remember that part, it is SEARED onto my memory as one of the most scarring scenes I witnessed in a movie as a child. In case you don't remember or blocked it out of your memory to protect your gentle psyche, the Swamp of Sadness is what Atreyu, the main character, must travel across in his attempt to save Fantasia from The Nothing, which is apparently "a void of darkness that consumes everything". Ooookay then. Pretty heavy stuff for someone like myself who was around 6 when this movie came out. Kids these days have Swiper the Fox, we had an all consuming void of darkness and Gmork, a vicious wolf-like beast summoned to kill Atreyu. So, where was I? Oh yes, this fairy tale land is being destroyed and Atreyu is making his way across the Swamp of Sadness with his horse, but the horse is overcome by the sadness and sinks into the mud, presumably dying. I still have the clear memory of Atreyu struggling to pull the sinking sad horse out of the mud while screaming and crying for him. But yay! Fun kids movie, right? Now, in my parents defense I'm sure they had no idea that I would be potentially emotionally scarred by this movie, and as I said, pretty much everyone else I knew watched it as well. But still. Scarring. I don't remember much else from the movie to be honest, except for the flying creature thing Falkor being stuck with a giant syringe at some point, and although I do realize the horse miraculously comes back at the end the damage was done for me. So after reliving that painful childhood memory I thought of another very strange "kids" movie we all watched back then, Labyrinth, which came out in 1986. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Jim Henson and I firmly believe he was a genius, but Labyrinth was probably not the most kid appropriate movie I ever watched. The plot begins when Jennifer Connelly's character has a fight with this stepmother that she hates and is forced to babysit her brother, which she doesn't want to do. The baby is fussy and crying, and taking lines from a book she was reading she says she wishes goblins would come take him away, which they promptly do. Soon, David Bowie, aka the "King of the Goblins" arrives and tells her if she can solve his great maze (the Labyrinth) within thirteen hours, she can have Toby back. If she can't, he will turn Toby into a goblin and keep him forever. Sounds pretty kid friendly, no? And what about the first creature she encounters, a dwarf who is busy killing fairies with a fly spray who she then bribes him with plastic jewelry to lead her through the maze? All pretty normal stuff right there. And sure, this movie also ends on a happy note, the baby is found and is back home safe and sound, Jennifer Connelly's character wrestles with the fact that she has now left childhood behind, the old usual. Although there weren't any horses dying from sadness in this flick what I remember most was David Bowie's character and his awesome evil 80's hairstyle. Another movie from 1986 that I remember watching in the theater was Little Shop of Horrors. Perhaps my parents should have been a little put off since the movie is called Little Shop of HORRORS but no, I was allowed to go see this movie with a group of friends, I'm pretty sure there might have been someone's mom there as a chaperone but my memory is foggy. What I do remember is that this movie was about a cute little plant that grows up into a terrible monster which Rick Moranis then needs to feed people to in order to keep it happy and himself in one piece. And he doesn't just dump these people into the plant whole, I'm fairly sure at one point he's hacking them up or something equally as gruesome. While I remember thoroughly enjoying the film I still can't help but wonder if I should have been watching a movie about a human eating plant that its owner fed dentists to. Although, who can resists that Steve Martin "I'll be a dentist!" song, it was stuck in my head just the other day and I wasn't unhappy about it. Now, what I want to know is, do you readers remember watching any of these movies as a child, and did they give you any weird or scary memories? My parents were just as normal and protective as the next parents, and were anything but neglectful, and would never let me watch anything they thought might freak me out, but nonetheless, there I was, watching horses be overcome by sadness swamps and David Bowie get a little weird with a fifteen year old Jennifer Connelly. Would you let your kids watch these movies today since you watched them when you were young? Are you very protective of what they watch, and are there movies out now that you think are weird and inappropriate for the age group they are targeted at? I'm sure we'll all show our kids The Princess Bride, but who is going to show them Pee Wee's Big Adventure? Share with me readers!