TV shows are rolling out the spooky stuff for Halloween, trying to lure viewers who crave a good scare. But when it comes to children's programming, what's too scary? How do the writers and producers of kids' TV know when they've crossed the line?
I was about 8 or 9 the first time I saw a TV show that did more than just scare me. And Dark Shadows petrified me.
For Lauren Levine, a senior vice president at Nickelodeon, "It was Doctor Who in the U.K. on BBC. I used to watch it from behind the couch."
Since then, Levine has become almost "addicted" to that feeling of being scared. For children today, she says, it's no different.
"Their first game is hide-and-seek, which scares them to death," Levine says. "And the suspense ... is something we can't forget."
There's plenty of that in the new Nickelodeon feature The Boy Who Cried Werewolf. Haunted mansion? Check. Creepy hidden lab? Check. At Nickelodeon, says Levine, "we really try and play off every old horror-movie cliche." The Boy Who Cried Werewolf is ultimately a comedy — but the werewolves are pretty scary. So when is something too scary for kids? For Levine, it's "when the kid screams and runs out of the room."
That's Nickelodeon. Over at PBS, they're more cautious. On the public broadcaster's venerable children's show Arthur, one of the Halloween episodes is about how kids react differently to things that are supposed to be scary — Arthur, the show's aardvark hero, being most afraid of a comic book called The Grotesquely Grim Bunny, which gives him nightmares.
It's the product of a careful calculus, says Jacqui Deegan, an executive producer on the show.
"We have advisers and educators help us apply parameters [that help] not to make the shows too scary," Deegan says.
True, the animators are adults, and sometimes they get a little over-enthusiastic.
"They did their jobs so well that there were definitely places where we needed to pull it back," Deegan says. "There was a doctor who had a knife in his hand, and I asked [animator] Greg Bailey, 'Can we please change it?' And ... now it's just some unidentifiable implement."
The fact that the scary doctor is animated also lessens the threat, says longtime children's-TV writer Ken Scarborough.
"One of the reasons kids respond to animation is because it's abstract," he says. "It's not a wicked witch standing there. It's brightly colored. It's your friends. People you see everyday."
The friends in the Halloween episode of Martha Speaks, a PBS Kids show about a talking dog, tell each other ghost stories on a rainy day. Scarborough, who is the show's head writer, says they used the episode to teach words like "phantom" and "ominous."
He also says, though, that you never know what's going to scare kids. He learned that the hard way several years ago. When he worked on Arthur, an episode had bossy-girl Francine accept a bet that she could be nice for one week.
"You could see her bottling up her feelings all week and not saying anything mean," Scarborough explains. "And the brainy kid said, 'Hey, that's not good,' and he showed the other kids what can happen, and he shook up a bottle of soda pop. And the top flew off."
Then, in the other kids' imaginations, Francine's head pops off — and goes flying through the air, landing in a neighbor's yard.
"We got letters up and down," Scarborough says. What was meant as a joke became a lesson in writing TV for kids.
"The 'scary episode' is not going to scare kids," he says. "What's going to scare them is the show the next day about something completely innocuous."
What that scary thing will be, as Scarborough discovered, is something that even the best advisers might miss.
Variety premia Victoria Justice. Ieri sera si è svolto Power of Youth, l’annuale evento durante il quale vengono premiate le giovani star che si sono distinte per il loro impegno nella beneficenza e nel sociale. Victoria Justice è stata premiata per il programma Foundation’s Girl Up delle Nazioni Unite, che dà alle ragazze l’opportunità di aiutare altre ragazze più sfortunate. A fare il tifo per Victoria c’era anche Avan Jogia, protagonista con lei di Victorious, il telefilm in onda prossimamente su Nickelodeon. Subito dopo Power of Yourh Victoria e Avan sono andati a festeggiare nel nuovo appartamento di lui. Victoria ha scritto su Twitter: “Sto mangiando semi di melograno nel nuovo appartamento di Avan Jogia. Amo queste cose”.
Victoria Justice pensa al sociale, ma ha un occhio anche per gli affari. Ha appena firmato un accordo con Build-a-Bear per disegnare una serie di orsetti e di accessori per pupazzi. In passato accordi simili erano stati fatti anche con Hannah Montana e i Jonas Brothers.
Qui sotto puoi vedere Victoria Justice e Avan Jogia a Power of Youth.
Últimamente parece que todos los jóvenes de Hollywood quieran decir la suya en el “caso Miley Cyrus” y, después de Demi Lovato, ahora es el turno de Victoria Justice, una de las jóvenes estrellas más prometedoras, que últimamente trabaja en la serie Victorious en Nickelodeon.
Durante una entrevista para Pix Morning, Victoria decida opinar sobre las últimas noticias sobre Miley: “Siempre soy consciente de lo que hago. Tengo 17 años y hay veces en las que me gusta vestirme como una adulta, pero no necesariamente de un modo provocador. Debo siempre pensar en que hay muchos niños que siguen mi programa. Miley hace las cosas a su manera. Ha crecido. ¿Qué puedo decir? Que yo llevaría las cosas de una manera muy diferente”.
Pero también hay buenas noticias para Miley, porque recientemente ha sido nominada en tres categorías en los People’s Choice Awards. Miley podría llevarse a casa reconocimientos por su trabajo tanto en el cine como en la música, ya que compite en las categorías Favorite Drama Movie (por The Last Song), Favorite Female Artist y Favorite Pop-Artist. ¿A qué esperas para votarla? ¡Tienes tiempo hasta el 9 de noviembre!
Victoria Justice and Brooke Shields star in The Boy Who Cried Werewolf, a Halloween-themed Nickelodeon movie about family, werewolves and vampires.
The Boy Who Cried Werewolf, on Nickelodeon Channel stars Victoria Justice as a high school nerd who has a transforming experience when her family inherits an estate in Romania. Brooke Shields co-stars in an unusually creepy, humorous role for the actress.The cast of The Boy Who Cried Werewolf includes Victoria Justice (Victorious), Brooke Shields, Chase Elison, Matt Winston, Brooke D'Orsay and Steven Grayhm.
The Boy Who Cried Werewolf premiered on October, 23, 2010, kicking off Nickelodeon Channel's Halloween programming. The two-hour cable television movie takes advantage of the current popularity of vampires and werewolves, but manages to be kid-friendly.
The Sands Family in The Boy Who Cried Werewolf
The Sands family consists of Jordan Sands (Victoria Justice), her brother Hunter Sands (Chase Elison) and father David Sands (Matt Winston). Their mother has passed away and teenagers encourage their father to date, but he is not interested. The family is struggling financialy and l they are worried about losing their home.
Life is not much better on the school front, where Jordan is a nerdy teen-aged girl with a crush on the high school jock. As the high school nerd, Jordan is ridiculed by classmates and by her brother's friends.
The Sands Family Inherits a Romanian Mansion
Life changes when the family gets notice that they have inherited a mansion in Romania. They travel to Europe to find that the mansion is creepy and comes along with a scary housekeeper, Madame Varcolac (Brooke Shields).
Romance blossoms when Jordan meets hunky Goran (Steven Grayhm), who thinks she is beautiful. Romance blossoms for David Sands, when he meets potential mansion buyer Paulina Von Eckberg (Brooke D'Orsay).
The Boy Who Cried Werewolf is a story where things are not always what they seem to be at first. The movie includes legends of werewolves and vampires, and good and bad. The ending is gratifying, as the characters find a measure of transformation and confidence.
Victoria Justice is the star of the Nickelodeon program Victorious, the story of a talented teen in high school. Brooke Shields took an unexpected comic turn in her role of creepy housekeeper with a heart of gold.
Cast of The Boy Who Cried Werewolf
The cast of The Boy Who Cried Werewolf includes Victoria Justice as Jordan Sands; Brooke Shields as Madame Varcolac; Chase Elison as Hunter Sands; Matt Winston as David Sands; Brooke D'Orsay as Paulina Von Eckberg; and Steven Grayhm as Goran.
The Boy Who Called Werewolf is a Nickelodeon movie, airing the the Nickelodeon cable television network for children.