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Most horror fans I know vividly remember the adult who introduced them into the genre's twisted delights. A parents who held their hand through Gremlins. A babysitter who made popcorn for Nightmare on Elm Street. A cousin who gleefully screened Child's Play then commented how similar Chucky looked to your "My Buddy" doll. Well, for a batch of 11-year-olds outside Paris, that adult was a foolish math teacher.
The Local (via ScreenCrush) reports math teacher Jean-Baptiste Clément is now in hot water after screening the gruesome and graphic horror movie Saw to a sixth grade class. What the hell does torture porn have to do with math, you might ask? Well, the grade school in the northwestern suburbs of Paris was in the midst of staff meetings and parent-teacher meetings that had run havoc on their scheduled classes. So, you know how some teachers might show a movie rather than rough up their lesson plan? Of course, when I was in grade school we were only allowed to watch G-rated movies on the premises—a rule that greatly outraged those of us who regularly indulged in PG films, thank you very much! But for Clément this was a teaching moment of a different kind.
Reportedly, he told the students, "This will be your first horror film," before popping in the very violent feature. When one traumatized boy returned home visibly upset, his father asked what was wrong. From there, we assume the gory details of the movie were shared. A call to the school's management followed, and Clément was suspended for one-day. A "formal inquiry into the incident" is said to be underway.
While movie days were always a bright spot on the school calendar, this is unmistakably a bad call. Saw had an R-rating in the US, and even in more liberal ratings systems was deemed unsuitable for children under 16. It's cool that Clément decided to share an appreciation for movies with his young students. That he picked a horror movie is interesting, but risky. And I can't help but marvel what would possess this guy to pick this movie as an introduction to horror to a child. Do they not have Goosebumps in France?