Untalented hacks as Eli Roth and Larry Clarke may be, they caught on to one thing. Kids are evil little bastards, and left to their own devices and influenced by a cruel world, they get worse and worse and will do awful things to one another and to innocent victims as an old fashioned cynic who rather despises ankle biting snot nosed little punks, “Evil Little Bastards” comes to you near this Halloween season to explore and expose our favorite in little kids who are pure utter monsters. Though we excluded a few notable examples, this is our chronological cinematic favorites of monstrous little children who are merciless, murderous, and collectively harmful to the nearest adult.
Cover your Achilles tendons, arm yourselves, and glance at the Evil Little Bastards.
Those Damned Brats!
Village of the Damned (1960)
Arguably the best and the standard for evil little children movies, “Village of the Damned” set down a legacy of copy cats and horrible wannabes that ranged from great pieces of cinema like “The Omen” to sheer wastes of time like “Children of the Corn.” But even almost fifty years later, it’s still one of the best horror films ever made. After the village of Midwich mysteriously fall unconscious, all the women of the town awaken to discover that they’ve been inexplicably impregnated. Months later, the children are all born at the same time and are discovered to have the same features. They’re all pale, and possess pale blond hair along with the strong telepathic influence that connects them as one entity and ensures their ability to inflict much pain and horror in their town.
Their coldness and lack of compassion becomes a very noticeable trait among their other disturbing features, and as they present the abilities to read minds and make people bend to their wills, it becomes apparent that they must be snuffed out. Gordon (George Sanders) takes it upon himself to gather the children and wait for a time bomb to go off while creating a mental block and in one of the most brilliant sequences waits for the time bomb to detonate while his son David and the others anxiously tear down the mental brick wall to learn of his secret. But it’s all too little too late when Gordon makes the sacrifice. It’s truly one of the best of its kind. The remake is also suggested, if only for Christopher Reeves’ excellent performance.
Spider Baby (1964)
The Merrye children of Virginia, Elizabeth, and Ralph are innocent and often times just misguided. Thanks to the Merrye Syndrome which is now causing them to revert to a mental state of pure infantile behavior thanks to years of inbreeding in their family, the three children of the house is all that’s left of their legacy, and sure enough are willing to do what it takes to restart their family and assure themselves that their hideout will not be corrupted. When distant relatives arrive to claim the property and send the children off to be studied and locked up, Virginia and Elizabeth take it upon themselves to make sure that simply doesn’t happen.
Virginia with her two rusty knives and an affinity for spiders, doesn’t mind imitating the very creatures she adores, while Elizabeth is smarter than she looks and leads the charge to murder her relatives. But if they gain a taste for human blood, the chain of cannibalism is complete. For utterly demented characters, Virginia, Elizabeth and Ralph are a gruesome threesome who are much more harmful than they look. Their caretaker Bruno is very well aware of this and yet will do anything to stay with them, even if it means going down together in a blaze of firey glory.
Taking a Spin with Regan
The Exorcist (1973)
Goddamn it, this is still one of the best horror movies ever made, still my favorite horror film of all time, and still the most intelligent horror film ever made in any time, period. “The Exorcist” is not just a film about exorcism, it’s instead an interesting story about the strength of family, and the damage of demons we simply can’t put behind us. Regan is probably one of the most famous faces in horror, with a two fold image. At one moment she’s an embodiment of innocence as a sweet pretty little girl filled with sadness and loneliness who discovers a friend in Captain Howdy, and then turns into the face of evil.
Once corrupted by and possessed by Pazusu, she becomes the living manifestation of pure evil and corruption of childhood brought upon by her weaknesses and insecurities. As this demonic child she’s corrupted and raped and robbed of every bit of her sanity as she’s trapped in her body as the vessel of an entity out to settle a score with an old enemy. She learns the secrets of the individuals she confronts, and unleashes horrific unimaginable violence on her loved ones, murdering the help and inevitably wreaking pure unadulterated havoc on her loved ones as the demon prepares to battle Father Merrin once again and for the last time. Regan is like every other child, violent and demonic prone to tantrums.
Who Can Kill a Child? (1976)
Would you kill children to stay alive? Would you kill psychotic children to stay alive? If you were in imminent danger from hordes of psychotic merciless children, could you pick up a gun and murder them regardless of their ages? “Who Can Kill a Child?” poses that very question in the title alone. Who can kill a child? Hoping for a relaxing vacation, a couple from America arrive at the Spanish island of Almanzora to discover nothing but children left to their own workings. They’re playing, they’re fishing, and they’re roaming free around the town. Days before they’ve arrived they’ve been greeted by the local children with piercing stares, and adult bodies have turned up on the shore, along with headlines in the local newspapers of mutilated bodies, but their ignorance becomes their worst enemy as they attempt to relax only to be greeted by nothing but children.
As the laughter fills the air, Tom witnesses a laughing little girl beat an old man to death with his cane, and the gruesome acts don’t stop there. As the unnerving land of children soon becomes a claustrophobic death trap, the tourists must fight for their lives and place deadly force before consideration. There’s never been a truly solid explanation for the sudden turn in Serrador’s classic, and that only helps to benefit the film in the end. The scene in which three local children are greeted by the groups of deadly brats and suddenly revert to their side betraying their mother is one of the most effective scenes in the entire story. Thirty times more effective than the embarrassing “Children of the Corn,” Serrador makes his children innocent and yet so utterly horrifying to experience.
The Omen (1976)
One thing I could never quite figure out was why Damien suddenly lost his memory in part two. In part one he understood his purpose and he followed through by murdering his mother, destroying anyone that crossed his path, and doing good by his nanny, but then in part two suddenly he becomes Luke Skywalker. “What? I’m supposed to be evil? Get the fuck out of town!” Regardless though, Damien is the picture of pure evil in the 1976 masterpiece with Harvey Stephens portraying the anti-christ in an innocent vessel. With long locks, chubby cheeks, and saucer deep eyes, Damien is a child without a soul who bears no actual attachment to his parents.
Though he doesn’t always interact with his subjects to inflict his cruel deeds, he’s still nonetheless an evil force who holds the advantage of being a child. He watches with a smile as his nanny hangs herself for his birthday, and even befriends a vicious rock wilder who is one of his protectors. And in one last twist of this devious little monster’s existence, as his father Robert Thorn prepares to finally end it all and save a lot of lives, Damien screams “Please daddy no!” gauging his sympathies and buying enough time for a firing squad to shoot Thorn mercilessly. With one last glimpse at the camera, Damien proclaims his victory, and his mission to destroy the world continues on.
Murder… Mikey Likes It
John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978)
And so began the legacy of bloodshed. We never truly had a definitive explanation to the origin of Michael and his rise to evil and pure ruthless sadism, and that only helps to add to the sheer shock of seeing a little boy wielding a knife in a pure daze leading to the birth of a vicious killer. Michael was a force of evil birthed from a small boy who seemingly grew from a monotonous existence. The purpose of Michael was that this force of evil and nature grew up in a wholesome and rather pure home life who then mysteriously decided to pick up a knife and murder whom ever came into his path. On the night of Halloween, we’re given a slight of hand when Michael’s sister is brutally stabbed to death in her room only to discover it’s a child.
The origin of Michael works so much better once we learn by explanation from Dr. Loomis of his sessions with the boy. “I met him, fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes… the *devil’s* eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… *evil*.” That’s so much more effective than trailer trash bullshit, isn’t it?
Boy, Oh Boy, What a Killer!
Sleepaway Camp (1982)
“Sleepaway Camp” wasn’t just a horror movie about a slasher on a camp ground, but it was also a display of the cruelty that children are capable of. Sure, the acting sucks, the plot is tedious and the setting is questionable, but thankfully it’s still a great little horror film that feels like “Meatballs” meets “Friday the 13th.” In some portions, it’s very reminiscent of the Bill Murray comedy featuring teenage interaction, camp hijinks and plenty of sub-plots involving the way kids of this age think and act with one another, and on the other end of the spectrum we have vicious murders being committed around the camp. Angela is an often meek and quiet little girl who sits all by herself and clings to her cousin.
He protects her aggressively and keeps her out of harms way.
But when bodies of Angela’s tormentors begin to appear all over the camp, we begin to wonder if big cousin is sparing Angela heart ache and ridding her of the nuisances. The inevitable discovery the killer is still one of the most effective closers to a slasher film. All elements of “Meatballs” is completely torn to shreds as Angela cradles her camp crush in her lap and rises to reveal she’s decapitated him and Angela is indeed… a boy. “Sleepaway Camp” is that movie that, love it or hate it, will still surprise new viewers, and I love it for that.
Point of Interest: Felissa Rose grew to be a really gorgeous woman.
Numbers > Size
The question you have to ask with many of these films is: Are the children here naturally the way they are or did an influence provoke their behavior? In the case of the children in “Fortress” did they become savage hunters because of the three armed murderers hunting them down, or were they always at risk. Did the inspiration from their teacher invoke some sense of primal defense that prompted them to collect and keep the remains of their hunters as trophies in the climax, or was it their down deep human nature? One can never be sure. But provocation is always the primary catalyst for our deepest psychotic acts, and for the children here, the provocation and the inevitable acts following were reason enough.
Three masked gunmen take a small school hostage in the countryside, and their teacher Sally attempts to keep them strong all the while attempting to devise a way to escape these killers. “Fortress” is at times a grating little thriller, but the parts of the sum thankfully don’t ruin what is basically an underrated classic. As the children learn to work together thanks to the inspiration of Sally, they soon realize that they have the advantage and simply won’t let these monsters ruin their lives. Nicholson keeps “Fortress” on the narrow edge between dark thriller and bright adventure, and ends his film on a purely twisted note that shows a good dose of comeuppance but will divide audiences on the children’s actions. Rooting for our heroes and questioning their motives is a rare storytelling ability.
Surviving the Game…
Battle Royale (2000)
We don’t need to know what happened, we don’t need to know how it happened, all we know for sure is that this little brat at the start of one of the most demented movies ever made went through a lot of shit to survive, and likely shed many of her friends blood to save her own life. Some people love it, and some people hate it, I however find it to be a perfect summary of humanity and the fight for survival. People will kill one another to survive when pushed into a corner and Fukasaku’s film continues to be controversial because of that very apt message. With a devious smile, and covered in a thick coating of blood, this little girl just explained in her sheer expression that she’s probably a sadistic little bitch, and we have to wonder if the battling made her this way, or if she was always a sadistic monster.
Survival will do that to people, and director Fukasaku never bothers to hold our hands and explain who she is, was, and how she made it out alive. All we need to see is her clutching her teddy bear in her hands, gleaming in a dazed expression, flashing a long smile of crooked baby teeth victorious that she made it out alive covered in bright blood. Now that’s storytelling before we actually get to the centerpiece of the tale. I know there’s not much evidence to assume she’s an evil little bastard, but you’d have to be to survive weapon wielding teens, and explosive neck collars. We also are inclined to include most of the characters in this bloody war fest with young girls poisoning one another, and a sword wielding psychopath making the game much harder on everyone else. Could you survive “Battle Royale”? Be honest.
The Ring (2002)
We could have discussed the Asian horror film “The Ring,” (or “Ringu” as it’s called in its native language) but the original just didn’t sport the same fantastic climax with our resident demonic daughter Samara. For all intents and purposes, I loved “The Ring,” and I think it’s a great remake that lives up to the source material. Whether it was Gore Verbinski’s tense direction, the dreamy landscapes, the frantic pacing, or Naomi Watts’ great performance, I thought it was worth a look. But the best actual aspect was the performance by Daveigh Chase who up until a few years ago sported the creepy child moniker as the supernatural girl who is not quite right.
With dark hair draped over her eyes and face, and a soft silky voice, Samara was never quite a one dimensional villain. She didn’t seem evil upon first glance, but she didn’t seem to mind her devilish purpose either. You have appreciate her determination; she was nothing but a vessel for evil, and even in the horrible sequel, we learned nothing much about her and that’s just how it should be kept. She wants people to suffer only because it’s in her programming and her inexplicable way of making sure of that through using the modern advent of the VHS and television was only a small aspect in her twisted deeds upon humanity. She taunts them over the phone, fazes their souls out as the days pass, and marks their souls all with a finisher that leaves all of her victims with mouths agape and mysteriously water logged. Samara was a great Americanized demon child and Chase’s haunting performance make the character all the more fearsome.