How Old for Horror Movies?

Updated on October 15, 2011
R.N. asks from Chesapeake, VA
29 answers

Had a though today. I always let my 10 and 11 year olds watch R movies as long as they are horror movies that they are watch with there father and I. I have for about 2 years. Is that young? How old will\did you start allowing R horror movies?

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answers from Wichita on

Even as an adult I find horror movies unattractive. I say this because they literally can affect my dreams. If I want to have a good night sleep I avoid them. I have five children aging from 3 to 15. I never let them watch anything over the top, its personal preference to gage when you think something might be a little much but I tend to ere on the side of caution. I would feel bad if my three year old had a nightmare that was triggered from the movie she watched.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We did not until they were teens. Now, I personally know that my SD saw movies that were not appropriate for her because the person she was with was too lazy to get tickets to another movie for those who were too young for the one others wanted to see.

I also think it's personal per kid. There are Disney movies that scare my child and I respect that some things are just too intense, no matter the rating. As funny as Shaun of the Dead is to me, NO WAY would I let my 11 yr old watch it.

FWIW, friend said he wishes his parents had not allowed so many scary movies as a child, as they gave him nightmares and creepy thoughts for years.

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answers from Lakeland on

I think it depends on the kid and type of horror movie. My daughter (5) loves Captain Jack and has seen all the movies with her dad and me. She also likes the mummy movie with Brendon Frasier. She won't watch Harry Potter movies except the first two. I will not let her watch anything with extreme violence and/or lots of blood.

My mom used to go to the drive-in movies when I was a kid and watch the horror movies. She thought my brother, sister and I were sleeping but we liked to watch them too.

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answers from Augusta on

um . .
YES that is WAY young. 17-18 for these movies for me showing them to them, when they are out of my control. I don't know what their friends will do with them as teenagers.
I wont even watch those movies. Kids many times have trouble knowing the line between it's just a movie and it's going to happen to me in real life.
And kids should NOT be watching rated R movies much less horror movies.
That's opening them up for a whole host of problems. Their heads do not need to be filled with that stuff.

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answers from Charlotte on


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My daughter saw Chucky when she was 7 - it took her about 3 months to be able to hold a doll again...and that was by mistake - I didn't show it to her...

My boys saw Alien - they are 9 and 11 - and they were fine...but they are boys too and new that it was a movie...

What I don't get - and please don't take this wrong - you will let your children watch "R" rated movies, but you will NOT let your 11 year old daughter go to a school sponsored dance...this is odd to me.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Roanoke on

Movies are rated R for a reason. I believe 10 and 11 is way to young. Why expose them to that stuff earlier than you need to?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

My boys didn't watch "horror" movies until they were in high school. They are now 23 and 27 (28 at the end of this month).

I was told to look at other/previous posts when I first started here a few weeks ago. So your post has me confused. It's like you are a contradiction.

Your husband wants to take kids to an anime function but refuses to let her attend a school dance. You own a dance studio and select costumes that are 5 INCHES from the waist...yet your kids watch "R" rated movies... Do you see the contradictions here? You are allowing an 10 year old call the shots on an already paid birthday party - while I sympathize that her best friend won't be able to skate - she can still participate...

If you take them away now - you will only confuse your children. At 10 and 11 many kids have a VERY hard time distinguishing reality from a movie...and some - if not mature - don't get that dead in a movie doesn't mean dead in real life..and the swearing, nudity and sex that happens in "R" movies are only setting an example...

My advice is to watch the movie before the kids do so you can prepare them for what they will see and remind them it's a movie...otherwise - I would not show horror movies to children under the age of 17.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Naples on

If you want my honest opinion I am shocked that you would allow a 10 and 11 year old to watch R rated horror movies. I hope that doesn't come off as rude but that is my honest reaction. Shocked.
Horror movies are SO graphically, disgustingly violent these days, so much worse than when I was younger (and I'm only 30). It's like the violence is celebrated or something. It's bizarre and disturbing.
My opinion is that people become desensitized seeing all this violence. Seeing people suffer and die has become a form of entertainment. We might as well be Romans watching gladiators fight to the death in the arena. It's sick.
So yeah this is a hot button issue for my home my children will not watch those movies, period. They can watch that trash once they move out, but I won't have it in my home.

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answers from Raleigh on

I'm 37 and I'm still not ready for horror flicks!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Yes too young, 17 sounds right to me. why fill their heads with that junk.

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answers from Phoenix on

I'm shocked that you allow this. My daughter is 12 and son 9 and not only would I not allow it, THEY wouldn't want to watch them. Why would you purposely put these visions in your kids head? I think its sick. And people wonder why their kids are afraid of everything and have to sleep with a light on. And there are a lot of sex scenes as well and that is not appropriate for those ages either. Just my opinion but I don't think I would allow it until they are at least 16 if not older.

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answers from Phoenix on

My hubby and I hate horror movies. We don't watch rated R movies and don't let our children either. We will allow them to watch PG 13 movies if it's only for action or violence. (It sounds funny to say that LOL) But we allowed our young (age 8 or so) watch Star Wars III and Indiana Jones because it was for scary images that we thought was ok. But never R rated movies and never horror. Good luck!

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answers from Honolulu on

I personally, while growing up and even now as an adult, I do not like horror movies.
So I don't watch it.
Nor do my kids.
But they are 8 and 5.
Not appropriate for them.

Even if watching with a parent... many R rated horror movies are, just so horrifying. On many levels.
But it depends on the kid.
And it depends what you want.... to have your child absorb... in their minds and imaginations.

Your kids have been watching horror films, for the past 2 years? That means your kids were 8 and 9, when they started watching these?
For me, I would not let my kids watch it.
That is just me.

DO your kids, like it?
What is their mental awareness, for deciphering these films?
Sure, its not reality. But when I was a kid, even benign scary movies, made me scared.... a lot.. and it was not what I wanted to see. So I didn't watch it.

Next: What is the REASON... that you are letting your kids watch these films? Is there a good reason?
Just so that you and Hubby, can watch it.... and the kids are just there?
You and Hubby can always watch the horror movies, when the kids are not there.

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answers from Muncie on

I'm 30 and can't stand horror movies. Hate them and the nightmares they give. I can't even watch ghost hunter type of shows before bed. The curse of Vivid dreams.

As for my daughter, she's strange. She loves The Nightmare Before Christmas, but hated Elmo in Grouchland. As long as she can tell they it's not real (animated, claymation) she's fine, but live actors spook her too much. Granted she's only 5 now, but I think I'll keep the scary movies away from her as long as possible. I don't even like them so not a real issue. Maybe when she's in her actual teens and really wants to see one I might let her. That way she's responsible for her own nightmares should she get them.

Personally, I think your boys are a bit young, but if you and your husband are there and the boys haven't had bad dreams after the movies. No harm, your kids, not mine.

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answers from Redding on

I guess it depends on the kids.
I, personally, don't like horror movies. They literally make me too anxious.
My daughter was about 8 or 9 when she discovered the Goosebumps video series. She loved them and they didn't scare her.
I was having a slumber party for my son at Halloween time one year and I was going to have a sleeping bag on the floor with the boys, make popcorn and watch scary movies. One mom told me her son couldn't come because he wasn't allowed to watch scary movies. Well, I had her come over and I popped one in and let her watch it. Within 5 minutes, she was laughing her head off. These were really "bad" old horror movies. There were in black and white, a couple of them were dubbed from another language to English so their lips didn't match up, the editing was terrible. One minute there were people in an old house and then the next minute there was someone walking outside in the fog. They were so bad that they were hilarious and not even spooky at all. She let her kid stay the night.
I guess she thought I was going to let them watch Freddy Kruger movies or something. Heck, I don't even watch those.
When I was little, I used to stay up late on the weekend to watch "Creature Feature". They played movies like, "The Invisible Man", "The Brain that Wouldn't Die", "The Mummy", "The Mole People". They were pretty tame.
That's MY speed when it comes to horror movies.
My son was 13 when we watched Jeepers Creepers on TV and it scared me more than it did him.
I see horror flicks advertised on TV and there is no way I would watch any of them. However, I have a friend who goes and sees just about every one. It's a different matter of taste.

I don't think kids need to see things that are too gory. They may be able to understand it's not "real", etc, but those images are still ingrained in their minds.
My kids like Beetlejuice which I think got it's rating for language, but the TV version doesn't have that.

My youngest is now 16 and if he wants to watch an R scary movie on DVD, yippee for him.
I only saw "Chilren of the Corn" a couple of years ago. And that's an older movie.

There are scary movies and then there are blood flicks.
No blood flicks for me.

Best wishes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

It REALLY depends on the kid.

People who ENJOY horror movies (note the key highlighted phrase) aren't afraid or disgusted by them. They might get a little tingle of fear, but they don't have bad dreams, panic attacks, vomit, etc.

All of which my son got from Disney movies. He was scared witless by them (the evil guys in Disney don't have ANY redeeming features... we're talking baby killers -snow white, lion king-, sociopaths -little mermaid-., your parents being murdered (too many to list) all set to jazzy catchy music. Um. Yeah. Okay. It took my son wigging for me to SEE that, but I can definitely see it.

PG13 and R movies (not all of them, of course) on the other hand didn't bother him at all. The complexity was relaxing to him. And that the heros and heroines were both flawed AND not universally stupid/only surviving via luck, meant that we did a lot of THOSE movies.

So, to me, there's no "age" for any movie. It's when and what scares someone. Really, truly, scares them.

We don't do horror films (at 9), just because *I* don't like them. My son would probably be fine with them.

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answers from St. Louis on

About 10-12 for PG13, 15 for long as it's violence-related & not overly sexual. H.S. senior before all long as I'm making the choice.

as far as I'm concerned, there's a reason for ratings. Why desensitize our kids if we have a choice?

This is a choice & decision you have to make for your own family. :)

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answers from Los Angeles on

Possibly when our daughter is 16, but it would depend on the movie. I would NEVER allow the ages you have mentioned in your post watch an R rated horror movie.

Added: Moms? Please don't let your kids watch Rob Zombie's movies!!! My God, those are truly the most graphic and disturbing horror movies out there, seriously!!

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answers from Dallas on

I say if it doesn't give them nightmares - all is good :)

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answers from Washington DC on

Are they boys? I really need to pay attention to who has what kinds of kids.
My 10 yo is all boy into all the action packed superhero movies. He and my husband will have Dude dates. :o) THey are all PG or PG13
I still can't see horror movies. THey give me nightmares, so does CSI sometimes. Anyway I am 45.
Except for the King's Speech none of my children at home have seen an R movie. My 22 lives by himself and did not go until after he was out of the house.

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answers from Cincinnati on

I was 8 when I watched my first rated R movie. It was the Shinning, and I watched it with my dad, and when it was over he reminded us about the ax in the garage. lol

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answers from Redding on

Mine were about 8 and 9 when they started watching scary movies (mostly Nightmare on Elm St and Friday the 13th). They knew they were fake, but they loved the thrill of watching them. The boys and their dad would make fun of me when I would get all scared and stuff. I had them wath Alfred Hitchcocks "The Birds"... made our next trip the to the beach pretty interesting. They were feeding the Seagulls and then realized on their own that they were the same birds in the movie. I liked that they could rationalize fiction from reality, and that's important when watching TV with your kids, teaching them know what fiction is.

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answers from Kansas City on

i think that it does depend on the child somewhat, BUT i also think that the ratings on movies are there for a reason. we weren't allowed to watch that stuff as kids, my folks went by the ratings, and i agree with that. i'm not disappointed that blood and guts and gore actually bothers me. i kinda think it should a little bit. it would bother me to see kids not even blink at it. if i am reading your post right, at 8 years old you were letting your sons watch horror movies rated R. no just me personally, i don't think that's okay. but i wasn't raised to think that's okay, either...i am sure every family is different. plus, it's not really something you can go backwards with. if they've already been watching that stuff for 2 years you can't really go back on it now.

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answers from San Antonio on

I remember when my former neices & nephews went to the movie theater with us to see some horror flick. I was like "um ..... why are the kids here?" and their dad said basically he'd rather them watch it now and be numbed and not scared of it.

I think each kid is different. Do your 10 and 11 yr old have nightmares afterward? Do they talk about the movie the next few weeks b/c it's lingering in their brain? If not, then do what you want. Don't worry about asking us our thoughts. If they ARE scared, then stop. I am 31 yrs old and know better than to turn on a horror flick. I will have images stuck in my head for months or years even. I HATE horror films.

I will likely wait a LONG time for my son to be able to watch horror movies, but that's b/c of his personality. I think he'll be scared. But he's only 3.5 so I may just wait and see what happens when he's older.

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answers from Hartford on

That's way, way too permissive and irresponsible parenting. R ratings aren't appropriate for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is violent content. There's also sexual content, language, and maturity of content.

Under 13, I go with PG and G. Once they hit 13 we'll talk about PG-13. Once they hit 16 we'll consider R and only with parental permission first.



answers from Milwaukee on

I just read alot of your responses and thought I should put my two cents in. I will often take my two boys (11 and 10-as well) to pg and sometimes pg-13 movies. The one R movie they have seen is Zombieland-we watched it as a family and they really liked it. No sex scenes and not too much blood and guts that I remember-just kinda funny about killing zombies.
As far as the other scary ones like Halloween, Friday the 13, Saw-we avoid those. I remember seeing them when I was in high school and they freaked me out a little. So I will try to push it another few years with them.

I will say that I love the show Criminal Minds and that they will watch with me on occassion and I will have to flip to avoid certain scenes. TV can be almost as scary as rated R movies these days.



answers from San Francisco on

It depends on the kid, and the horror movie. Slasher movies have no redeeming value. But an intelligent horror movie, sure, as long as the kid can handle it.


answers from Orlando on

My 5 year olds fave movie is zombie land lol not sure if that counts as a horror movie though. He also loves Rob Zombies music and has asked to see his movies, so maybe soon. He's hard to scare and movies don't bother him one bit. So if we watch it while he's up he gets to watch it to.

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