CHILDREN were left in tears and parents appalled after horror film trailers were shown before the screening of a Peppa Pig film.

A Lawford mum's trip to Empire Cinema, in Ipswich, with her children turned into a "nightmare" when the trailers for psychological horror Ma and superhero horror Brightburn were screened in front of youngsters.

The trailer for Ma contained dead bodies and sexual content, while the advert for Brightburn featured a red-eyed boy in a demonic mask, blood and violence.

The British Board of Film Classification rated both the films as suitable for audiences aged 15 and above.

Parents removed their children from the screening due to the distressing content until Peppa Pig: Festival of Fun started.

Charlie Jones, of Stourdale Close, took daughter Annie, two, for her first cinema trip, along with 10-month-old Fred.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Excited - Annie, 2, was looking forward to her first cinema trip

Charlie, 34, said: "I told Annie we were going to the cinema as she loves Peppa Pig, and I told her it would be really fun."

They sat in the second row and the cinema was "packed".

Then the horror trailers appeared on the screen, causing children to scream and cry.

She said: "Parents were shouting "turn it off", but nobody could hear so they took their children out of the screening.

"Lots of children were crying and screaming, so I told my daughter to look at me and not the screen until we could get out of the room."

Charlie, a BBC journalist, said the trailers ruined her daughter's first cinema trip on Saturday.

She said: "Annie has been traumatised by this cinema trip.

"She did not like the demonic mask as she was already scared of monsters before seeing the trailers.

"The experience was really stressful as I had Annie crying and then my baby crying on my lap too.

"It was supposed to be a nice first visit to the cinema, but it was a nightmare."

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Family - Charlie Jones with husband Tom, and children Annie, 2, and baby Fred

The mum-of-two said the cinema's manager was apologetic about the incident and gave her a voucher.

But Charlie is reluctant to return to the cinema with Annie yet and hopes this was a one-off incident.

Speaking to the BBC a spokesman for Empire Cinemas said: "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 apologise for this and for any distress caused and will be reviewing our internal procedures to ascertain how this came to be."

Empire cinemas has been contacted by The Standard.