Makoto wanted a vampire movie.
I really don't know why. I mean, the kid was playing with the flashcards that I was using for my Halloween lessons and it does have a vampire in it, but just from that one cartoony image, he decides that he needs a scary vampire movie.
What we ended up doing was heading over to the local video store (Yes, they still have them in Japan, but this rents movies, CDs, games, and sells books too) to look for some Halloween films that would be scary enough for a 5-year-old without getting into both-children-are-now-permanently-attached-to-Daddy's-leg kind of scary. Obviously this would take some fine line walking and for the light of me, I couldn't remember a single vampire film that didn't either get way too scary (Fright Night or Lost Boys), too emo (Interview with the Vampire) or just wander into no... just no territory (Twilight). What I thought was just skipping the whole vampire bit and going for Disney's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Now I might be a bit odd, but that cartoon scared the dickens out of me when I was a little boy and I remember any number of nightmares about being chased by the headless horseman.
|Yes, THIS gave me nightmares, THIS!|
Oddly enough, the bad part of the dreams wasn't the idea that he would cut off my head, but that he would show me what was down his neck.
Alas, even for a country that loves Disney, we couldn't find it. We also couldn't find the original Dracula or Frankenstein (But we could find Young Frankenstein, which for some reason was in the horror section). We did get Nightmare Before Christmas, but Makoto was hankering for a scary movie and kept 'suggesting' various titles (I.e. picking them out at random). It was a constant stream of "How about this?" (Child's Play) "No." "This?" (Friday the 13th Part I) "No." "This one?" (Paranormal Activity) "Oh heck no!" Meanwhile of course Hikaru, having wandered over to the SF section was pointing out the movie he recognized. "Superman! Superman! Superman! Superman!" and trying to fly like the hero.
|THIS was his choice|
What I read on IMDb wasn't exactly recommending the film as something a 5-year-old would be wise to see. For one thing, it was supposed to be the third film in John Carpenter's Vampires series. I had seen the first film, even read the original book. I liked the first film a lot, it was a good vampire flick, scary, action packed, and very enjoyable... for a college guy. For a young boy... Uh... Well, not only was it a really scary movie, but well... the language leaves a lot to be desired, especially in terms of little boys who mimic everything they hear (Yeah, having Hikaru say "cocksucker" would go over really well with Beloved), and of course I did remember that just about every single female in that movie ends up extremely naked. Sometimes it seems like it you were a woman in that film, your clothes would spontaneously combust just so we could see your bust.
This wasn't something that was looking good.
But hark! Apparently this was the bastard red-headed step-child of the Vampires series and one that John Carpenter had nothing to do with. One it was set in Thailand and featured a different take on things, and two it was mostly a martial arts film. The problem I did have was twofold. One, Makoto was demanding to be allowed to see his scary vampire movie and two, there was this entry in the IMDb:
There is a scene where the Stephanie Chao "a good vampire" bites a willing person that wants to be temporarily turned to save his girlfriend and then has sex with him.This put me in a bit of a bind. Beloved and I have talked about the day that will eventually come when we've got to explain to our sons about the birds and bees. I, personally, plan to take a page from my mother and I'm waiting for them to either ask me where babies come from, or around age 10ish or so, whichever comes first. In the mean time however, what I don't want to do is suggest to either of my sons that their bodies are somehow shameful or dirty. I really dislike that bit about various cultures that we tell children that they need to hide this part of them. It's one thing to explain that it's what we do as it's socially required, but... well... It just doesn't seem right to tell a boy that his penis is dirty so he shouldn't touch it. Or that sex itself is somehow shameful or disgusting and needs to be hidden.
They fall in love and she bites and kisses his neck at the same time repeatedly.
Next scene seconds later: Stephanie Chao is having sex on the man nude (Breasts and nipples) are seen and she is riding him while he is turning into a vampire. Sex, nudity, and graphic sexuality seen.
I'm not trying to say I want my sons to be exhibitionists or to go out scoring chicks (Or guys, depending) every night. Indeed, when the time comes my rules are going to be very firm: I would like you to wait until marriage or at least in a long term relationship. Even if you choose not to follow my wishes, you WILL use protection even if I have to buy it for you myself. And if you DO happen to impregnate a girl, you will support her and respect her wishes or else you will learn the truth of the phrase 'I brought you into the world and I can damn well take you out of it'. What I am trying to say however is that I want my sons to have a healthy attitude about sex, their bodies, and their sexuality because I feel that not being ashamed or scared of it makes them far more likely to be knowledgeable and to talk to me about it instead of listening to the grapevine and assuming that, really, if the girl jumps up and down really hard afterwards she won't get pregnant.
That said, at age 5, this isn't the talk we need to have right this minute and I don't plan to get a subscription to some of the more interesting magazines in Japan to provoke that talk.
Which came back to the problem... This movie had a sex scene, with naked boobies. And Makoto wanted to watch it. I didn't want to just say no because I didn't want him to take away the lesson of shame, etc. But on the other hand... I didn't want to start this up right now. And there was the violence factor as well, I don't want him exposed to too much of it (Something that finally dawned on me while watching The Dark Knight on TV one night. After the Joker's 'magic trick' it occurred to me that my sons really shouldn't be watching this yet).
There was one compromise I could see to allow Makoto to see his scary vampire film and to make sure things didn't get into areas either violent or sexual that I didn't want him to deal with yet. I would watch the movie with him, remote in hand. I figured it if started getting a bit too much... we'll skip.
Besides, as I said to Beloved, if he does get a boobie shot, at least it's an Asian boob and nothing he hasn't seen before... which prompted Beloved to smack me.
So we settled down, got ready to watch the third instillation of the Vampires series... Makoto's scary vampire movie picked out of the horror section at the video store next to such thrillers as Paranormal Activity and Ring.
We're talking Mystery Science Theater fodder here. We're saying beyond b-grade. We're saying a lead actor whose acting range was pretty much a constant expression of "fierce determination" (Or possible constipation it's hard to say which). We're talking about a plot that makes less than no sense, actions that make even less sense than that, and vampires that mostly just wander around to smile and show off their teeth and contacts.
And yes, when we did get to the sex scene, it too was so bad that I don't think Makoto even noticed, especially on fast forward. Beloved even wandered over to toss me a look that said plainly "This was what we were worried about?!"
So, I protected my sons against the dangers of violence and sexuality until they are old enough to handle them better... I think though that at least Makoto can handle bad movies, especially if Daddy is near by to help with the MST'ing.
There's just one thing to say to that:
Push the button, Frank!