In anticipation of two upcoming films dealing with murder-happy children: Cooties and The Boy, I decided to rank the top 10 most infamous films themed around killer kids.
I’ve always had a problem watching little kids either do terrible things or have terrible things done to them on film. Even before I had children myself, growing up I was always traumatized when an infant or child was killed in a movie – I couldn’t handle it and I still have issues with that kind of content today. Now – as soon as the kid hits around 10 or so years old, I don’t care, it’s just the cute little ones that hit me – older kids, get the hell out. It may be the fact that I watched Pet Sematary or Lord of The Flies when I was way too young, or maybe I’m just a good person and you’re all bloodthirsty awful maniacs. Either way, kids + violence = big problems for this guy.
That being said, I don’t have as many problems when the kids themselves do the murdering – it’s unnerving to be sure, but it’s not as bad as watching them get taken out onscreen. I will however warn you, that this list of killer kid themed movies does indeed feature certain films where the children wind up on the business end of one weapon or two. In the classic grindhouse feature ‘Who Can Kill a Child’, a dude mows down a field of the little bastards using a machinegun. So there’s that…
#10. The Good Son (1993)
Mark (Elijah Wood), a young boy who loses his mother, must stay with his extended family while his father is away on business. Mark becomes acquainted with his cousin Henry (Macaulay Culkin). However, the extent of Henry’s depravity becomes clear when Mark sees him kill a neighbor’s dog and intentionally create a traffic pileup on the highway. After a supposed mishap on an icy pond with Henry’s sister Connie (Quinn Culkin), Mark tries to reveal Henry’s crimes before it’s too late.
#9. Who Can Kill a Child (1976)
Tom and Evelyn, who are taking a vacation before Evelyn gives birth to their third child, arrive on an island where they encounter grim-faced, silent children who seem to be the island’s entire population. Throughout their stay, they witness the children behaving strangely. They later learn the children are capable of violence and have murdered just about every adult on the island; they are now forced to consider killing the children in self-defense. It is implied that the long list of atrocities and horrors brought upon children by the fighting and apathy of adults has caused the children of the island to take matters into their own hands. Also, it is shown that normal children are changed like the rest on the island merely by making eye contact with them.
#8. Village of The Damned (1995)
Ten months after the small California town of Midwich was struck by a mysterious event during which everyone in the village fell unconscious at once, 10 local women give birth on the same day. As the unsettlingly calm and unemotional children grow at an abnormally fast rate, it becomes clear that they can read adults’ minds and force people to harm themselves. Local doctor Alan Chaffee (Christopher Reeve) and federal agent Susan Verner (Kirstie Alley) must team up to battle the alien children.
#7. Children of The Corn (1984)
As physician Burt Stanton (Peter Horton) and his girlfriend, Vicky (Linda Hamilton), drive across the Midwest to his new job, their trip comes to a sudden halt when they encounter the body of a murdered boy in the road. In trying to contact the authorities, Burt and Vicky wander into a small town populated only by children, followers of sinister young preacher Isaac Chroner (John Franklin). Soon the couple is fleeing the youthful fanatics, who want to sacrifice them to their demonic deity.
#6. It’s Alive (1974)
Leaving their son, Chris (Daniel Holzman), with a family friend (William Wellman Jr.), Frank (John P. Ryan) and Lenore Davis (Sharon Farrell) head to the hospital for the birth of their second child — which turns out to be a mutant who kills many doctors and nurses as it escapes. Convinced his monstrous son must be destroyed, Frank ignores Lenore and Chris’ pleas and tries to destroy the freakish progeny, unaware that the infant may be the blameless product of an experimental drug gone wrong.
#5. The Brood (1979)
A man’s wife is under the care of an eccentric and unconventional psychologist who uses innovative and theatrical techniques to breach the psychological blocks in his patients. When their daughter comes back from a visit with her mother and is covered with bruises and welts, the father attempts to bar his wife from seeing the daughter but faces resistance from the secretive psychologist. Meanwhile, the wife’s mother and father are attacked by strangely deformed children, and the man begins to suspect a connection with the psychologist’s methods.
#4. The Omen (1976)
American diplomat Robert (Gregory Peck) adopts Damien (Harvey Stephens) when his wife, Katherine (Lee Remick), delivers a stillborn child. After Damien’s first nanny hangs herself, Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton) warns Robert that Damien will kill Katherine’s unborn child. Shortly thereafter, Brennan dies and Katherine miscarries when Damien pushes her off a balcony. As more people around Damien die, Robert investigates Damien’s background and realizes his adopted son may be the Antichrist.
#3. Lord of The Flies (1990)
In this updated take on William Golding’s classic novel, a group of American military schoolboys become marooned on a remote island after a plane crash. While initially cooperative, after the discovery of a “beast,” the boys split into two warring camps, one headed by the liberal-minded Ralph (Balthazar Getty), the other by the militaristic Jack (Chris Furrh). Their society begins to descend into violence, and boys soon learn there’s a thin line between society and savagery.
#2. Let The Right One In (2008)
When Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a sensitive, bullied 12-year-old boy living with his mother in suburban Sweden, meets his new neighbor, the mysterious and moody Eli (Lina Leandersson), they strike up a friendship. Initially reserved with each other, Oskar and Eli slowly form a close bond, but it soon becomes apparent that she is no ordinary young girl. Eventually, Eli shares her dark, macabre secret with Oskar, revealing her connection to a string of bloody local murders.
#1. Pet Sematary (1989)
Doctor Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) moves his family to Maine, where he meets a friendly local named Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne). After the Creeds’ cat is accidentally killed, Crandall advises Louis to bury it in the ground near the old pet cemetery. The cat returns to life, its personality changed for the worse. When Louis’ son, Gage (Miko Hughes), dies tragically, Louis decides to bury the boy’s body in the same ground despite the warnings of Crandall and Louis’ visions of a deceased patient.
The Boy (2015)
From Elijah Wood’s Spectrevision and director Craig William Macneill comes budding serial killer drama The Boy, starring Jared Breeze, Rainn Wilson and David Morse. The film hits select theatres August 14th and VOD August 18th.
It’s the summer of 1989. Nine-year-old Ted Henley (Jared Breeze) and his father John (David Morse) are the proprietors of The Mtn. Vista Motel, a crumbling resort buried in the mountains of the American West. Since Ted’s mother left, John has drifted into despondency—becoming a living ghost, haunting the motel—leaving Ted to fend for himself. In this isolation, unchecked by the bounds of parenting, Ted’s darker impulses begin to manifest. The arrival of a mysterious drifter, William Colby (Rainn Wilson), captivates young Ted and the two form a unique friendship – setting the stage for Ted’s final, unnerving metamorphosis. THE BOY is a chilling, intimate portrait of a 9-year-old sociopath’s growing fascination with death.
Cooties is a horror comedy film set for theatrical & VOD release September 19, 2015, featuring a group of teachers who must fight off a horde of rabid children after they become infected with a zombie-like virus. Directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion from a screenplay by Leigh Whannell and Ian Brennan, Cooties stars Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson and Alison Pill.
When a mysterious virus hits an isolated elementary school, transforming the kids into a feral swarm of mass savages, an unlikely hero must lead a motley band of teachers to fight for their lives.