I shouldn’t be laughing. I really shouldn’t. But this story sounds like something that should come out around April Fool’s, not Halloween. It’s fairly straightforward: Several Nottingham families with young kids who were looking for a relaxing two hours of chattery CGI animals with Madagascar 3 were scarred for life when the projectionist at their movie theater accidentally started up Paranormal Activity 4 instead.
The quotes from the parents read like something out of war stories, especially when they talk about the kids trying to escape the theater. (I’m sorry, I’m giggling even as I type this.) But what was even more hilarious was how scared the parents were. Natasha Lewis told Yahoo! Movies UK,
“They started playing the movie and I thought—this doesn’t look right. And then I recognised the opening sequence as a flash back to the first movie, which I saw a couple of years ago. It opens on the most terrifying scene in the first film—where a body shoots full pelt towards the camera. It’s enough to make grown men jump, so you can imagine the terror in these young faces. Everybody just scrambled for the exits, all you could hear were children crying and screaming. Everyone was very upset.”
Amazing, right? Part of me thinks that the theater is intentionally trolling these families, because how do you mix up two drastically different movies? But they’ve released an apology; they offered to comp all the terrified moviegoers’ tickets — but probably not their dry-cleaning — and invited everyone back into the theater a half hour after the traumatizing event. Of course, I doubt anyone took them up on that offer. Because you can’t shake this kind of thing.
My sister and I compare the emotional landmines planted by movies we saw when we were way too young. At 7, she cried through the opening of the first X-Files movie after the caveman gets taken over by the black oil and murders the other guy. And I remember shuddering through Independence Day with my dad when I was 8, but stalwartly sticking through because it was Father’s Day. And those weren’t even supposed to be scary! Imagine being a little kid and seeing the kind of horror flick fine-tuned to give adults nightmares. I don’t envy them that experience. But it still makes me giggle, just a little.
Photo: Paramount Pictures