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Traumafessions :: Reader bdwilcox on Ring of Bright Water

November 16th, 2010 by aunt john · 18 Comments

When the guy kills the poor little otter with a shovel in RING OF BRIGHT WATER. I was about 3 when I saw this and never got over it. I suppressed the memory and one day picked the movie up from RedBox not knowing the emotional hand grenade I was holding. As the movie unfolded, something was gnawing at the back of my mind and a dreadful familiarity started to settle in. The deja vu was tangible and I knew I had been there before but couldn’t, for the life of me, remember when. It was like being in a cemetery where you suddenly recognize all the tombstones but can’t find the exit. As soon as I saw the guy raise the shovel my heart dropped and decades of suppressed horror screamed out from that dark corner of my mind where murky childhood memories lurk. Even thinking about it now I’m traumatized, sad and, most of all, angry that they would put something like that in a children’s movie. It’s like putting a razor in a cupcake.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! -sniff- -sniff- -snorfle-

bdwilcox

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18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 bdwilcoxNo Gravatar // Nov 16, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    It’s like a bunch of psychopaths ran their advertising and promotion campaign:

    “A Motion Picture for Every Family…Everywhere!” Especially the Manson family.

    “The Most Delightful Otter in the World” Yeah, until he’s decapitated with a shovel in front of your children’s very eyes. Might as well add: “Great for birthday parties, too!”

  • 2 rifframoneNo Gravatar // Nov 16, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    I didn’t see ‘Ring Of Bright Water’- and from the sound of it I’m glad I didn’t! This made me think of a similar trauma that my brother and I had as children though. Our parents took us to see the documentary ‘The Glacier Fox’ when it came out- and I bet that any of you here who have seen it know where this is going. The mother fox bleeding to death while her cubs sit and watch- and the worst part of all- the little blind fox being swept out to sea-good god! This was meant for kids? I think I cried for days after that. Even now- 32 years later- (excuse me while I show my age) my brother and I still bring it up from time to time as one of the worst shared traumas
    we have from our childhood. Call me a wimp if you want, but just writing this is making me tear up. I haven’t seen it since that first time, but that baby fox drowning is burned in my mind for the rest of my life and I can still see it clearly.

  • 3 bdwilcoxNo Gravatar // Nov 16, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Oh, man, that’s horrible! Note to self: never see “The Glacier Fox”.

  • 4 rifframoneNo Gravatar // Nov 16, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    bdwilcox- No- don’t ever watch it. Given your reaction to ‘ROBW’ I bet your response would be similar to mine. These movies both fall into the ‘things you wish you could un-see’ catagory. Funny how some people can watch people being killed in all sorts of ways and be fine with it but animals being hurt- that’s a different story. At least with me anyway. I wonder how we would both feel about our respective traumas if we had seen them at a later age? I can’t watch movies with animals being hurt or killed to this day- I wonder if I came that way or if seeing Glacier Fox at a young age helped that along… hmm.

  • 5 GrokensteinNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Even the official comic adaptation of ROBW (by Gold Key) shied waaaay away from the shovel scene; in one panel, Mij and Mary are out for a walk, oblivious to the two young boys approaching with a gun, one rattling off a list of animals he’d like to blast with it. In the very next panel, Merrill is phoning Mary and asks how Mij is; next, he recoils as Mary hesitantly replies that Mij is dead.

    Oh, what a list of “wonderful family entertainment” I could rattle off that lured me in with the promise of fun and animals, only to gleefully stomp on my shattered heart. Old Yeller. Toklat. Charlotte’s ****ing Web, which I STILL CAN’T WATCH DECADES LATER. I heard two lines of “Mother Earth and Father Time” on YouTube not long ago and started bawling like a five year old all over again. (Won’t kill a spider, either. ) Ring of Bright SPLAT. Where the Red Fern Grows. The Red Pony. (Vultures.) and T.J.

    Damn you, Hollywood. Isn’t it bad enough kids have to watch their pets die in real life that someone thought it was important to scrub their noses in it every time they saw a movie?

    …Oh wait, I forgot Richard Adams’ Watership RIIPPPP Down and Plague SCREEEAM Dogs. And Felidae, if you’ve heard of it. Mother of God, why am I doing this to myself? Yeah, if you haven’t…don’t. Retching now. Sobbing and retching. NO WONDER I’M ALL MENTAL.

    (And yet who doesn’t love The Secret of NIMH, which at any given moment borders on “G-rated slasher cartoon,” what with its main character chased, slashed, slugged, threatened by spears and slobbering spiders and monster cats, and watching her children drown in mud, while others are crushed, stabbed, or plunge to their deaths?)

  • 6 GrokensteinNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2010 at 7:34 am

    …Whoops, T.J. should be J.T.

  • 7 mamamiasweetpeachesNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2010 at 9:02 am

    I nevere even heard of PLAGUE DOGS til I heard it from you guys at KINDERTRAUMA. I promptly rented it and cryed my ass off! You guys stated the dog accidentally causing a hunter to shoot himself was the messed up part but for me it was the dogs trying to swim to “the island”. We all know there really WASNT an island and they were drowning and passing on to the great beyond, right? Where their suffering would finally end?

    Oh Lord, Im crying right now just typing it!

  • 8 ApocalypsejunkieNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Where the Redfern Grows scorched me for life. I will never watch any of these others listed and for the love of your sanity, stay away from Black Beauty! The first Faces of Death is even worse, it has real slaughter house scenes, ugh. Don’t even….

  • 9 jamisingsNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Snakes On A Plane – it was worse seeing that little dog being eaten by the snake then any of the humans.

    Though to be fair – KARMA! The guy who threw the dog at the snake ends up killed and eaten by the same snake.

    I hate snakes.

  • 10 Brother BillNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Don’t forget the original “Flipper”.. while the dolphin doesn’t die, he does get spear-gunned for no good reason by some kid, then his injured body is dragged in a net behind a boat. The little brat with the spear-gun goes unpunished!

  • 11 Professor Von WhiskersenNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Even Disney gave us Bambi…

    Remember when Bartok transmogrified Eric Stoltz’s dog in The Fly II? And then kept it alive for two years? And Eric had to euthanize it himself?

    I did not like that…

  • 12 jamisingsNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Well, to be fair Bambi was a book before Disney made it into a movie –

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bambi,_A_Life_in_the_Woods

  • 13 mamamiasweetpeachesNo Gravatar // Nov 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Yeah but even without counting BAMBI Disney had a penchaqnt for offing the mothers!
    SNOW WHITE no mother
    CINDERELLA no mother
    LITTLE MERMAID no mother (although unlinke SNOW and Cin her pops hadnt taken up with a beastly step mom yet)
    The FOX in THE FOX AND THE HOUND: mother shot
    NEMO in FINDING NEMO? Raised by a single father
    Penny the orphan in nTHE RESCUERS: No parents at all

    The cats in THE ARISTOCATS are a rare example of children being raised by a sinle mother. BUT they had no father

    And Im sure there are many many more

  • 14 jamisingsNo Gravatar // Nov 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Snow White, Cinderella, and Little Mermaid – all stories long before Disney made them into movies and all of them without mothers in the originals too. Disney just happened to remove the mermaid’s grandmother – and also the scene where her tail fins are pierced with sea shells before she’s allowed to surface.

    Beauty & The Beast too – though in the original story Beauty is the youngest of 6 children – 3 older brothers and 2 older sisters, brothers are barely in the story at all but the sisters were such a major plot point that it really annoyed me that Disney removed them in favor of Gaston. Not to mention dad was suppose to be a merchant who lost all his money due to storms and pirates, not a crazed inventor. Only thing they kept the same was that he was a widower.

  • 15 jamisingsNo Gravatar // Nov 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Oh, to be fair though, Disney did kill off the father in The Princess & The Frog. Of course they changed that story greatly from the original – I actually like the Disney version better because in the original the princess was a spoiled little bitch who tried to commit frogicide. (She threw the frog prince against her bedroom wall because he wanted to sleep in the bed with her.)

  • 16 GrokensteinNo Gravatar // Nov 21, 2010 at 6:22 am

    Heh. In the original Pinocchio, the little wooden puppet KILLS (Jiminy) CRICKET WITH A HAMMER simply because he won’t STFU.

  • 17 jamisingsNo Gravatar // Nov 21, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    That one I haven’t read, but someone who had told me that Stromboli tried to molest Pinocchio as well. I keep meaning to read it to see if he was right about the attempted puppet rape….

    I did, however, read Pinocchio: Vampire Hunter.

  • 18 momomo66No Gravatar // Apr 7, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one still suffering from PTSD as a result of watching ROBW! I feel your pain. I was also 3 years old, and adored animals. My parents were pretty crap so my greatest friend my beloved cat Angel. Getting back to the movie, I totally fell in love with this adorable otter and once I decided, as children do, that the world was okay, along comes mr evil shovel-man and beats my beloved to death. Nice! ROBW is “based on a true story,” but you wouldn’t take a child to see a Holocaust movie, now would you? I was inconsolable for around a week. For anyone seeking palliative care there an outlandishly cute YouTube vid of a pair of otters clasping paws as they drift around the water. You can hear the in uncontrollable fits of adulation. Yes, it’s in a zoo, so it might not be for everyone.
    Happy otter. Healing to all (especially the otters).
    Momomo66

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