I was an introverted only child with an admittedly unhealthy love for my own possessions (thanks Brave Little Toaster). Edward Scissorhands, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Gremlins 1 & 2 were definitely some of the few somewhat-traumatizing movies I experienced during my childhood, but at least I knew that they lived in a world of make-believe, or they were puppets. The kid from the Problem Child movies, however, lived in my world–the real world–and while there might not be so many kids with the brains for the sheer amount of hate-filled evil he wrought, there were definitely a few in my classroom with the personality for it.
I remember watching Problem Child 1 at a sleepover when I was 7. The scene where he decides to trash his bedroom is what really horrified me, setting it on fire, just because he didn’t like clowns. Those were TOYS. That was his HOME. To me toys had inherent personalities–and as we all know just as adults from watching Toy Story: when toys with personalities are about to get melted down–even that jaded, stone-hearted bear–it’s SAD and AWFUL. Oh yeah and then there was the animal abuse of that poor cat he feeds soap to. At that young age, I still lived in dread that my parents hadn’t finished making babies and I might get some little demon brother or sister like the Problem Child. It was a fear I lived with nightly for years. And I blame the Problem Child for my unwillingness to have kids of my own now. Now how many supposedly awful and evil movie villains actually have that kind of effect on an adult’s big life milestones?
Then in Problem Child 2 (another movie forced onto me at a sleepover), he sets a sprinkler off in the whiny little girl’s room, soaking her stuffed animals, confirming my fear that not only would he trash his own sanctuary, he’d trash someone else’s.