My girlfriend brought up a good question to me the other day: why are kids so inherently creepy in horror movies? I thought about it for a while and I couldn't really come up with a good answer. Is it because of how they represent innocence? Is it because you see yourself at that age? Is it because seeing a child do certain things is so much scarier than an adult doing it? Or is it just because they are so small?
I think it has something to do with the idea of the loss of innocence. Little kids are these pure versions of humans, free of corruption and full of potential. And if you see them turning evil, there's something inherently creepy about them. It's going against the norm of the cute little kid that just wants to play. Suddenly it's something that has become malevolent for whatever reason. And because of people not wanting to see bad things happen to children, they are harder to defend against. It's an odd juxtaposition of this incorruptible, angelic state of children that has suddenly turned violent.
In any event, whatever the reason for kids being creepy in horror movies, they fucking are. So I am going count down the 5 creepiest horror movie kids to me:
5. Jake Witzky, Stir of Echoes (1999):
Yeah, that picture says it all. The little kid seems to know what is up with Kevin Bacon, but can't really express it. When Kevin Bacon tries to coax any sort of information out of him, the kid clams up and tells his mom about the ghosts he sees. The kid is strangely sympathetic and a little jerk all at the same time.
Scariest Moment: When his voice suddenly drops about 5 octaves as he talks to Kevin Bacon. Kevin Bacon then tries to get him to repeat it and all he says is, "I don't wanna talk about it." A greatly underrated movie.
4. Paulie, The Children (2009):
This movie is one of the Ghost House pictures most recent releases and it is actually quite impressive. Now, it revolves around 4 demonic children, but Paulie is probably the creepiest of them all. A consummate mama's boy, he is always crying and whining, never more than a couple feet from his mother's side. He's the little whiny bastard you hate from the beginning. And as the movie wears on, he doesn't get any better, especially once he turns into the little hellspawn we all knew he was from the beginning. And any kid that just sits there and bangs on a toy xylophone for hours on end without saying a word is just downright schizo.
Scariest Moment: A sled careens down a hill and injures one of the adults and Paulie is seen at the top of the sled run, looking distant and cold. You can see it in the trailer briefly. But look a the rest of the scenes with the kid with a little afro and tell me that's not creepy.
3. Regan, The Exorcist (1973)
Yeah, this one's a no-brainer. Any child possessed by the devil is going to be scary as shit. Throw in some crucifix defiling, sprinkle a dash of spider-walking, and top it off with some Pea-soup spewing, you can't deny this little girl is just plain insane, not to mention pants-shittingly scary.
Scariest Moment: Anytime the priests are in the room with her.
2. Gage Creed, Pet Sematary (1989):
He's such a cute little lovable kid in the beginning, making it all the more horrifying when he turns murderous in the end. He is the only kid on this list that makes such a terrifyingly sharp transformation, and that's what makes him so scary. Sure, Regan was supposed to be cute and likable, but Linda Blair just wasn't as cute as poor little Gage. Plus, he's demonic because his father was too grief stricken to listen to instructions, making him all the more tragic.
Scariest Moment: Little Gage, you're the reason I jumped into and out of bed for years as a kid.
1. Damien, The Omen (1976):
I think The Exorcist may have scarier moments involving Regan, but for my money, Damien just downright fuck-all creepy. I can't get over his little silent, brooding machinations. You never know what he is thinking, but you always know it's not good. And the fact that he never really does anything overwhelmingly evil except for throw a tantrum is really quite disconcerting (sure, he throws the tantrum when they try to take him to church, but what kid didn't do that?). He has a cadre of minions, from his satanic nanny to the rabid rottweiler that follows him, so you just can't get near the damn kid. And he's got 666 as a birthmark. The kid who played Damien in the original (not the craptacular remake) had the best creepy kid stare in the world. I get chills just thinking about him. And the worst part: he lives in the end to infect the world!
Scariest Moment: Well, it might be when you find out that his mother was a jackal, but I think it's probably that final shot of him smiling into the camera that really seals the deal.
There are my picks, what do the rest of you have to say about it?