Ben Child 

Children shocked as horror trailers shown at Puss in Boots screening

Wandsworth Cineworld shows trailers for The Devil Inside and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance before animated film
  
  

Young children were reportedly left petrified after a cinema in south London accidentally screened trailers for a 15-rated horror film ahead of a showing for animated tale Puss in Boots.

Parents were forced to shield their offspring's eyes when the screen at Wandsworth Cineworld lit up with a graphic trailer for The Devil Inside, an upcoming "found footage" -style film about exorcism and demonic possession. Inappropriate scenes included close-ups of a woman covered in cuts with demonic eyes and shots of a girl with dislocated limbs writhing on a bed.

A separate trailer for Nicolas Cage-starring comic-book tale Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance also frightened toddlers with its depiction of a motorcycle rider whose head explodes in flame shooting fire at a devil who is trying to possess a human.

Cinemagoer Peter Flynn told the Mirror his four-year-old daughter Laura "was extremely frightened by what were exceptionally strong images, even by adult standards". He added: "I tried to cover her eyes." Another filmgoer, Catherine Walker, said: "It was every parent's nightmare – kids watching exorcism trailers."

Cineworld deputy general manager David Denyer apologised to furious parents after halting the trailers, and the cinema proceeded to show Puss in Boots. He told The Sun newspaper: "I can only apologise. I would be upset if my children had seen those trailers, which were meant for Underworld Awakening, the next film to be shown. We're investigating how this error happened and action will be taken if appropriate."

Local authority Wandsworth council is now investigating whether the cinema breached legal guidelines for its license, which include a condition that children's admission to any work, including trailers, is restricted in accordance with British Board of Film Classification recommendations.