Horrified Italians Want to Bar Kids From 'Paranormal Activity'

Scary movie has caused Italian parents and politicians in a panic.

ByABC News
February 9, 2010, 12:03 PM

ROME Feb. 9, 2010— -- Horrified parents and politicians in Italy are asking that children be barred from the devilishly scary movie "Paranormal Activity" following reports of viewers suffering panic attacks, irregular heart beats, trembling and vomiting.

While the scare alert may be a publicist's dream, officials as lofty as Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa have joined the call for restrictions on children seeing the low budget phenomenon.

The $15,000 movie, which tells the story of a couple who become increasingly disturbed by a possible demonic presence in their new house, has already made close to $66 million worldwide.

Dared by the trailers which have been airing on Italian TV weeks before its release, Italians have been flocking to see the "terrifying" movie with some disturbing consequences. Dozens of panic calls were made to emergency services in Italy, especially in the city of Naples.

An emergency responder told Italian news agency Ansa that "several panic attacks lasting more than half an hour took place on Saturday" with kids manifesting symptoms of irregular heart beat, lack of air, fear of fainting or dying, insomnia, and anxiety. Some spectators reportedly had sudden trembling and vomit attacks.

"Sometimes even the arrival of an ambulance was not enough to calm their nerves," an emergency doctor said. He said the most alarming case was that "of a 14-year-old girl who arrived at the hospital in a catatonic state."

Parliamentarian Alessandra Mussolini, who heads the committee on children, urged the Minister of Culture and the Arts to do something about restricting the viewing of the movie so underage movie-goers would not be allowed to see it. She insists it has a "highly distressing content" and has caused "a number of cases of panic attacks and psychological problems among youths."

Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa said he became concerned about the film when he saw his 7 year old's reaction to the disturbing trailer for the movie on TV which was aired during children's programming.

"It's a terrible thing. I took notice because my 7-year-old son told me, 'Daddy I'm scared,'" La Russa said.