Parents had to flee a cinema in Perth, Australia, after a trailer for horror movie Hereditary was shown ahead of a screening of Peter Rabbit.
According to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald, families and at least 40 children had gone to see the new take on the Beatrix Potter story at the Event Cinema on the Anzac Day public holiday.
The ads began, but then things took an unexpected turn.
A woman identified as Jane told the Herald: “The first trailer that was shown was for Hereditary, a horror movie that even I wouldn’t go see.
“It was dreadful. Very quickly you could tell this was not a kid’s film. Parents were yelling at the projectionist to stop, covering their kids’ eyes and ears.
“A few went out to get a staff member but she was overwhelmed and didn’t really know what to do. Some parents fled the cinema with their kids in tow.
“Eventually a senior staff member came in with a walkie talkie and he shut the screen off. To his credit he apologised and offered us complimentary movie passes to make up for it.”
While the movie itself is adult-rated, the trailer is no walk in the park either, featuring scenes of girl cutting off a pigeon’s head with scissors, a teenage boy beating his head into a desk, bloodying his nose, and a man on fire.
Even the music is terrifying. Check it out below…
Sadly, even the recompense provided by the cinema proved to be an additional horror story.
“The free tickets expired that day. We had been told they were valid for a month but they were out of date,” Jane went on.
“Don’t get me wrong, I understand mistakes happen. But surely there should be checks to make sure trailers like that don’t get shown. And the free passes thing just added insult to injury.
“A lot of the kids were upset, and if you think back to your own childhood you remember things that scared you when you saw them for the first time. I still remember the first time I saw a robber on TV.”
A spokesperson for the cinema said that an investigation into how the trailer was shown is underway, to make sure the same mistake will not happen again.
As soon as the staff onsite were made aware of the situation yesterday, the trailers were taken off-screen immediately and all patrons were given complimentary tickets as a gesture of goodwill,” they said.
“All customers were advised of the expiration date upon receiving their vouchers from the manager on duty.
“In the instance that the voucher in question might accidentally have the wrong year date written on the voucher, the customer can be assured that the voucher will indeed be honoured.”
Hereditary, which stars Toni Collette, is due out in the UK on June 15.