Today is Friday the 13th and I don’t want to rehash the film that shares the same name as this superstitious day. With the release of The Darkness, let’s talk about freaky kids. That is so much more fun don’t you think?
Horror movies are full of strange kids that give you the creeps and think long and hard about never having any or keeping a close eye on the ones you already have. Some of them hold a special power that makes them a little hard to be around, some are burgeoning sociopaths, others are just out right terrifying little monsters. Some of the best horror movies that have stuck with us for years feature a child that scared the ever living daylights out of us. Here are some of my…well…not favorites…just the ones that freaked me out the most.
I will try and avoid spoilers for the films, but there may be a few. I’ll warn you ahead of time when we get to one.
Danny Torrance – The Shinning (1980)
Danny is actually a nice little kid who is living in The Overlook Hotel for the winter with his timid mother and recovering alcoholic father, who has the job to taking care of the hotel during its off season. Danny also has telepathy and being stuck in a haunted hotel with nowhere to go may not be the best place for the kid. He talks to his friend named Tony and the dead twins from the last hotel caretaker who show him all the horrible things that happened to them. Danny also sees his father’s decent into madness due to isolation and the ghosts stuck in the hotel with them messing with the man.
Was there anything creepier than hearing Danny say “Redrum” in that spine-chilling voice while moving his index finger as if it was the one talking? Or the way his eyes would roll into the back of his head when he was seeing something? Ugh, I have the chills just remembering that. Being the parent to Danny would be pretty difficult because you just don’t know what in the hell weird thing he, or Tony, is going to say next.
Cole Sear – The Sixth Sense (1999)
Like Danny, Cole is a nice kid who has an odd ability that makes him a little difficult to raise. When Cole utters the famous line “I see dead people” you are simultaneously freaked out and saddened for this child. The sad and disturbed boy is haunted by a girl who was poisoned by her stepmother, another kid who has a shotgun blast in the back of his head, a tired mother who slits her writs as revenge on her family, a man locked in a cupboard who claims to not have killed his master’s horse, and (SPOILER ALERT) a child psychiatrist who is helping Cole out of guilt for not helping another child patient of his.
Cole is not a freaky child, but his powers would certainly put any parent on edge. It would be very difficult to arrange any playdates for him. Also do you really want a kid who can talk to your dead parents and get all the horribly embarrassing stories about you as a kid from them?
Carol Anne Freeling – Poltergeist (1982)
Henry Evans – The Good Son (1993)
On the surface, Henry seems like a nice enough kid, until he starts to talk about his fascination with death and starts to display some psychopathic tendencies to his cousin Mark who has come to live with the family after his mother dies and his father is sent out of the country for work. Henry then threatens Mark to keep his mouth shut about some of the mean things he does which includes throwing a dummy off an overpass and causing a massive accident on the highway. Henry’s mother, Susan, starts to become suspicious of her son’s behavior and starts to suspect that he may have had something to do with the death of their other son, Richard. After her daughter, Connie, nearly falls into a patch of thin ice Henry “accidentally” shoves her onto, Susan confronts him about the death of Richard. His answer (SPOILER ALERT) “What if I did?”
Macaulay Culkin was already kind of a weird kid back in the early 90s with his massive box office success in the Home Alone franchise and his ongoing feud with his parents. This movie only seemed to heighten that strangeness. I saw this movie a couple of years after its release in theaters when I was about 15 and I have never been able to look at the actor the same way again.
Joshua Cairn – Joshua (2007)
Another film featuring a child who is a budding sociopath. Joshua is born to an affluent family and is a child prodigy who dresses like a banker. After his sister is born, he becomes jealous of her and attempts to kill her by pushing her carriage down a flight of stairs. When his grandmother stops him, he pushes her down the same staircase and makes it look like an accident. Eventually Joshua decides he no longer wants to live with his family so he (SPOILER ALERT) makes it look as if his father is abusing him. He even goes so far to stage an event where his father strikes him in public, sending the man to prison and Joshua to his uncle Ned whom his liked more in the first place.
Joshua is textbook creepy. He is thinks well beyond his years and manipulates everyone around him to create chaos and eventually getting what he wants. This film is almost more about affluenza and how children are no longer allowed to be disciplined than straight horror, but sometimes the scariest thing out there is reality.
Isaac Chroner – Children of the Corn (1984)
Isaac is a young preacher for He Who Walks Among the Rows, a mysterious god residing in the corn fields. One year in the small town of Gatlin, Nebraska, the corn harvest is not doing too good. The adults turn to church and prayer while the children turn to Isaac who preaches to them the ways of his god. Isaac with his second in command, Malachai, lead the brainwashed children in the slaughter of all the adults in town as a sacrifice to He Who Walks Among the Rows.
This freaky kid is every parent’s worst nightmare. A child who can sway their children into killing them and has no parents to complain about his behavior to. Children of the Corn was a minor hit that spawned so many sequels as horror movies tend to do. Isaac even comes back in one of them and is portrayed by the same actor who still does the freaky kid thing well.
Regan MacNeil – The Exorcist (1973)
What list of freaky kids would be complete without this possessed child? All that crucifix masturbation, crab walking down the stairs backwards, pea soup projectile vomiting, and super hair-raising voice had me not sleeping for days after watching this movie when it was re-released in theaters back in 2000. I wasn’t too keen on ever having children at that time and this film had me swearing off parenthood for good.
Damien Thorn – The Omen (1976)
Do I really need to explain why this kid is on this list? If I do, then go rent this movie. The original, not the remake.
Samara Morgan and Aidan Keller – The Ring (2001)
Samara is an evil child who was killed by her mother and dropped in a well after the kid caused numerous and horrible accidents. A cabin was built over the well and after a group of teenagers stay at the cabin and try to use the VCR, Samara’s spirit is transferred into the video tape. Anyone who watches the video dies horribly seven days later when (SPOILER ALERT) Samara comes out of their TV and sucks the life out of them. I’m still paranoid of my TV to this day.
Aidan is the son of Rachel Keller, a reporter who is investigating the death of her niece after she watched the video. Aidan is kinda on the weird side even before he forms a connection with Samara. He possesses those big black eyes that look at everything with a blank coldness and his monotone voice makes my skin crawl. Seriously, never having children.
I know there is a whole horde of freaky kids I don’t have on this list. Like I said, these are the ones that have stuck with me over the years. Which ones had you weirded out long after the movie was over? Let me know in the comments section below.