You want to protect your children from bad influences, so you think, “I’ll just let them watch cartoons or read kids’ books. What’s the big deal?” Usually, nothing. However, sometimes the entertainment industry gets a wild hair to try and turn a completely inappropriate existing property into something aimed at your little ones.
Like a gateway drug, they find a relatively harmless way of presenting something, and before you know it, Junior is wanting to watch Rambo. (The latest one where about 800 people die and a young boy gets molested.) Thanks, Hollywood! Here are 10 of the most inappropriate franchises ever that were at some point aimed towards children.
John Rambo has been killing the bad guys since first appearing on screen in 1982. Based on the David Morrell novel, he was never supposed to make it out of the first film alive, but star Sylvester Stallone wasn’t going down like that. He turned it in to a graphically violent franchise that now consists of four films, all of which have been over-the-top in their blood-soaked awesomeness. And in 1986, around the time that Rambo II was making the rounds, producers figured, “Hey, let’s do a Saturday morning cartoon!”
Rambo: The Force of Freedom ran for 65 episodes and spawned other kid-friendly, Rambo-related items, including action figures, comic books, and video games.
The first RoboCop struggled to get an R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The ratings organization forced director Paul Verhoeven to trim some of the uber-violent content, resulting in to a toned-down boardroom murder where a glitchy robot eviscerates a corporate underling with 200-or-so gunshots. The murder of Murphy that results in RoboCop is also one of the more graphic murders that you’ll see on film as a crew of druggies shoot him numerous times, blowing off limbs before finally ending the torture with a single headshot. Don’t believe they were vicious? Here, have a look:
RoboCop 2 was a little tamer but still R-rated. Then, the horrible third film arrived and toned things down to PG-13. Throughout the trilogy’s development, there were also two cartoons based on the character as well as a series of comics and video games. Try to compute this with the splatter fest we just showed you above:
In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Nazi bad guys have their faces melted off.
One guy blows up. Another is shot. Yet another cut up with a propeller. In Temple of Doom, snakes and bugs and monkey brains are all eaten on screen. That’s before a man has his heart pulled from his chest and another is torn apart by crocodiles. During this time, you could buy a kid-friendly Marvel comic book as well as a series of action figures and let’s not forget the awesome (for the time) arcade video game.
Back to the Future
Back to the Future spawned an animated series as well as a comic book from kids publisher Harvey Comics based on the show. It also inspired numerous video games including a very successful pair for the original Nintendo. What was so inappropriate about it?
Humor built around incestuous overtones (Marty McFly’s mom has a crush on him), attempted rape, “Hey you, get your damn hands off her!,” and the list goes on. Still, even with this undeniable bit of naughtiness, we continue to worship and promote it as a kids’ classic close to three decades later, with the most recent release a LEGO set that, we’ll admit, is rather awesome.
The Toxic Avenger
It’s a Troma film for Pete’s sake! But that didn’t stop the Toxic Crusaders cartoon from happening, which ran for 13 episodes and also led to a video game of the same name. In case you’ve ever wanted to see Toxie in a Saturday morning cartoon light, here’s a look:
Conan the Barbarian
Did the guy behind the 65 episodes of Conan the Adventurer see the movies? Arnold does two things well — he beds women and gets revenge. The End.
Which of these franchises were most inappropriate? Which ones would you include on the list? Speak your mind in our comments section!