Creepy Children in Film

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In The Other Side of the Door a grieving mother inadvertently opens the door between the worlds of the living and the dead, and unleashes a horrific figure in the form of her son. He won’t have been the first creepy child to cause terror though. Whether committing their own murders or just generally being creepy, children in horror films have terrified us since the inception of the genre. But why does it still strike such a nerve? Here’s a list of some the scariest types of children in film, and why they continue to terrify us.

the innocent ones 01The Innocent Ones

Sometimes even normal children can come across insanely creepy in horror films. The Ring’s Aidan and The Shining’s Danny never hurt a fly but their chilling predictions and interactions with the horrors unfolding around them tend to creep audiences out, big time. Equally in Poltergeist it’s not Carol Anne Freeling’s fault that she sees and attracts ghosts and demons - but that doesn’t stop us from wanting to be as far away from her and her supernatural friends as possible. And who can forget The Exorcist’s Regan Macneil. How unlucky can you get to be possessed by a demon? Talk about a tough break! Putting the most innocent of people, children, in the most horrifying of circumstances, from supernatural terror to full on murderous rampages, brings out the terrified parent in all of us, and makes us feel on edge to say the least.

pure evilPure Evil Children

On the flip side some children are just pure evil, and have complete indifference towards murder. Rhoda Penmark in The Bad Seed, and Henry Evans in The Good Son, just don’t seem to care about the people they kill; in fact they seem to take a fair bit of joy from it. Then you have the flat-out psycho kids. Halloween’s Michael Myers in his first outing kills his own sister, without remorse, only to return 15 years later to continue killing over the course of another five films. But you know what’s worse than a lone child serial killer? A whole group of them, that’s what. In both the cult Spanish film, Who Can Kill a Child?, and Children of the Corn, the children of their respective towns have decided adults are just no good. So they go around in killing any adults they find; really any of us would be fair game. Seeing the innocence of children turned upside down, making them relish the kind of violence and destruction that adults strive to shield them from, is scary stuff.

supernatural childrenSupernatural Children

Super powers aren’t always a bad thing, but for some reason when kids have them they always end up being creepy. Some of the original creepy super children were the Midwich Cuckoos in The Village of the Dammed. With their bleached blond hair and black eyes they used their telepathic powers to bend others to their will, which inevitably resulted in a fair bit of killing. Samara from The Ring, at least had a bit more method in her killings, using the video tape as a way to pick her victims, but was no less sadistic and shocking. Even supernatural victims in horror films, such as the pyro-kinetic Charlie McGee in Firestarter or the bug controlling Jennifer Corvino of Phenomena, manage to cause so much chaos that they are no less terrifying. Taking children, usually the most powerless of people, and giving them supernatural powers is a twist that has proven deeply unsettling.

not children childrenNot Children-children

Finally you have the children who aren’t even children; they only appear to be children to make themselves even more terrifying. In Orphan an adult with a rare disease that makes her look like a child, uses her perceived innocence to embark on a life of murder. But this is just the tip of the iceberg in this horrifying category. In The Brood Nola Carveth gives birth to the physical manifestation of her rage in the form of a brood of dwarf like children who embark on a killing spree; don’t you hate it when that happens? The one thing worse than giving birth to a murderous dwarf brood, is giving birth to the anti-Christ itself; and it happens quite a bit. In Rosemary’s Baby it’s left up to your imagination what evil the baby will get up to, most of the movie revolving around its sinister conception and birth. However, in The Omen, you get a good idea of what a young anti-Christ gets up to. Yup you guessed it; murderous rampage. In a way it’s almost better that these little murder-lings aren’t children, given their innate evilness. It does however give all other children a bad rap because they look just like them. How can you trust any child knowing that any one of them could be a potential serial-killer-anti-Christ-in-disguise?

So what manner of creepy children will be in The Other Side of the Door? You’ll just have to wait and see for yourself. The Other Side of the Door is in UK cinemas from 4th March. Book tickets at www.theothersideofthedoor.co.uk.

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Stills from The Other Side of the Door (2016), click images to enlarge.

 

 

 

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