The American horror film “Paranormal Activity” has met with reactions of true panic in Italy and the situation may lead to an overhaul of the Italian film classification system.
Young people in particular have been seriously frightened by the film and some have become ill after seeing it. There have even been hospital admissions.
You may be thinking that people who know that they are easily scared should not go to see a horror film but there is an additional problem: scary trailers are being shown on TV at times when children can see them and these, too, have caused symptoms of deep distress in some minors.
Now questions are being asked in the Italian Parliament as to why the film has been released with no restrictions in Italy. The answer seems to be that this is because in the USA the film has an “R” [restricted] classification only for its language and this means that minors going to see it there must be accompanied by an adult.
Italy has only three film classification categories: T [tutti = all] VM14 [not suitable for children under 14] and VM18 [not suitable for children under 18]. There is no equivalent of the British or US “Parental Guidance” categories.
The MP Alessandra Mussolini, in her role as President of the Parliamentary Commission for Childhood and Adolescence, has asked the Culture Minister, Sandro Bondi, to investigate the matter and he has replied that he will have the film checked. Ms Mussolini, recognising that it is probably too late to reclassify the film, has called for warnings and more information for parents.
Codacons, which protects consumers’ rights, is ready to go to court to force a reclassification of the film and warns that the young people who have suffered trauma after seeing the film or trailers may be able to sue for damages.
Do horror films scare you?
Would you let your child see this one?