The tagline for “Orphan” says that “something is wrong with Esther,” but looking through movie history she ain’t the only one. Through the years there have been many troubled children in movies and we take a look at our 17 Favorite Movie Demon Children.
There were plenty of fine choices to choose from and some of our favorites ended up on the cutting room floor including The Shining, The Orphanage, Pet Sematary, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Grudge, Firestarter, Hide and Seek, Night of the Living Dead and The Sixth Sense.
In each of these films they are several common themes: the evil child always plays one parent against the other, usually always is the picture of the perfect child and always exhibits some strange behavior, usually ignored by adults, that gives a small peek into their twisted, troubled psyches. Oh, and each of these kids need to have that a** spanked in the WORST way!
To watch the trailer from the films in our countdown, click on the film’s title . . . and without further ado, in reverse order are 17 Favorite Movie Demon Children in the movies:
17. Joshua | 2007
A distant, cold and intelligent young boy, Joshua (Jacob Kogan) pushes the envelope of insanity when his newborn sister comes into his family’s life. While it’s obvious to everybody in the theater that something is just not right with this eccentric well-dressed youngster, of course his family is far too close to see just how twisted he is until it too late. All of the staples of this genre are there; the troubled mother, the father who just can’t believe that HIS kid is that evil . . . and the poor defenseless kid who suffers the brunt of her troubled siblings fury!
16. The Godsend | 1980
Another film with a blond, blue-eyed young killer In this film, an English family is turned upside down after they take in a pregnant woman who disappears shortly after giving birth. They raise the baby girl as their own, but over the years the strange deaths of their children make them consider whether the little girl is more than she appears (of course she is, that’s how she made our list!). Not a great film, but just another example that indicates you can’t judge a book by it’s cover!
15. The Unborn | 2009
Okay, this film will not win any awards but this horror thriller released earlier this year was truly a sick, twisted puppy indeed. A young woman, Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman ) has a dreadful nightmare involving a weird dog and an evil child, and she tells her best friend Romy over the phone. Haunted by this boy, she later finds out that boy may be the spirit of her deceased brother who died in the womb. Again, not a great film but definitely has enough “thrills to pay the bills!”
14. The Children | 1980
Another 1980s tale about young children gone buckwild. When a busload of children disappear from the quiet New England town, Sheriff Billy Hart is on the case. Unfortunately, when he finds them to his horror they have been transformed into murderous zombies by a cloud of radioactive gas. He tries to figure out how to stop the killer tykes before they destroy the town? After watching this film, the only thought that went through our mind is that young kids are HARSH!
13. Butcher Boy | 1997
Here is a story of what happens when a child is pushed just a little too far. A young boy, Francie (Eamonn Owens) acts out against a neighbor who he believes is the cause of all the wrongs in his life in this visual fantasy world. The story is a mix of fear, hate, madness, happiness, that is mixed up in that little Francie’s brain. He is full of contradictions, sometimes, he’s the good boy who protects his mother and sometimes he is the murderer. A very weird movie but effective.
12. Let the Right One In | 2008
The brilliant film from last year tells the story of a young boy, Oskar who is bullied at school who is befriended by what appears androgynous vampire child, Eli. After learning about Oskar’s plight, he is inspired by his friend to stand up to his tormentors setting up an explosive finality where hilarity DOES NOT ensue. A dark and amazing story, this Swedish film won awards all throughout Europe.
11. It’s Alive | 1974
Here’s another movie that gave people plenty of sleepless nights in the 1970s. A couple’s infant child turns out to be a vicious mutant monster who kills when frightened. Who can ever forget that after chewing off it’s own umbilical cord, it kills everyone in sight – coming out of the womb? A cautionary tale that speaks to abortion, fertility drugs and the dangers of what mothers ingest during pregnancy, “It’s Alive” still will have you scared of the dark.
10. The Good Son | 1993
In an effort to shed his cute kid persona, Macauley Culkin gave Elijah Woods the hebejebees in this thriller. A young boy, Mark finds out that his new friend, Henry is a murderous fiend under the guise of an innocent pre-teen boy. The more Mark learns about his new friend, the more frightened he becomes as he witnesses Henry killing spree, yet can’t convince anyone that this perfect little boy is responsbile for so much destruction. Culkin’s psychotic acting in this movie was totally brilliant!
9. Ringu | 1998
This Japanese horror classic tells the story of people who watch a special videotape and within seven days mysteriously die. Incredibly creepy and scary, the concept works so well it was remade several years later here in America as simply, “The Ring.” Currently, this film is the highest grossing horror film in Japan and is also considered the most frightening horror movie in that country’s history!
8. Village of the Damned | 1960
In this film, it’s not just one child but an entire group of mentally advanced children who have a special bond with one another that hints at something sinister in this sci-fi classic. Born under suspicious circumstances and featuring spooking glowing eyes, they begin to exhibit the power to read minds or to force people to do things against their will. They possess no love or conscious and simply must be destroyed. While tame today, it gave audiences chills upon it’s release.
7 . Children of the Corn | 1984
From the twisted, scary mind of Stephen King comes this scary story of a young couple traveling cross country who stumble upon a cult of killer children in a small Nebraska town. Apparently, several years earlier, the town’s children killed all of the grown-ups at the apparent behest of a demon simply dubbed “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.” To show you how King’s bizarre mind works, we couldn’t eat corn on the cob for a LONG time after this film!
6. The Other | 1972
When you hear people say, “they don’t make ’em like that anymore,” they are probably talking about this film. Featuring no blood or gore, “The Other” is a psychological gem about 9-year-old twins Niles and Holland Perry andone’s reign of terror during a summer that the town will never forget. After learning something called “the game,” all hell breaks loose as people start dropping dead in bunches. We heard they’re people that to this day refuse to EVER watch this twisted tale again!
THE TOP FIVE
5. The Bad Seed | 1956
Here is a film that my father used to rave about and after checking it out I understand why. Little, cute Rhoda Penmark (Patty McCormack) looks like the perfect child but underneath her perfect dress and pigtails, she is a heartless, killing machine. Little Rhonda was the antithesis of the 1950s suburban culture and McCormack was nominated for an Oscar for her chilling performance.
4. Halloween | 1978
While plenty of slasher movies may have been made before this one, Michael Myers launched a cottage industry with his mask and knife in the original horror classic. Institutionalized since he was a child for murdering his sister, he escapes and goes on a legendary killing spree on Halloween. This is also the film that put Jamie Lee Curtis on the map in one of her most memorable roles. Countless sequels and re-imaginings have been launched because of this film, as recent as two years ago. Timeless story of horror and mayhem.
3. Rosemary’s Baby | 1968
Director Roman Polanski’s horror classic examines a young couple who find themselves surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins controlling her life as she wonders if she is carrying satan’s seed. An incredibly well done psychological supernatural thriller, even the tagline, “pray for Rosemary’s baby” gets your blood racing – before you’ve seen the film!
2. The Omen | 1976
An American ambassador and his wife take in a child whose mother died at childbirth only to discover much to their horror that the boy may literally be the anti-Christ. After a series of strange events, and the ominous warnings of a priest, lead him to believe that the child he took from that Italian hospital is evil incarnate. If “The Exorcist” is our top choice, then “The Omen” is 1A. The story unfolds richly and frighteningly the closer the ambassador gets to the truth. According to legend, the film seemed to fall victim to a sinister curse with several strange incidents befalling various members of the cast and crew.
1. The Exorcist | 1973
If “The Godfather” is the pinnacle of the gangster genre, then this film is the platinum standard of supernatural horror. Linda Blair became a household name after she portrayed a possessed young girl in this thriller. Reportedly, people were so affected by this film during it’s release that there reports of people becoming ill and absolutely afraid to see it. Spoofed in countless scenes, the exorcism scenes alone are still worth the price of admission – today! A classic thriller and a landmark piece of cinema history!