MovieChat Forums > Indictment: The McMartin TrialĀ (1995) Discussion > This movie scared the hell out of me!

This movie scared the hell out of me!

This is all I can say. Anyone who lives in the United States and believes that they are truely free should see this film. It will definately open up your eyes. The hysteria that this film showed is very real. Reminded me of the Salem Witches Trial except this happened only 20 short years ago.


I believe it was 20/20 but it might have been a different news-magazine type media hour program that aired this back in early 80's shortly after this story came out. I was only a teen and remember few details, but it was full of all sorts of wild allegations of child pornography and more. It turned out to be all a crock of s**t.

I'm sure it must have been a complete embarassment to the network in question when the truth finally came out. Funny how we never see news magazine type shows on how full of s**t the mainstream media is.


You are right to be frightened. Let me add this:

In 1993, several feminist groups began loudly trumping the allegations that the very worst domestic violence (specifically, men attacking women) happens during the annual SuperBowl game. Do you remember that?

The media jumped right on those claims and played them to the hilt.

They jumped on it to such a degree that NBC, jumping to the chance to be politically correct, actually produced and ran a widely-promoted public-service message that ran during that 1993 game's half-time; it asked men to be tolerant and gracious and kind to their domestic partner during the game, and to not be what was implied to be their usual brutal selves.

The FBI investigated the feminists' claim of escalated violence during the annual SuperBowl games, and found those allegations to be totally and absolutely false.

Just like those claims during the McMartins' torment that claimed there were "one million missing children every year". Parents were getting their children tattooed, following them into public restrooms, grilling them as to who talked to them that day, asking them if their teachers and relatives touched them, and generally turning them into paranoid wrecks.

And then, too late, the FBI investigated and found ... you guessed it ... that was all a huge hoax, too.

Let's all be careful out there.


Reason enough to be scared.

The message of the movie seems to be that the testimony of children can't be relied upon. The standard retort has always been, "We live in a culture that trusts our children." But in fact the subtext of the story has little to do with children. After all, the hysteria was initiated by parents, mostly mothers. The kids were not much more than unwitting conduits for some adult nastiness.

It's still happening now. As I write this (30 June 2006) everyone watching TV is periodically being exposed to a public service announcement claiming that one out of every five children is sexually approached by internet predators. A web site is provided so that you can report incidents. Spooky, right?

The claim is based on a single study -- the only one I know of that's in any way scientifically respectable -- done by two psychologists at the University of Vermont. It was a phone survey of about 1,000 kids between 10 and 17, I think, asking them about two dozen questions concerning their internet experiences over the past year. There are some methodological flaws not worth going into. (But, eg., asking a teenager to remember all of his or her experiences is asking for more accuracy than you're likely to get.)

Based on the actual findings, that "one in five" claim is technically true, I guess. Most of the sexual approaches, however, were made by adult women towards teenaged boys, probably the kind of popups that sometimes appear in chat rooms. ("Hi, my name is Cindy and I'm XXXHOTXXX.")

Only a small percentage of the teens reported that they were "disturbed" by the advances, and they were almost all girls in the youngest age category.

And we need to remember that under the definitions used by the investigators, if an 18-year-old boy asks a 17-year-old girl for a date on line, that gets counted in the "one in five". (The percentage was actually 19%.)

But in fact only about five percent of the "sexual solicitations" involved a proposal to meet face to face -- and zero percent of them led to a meeting.

The world is a dangerous place allright.


Reality was that these children were being intimidated and coaxed into making false allegations to confirm a case brought on by a schizo alcoholic.

Every decade had their SALEM moment with some moral panic that turn out ot be *beep* 50's it was comic books and rock music. 70's it was Dungeons and Dragons 80's it was satanic abuse. The hysteria that happened was not too far from the Salem Witch Trials. You think in modern times we would be more rational to blame it on Satan.


You seem to be a very smart person and I wish you the best.

That one first line is so intriguing and true that I just had to complement you.


Things like this can happen anywhere and it did occur in the UK.

Its that man again!!


The sad thing is that molestation, rape, sodemizing, incest, etc etc DOES happen all over the United States, but bc of the crap w/the McMartin's its like the boy who called wolf; so now we have children out there who were really molested but in some cases will not be taking seriously all bc of someone's stupidty and psychotic problems innocent children who have been victimized will never be heard or helped.


I saw this movie when it originally aired on HBO, and I gotta tell you this movie is EXCRUCIATING!!! Seeing James Woods ripped Lolita Davidovich to shreds was the absolute best!!!! At times I have compared this film to Capturing The Friedmans although the difference is in the Friedmans case, there was a stronger suggestion of guilt. Again, this was by far an excellent movie!! I agree with you, very, very disturbing!


If you think that was scary....I moved to Southern California right at the time this story broke. I happened to live in a wonderful little sleepy beach community named Hermosa Beach...and Hermosa Beach is right next to Manhattan Beach, you walk right to it. So imagine living near this community when all of this broke.

Everyone had an opinion, and the opinions were horrible. The McMartin pre-school was vandalized repeatedly after the story broke. Lots of news, press, public relations -- this was one of the most scariest things I ever heard of or saw in my life. (That was until I moved to Westwood Village, CA in the 90's! Westwood is neighbor to Brentwood.)

Then came the trial. It would be a few years before the gavel to gavel televised sensationalism but this was bad enough.

And here's the payoff of the story. One of the magazines here in Los Angeles had a story on the little boy who "started the accusations". The headline of the story?

"I'm sorry I lied."

Proud IMDB member since 1998 with the same name.How about you??


What's with the damn music? The Omen's music sounds like a disney ride compared to it. I don't see the link or any relevance to a movie on preschool sexual abuse.
That freaked me out.


It is really frightening how accusations snowball. Here in the UK I read a story that made me feel sick. A man was accused of rape, it was found to be a lie but after his release from jail he was charged for his board in jail!

Read it here:

False accusations can get out of hand so easily, especially rape accusations.


The comparison to Salem is a good one. What started out as a single complaint of child sexual abuse eventually devolved into an all out witch hunt of an alleged satan worshiper, and helped fuel a national campaign against "ritual satanic child abuse". Like Salem, the McMartin case produced an avalanche of coached "testimony" from child "witnesses", with fantastic allegations of debauchery perpetrated against them by the accused.

It was an outrageous injustice that was done to the Buckey-McMartin family and a reminder of how easy it is for people to believe in the lies of a witch hunt. "Children never lie" was the defense of the prosecution in this case. Salem is something we all should have learned about in grade school history class, long before lawyers attend law school. I know I did in middle school. Of course, children can lie, especially when they are being coached by adults to lie.

I really loved the scene in the movie with the child witness who came up with the story of digging up all the graves in a grave yard. The defense put before him several face pictures and asked him to circle who helped them dig up the graves. One of the people whose face picture he circled was actor Chuck Norris. This scene of the defense demolishing the child testimony more than any other in the movie made me wonder how the judge could let this farce continue in his court room.


It may be that we "need" an enemy. Without an identifiable evil around us, we can't possibly define ourselves as "good". Any more than a fish that spends its entire life in a river knows that it's living in a river.

If we're to have self esteem, we need to have bastards among us.




My boyfriend was working with children at the time we watched this in 2000 and he quit his job after watching this!