This weekend David S. Goyer’s The Unborn will crawled into theatres, bringing the case of Roe vs. Wade to another level. Before you go see it, we offer a list of the children in film most deserving of a time-out … or a bullet to the brain. Sadly, Jonathan Lipnicki (Jerry Maguire, The Little Vampire) didn’t make the cut.
Toshio Saeki (Yuya Ozeki), Ju-on: The Grudge films
He isn’t doing the kabuki theatre industry any favors, but this powder-bodied child with a cat’s scream had us jumping out of our seats. The Japanese films are superior, no shock there, and Ozeki gets credit for taking a double dip in both the Japanese and American versions. We could have done without the whitey-tighty underwear though. Maybe that’s where Odette Yusman got her wardrobe inspiration for in The Unborn.
David Zellaby (Martin Stephens) and Other Children, Village of the Damned
How appropriate that we are reminded of these blonde haired, blue-eyed freaks around the time Valkyrieis getting blasted out of the water. Now if there was a film where these rugrats took over Tom Cruise’s mind, convincing him to use a German accent and give up scientology, it’d be even better. If there was a checklist for what makes kids eerie, being soft spoken and emotionless would be near the top. Being telepathic might leapfrog the previous entries, but who are we to choose?
Rhoda Penmark (Patty McCormack), The Bad Seed
Maybe this is why they hand out awards to every student in competitions now. Based on William March’s novel, one of my favorites of all-time, this picture perfect schoolgirl will do whatever it takes to get her way. Imagine Tracy Flick from Election if she were a sociopathic killer. The Bad Seed also gets props for not having a god awful re-make attached to it … yet.
Samara (Daveigh Chase), The Ring films
Not only did Samara have audiences holding their breath as she twitched her way out of the television, but she gave parents a perfect reason to tell girls keep their damn hair out of their faces. The best reason for giving Samara creepy kudos? She is the poster child for the emo scene. That just makes me shudder. And if you truly want to be creeped out, check out what Samara looks like now all grown up.
Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), The Sixth Sense
What is creepier than Haley Joel Osment’s journey into adulthood? Could it be the fact that he looks like a young Eli Manning? Nah, it’s his performance in this supernatural blockbuster. Not only did we get treated to one of the most memorable movie lines ever (“I see dead people.”), but Haley Joel Osment gave one of the greatest child acting performances ever. Sorry, Jake Lloyd. Your double threat of Jingle All the Way and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace just wasn’t enough.
Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), The Exorcist
Any person who puts a crucifix in their no-no spot before the invention of the internet and YouTube is clearly a bad motha. Regan’s transformation from good girl to Satan’s slut made us nearly turn our heads quicker than her in the film. And who can forget the projectile vomiting of pea soup? Sigh. Good times. Points go to the director’s cut where Regan walks down the stairs on all fours backwards, which reminds me of a few sorority parties last year in college.
Damien Thorn (Harvey Stephens), The Omen
Hmm, why is he creepy? Well, for starters, there’s the eerie glare. Then he has the ability to get Gregory Peck, the symbol of stoicism, freaking out like he’s on an acid trip. Don’t forget the fact that he excites apes more than Charlton Heston. But we’re going to go with the fact that Damien is the son of Satan as reason numero uno for putting him on here. Seamus Davey Fitzpatrick from the 2006 re-make gets no love. He didn’t give a creepy stare so much as he just looked like he dropped a deuce in his pull-up pants.
Isaac Chroner (John Franklin), Children of the Corn
This flick didn’t inspire the equally creepy documentary Jesus Camp, but this child preacher set on killing off all the adults in Gatlin, Nebraska could have taught evangelical Christians a thing or two about messianic manipulation. It’s a shame that the soundtrack didn’t feature Willie Nelson’s “Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Corn Monster Worshipping Preachers.”
Danny Torrance (Danny Lloyd), The Shining
This whole time I was convinced psychic abilities are a good thing. Thanks a lot, X-Men comics. A character that personified our child-like state, Danny still gives us the chills when he goes Jodie Foster in Nellon us. Two words. Redrum. Redrum. It was a toss-up between Danny and the twins in the hotel. We figure Danny has the edge since many of our viewers wouldn’t mind a set of twins to play with, creepy or not.
Tomas, (Oscar Casas), The Orphanage
Look, I am all for playing a game for dress-up, but kids who wear flour sacks on their head are not allowed. Tomas is the newest entry to the hall of creepy kid fame, and he is every bit as worthy as the rest of the entrants. He packs a frightening punch with the ragdoll mask, and what is underneath is damn near just as creepy. He quickly became one of my favorite horror film characters and is a large reason The Orphanage was one of my favorite films of last year.
Honorable Mention: The Baby, Rosemary’s Baby (1968)