As a sub-genre of horror movies, creepy kids as the main character is the worst. The best, but also the worst. You can’t look away from a creepy little kid doing creepy little deeds. It’s so off-brand for children in movies who are normally either funny or sweet or, in the case of horror movies, victims who need our protection. Not this group of creepy kids. The fact is, we all need to be protected from them and their varying degrees of terrifying mischief.
Creepy kids have been a theme in horror movies and horror stories in general for decades. It makes sense when you think about it; people are hard-wired to love the adrenaline rush of being afraid, and honestly what could be scarier than a child who is secretly plotting to kill you? Or is maybe possessed? Or is even working with the rest of the kids in the village to get rid of all adults to appease their corn field god?
Now is a good time to remind you that these movies are
NOT for kids. (Check out this list of scary movies appropriate for kids for some family-friendly thrills.) They’re for you to watch when you feel like a good fright after they go to bed. Or if you need to stay up for 36 hours straight for some reason because you won’t be sleeping for awhile after watching these.
The Good Son
Macauley Culkin is terrifying in The Good Son.
Cast your minds back to 1993 for a moment. Macauley Culkin was America’s impish little sweetheart, sweet and silly and funny all in one go. And then came
The Good Son. He and Elijah Wood star as cousins who connect after Wood’s character Mark loses his mom and his dad spends him to spend time with his brother’s family in a super gorgeous house on the coast. Culkin’s character Henry is a smidge more mischievous than your average boy; I won’t spoil it for you but let’s just say his baby brother is dead and his sister is hospitalized and Henry might have had something to do with both. Poor Mark is the only one who sees what a truly bad seed Henry is and it’s up to him to stop him from just murdering everyone.
watch The Good Son , rated R, on Disney+.
The Bad Seed
Speaking of being a bad seed;
The Bad Seed is one of the original tales of a creepy child who scares the heck out of parents and all other adults for that matter. Based on the 1955 book by William March and released just one year later, The Bad Seed tells the story of sweet, picture perfect little girl Rhoda Penmark, living her picture perfect life with her loving parents. That is, until her school rival Christine drowns in a lake and her mother starts to suspect her daughter had something to do with it. There is a 2018 remake of this movie, but the original is extra creepy. Maybe because it’s in black and white or maybe because Patty McCormack, who plays Rhoda, does a terrific job of scaring the pants off everyone.
watch The Bad Seed , not rated , on YouTube.
Children Of The Corn
Imagine doing a road trip through the midwest like Burt (Peter Horton) and his girlfriend Vicky (Linda Hamilton) and your car breaks down in a cute little town. Where there is not a single adult because bad news, the children have killed every last one of them to honor some scary demon living in their cornfields. Not scared of 1984’s
Children Of The Corn , of course written by Stephen King, just yet? Add a creepy child preacher who wears a big hat and also a bunch of ominous chanting and then get back to me. Definitely don’t let the kids watch this one. You don’t want them getting any ideas.
watch Children Of The Corn, rated R, on Amazon Prime Video.
It feels a bit mean to call the poor baby who is only in one brief scene at the end of 1968’s
Rosemary’s Baby creepy, but I’m sorry it’s true. Mia Farrow as Rosemary, a woman who is accidentally carrying the spawn of Satan against her will because she happened to move into an apartment building with terrifying old people (second scariest group of creepy people) doesn’t help. When she sees her demon baby after suspecting there was something wrong throughout her pregnancy, she screams at the sight of his eyes. So really, how can we be okay with that? Or the scary little tune she hums once she calms herself down and decides to raise her demon baby. No wonder there are all those rumors of Rosemary’s Baby being cursed.
watch Rosemary’s Babyrated R, with a Showtime extension on Amazon Prime Video.
Rosemary’s Baby might have a reputation as being super cursed, but I think The Exorcist would give it a run for its money. There were several cast members who died under mysterious circumstances, a fire, a back injury, and oh yes; so many people losing their sh*t when they saw that movie in theaters that they fainted and vomited. Why did people all have such a strong reaction to the 1973 film? Well, all because of a possessed young girl named Regan (played by Linda Blair). Most of the movie happens in Regan’s bedroom as people try in vain to help get the devil out of her. It’s not fair to give out medals or anything but Regan is definitely the scariest of the kids in my opinion.
watch The Exorcist, rated R, on HBO Max
It’s difficult to tell who is the creepiest in
The Others from 2001, there are just so many options. Nicole Kidman as Grace, a mother of two sick children who lives alone in a massive house in the English countryside as she waits for her husband to come home from World War II. The children, Anne and Nicholas, who suffer from photosensitivity and must live in complete darkness. Or the mysterious new household help who show up one foggy afternoon.
It’s the kids. Especially Anne. Hearing things in the night and worst of all, speaking to spirits while wearing a scary white dress and veil. All is not what it seems but also it sort of is.
watch The Others, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime Video
Don’t name your kid Damien after watching The Omen. Disney+
You really need to give Damien, the 5-year-old terrifying star of
The Omen from 1976, credit for being the most deliberate of all these demonic children, willing to take advantage of a situation if you will. He becomes the child of the American ambassador to Britain (Gregory Peck) after his wife gives birth to a stillborn child and he grabs himself a different baby. But he forgot to check his scalp for that telltale “666” birthmark and guess what? It’s there.
Damien’s nanny kills herself to make him happy, the little boy forces his mom to miscarry, and his father starts to question if perhaps his son is the devil. Damien, meanwhile, is just trying to get into the White House. Moral of the story, don’t name your baby Damien and check for birthmarks that look like 666.
Stream the omen, rated R, on HBO Max.
Another adoption story gone wrong in Orphan. Netflix
Kate and John Coleman have decided to adopt a 9-year-old girl named Esther from an orphanage in eastern Europe, and they’re ready for their lives to change. Maybe not as much as it does when they realize, much like the aforementioned Damien, that all is not well with young Esther. In fact, she might not even be as young as she says she is. It’s possible she’s a murderous woman who looks like a child. This movie is loosely based on the true story of Barbara Sklorva, a woman who posed as a 13-year-old boy in Norway after duping a different family into believing she was a child and abusing their children. So yes, this one is extra chilling.
watch Orphan rated R, on Amazon Prime Video.
The original 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel
career is perhaps the only time I sort of feel bad for the creepy kid in the movie. She doesn’t want to be creepy but it just comes so naturally to her on account of she has telekinesis and doesn’t seem to blink all that often. Even though Sissy Spacek is a full grown adult when she plays Carrie, you believe that all she wants is to be a normal girl and go to the prom with her friends or even just have some friends. Instead she gets pig blood dumped on her by a bunch of people including young John Travolta and ends up burning everyone to death. That’s a scary scene, but really it’s everything leading up to it that are so terrifying in career.
watch careerrated R, on Amazon Prime Video.
Sorry this list is so Stephen King-heavy, but he has really mastered the spooky child genre. In the 1980 movie
The Shining, some might even say he tripled down on spooky kids. There’s young Danny who has the gift of sight called “the shining” and therefore knows his dad Jack (Jack Nicholson) is going to lose his mind and try to kill him and his mom (Shelley Duvall) at the Overlook Hotel. Let’s not forget Danny talks to his thumb in a different voice and writes “Red Rum” on the mirror. But Danny is not alone. He’s joined by the terrifying “Grady Twins,” ghostly twin girls who like to wear matching dresses and stare at Danny while he’s having fun on his Big Wheel. Triple the spooky kids means triple the nightmares. Thank you, Stephen King. I guess.
watch The Shiningrated R, on HBO Max.
If you plan to watch one or two of these movies tonight, might I suggest watching with a friend after the kids are in bed. Then leaving yourself enough time to watch a palette cleanser like all
The Office Halloween episodes after. Otherwise your sleep will be all demon children, all the time.
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