April Barbe

It's the time of year when many like to watch scary movies, but I shouldn't actually be scared to go to a movie.

A film many have looked forward to this year was released this weekend, and tensions are high as its violent origins have some worried.

“Joker,” starring Joaquin Phoenix, looks like an excellent tale of woe and a life of many struggles … we all know the “Joker” from the many “Batman” movies through the years. I'm sure that Phoenix does a wonderful job portraying him and may even win awards for the role.

But I don't think I can go see it.

The “Joker” is certainly a messed up character, and this movie is supposed to help us understand the man also known as “Arthur Fleck.”

Fleck is a manic-depressive who is also bipolar.

For those who may also suffer from these types of mental health issues, I understand your struggles. I have faced bouts of depression myself, and I also take medication for anxiety. I'm not ashamed to admit this, because we live in a tough world, and sometimes we all need a little help to get through it.

While these are scary illnesses to tackle, I'm more afraid to go see “Joker” because of the movie's violence. I don't care for strong or bloody violence in any film.

Some people have also expressed concerns that the movie will draw people with similar problems or temperaments as “Arthur Fleck,” aka the “Joker” which may result in violence.

In fact, the theater in Aurora, Colorado, has decided to not show the film at all. Aurora was the location of a theater shooting in 2012 during “The Dark Knight Rises.”

And Landmark Theatres, which owns 52 theaters in 27 markets, has extended its ban on masks and toy weapons to include all costumes during "Joker's" theatrical run.

"We want all our guests to enjoy the 'Joker' for the cinematic achievement that it is. But no masks, painted faces or costumes will be permitted into our theatres," the company said in astatement.

Landmark Theatres are located in Dallas and Houston; however, I wouldn't recommend going in costume to see this movie anywhere.

In a statement, Warner Bros. studio acknowledged that gun violence is "a critical issue."

"Gun violence in our society is a critical issue, and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies," the statement reads. "Our company has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora, and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bi-partisan legislation to address this epidemic."

The statement continued: "At the same time, Warner Bros. believes that one of the functions of storytelling is to provoke difficult conversations around complex issues. Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind. It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero."

In other reports, both the US Army and the Los Angeles Police Department will be on alert. The Los Angeles Police Department has announced that officers will have "high visibility" at theaters during premiere screenings of "Joker."

The US Army, meanwhile, confirmed it had sent out a memo obtained by CNN to commanders in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, about a potential violent threat discovered in discussion on the dark web about the possible targeting of a theater during the movie's release.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with a mental condition, please seek help. You do matter, and you are important. There are people who care! Talk to a close family member or friend. Go to a doctor or seek out a church pastor. The best way to feel better is to talk to someone about it who can help you find the tools you need to heal.

Let's have “Joker” be just a movie that shows how important it is to get help.

If you want to go see “Joker” … go. I applaud you for not letting social anxieties stop you!

Stay alert to your surroundings, and be safe.

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