Imagine you’re eight years old, innocent to the world, and ready to watch Peppa Pig: Festival of Fun with a giant smile spread across your face. Then you are forced to watch a terrifying young superhero tear through town ripping people apart, followed by a middle-aged woman luring teens into her basement with the promise of alcohol only so she can gruesomely kill them later. You’d be traumatized, right? Well, that’s what happened to some U.K. youngsters who thought they were only seeing their favorite animated pig, and not previews for two of the gnarliest horror movies coming our way in the next couple of months.
Peppa Pig: Festival of Fun opened this past weekend in the U.K., but at one Ipswich theater in England, boys and girls of every age got more than they bargained for when two new horror trailers were screened beforehand in glorious hues of blood red and terrible violence. This festival of fun turned into a festival of horrors.
The cinema chain responsible for showing trailers for both Blumhouse’s new thriller Ma and James Gunn’s dark superhero horror thriller BrightBurn has apologized, with the teasers reportedly leaving kids in tears and confused.
The two trailers in question contain your usual horror elements, including dead bodies, curse words, occult imagery and dripping blood. None of which is usually found in Peppa Pig movies or other kid friendly TV shows. As one would expect, the kids in attendance were utterly horrified. One mother said this about the situation after it played out.
“There were lots of kids crying and [my daughter] was very confused and started crying, too.”
The theater is holding an investigation as to how these two trailers were attached to the new Peppa Pig movie. This isn’t the first time Peppa has courted controversy. The popular little pig was banned in China back in 2018 after being deemed ‘a gangster’ by the government, and many youths began wearing bootleg paraphernalia. Then in March, Peppa was straight up accused of being sexist when ‘Mummy’ Pig was described as a ‘Fireman’ instead of a ‘Firefighter’. This legitimately angered some and caused what could be described as a mild controversy. It wasn’t long before it blew over and people forgot. Though, some of the kids at this screening may never forget the horrors they saw that day.
The scary screening of Peppa Pig went down at the Empire Cinema this past Saturday. As for the terrifying footage the kids saw, in case you’re not familiar with either movie, Brightburn is described as a “startling, subversive take on a radical new genre: superhero horror” and Ma is described as a psychological horror starring Octavia Spencer as a sinister spinster who lures teenagers into her basement for some hardcore ‘adults only’ partying. But things go wildly out of control. The spokesperson for Empire Cinema said this.
“We are investigating how an inappropriate trailer was played before a screening of Peppa Pig at our Ipswich cinema, for which we apologize. As soon as the staff on site were made aware of the situation, the programme was stopped and trailers were taken off screen immediately. We do sincerely apologize for this and for any distress caused, and will be reviewing our internal procedures to ascertain how this came to being.”
A similar incident happened in Australia last year, when a trailer for Hereditary unspooled before a screening of the innocent family film Peter Rabbit. Whoops. Apparently in that incident, parents yelled at the projectionist to stop the trailer. Back in 2012, another cinema in London screened trailers for The Devil Inside and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance before Puss in Boots. This news first appeared at The Guardian.