What with sisters Katie and Kristi scaring audiences this Halloween in Paranormal Activity 3 it’s a great chance to check out some more scary children that have graced the cinema screen. While horror icons like Freddy Krueger, Jason and Michael Myers scare people with their looks and sharp weapons, most of these kids look like they wouldn’t hurt a fly. However behind their cherub-like looks lurks a cold-hearted killer, or a demon pulling their strings.
Playing on that something in all of us, a secret fear that our kids could grow up into little monsters (literally) which makes these children even more chilling. So let’s have a look at some of cinema’s scariest little critters.
5. The children from Village of the Damned (1960)
Set in the quaint little village of Midwich, things couldn’t be more British. A quiet village where it seems something odd is happening. Everyone suffers from a ‘time out’ where the whole village just stops. Just as quickly as it started, it finishes. Everything carries on as normal that is until all the women of childbearing age in the village find out they are pregnant. The men are suspicious, causing a lot of unpleasantness for the women and a lot of accusations get thrown round. The children are all born on the same day, and all look eerily similar. They grow and develop at an unusual speed and probably the scariest thing about them is they have a telepathic bond with one another. And they have very scary glowing eyes. Years on, the military find out it wasn’t just Midwich which suffered from a ‘time out’ and that there are groups of these children all around the world. Of course, strange deaths have been happening all around the village and no one wants to say it but they all suspect the blonde-haired children.
Even the parents of the children are scared of them. Well, no one wants their kids telling them what to do. The ending is pretty dark, considering we are dealing with children, even if they are some kind of alien hybrids. A rightful classic.
Scariest moment: When the children make a man crash his car into a wall and when the villagers realise that all that weird stuff going on was those evil eyed kids.
4. Samara from The Ring (2002)
I’m going with the Hollywood remake here because while I did it enjoy the original the remake really cranks up the tension to unbearable. The opening scene with that unfortunate girl’s face still makes me jump out of my skin. Poor Samara, left in well, haunting anyone who watches the dreaded tape (most people would struggle to find a VHS player nowadays). It’s a brilliant urban legend, whoever watched the video will die in 7 days. The story follows Rachel (Naomi Watts), a journalist who watches the tape, gets the phone call then has 7 days to find the secret from its ghoulish imagery. Adding to that, her son Aiden watches it too making it even more vital to find out how to stop the curse. While investigating a woman that was on the video, it leads her to a family who adopted a young girl called Samara. And there is a lot of death surrounding Samara. It turns out her adopted mother drowned er in a well, which is where her body lies. Rachel thinks if she gives her a proper burial the curse will be lifted. But it’s not that simple.
The scene where Samara crawls through the TV to get her victim is one of horrors’ greatest moments, although I’ll concede that it’s done better in the original. I knew someone who had to sleep with a towel over their TV after watching that bit.
Scariest moment: The TV moment is freaky but I’m going with the actual video. There are some gruesome images in it.
3. Damien from The Omen (1976)
I think if you call your child Damien you should probably expect some sort of demonic comeback. It’s all about the original with this one, as I’m pretty sure the remake only existed so it could be released on the 6/6/06 (yeah, that works so well doesn’t it??). It’s a name that goes hand in hand with the devil just like Adolf does with the Nazis. Robert (Gregory Peck) and Katherine’s (Lee Remick) son dies shortly after his birth and Robert is convinced by Father Spiletto to replace him with an orphan. However, when they get back home a lot of odd events keep happening, mostly the deaths of people around Damien. For example, the nanny hangs herself at his birthday party, then Katherine loses her unborn child and Father Spiletto gets a spike through his body. There is just lots of unpleasantness basically.
The film is full of great deaths. Not that Damien gets his hands dirty, oh no, they are all nice little convenient accidents. Damien is the original antichrist. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t give your child’s head a quick check for a 666 birthmark. Just in case.
Scariest moment: The absolutely terrifying little smile Damien gives the audience at the end. Evil doesn’t die.
4. Dalton from Insidious (2010)
After many bumps in the night and ghostly goings on at the Lamberts’ family home they decide to (quite sensibly, especially for a horror film) move house. But even though they moved, the ghosts are still haunting them. And it’s all down to their child Dalton who happens to be in a coma. While in this coma it turns out that demons are trying to get close to him and take over his body. One particular persistent force is the lipstick demon; with Darth Maul make up and Freddy Krueger nails he is one scary monster you don’t want around your children. Renai (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Patrick Wilson) play the frightened parents well, although it does take Josh a little while to get on board. Most of the scares happen to Reani, but does Josh know more about these demons than he is letting on?
With enough jumps to cure your hiccups for a year, Insidious has some nasty looking demons in it; the twins with their creepy joker-style smiles are a particular highlight. Dalton doesn’t do much in the film apart from stay in bed but the fact he is attracting all these demons, makes him one creepy kid in my book.
Scariest moment: The séance. I’m not sure why the medium wears a gasmask but it looks terrifying.
1. Esther from Orphan (2009)
The tagline goes ‘There’s something wrong with Esther.’ Too bloody right. After going through some marriage troubles, Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarasgaard) decide to adopt a child. While in the orphanage they meet Esther, a slightly old-world, well educated girl who likes her own company and her art. At first she seems perfect (don’t they always?) and John likes her but Kate thinks something is wrong. Behind everyone’s back however, Esther is definitely evil. She is horrible to other children, often threatening them with violence if they tell anyone about her true self. Anyone who gets in Esther’s way of a happy family life usually ends up dead. Kate realises that they don’t know much about Esther’s background and after some investigating, finds out Esther is from a mental hospital in Estonia. Of course no one believes her, especially not John as Esther is definitely a daddy’s girl. It takes Esther to try and seduce John for him to see that she probably needs to go back to the orphanage. She was never going to go quietly though; he probably should have listened to his wife at some point.
With some terrifying neon images that will stay with you well after the credits and a solid twist at the end, Esther will make you mad as hell but you sure wouldn’t want to get on her bad side.
Scariest moment: When John sees the real art work Esther has been doing. It’s not appropriate for a young girl to be drawing and she uses about as much neon as Joel Schumacher does in Batman & Robin. Chilling.
So who do you think are the scariest kids on screen?
Feature by Natz, find her on twitter here