Letter: Horror films not to blame for social and moral collapse

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Sir: I was sorry to see even such a thoughtful columnist as Bryan Appleyard ('Making a killing in videos', 1 December) miscuing the argument over violent films. Child's Play 3 is not 'an irredeemably trashy horror movie', let alone a 'splatter movie'. It is a typical Hollywood horror film, produced by the studio that gave us the rather more frightening Jurassic Park.

The Child's Play series is not significantly different from many other series: Psycho, Halloween, Omen, Exorcist, Amityville, Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday The Thirteenth, Evil Dead, It's Alive, Hammer, Edgar Allan Poe and so on. Audiences have enjoyed the thrill of being scared by ghost stories long before film was invented.

For what it is worth I should also point out, for those like Bryan Appleyard who have not seen the film, that Child's Play 3 contains no scene remotely connected with the murder of James Bulger. It is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek affair about a demon doll attacking a military cadet camp. That so many serious commentators have been prepared to indulge in a judge-

induced hysteria has understandably baffled the police who investigated the murder. The social and moral collapse that could have allowed this terrible event deserves a more considered response than agonising over film technology giving adults new ways of experiencing surrogate terror.

By the way, Sky's schedules are not 'filled with' splatter movies. More than 80 per cent of all Sky movies are suitable for transmission at 8pm or earlier. More than half the remainder, restricted to 10pm transmission or later, are so restricted because of their sexual or verbal content. And even the most violent films include such critically acclaimed titles as the Oscar-winning Silence of the Lambs, and a string of Scorsese films (Mean Streets, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Cape Fear).

Less handwringing and more informed analysis are what we have come to expect from your columnist. Knee-jerk anti-Murdochism is no substitute.

Yours faithfully,


Head of Programming

British Sky Broadcasting Ltd

Isleworth, Middlesex

3 December