“Paranormal Activity”, a box-office hit in Italy, has caused terror among youngsters.
An Italian news agency reported that emergency services took dozens of calls, especially in southern Naples, from cinemagoers shocked by the film.
“Several panic attacks lasting more than half an hour took place,” an emergency response worker said.
“The most serious case is that of a 14-year-old girl who was brought to the hospital in a state of paralysis.”
The Italian parents’ association noted that admission to the movie is restricted in the United States, Britain, Germany and The Netherlands and asked for an age limit of 18 in Italy.
Defence minister Ignazio La Russa said: “For the past two weeks a trailer has been shown obsessively on TV, and is terrifying thousands of children.”
In the film Katie and Micah, haunted by paranormal phenomena, decide to tape their ordeal in the style of 1999 hit “The Blair Witch Project”.
“Paranormal Activity”, which cost a mere $15,000 (£9,600) to make, opened in Italian cinemas over the weekend and has already taken more per cinema than Hollywood blockbuster “Avatar” – the costliest movie of all time.
Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of the Italian fascist dictator and head of a parliamentary committee on children, said the film had “highly distressing content” and was causing “panic attacks and psychological problems among youths.”
“I don’t think we can ban ‘Paranormal Activity’ now, but surely we need to study how to warn parents of the risks their children are incurring,” Mussolini said.