When I was 6, watching George Pal’s The Time Machine on TV provided the fuel for a nightmare or two, populated by Morlocks.
When my daughter was 6, watching Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy led her to remark that a hideous Nazi assassin who has removed his outer flesh and has a clockwork heart was watchably scary, and that Lovecraftian gods in the outer darkness stirring and stretching their ichorous tentacles towards our dimension while a loveable demon struggled to resist his origins and save humanity was avert-your-eyes scary. But, in the final analysis, also, “a good movie”.
I submit that this is the march of human progress in action. Discuss.
I believe that your daughter’s attitude is a symptom the ubiquity of high quality cinematic special effects. Children are exposed to such a barrage of realistic but obviously fantastic images in advertising, television programming, and movies. The line between visual fantasy and reality gets drawn far earlier and with more sophistication than it did in our less saturated childhoods.
Additionally, the creepy costumed morlocks exist in the psychological wasteland of Masahiro Mori’s “uncanny valley” along with demon dolls and haunted statuary. Their twisted, unmoving faces are still unnerving today. The Nazi Assassin is more fully realized and (even wasted and bloodless) more comfortably human… and the tentacles are completely inhuman, completely unreal, and easily dismissed as scary fun rather than nightmare factory by your daughter’s sophisticated mind.
The scene may not have been avert-your-eyes scary so much as avert-your-eyes tense.
There are many reasons not to watch the recent Silent Hill adaptation with your daughter… but its creatures are a better example of Morlock-style uncanny valley horror.