25 Killer Kids on Film – From 'Firestarter' and 'The Omen' to 'Children of the Corn' (Photos)
All that murder and mayhem before puberty even hits
Parents out there, if you think you’ve got it rough with your kids, this gallery should put your mind at ease — because the prepubescent miscreants in these films are on a mission to kill. So next time you blow your cool about a messy room or not doing chores, give this another read.
The Good Son (1993) • Macaulay Culkin went from the family-friendly “Home Alone” to this R-rated psychological thriller playing a sociopathic, F-bomb-dropping 12-year-old with an unhealthy urge to kill. Spoiler alert: “good” is something this character is most definitely not.
The Ring (2002) • The iconic visual of the raven-haired, water-logged, vengeful young ghost, Samara, slithering out of a television to claim another victim is enough to give you nightmares for weeks. Turns out, the legend that she cursed a videotape and whoever watches it dies seven days later isn’t folklore after all. The corpses she left behind proved that.
Kick-Ass (2010) • There are bad killers and then there are good killers, and when it’s a costumed Marvel superhero vigilante like Hit-Girl (played by Chloë Grace Moretz), she pretty much falls into the latter category. Trained by her former cop father (Nicolas Cage), they take down the local crime boss, his son and his entire gang.
The Omen (1976) • Damien may look angelic, but turns out he’s the son of Satan. In fact, he’s the Antichrist. And that’s not a metaphor in this first of five feature films and two TV series about the little devil. Scaring animals, causing a miscarriage and, oh, committing a murder or two is just the tip of the iceberg for this beast.
Orphan (2009) • The film’s tagline says it all: “There’s something wrong with Esther.” And there certainly is. Is it some sort of weird coincidence that “accidents” happen to those who cross the 9-year-old loner, whose parents were killed in a fire? Uh, probably not. And no one dare speak up, because she’d bump them off too.
Children of the Corn (1984) • This classic film’s terrifying message is that aspiring — and effective — cult leaders come in all ages. It’s true — not all kids are good at heart. Like this young “preacher” of an abandoned Nebraska town, who has convinced the young ones that killing the adults will please “he who walks behind the rows.” This is no “Field of Dreams,” and 9-year-old Isaac is certainly not Kevin Costner.
Lord of the Flies (1963) • When a bunch of boys whose plane is shot down are left to themselves on an uninhabited island at the start of a world war, no good comes of it. Sure, they try to form a sort of democracy to ensure their survival, but that doesn’t last long. Talk of a “beast” on the island fuels the boys’ paranoia, which results in the killing of one of their own. And then there’s the kid who’s into torturing and executing the other kids. Good times.
Wicked Little Things (2006) • You didn’t think we’d make it through this list without mention of a movie about zombie kids roaming the forest, carrying axes and looking for some fresh flesh to nosh on, now did you? Think again. As the story goes, these undead miscreants were immigrant children who died in a mine explosion in 1913. Oh, one last thing — the film claims to be based on true events. Yup, there’s that.
Case 39 (2009) • After three Oscar nominations (and one win) for her work in “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” “Chicago” and “Cold Mountain,” Renée Zellweger took on this role as a social worker investigating why a 10-year-old’s grades have declined. (Yeah, we don’t know why either, but she did.) Although the girl says her parents want to kill her, that’s not exactly the truth. Ya see, little Lillith is a demon who feeds on emotion and has the power to create horrific and deadly hallucinations based on her victims’ worst fears. Like most 10-year-olds.
Pet Sematary (1989) • How do you feel about the tragic deaths of little kids… who come back to life after being buried in a creepy pet “sematary”? Wait, there’s more. The adorable little resurrected moppet turns out to be a vicious, sadistic killer who enjoys slicing people with a scalpel more than he enjoys his Legos.
Firestarter (1984) • From playing darling Gerti who falls in “like” with a being from a distant planet in “E.T.,” to playing Charlie, a seer of the future who has the power to ignite fires with her brain, all within two years. That was quite a leap for a very young Drew Barrymore, who was one of the hottest child actors at the time. In fact, her career was on fire. See what we did there?
Village of the Damned (1960) • “Beware the stare that will paralyze the will of the world.” That’s the warning on the poster advertising this sequel to the British film “Children of the Damned.” If all young women of childbearing age ending up pregnant and giving birth on the same day isn’t weird enough for you, their creepy stare, rapid growth and telepathic bond sure should be. Oh, and they have the power to control minds and make people, you know, kill themselves and stuff.
Interview With the Vampire (1994) • Oh, how times have changed. In the ’90s, having Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt (or their vampire characters, we should clarify) feasting on the blood of a 10-year-old girl was sort of cool and fans flocked to the theaters in droves. One of the guys thought of himself as a sort of father figure to the girl; the other, a teacher. She matures a bit, kills a few guys and that’s that. Oprah Winfrey was so grossed out by the movie that she famously walked out of a screening and cancelled an interview with Cruise, saying, “I believe there are forces of light and darkness in the world, and I don’t want to be a contributor to the force of darkness.”
It’s Alive (2009) • It’s never a good sign when a newborn baby whose umbilical cord has just been cut goes on a rampage and kills the surgical team that brought it into the world. But so it goes in “It’s Alive.” Momma tries to feed him, he bites her, realizes, “blood, yummy!” And you can guess how the rest of the movie goes.
The Brood (1979) • This psychological, biological horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg follows a couple who are fighting for custody of their 5-year-old daughter, Candice. After learning from her grandmother that her mother was frequently hospitalized as a child when strange markings appeared on her skin, poor grandma is beaten to death by weird-looking small “children.” Other dead bodies show up here and there. If you’re looking for a super “huh?!” twist, you gotta check out this movie.
Bad Seed (1956) • Many consider this black-and-white campy classic as the OG Killer Kids movie. Think “spoiled brat” times a zillion. It centers on an 8-year-old pigtailed, flaxen-haired girl who, when she doesn’t get her way, gets pretty damn mad about it. As in, she kills people. The ending, though, is… ugh.
The Pit (1981) • Moral to this story: don’t bully a kid with a magical (possessed?) stuffed animal. Poor Jamie was the butt of jokes, not just from his peers but also just about everyone in his small town, including senior citizens. But he did have one friend — his Teddy. Jamie tells Teddy of a pit he found in the forest that is filled with horrible creatures that he takes care of by giving them raw meet. The plush toy has a light bulb moment: Teddy suggests Jamie feed the critters his tormentors. Jamie: “OK.”
RoboCop 2 (1990) • Drug lords, apparently, come in all sizes and ages — at least they do in this dystopian, futuristic sci-fi sequel. RoboCop is back, and this time he’s fighting a gang of drug dealers running rampant in Detroit, along with their brutal leader and his pint-sized protégé. Turns out the sharply dressed kid has an addiction to danger and a knack for whacking his foes.
The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976) • This murder mystery-turned-cult classic stars Jodie Foster as a rebellious, independent 13-year-old who lives alone in a big house “down the lane” and goes to extreme measures — if you know what we mean — to hide why that is. The film has been accused of sexualizing children, and it kind of does. But that’s a song Foster also heard played about her character in “Taxi Driver,” which was released earlier the same year.
Joshua (2007) • The alternate title of this Vera Farmiga-Sam Rockwell film, “The Devil’s Child,” pretty much says it all. They play a well-off couple whose eldest son is a child prodigy on the piano but also acts (and dresses) way older than his young years. He goes all-out sociopathic when his baby sister is born, attempting to kill her by pushing her carriage down a flight of stairs, only to be caught by his grandmother, who he — wait for it — kills by pushing down the stairs. He also kills the family dog, drives his mother crazy (literally) and provokes his father into beating him in public.
Hard Candy (2005) • Considered by many as Elliot Page’s star-making performance, the film follows a young vigilante who traps and tortures an adult man he suspects is a sexual predator, pedophile, rapist and murderer. There’s asphyxiation with plastic wrap, the threat of castration, some stun gun action, a noose here and there and so on. So this film has nothing to do with Jolly Ranchers or Werther’s Originals, if that wasn’t clear.
The Children (1980) • Warning: this one is super weird. A small New England town is thrown into turmoil after its chemical plant begins leaking a yellow toxic gas. Of course, a school bus drives through the lethal cloud, and what results is bloodless, zombie-like kids with black fingernails. That’s not the worst of it — whatever the kids touch gets microwaved on the spot. So, Granny, you might not want to beg little Billy for a hug.
Night of the Living Dead (1968) • Yet another cult classic that involves hungry cannibalistic zombies looking for a human flesh buffet. This one take place on a Pennsylvania farm, where a woman hides out after her brother is killed by an undead ghoul in a cemetery. There, she finds a half-eaten woman along with a couple and their “bitten” young daughter, who reanimates after an explosion, chows down on her father’s corpse and takes a trowel to her mother.
Let Me In (2010) • Categorized as a “romantic horror film,” this Chloë Grace Moretz movie centers on a bullied, lonely and neglected 12-year-old boy who befriends a young vampire named Abby and tells her he’s being terrorized by the other kids. Abby encourages him to retaliate and promises she will always protect him. You can guess how that plays out.
Sin Nombre (2009) • This Spanish-language film tells the story of a Honduran girl trying to immigrate to the U.S. and a young boy who is pulled into the violent gang life. After a known gang member introduces the boy into the group, he helps the kid complete initiation by instructing him how to execute a rival.
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