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A Teenage boy with a passion for all things nerdy! Expect a lot of Doctor Who, Cult/Horror Movies, Literature and Novels, History, Comic Books and random thoughts. Posts published weekly on a Friday evening. DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the items reviewed on this site and i also do not own of the pictures (unless stated so). If you own one of the photos and wish for it to be removed contact me at this adress: Super.pig@live.co.uk. However all of the written work is my own and is protected under copyright law.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

KILLER KIDS!!!: why do we find evil children so terrifying?

Village of the Damned (1960), The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1976). What do all these movies have in common? For a start they all achieved success at the box office and are all considered classics of the horror genre. What else do they have in common? At the centre of each of these films is a child that is, or has become, evil. Why do evil children fascinate and terrify us? At a young age I can relate to these characters more than an adult fan. But they still scare the hell out of me.

Why can children be so frightening?: the Innocents 1961

What is it then that makes these children so disturbing and frightening? A simple answer could be the way they dress. A large majority of Evil kid’s movies, including films such as Joshua (2007) and the above mentioned Village of the Damned, show the children in smart, formal, almost business like wear. Is this because adults have some kind of deep fear of their own children becoming office working drones? Perhaps the film makers had a deeper meaning in mind and were attempting to ridicule business men and their flat and formal style, as none of the children seem to show emotion or act as children should. In Village Of The Damned the children even talk about emotions explaining that if we were without them we would be as powerful as they. The children of this film are not only similar to drones because of the way they act and dress but because they all look alike. Despite often being described in the movie as having the perfect immune system and bodies, the thought of being like one of these kids is spine chilling to say the least.

Drones: Village of the Damned (1960)

That hardly answers the question I began with however and through contemplating the idea of costume, the realisation hit me. The reason adults are scared by evil kids is because the thought of their own offspring committing any act of evil is so vulgar and shocking. Even though I’m not old enough to have children of my own, I do have a younger brother and the thought of him trying to kill another human being makes my blood run cold. This same thought can link to movies such as It’s Alive! (1974) and The Brood (1979) in which the children are not only evil but they are hideous mutations, what parent would not be afraid of their child becoming a grotesque monster? Perhaps this is also why the Omen movies (1976-2006) are noted as being one of the most disturbing film series ever. Little Damien is not only evil but he’s the son of the devil, what parent would not fear that? One of the most shocking things about the Omen series is that it does away with the age old belief that children are purely innocent. This takes place in Damien: Omen 2 (1978) when the now 13 year old Anti-Christ is given the choice of either accepting his evil heritage or to leave it behind him. Damien of course chooses to accept his heritage, because it would be a pretty boring horror movie if he didn’t, but leave that behind for a moment and just think what it means. A 13 year old boy accepts his heritage as the Anti-Christ and revels in it! There is only one scene in the movie where he questions his decision and that is when he kills his cousin Mark. First he is of course upset and horrified but does he stop there? No he continues to kill and his look just after he commits the final murder proves that he is enjoying his new life. This is a shocking tale and delves into the darker side of a child’s nature and dares to say that just like adults children have a dark side. Look at movies like The Devil Times Five (1974), in this the children are not aliens or possessed by the devil, they are just psychopaths! The Devil times five is a brave movie in that it does not attempt to give a ridiculous reason as to why children kill, which ruined other movies such as Orphan (2009). The children in devil times five are all insane for reasons we never discover, whether they were born that way or all went through a traumatic experience we do not know. What we do know is that the little tykes have a warped imagination and for no logical reason set about killing a group of adults in the most inventive ways at their disposal. This movie shows the dark nature of children and it is for this reason that I wonder why it is not well known? It is one of the only films I know of which has children killing just for the sake of it and not because the characters are endangering the kid’s plans.

A terrifying prospect: Damien: Omen II (1978)

So there we have it. Evil children are scary because they touch our innermost fears of our own young turning against us or becoming something hideous and evil. The reason so many movie children dress smart is because they represent our fears of our own young becoming business drones. Now we have the serious stuff out the way I’m afraid there’s just something I need to add. I love evil child movies. Some can really make me shake in my boots but all, no matter how spooky, have a fun feel to them. It may creep you out but there is still something mildly amusing about seeing little children stomp about in business attire, yes these movies shock and disturb but they always provide a few jokes as well. There laughable because the kids always pretend to be good after committing some utterly disgusting act and the directors can’t help but make it amusing. Whether it’s a cheeky grin or look all these kids have moments of either cuteness or amusement that lighten the mood but do not ruin the atmosphere.


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  2. Great insights there. I share your appreciation of Damien:Omen 2. Have you seen the Hammer House of Horror episode 'The House that Bled to Death'? Really creepy.

  3. no I'm afraid i haven't yet, ITV3 was re-showing the whole series recently but i only caught children of the full moon. I am planning to do a full review of omen 2 as its my fav horror but i'm saving it for something special...

  4. Halloween maybe? You can pick up the Hammer House of Horrors boxset for about a tenner these days. Well worth it, a few duds aside. And generally scarier than the Hammer films as they're mostly set in (then) contemporary suburbia.

  5. how did you gue- I mean you will just have to wait and see! I have thought about buying the set but the fact that it was on tv so recently stopped me...