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Maurice Sendak Tells Parents to Go to Hell?

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His answer to a recent interview question was shocking, to say the least.

where the wild things are movie poster

Maurice Sendak was recently asked: "What do you say to parents who say 'Where the Wild Things Are' may be too scary?"

He reportedly said: "I would tell them to go to hell. That's a question I will not tolerate ... If they can't handle it, go home ... Do whatever you like, but it's not a question that can be answered."

Well, um, alrighty then!

Do YOU think the movie looks too scary for kids? Comment below.

next: Obama Kids Keep Things in Perspective
17 comments so far | Post a comment now
Rachel October 9, 2009, 12:25 PM

It really is a stupid question. Parents should be familiar with the story - that it features monsters. If not, they can go to the library and take 45 seconds to read it. It’s a parent’s job to make sure movies are appropriate for their children, not the other way around…

Jen October 9, 2009, 5:38 PM

It depends on the child, so therefore it is up to the discretion of the parent if they want their child to see it. My daughter is 3 years old and when she saw the preview, it scared her. On the other hand, my friends daughter is 6 and can’t wait to see it. I agree it with Rachel, it’s the parents job to make sure the movies are appropriate. Now as a adult, I can’t wait to see how this movie is done. It was one of my favorite books as a child. ;)

Deanna Leigh October 10, 2009, 6:59 PM

Totally agree with the other posters! It’s my job to sensor the scary and protect my kiddo from stuff he’s not ready for, not the filmmakers.

Salleluna October 10, 2009, 11:25 PM

It’s the parents job to understand their own kids level of understanding and development. Personally I watched way more creepier films as a child, like Legend, Labyrinth and Dark Crystal and I turned out OK. The movie is based off a book, so if your child is familiar with the book, they’ll be fine.

Brett Stevens October 11, 2009, 12:21 AM

Too scary? No.

Too stupid, pandering, obvious, cheesy, “ironic” and basically a waste of time?

Yes. Our family will avoid this sappy manipulative cheesefest and go do something fun instead.

DONN ELLAN  October 11, 2009, 1:18 AM


A.J.MALLORY October 11, 2009, 1:41 AM


KRISTIN October 11, 2009, 7:19 AM


I can’t wait to see the movie. I loved the book back then! My little sister will be coming with us—she’s jut as excited as I am! (She’s 9, btw)

Michael October 11, 2009, 7:32 AM

Of course it’s a stupid question. I don’t know about “go to hell”, but how is Maurice Sendak supposed to know whether his movie is too scary for any given child? Stop asking stupid questions and you’ll stop getting stupid answers.

mercaties October 11, 2009, 2:55 PM

My daughter is eight and can’t wait to see it. Yes, I think it’s a little creepy but it’s a childrens book. There are a-lot worse things out there. Remeber, Mike Meyer’s as the “Cat-N-The-Hat” or Jim Carey in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” Boh filled with sexual innuendo.

Erin October 13, 2009, 5:04 PM

I am bringing my pregnant wife to see the movie… so my -6 month old kid is going to it. (also 9yr & 7yr kids)

You all need to remove the bubble wrap from your kids. Let them skin their knees and have adventures.

Barbara Blackburn October 16, 2009, 1:03 PM

I hope to see it. Sendak overreacted a bit. It was an honest question. If he doesn’t want to answer simple questions about his work, he shouldn’t do interviews.

I think it looks good, but, please, Maurice, chill out.

Kim October 16, 2009, 1:10 PM

If you have any doubt we found a site that does an awesome job breaking down each movie.

andy October 17, 2009, 12:10 AM

We just saw it- yes, it’s quite disturbing in places, but no more so than The Seventh Seal, which I saw well before I was ten and which also added to my already rich imagination.
Sure we want to protect our children from harm, but if we’re obsessive about it, that harms them more in the long run.
The whole message for me is that the monsters are inside of each person- they just represent what’s already there.

vesey November 9, 2009, 11:04 AM

i would hope that the film and story are better than it’s rude,crude and crass author………..

Obtuse November 10, 2009, 8:02 PM

I believe that he responded with ‘they can go to hell’ because the question is ridiculous. It’s indicative of the overburdening, helicopter parent society that we’re transforming (have transformed) into.

When I was a child I was allowed to experience things-truly experience them-with my parents watching to make certain I didn’t get killed, but not to keep me from savoring any and all the flavors of life. This is how we learn, we take the bad and the good from our choices. Those of you parents who hold your children in protective captivity are slowly breeding a weak kneed pestilence that will be our future generations.

V. November 3, 2010, 9:00 PM

Sorry to be rude, but the comments about parental responsibility simply sound robotic and sheepish to me. Why is it not the responsibility of filmmakers to safe guard? Because being an artist gives someone a special right to express and profit outside the realm of social responsibility? There is simply no logic to this argument. There are multitudes of irresponsible parents out here. Should the children of these multitudes be treated as guinea pigs at the troth of artistic pursuits because they got a raw deal genetically? A truly functional society would not be so quick to condemn views that challenge independence. But we are conditioned to believe that free speech is sacred and that if individual egos are censored or forced to be socially responsible an Orwellian or fascist holocaust will occur. Repression is a nightmare, but absolute freedom is just as bad.

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