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Top Five Creepy Kid Films 
Written by: on December 12th, 2014

Beware the Children

All children are adorable little sacks of innocent cuteness….or are they?

Some think kids are somewhat inherently creepy, what with their off-putting stares and volatile acts of returning all non-digested food and other bodily fluids to their freshly-changed clothes…or on to the clothes of others that happen to unfortunately be nearby. There is a small sub-genre of the horror cinema culture that has actually capitalized on the “creepy kid” phenomenon. Here is the “cream” of that “crop.”

5. Children of the Corn (1984)

Trailer can be found here:

To most cinema aficionados and film historians, it’s the legendary Children of the Corn from 1984 that immediately conjures up visions of “evil kids” – or perhaps it’s the other way around. Directed by Fritz Kiersch and based on George Goldsmith’s screenplay adaption of a Stephen King short story, Children of the Corn follows the exploits of a cult of overzealous children who hack up the adults in their farmland town and bury them in the cornfields. The inclusion of a battle against a real demonic force is what helped to make Children of the Corn rank among the best horror films of all time, creating a memorable plot that involves a power of darkness that lurks among the stalks of corn, devours children and adults and has a pretty good sense of direction.

4. Children of the Damned (1963)

Trailer can be found here:

Much like House of Wax starring Vincent Price, which itself was actually a re-imagining of another film called Mystery of the Wax Museum, Children of the Damned was actually a sequel to 1960’s Village of the Damned, unbeknownst to many. While Village of the Damned went on to be remade by legendary horror director John Carpenter in 1995 — to much unjustified critical nitpicking — Children of the Damned had actually very little to do with the original Village; the film focuses on six kids that boast telepathic superpowers and advanced intelligence, all hailing from different corners of the globe. The children seek asylum in an abandoned church (elements which Carpenter touched on in his remake of Village, exchanging the church for a barn), but the film essentially makes us question whether the children are actually “evil” or not, as they’re seen as simply trying to defend themselves against humanity who views them as a threat.

Children of the Damned stars Ian Hendry, Alan Badel, Barbara Ferris, Alfred Burke, Sheila Allen and Clive Powell and was directed by Anton Leader. The title is often cited for its effective black and white photography as well as Hendry’s uncanny resemblance to former American President George W. Bush.

3. The Bad Seed (1956)

Trailer can be found here:

This American horror-thriller from 1956, directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones and Eileen Heckart, is based on a play of the same name by Maxwell Anderson – which in turn was based on William March’s 1954 novel The Bad Seed. Here, the theme of childhood gone wrong is explored by way of a housewife who suspects her seemingly perfect eight-year-old daughter is a heartless killer. From a psychological perspective, it is easy to see why many people have reported The Bad Seed as one of the most frightening films their children have ever seen; Nancy Kelly, in portraying Christine Penmark, discovers her gem of a daughter has been lying, stealing and possibly engaging in far worse indulgences. Four years before Hitchcock scared audiences out of the shower with Psycho, LeRoy managed to scare viewers throughout the country out of babysitting gigs and into contracts with home security providers all throughout the U.S. — from Detroit ADT to the primitive systems in Paducah, KY.

2. The Omen (1976)

Trailer can be found here:

The original version, directed by Richard Donner of Superman fame, would go on to become one of the most recognized titles in all of “demonic children on film” history, comfortably nestling into the subgenre that gave us Rosemary’s Baby and even The Exorcist. Gregory Peck and Lee Remick portray Robert and Katherine Thorn, Robert being an American ambassador to Great Britain and Katherine doing her best to keep an emotional lid on the strange occurrences that have been plaguing the couple…and their baby. Keeping things tense are overtones of Biblical prophecies, formulas for warding off evil spirits and nonstop use of the cabalistic sign “666.”

By now, everyone knows the underlying plot element of The Omen — the poor son the Thorns bring into this world is supposedly the spawn of old Satan himself. For critics and an endearing public who seemingly ate up possession-esque stories during the era of The Omen (The Exorcist, The Amityville Horror, et al), the film remains “scary and fun in a portentous sort of way,” with many of its themes touching on Biblical prophecy interpretations and even the re-emergence of the Roman Empire.

1. The Brood (1979)

Trailer can be found here:

If filmmaker David Cronenberg knows how to do anything, it’s crafting more-than-memorable shock horror. A few years after Shivers and Rabid, Cronenberg released The Brood, which starred Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar and Art Hindle. The film documented the breakdown of society through medical experimentation, bringing it into a much more personal realm: That of the family. The film also deals with notions of angst manifesting bodily.

Oliver Reed plays Dr. Hal Raglan who, in a new revolutionary scientific method, assumes the form of his patients’ worst fears. In the scope of the film, the subject becomes one of his patient’s father, and Raglan demands the patient express his suppressed anger and resentment. Eventually, the experiment goes somewhat awry – a definitive Cronenberg theme – when the patient’s psychological anger manifests itself through aberrations of the body. Not only does he externalize his feelings, he also turns his psychological pains into physical ones. The radical new method of psychiatry, known as psychoplasmics, brings into the picture other key players in the plot which includes Nola (Samantha Eggar), her husband Frank (Art Hindle) and a custody battle over their daughter Candy.

Perhaps it was the tagline accompanying John Carpenter’s 1995 remake of Village of the Damned that summarizes the notion of this horror genre the best: Beware the Children. It is indeed films such as these that make us think twice about bringing that new life into the world as we walk down the children’s clothing aisle or browse through that crib catalog for the umpteenth time.

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