I didn’t go to the cinema as a child. Well, not much. I went once with a friend and her mother to see Bambi but I was very nervous because my friend had told me it would make me cry and I didn’t really know what this cinema thing was about and I didn’t want to be crying in public. (I wonder if this is why I’m as tough as old boots when it comes to sobbing through movies and books.)
I didn’t go to the cinema with my family until I was ten or eleven. I don’t know why. We went to the theatre but not the cinema. It wasn’t as though it was banned; we just didn’t go. It means that I have vivid memories for the films I did see.
When I did finally go with my family we were on holiday, camping in Somerset. My memory tells me that we went to see Journey to the Centre of the Earth but research suggests it might have been The Land that Time Forgot or At the Earth’s Core, which came out in 1975 and 1976 respectively. Anyway, we might as well have called it Journey to the Core where Time Forgot for the interest it held for me. This was not a film chosen for my benefit. I am the youngest of three; I had no delusions about my importance (not) in the family.
Then in 1978, at 12, I went to see Grease because I no longer had to be accompanied. The following year, four months before my fourteenth birthday I went to see Escape from Alcatraz. This was memorable for me as it had a certificate of AA - no one under 14 and I was terrified of getting caught.
We have always taken our children to the cinema. The first thing I took them to was the Barney film. Daughter didn’t make it past the sound test. And Son only made it past with fingers in his ears and his face in my arm.
When we first got to Thailand there were no film ratings. In October 2005 I took the children and a friend to see Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The children were 9, 10 and 11. We had to sit through all sorts of horror trailers and just as I thought it was all over, the trailer for 40 year old Virgin came on.
In 2009 film ratings came into effect in Thailand but I can’t say I’ve seen much difference. Trailers seem to be just as unsuitable as ever. In fact Husband and Daughter came back from the dental surgery yesterday with reports that a vampire horror had been playing in the waiting room, complete with gory decapitations. Small children roamed oblivious.
Perhaps they haven’t quite got the hang of it yet.