They start out as bundles of joy. That is until they are old enough to talk back and wield a hammer. Herewith, 11 evil children movies that feature little terrors you’d never wanna babysit.
1. Eli from Let the Right One In
A girl’s gotta eat – even if it means feeding on the blood of Swedish locals. A pint-size vamp, Eli steers clear of the sun during the day and makes nice with a bullied boy named Oskar come nightfall. A unique and creepy blend of and , Tomas Alfredson’s horror romance stands head and neck above the rest in the recent vampire film boom.
2. Chucky from Child's Play
Most know Chucky as the stabby Good Guy doll from Tom Holland’s campy horror classic. We know him as the reason our once-beloved Teddy Ruxpin went from the toy box to a sealed bag in the attic overnight. In fact, he’s solely responsible for the irrational fear we continue to have toward inanimate playthings as full-grown adults.
3. Damien from The Omen
He has a devilish birthmark, despises church, and convinces the nanny to jump off a building with nothing but a noose around her neck. Yes, you may want to rethink that whole “went out for cigarettes and never came back” maneuver. It’s been almost 40 years since Gregory Peck and Lee Remick brought Damien home, but the nightmares remain.
4. Regan from The Exorcist
She’d take top prize at any talent show – the girl can crab-walk backward down a flight of stairs, vomit across the room, and rotate her noggin 360 degrees. Just imagine Regan and her inner demons appearing on a nightmare version of Kids Say the Darndest Things.
5. Grace from Grace
It’s possible this 2009 indie gem starring an undead fetus named Grace never made a blip on your radar. But the gritty zombie flick about an expectant mother who has more use for mashed brains than pureed carrots is a must-see for horror fans.
6. Tomas from The Orphanage (El Orfanato)
He lurks in corners, has a deformed face, and wears a burlap mask that looks like Raggedy Andy on methamphetamines. He’s Tomas, the little boy with a secret in director J.A. Bayona’s excellent Spanish thriller set in a former orphanage.
7. Samara from The Ring
Most horror villains surprise their prey and leave them in a puddle of blood. Samara, the soggy well-dwelling ghost who torments the unlucky viewers of a creepy VHS tape, at least gives seven days’ notice before leaving her victims in, well, a puddle.
8. Esther from Orphan
9. The Grady Twins from The Shining
Little girls unknowingly dress like them on Easter, creeping out every Kubrick fan in the room. They’re the spooky duo haunting the Overlook Hotel, and they never go out of style. But, no, little well-mannered ghost girls at the end of the hall, we will not come play with you.
10. The Mutants from The Brood
A woman’s psychologist encourages her to manifest her rage through blisters and cysts on her body, from which a gang of sexless dwarfs that look like the spawn of Leatherface and Miss Piggy are birthed. Just another creation from the master of the silver screen headtrip, David Cronenberg.
11. Alice from Alice, Sweet Alice
The original tagline for this 1976 cult slasher flick goes as follows: “Alice was too old to play with dolls and too young to make love. She was too beautiful to play with boys and too young to play with men.” Um-hm. Let’s go with this instead: A mini-maniac in a plastic cherub mask and a yellow slicker murders townsfolk like they’re ants on a log. This is old-school splatterfest at its finest – and tops our list of evil children movies.
Still from "Let the Right One In" via EFTI; Still from "The Omen" via Warner Bros; Still from "El Orfanto" via Esta Vivo! Laboratorio de Nuevos Talentos; Still from "The Shining" via Warner Bros; Still from "Alice, Sweet Alice" via Harristown Funding