Won’t Somebody Think of the Children!!! – Cinema’s Creepiest Kids!
We’re all getting a bit excited as we draw closer and closer to the wonderful Linda Blair coming over here for the 40th anniversary showing of The Exorcist. Her legendary performance as Reagan got us thinking about children in films. An English proverb says that ‘the soul is healed by being with children’; but then whoever said that obviously never had to contend with some of the under-16s John Noonan writes about in this list of five killer kid films.
The Children – The Children (2008)
Ah, Christmas. According to many, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. A precious moment to gather with the family and celebrate the birth of Our Lord Saviour, Cthulu. Or Jesus, if you’re a bit old fashioned. In Tom Shankland’s The Children, a middle class family have their festivities (and new age parenting techniques) turned on its head when their little darlings start displaying some rather overtly homicidal tendencies. Hinted as being the result of a virus that works it’s way up the generations, the children find torturing the pet cat and luring Daddy into a booby trip are a hell of a lot more fun than the Queen’s Speech and Brussel sprouts. This Dora the Explorer militia will think nothing of stabbing crayons in your eyes.
When Shankland was selling this one to the financiers, he would describe the film in which a child forces a doll into an adult body cavity as ‘an elevated film exploring parent child relationships.’ Now, that’s how you market, people.
Oskar – Let the Right One In (2008)
Based on the book by Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (who also wrote the script), Let The Right One sees the young, and perpetually snotty nosed, Oskar becoming friends with the nocturnal Eli, a girl who hangs around the snow covered climbing frame of their estate. In time, we begin to peel away the layers of Eli, like some diseased onion, to discover that she is a vampire. But it’s not Eli that’s making my list, it’s Oskar. Whilst he may be bullied, desperately seeking a respectable father figure and ever so meek at school, at home he’s a bit, well, unnerving. Alone in his room, after a hard session fantasizing about stabbing his classmates, he likes to curl up and read his collection of newspaper clippings about murders. With his portfolio of hunting knife pictures, if Oskar hadn’t met Eli when he did, he would definitely have been looking for another outlet to the violence bubbling under his skin.
A pack of Hoodies – Eden Lake (2008)
This collection of ASBOs (Anti-social behavior orders for those of you who aren’t familiar with this British term) is probably the most terrifying on the list. Their murderous intent and desire to set people on fire isn’t borne out of a virus or a pact with the Devil, they are just a group of kids who don’t take kindly to people like Michael Fassbender and his missus swanning around their lake. Directed and written by James Watkins, Eden Lake was one of the original hoody horrors from the UK; taking the headlines of the Daily Mail, twisting them out of proportion and throwing them up on the screen for everyone to see.
When it was released, its track-suited mayhem caused some people to deride it as ‘nasty suggestion that all working class people are thugs.’ Whilst it some have argued that, like 2012’s Citadel, the film comes with a hidden agenda, we at Monster Pictures don’t want to get bogged down in politics. We just know that when a bunch of kids slash your car tires and try and set fire to your fiancée, you get the fuck out of dodge.
Nihilistic, vicious and unbearably bleak (despite the absence of gore) this is not one for the faint hearted.
Damien – The Omen (1974)
Sanguis bibimus, corpus edimus, tolle corpus Satani! Yep, we’re talking about the original son of Satan; the kid who made public hangings at children’s parties fashionable again. Giving the name Damien more negative publicity than Adolf ever could (*citation needed), The Omen spawned the pro-typical nasty little shit. All cherub faced and floppy haired, this son of an American diplomat skips around whilst all those around him seem to meet with terrible accidents.
The power of Damien began to dissipate once Hollywood knew they were onto a good thing and he was carted out for two more sequels, getting progressively older till he looked like Sam Neill. By Omen IV, he was replaced with a young girl called Delia. In the novel Omen IV by Gordon McGill, which has no ties to the fourth movie and attempted to continue the spawn of Satan’s legacy, Damien impregnates a woman through sodomy and who then has a rectal birth. Aw, look at our little Damien, all grown up and having a family!
Selwyn – Braindead (1992)
Okay, monster fiends, gather around. Its time we had that talk. When a mummy and daddy love each other very much, the daddy will give the mummy a special present. The mummy looks after that present for nine months and when it’s ready it becomes a baby. Now that’s scientific fact. In Peter Jackson’s schlock-fest Braindead, he doesn’t see why the miracle of birth can only be a gift to for the living. When a zombie nurse and a zombie priest get it on over our hero’s dinner table, their rotten seminal fluids (I hope you’re eating breakfast whilst you’re reading this) combine to create Selwyn, a vicious little bastard in a red jump suit that makes Chucky look like Chuckie from the Rugrats.
Spending his formative days with his umbilical cord nailed to a chunk of wood, Selwyn would find his talents lied in chomping on other babies and literally cracking skulls. But don’t worry, if you’re finding him too rambunctious, you can always soothe him by gently smashing his head against a swing set. Ah, parenthood.