Name That Trauma:: Sean G. on a Wish Granting Dollhouse

This was one of those movies that we were shown in elementary school to scare the shit out of us to straighten up and fly right. It was made in the ‘70s. These kids are annoyed that their parents are constantly telling them what to do, what to wear, making them go to school, etc., the standard stuff that kids bitch about. And then one day, when they are rooting around the attic of their house, they find some kind of magic dollhouse, which contains a slip of paper that says that if you make a wish to this house, the wish will come true. Naturally, the kids wish that their parents let them do whatever they want to do.

The next morning the kids wake up and go downstairs and see that their parents are still in bed. They ask if they have to go to school. The groggy parents say, “Whatever you want to do, honey.” So they stay home and have a good time. Meanwhile, the father doesn’t go to work and the mother just sits around doing nothing and days go by, the kids don’t go to school, the dad doesn’t go to work. At one point, the kid’s friend’s come by and ask them why they’re not going to school, they say that they just don’t want to. The daughter asks the mother if maybe they should go back to school and she says “whatever you want to do, honey.” Things start to become desperate. The parents just walk around in robes, no one is going grocery shopping, the heat and electricity in the house is turned off, the daughter is shown scraping the last remnants of peanut butter out of a jar because she is so hungry.

In the last scene, the father builds a fire in a fireplace so they can warm up and the kids put the magic house in the fire and then there is a freeze-frame. This movie totally fucked me up. I had nightmares about it and so did my friends. What the hell was this movie and why was this shown to kids?

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8 years ago

Perhaps it was from an episode of the old PBS show called INSIDE OUT, which was an anthology series for children depicting a wide variety of scenarios. A few of them horrified the bajeezis out of me when I was in the 2nd grade, especially one where a kid was injured in a fall from a cliff while trying to reach for a Civil War stopwatch he spotted from the edge. It had blood in it and I freaked. Here’s an episode guide: