I saw this on my way to work today:
This is the billboard advert for Annabelle Comes Home, the horror movie sequel due to be in cinemas. I saw it on the side of a bus passing by.
As I glanced towards those cold, dead eyes watching me from the side of the bus I fully freaked out. Heart racing and adrenaline pumping, I didn’t know whether to look away from the terrifying image or keep my eyes locked on hers for fear she might move while I look away. Then jump out of the picture and grab me.
What you should know is that I have an (irrational, I know) fear of still faces on things that look human but aren’t actually alive. Apparently it’s called automatonphobia. But I don’t think you need to have a particular fear to find this scary.
After all it’s a horror film advert, it’s supposed to be scary.
Here’s the thing though. I actually love horror films. It’s a fairly regular Friday night in for me to sit down with a takeaway and whatever Netflix has to offer that can give me a good fright. I’m sure there’s many Christians who feel squeamish about this. Feel free to chat to me about this life decision.
I offer this information to say that I have no issue with having a good spook. What I do have issue with is images from films considered unsuitable for those under the age of 18 being displayed for all to see. Under 18s included.
I think it’s pretty inappropriate to have children’s toys manipulated into terrifying images, which are then blown up to the size of a child and then displayed where children can see them.
I understand that in order for people to find out about the film, advertising is the go-to way to do that. But surely buses, a regular school transport system, isn’t the most sensible place?
About a year ago, the Advertising Standards Authority revealed that children had been accidentally viewing horror movies adverts on YouTube while watching other kid’s videos. Apparently, this was due to a glitch in the YouTube algorithms and targeting, but the issue remains a pertinent one: how can we protect our children from scary content?
At the very least, we must create safe places within our homes and children’s groups where children can talk to us about the things that scare them.
What do you think? Am I creating a problem where this isn’t one? Or is there more to be done to protect young people from terrifying images?