By Richard Haddad, Roundup Publisher
A number of years ago my wife and I took our children to a theme park in Florida. We found an attraction called Alien Encounter. After reading the warning signs about the frightening nature of the attraction, I decided to only take my two older boys inside. The experience featured a man-eating alien who breaks out of a holding cell and walks around the audience members all of whom are strapped into their seats unable to escape. Each seat was equipped with a device that dispensed hot air down your neck as the monster breathed behind you, or a splatter of warm liquid on your face when an actor in front of you was being eaten. It was frightening, even to me.
As we walked out of the attraction there was a large group of Asian tourists lining up to take their young children inside. I saw what must have been 4- and 5-year-old children being led into a nightmare.
I decided the language barrier was the reason they disregarded the warning signs. But for the majority of us, there are no language barriers at the Payson theaters.
This weekend, some parents took their small children to see "Hannibal," a movie about a man who kills and eats his victims. The movie is rated R, which leaves it up to parents to decide if they feel their children are mature enough to handle the violent and distorted nature of the film. Some parents decided their 5-year-olds could watch. I don't understand why. Even if parents can't afford a babysitter, they can see the movie when it's released on video and watch it when their children are asleep.
We know the staff at the Sawmill Theatres is enforcing the age restrictions. I recently observed a group of underage boys being turned away from an R-rated movie because their parents were not with them.
But when the parents are there, we hope they will use good judgment with such R-rated movies as this. There are enough frightening things in this world without the worst nightmares of Hollywood being burned into the memories of our young children.