CINEMA: CASPER THE FRIENDLY CORPSE

JOLLY AND JOKEY ON ITS SLICK SURFACE, THE NEW KIDS' HIT IS ALSO A FABLE ABOUT CHILDREN'S FASCINATION WITH DEATH AND THE AFTERLIFE

Amid the latest hoo-ha and brouhaha about toxic culture, a media maven is led to wonder: Has Bob Dole ever read his kids a fairy tale? Or sung a nursery rhyme? Or seen a classic Disney cartoon? In Hansel and Gretel, Jack and Jill, Bambi and Dumbo, the obsessive themes are death and dismemberment. These graphic horror stories tell toddlers that life is a dark forest where parents get killed and kids get eaten. As purveyors of Dole's "nightmares of depravity," Warner Bros. ain't a patch on the Grimm Bros.

In its cheerful, knowing way, the hit movie Casper mines this...

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