The Secret of NIMH is dark, no doubt, but its fear-inducing scenes only scratch the surface of what bottomless anguish can be opened up with the right animated film. If “The Secret of NIMH” is, say, “The Exorcist,” then “The Mouse and His Child”(1977) is “Salò.” Equally obscure, equally nightmarish. It constructs a world unlike anything a sane, happy child could fathom. And it renders it in such brutally disturbing detail that they’ll never forget it, no matter how many My Little Pony parties their mom might throw, complete with actual
pony in the yard.
Trust me, I know of what I speak. “The Mouse and His Child” leaves a deep crater in the
soul of whoever is cursed enough to view it.
I still remember my first time seeing it, when hen I was a wee one wandering my beloved library’s A/V section and saw it inexplicably placed in the kid’s section: “Look, Mommy, a cartoon!” Somewhere, a witch howled with triumphant delight.
The prophecy had been fulfilled. Occasionally over the years that followed, I would mention
to my brother, “do you remember that crazy movie about the two toy mice?” And he
would say “oh yeah…” and then we would share a long silence freighted with deep love
for each other but twinned with the knowledge that our love is worthless in a universe
like this. It’s the type of moment normally reserved for two men who piloted a helicopter
together in Vietnam. “The NIMH Exorcist” can’t touch it. This is some next level shit.