NEW YORK, July 17 (UPI) -- Director Gil Kenan is defending his new animated film "Monster House" against critics who say it is too scary for small children.
The motion-capture movie, due in theaters on Friday and featuring the voice talents of Kathleen Turner, Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon and Jason Lee, is about a haunted house that terrorizes neighborhood kids.
Asked by a journalist in New York recently if he thinks the PG-rated film might be too intense for young children, the first-time director said, "We've dumbed down what we feed to kids in terms of entertainment these days.
"There used to be a healthy tradition of kids' films offering a full range of experience from scary to funny to emotional," he noted.
Comparing "Monster House" to classic kids' films like "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" -- both movies with very dark moments -- Kenan added, "From that point of view, I'm proud this movie doesn't talk down to kids, but appreciates them for who they are, which is a really brave, smart audience that can handle a lot more than we give them."