Within the midst of the holiday season sometimes people get too involved with gifts, travel, work, decorations, and cooking and they forget one of the primary focuses of this time: the children. This is a wonderous time of year because all over the world the little ones earn their freedom from school, begin their winter break, and partake in whatever holiday they observe...
...So, in the spirit of the holidays, let’s celebrate the children and all the scary goodness they bring to the horror world.
Ever since pig-tailed Rhoda of The Bad Seed (1956) started murdering everyone who crossed her, small creepy children have brought a special kind of terror to films that no adult can properly fulfill. All the children have their own unique talents to bring to the table and regardless of possession, zombie-plagues, or sociopathic tendencies, children just know how to scare us. From the compiled list of kids, you might recognize some as the popular kids and some might be the quiet one you never really noticed. Either way let’s meet the top-ten creepiest kids of the past decade.
Now, these children will not be ranked from least to most terrifying because that is not how this generation does that. Instead, all the children will be awarded a participation trophy for being scary and I just hope all the kids have fun.
Welcome to Fort Chicken where you can find plenty of awkward school teachers and loads of bad chicken puns! One way this film differs from other plots about creepy kids comes from the fact these children started out as terrible monsters. They disrespect their teachers, physically and mentally abuse each other, and then things get worse. Due to a bad batch of chicken nuggets, all the kids become a bit bitey and their proclivity for chicken turns to human flesh. Despite their size, these kids perform surprisingly gory disemboweling scenes with such little hands.
The Boy (2015)
Jared Breeze plays Ted, an isolated child living with his father at the Mount Vista Hotel and very quickly into the film we realize that boy ain’t right. If he attended school, he would have been voted “most likely to befriend roadkill.” Now, Ted may only be middle school age, but he causes destruction on a much higher grade level. Graduating from smooshing bunnies in the road to causing high-speed crashes, Ted hits quite a growth spurt with his murderous urges.
Dark Touch (2013)
Sometimes children receive abuse from kids at school and sometimes kids experience abuse at home. And sometimes, those kids fight back! Think of a pre-teen version of Carrie (1976) and you will have a good idea of what the traumatized Niamh (Missy Keating) can do. Unfortunately for the abusive individuals in Niahm’s life, this little girl can control her surroundings with her mind. So, we see entire houses shake, and sharp pointy objects become very attracted to the soft fleshy parts of horrible people. Children may present as easy targets to some adults, but not Niahm. Especially when she invites her friends.
Come Out and Play (2013)
The tagline for the film says it all: “Something is very wrong with the children.” All the children on a remote island woke up one day and collectively began murdering all the adults for no apparent reason. Evidently there just is not a lot to do on an isolated island, so the children entertain themselves by searching for the perfect rock to smash in a skull or learning the most adapt way to successfully hunt the remaining grown-ups. A vacationing couple unintentionally becomes part of a dangerous game of hide-and-seek and they learn the hard way these children play a little too rough with others.
Goodnight Mommy (2015)
What’s better than one creepy kid? A second identical and equally terrifying child! Twins Elias and Lukas (Elias and Lukas Schwarz) find themselves in a serious situation when they discover their mother missing and a stranger in her place. The woman continues to argue about her identity and insists she is their mother, but the boys know better. Clearly the only way the twins will be reunited with their lost parent is to torture the imposter by holding her captive, burning her, and finding several horrible uses for superglue. The mother/son bond cannot be broken, so who can blame these brave lads for demonstrating such devotion? They just want their mommy back!
Like so many horror movies, the story begins with a nice family moving into a new house. However, this house holds some secrets and dear old dad, Ellison (Ethan Hawke) unfortunately uncovers all the evil hidden inside. There are creepy kids everywhere in this film. Creepy kids in the attic. Creepy kids in the backyard. Creepy kids in his own family! Everywhere Ellison looks he finds creepy kids because when you are dealing with Bughuul the Eater-of-children, you are bound to stumble across some evil little tykes.
If you ever wanted to know how monsters are made, then look no further than Martin (Spencer List). He starts as an adorable wide-eyed six-year-old, but after years of witnessing sadistic murders and dismemberments he becomes a little…well, let’s say off. Apparently getting kidnapped by a serial killer and forced to grow up in an abandoned slaughterhouse will permanently and irreversibly warp a child. Who knew? Pretty sure none of the parenting books ever stressed this fact. So, partially due to a natural ability and partially because of inappropriate (or lack of) nurturing, Martin is well on his way to becoming a torture porn all-star.
Two cherubic looking babies become stranded in the woods for five years and when rediscovered by humans the little girls have shed their childlike innocence and now behave like feral creatures. Unsettling humming, creepy giggles, and inhuman growls makes these sisters a difficult pair to raise, so good thing they come with an ever-present, but always invisible Mama-figure to protect them. Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lily (Isabelle Nélisse) make most adults uncomfortable as the eerie happenings become attributed to a dissociative personality disorder, but the flickering lights and shadowy figures say otherwise.
Let Me In (2010)
Now an adorable pre-teen vampire may seem like an unlikely addition to the list, but Abby’s (Chloë Grace Moretz) innocent appearance allows for some unsuspecting blood-shed. In the beginning, she relies on an adult human to feed her, but after a failed murder attempt Abby must start fending for herself. Because of her need to feed and combined with the power of friendship, the young blood sucker continues to find victims. Now most of the time Owen’s bestie comes off as more haunting than creepy, but Abby can still bring the gore just as well as anyone else.
The tethered version of the Wilson family presents two scary kids. While the older child Umbrae (Shahadi Wright Joseph) possess some eerie moments, the true creep factor comes from baby-boy Pluto (Evan Alex). The young boy emanates a chill-inducing power from his tiny-frame. He presents with animalistic qualities as he crawls throughout the invaded home, but just because he is small do not let down your guard. One aspect which sets Pluto apart from the other evil children is he accessorizes better than anyone with his expressionless white mask and his ever-trusty lighter. His obsession with the flame left his face horribly scarred, but a little disfiguration does not slow down this adorable little pyro.
That’s all for the top-ten creepiest kids of the decade. Let’s give them a round of applause for doing such a great job! Now no griping if your little baby did not make the list. I’m sure your favorite child brings plenty of horror to the screen. Every child is special in their own way, so if you know of other terror-invoking children worthy of the list, then let me know.
By Amylou Ahava