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The 16 Creepiest Kids In Horror Move History

For whatever reason, horror movies and creepy kids seems to go together like cookies and cream, Cheech & Chong, and Freebie and the Bean. Over the years, we’ve been witness to enough unsettling tykes to fill what would officially be the world’s least desirable summer camp. So sit back, enjoy this pre-pubescent collection–and be thankful they’re not yours!

16. Ring Around the Rosie: The Ring (2002)

How’d you like to be watching some creepy videocassette, and then this drenched, raven-haired moppet jumps out of the freakin’ TV screen? I don’t know what would be harder to fathom, that, or the idea that I’m watching a videocassette.

15. This Is Why Kids Need Bibs When They Eat: 30 Days of Night (2008)

This seemingly sweet little thing really makes a mess when she’s discovered by our heroes in the convenience store. Tiny and cute, yet with the ability to destroy your very soul. Kind of like Christian Soriano.

14. Mommy, I Don’t Feel So Good : [REC] (2007)

After being bitten by her mysteriously infected pooch, this Italian bambina turns zombo in record time, leaping from her mom’s arms and zipping up the stairs of her infested apartment complex. Cose da pazzi!

13. I See Creepy Kids…: The Sixth Sense (1999)

Before she was a bona fide hot chick, Mischa Barton was that freaky ghost girl hiding under Haley Joel Osment’s bed. And no, I’m not making a joke about how I wish she would be hiding under my bed right now. Oh wait, I just did. Never mind.

12. Pollyanna on Crystal Meth: The Bad Seed (1956)

The grand-mammy of all messed-up horror movie kids, Rhoda Penmark is a pint-sized terror of biblical proportions. If you think the ADHD-addled rugrats you see roaming shopping malls nowadays are bad, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

11. Children Shouldn’t Be Dead Things: Pet Sematary (1989)

This Stephen King adaptation really captures the way the original novel screws with your head, forcing you not only to deal with the horrific death of a child–usually a scare flick no-no–but then bashing you in the temple with the compounded horror of precious little Gage coming back to slice and dice.

10. Red-Headed Stepchild: Children of the Corn (1984)

Isaac may be the leader, but it’s evil ginger Malachai who really stands out amongst Children of the Corn’s brood of pasture-lurking ragamuffins. That shock of crimson hair. Those cold eyes. Pure evil. No wonder red-heads are burned by the sun so easily. So are most demonic creatures.

9. Have You Seen This Child?: The Orphanage (2007)

This movie taught us that sometimes maybe we shouldn’t go looking for missing children. In the annals of scary-ass dead kids, the boy in the potato-sack mask pretty much takes the cake. Yeeeesh.

8. Somebody Needs a Time Out…: Village of the Damned (1960)

Identical, blonde-haired kids with piercing blue eyes and a perverse, irresistible power over their parents. No, this isn’t a Connecticut toy store. It’s one of the most gripping supernatural thrillers of the 1960s, thanks to a cast of extremely unsettling little ones. Did I also mention they speak with a British accent? That clinches it.

7. Youth in Asia: Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)

The standard freakazoid kid in a horror movie has become a cliche thanks to the steady stream of Chinese, Japanese and Korean horror into the U.S., but for my money, this pasty-faced little cretin is about as scary as it gets. And his mother is even scarier! Skip the Sarah Michelle American drivel, and mainline your creepy kid fix from the source.

6. “One, Two, Freddy’s Comin’ For You…”: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

This gaggle of little girls jumping rope proved that even cute-as-a-button white kids in their Sunday best can be seriously frightening–a fact already known by anyone who’s watched enough Little House on the Prairie reruns.

5. Can Danny Come Out and Play?: Salem’s Lot (1979)

What’s the only thing eerier than a vampire at your window? That’s right, it’s a child vampire at your window. Just thinking about this little bastard cooing at his still-warm brother to let him in can make the hair on my arms do the limbo.

4. “Forever…and Ever…and Ever…”: The Shining (1980)

Stephen King knows what scares you, and its two tiny twin girls standing blank-faced in a hallway and talking to you at the same time. In Kubrick’s film version, the scenes of the ill-fated Grady sisters are literally the stuff of nightmares.

3. Someone’s a Potty-Mouth!: The Exorcist (1973)

The genius of William Peter Blatty’s novel and William Friedkin’s film is that Regan MacNeill is such a paragon of juvenile purity, twisted into an obscene, perverse plaything of Beelzebub. Kudos to Linda Blair for pulling off this impressive role, as well as the late Mercedes McCambridge for providing that unforgettable voice.

2. Living Dead Girl: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

The classic image of little Karen Cooper staring out from under her dark brown tresses is one of horror’s most iconic (though ironically, not seen in the actual film). By introducing a zombie kid who goes batshit on her mom with a garden trowel and makes a late-night snack out of Daddy’s arm, Romero lets it be known that the gloves are off.

and finally, the single most creepy kid in the history of horror movies….

1. Problem Child: The Omen (1976)

I mean really, was there any other choice? Damien Thorn is the ultimate distillation of the trope of the evil child in horror. Literally Satan in the form of a human boy, he fills us with dread with his every look and movement, despite being an adorable little thing and not really doing anything evil himself per se in the entire flick. It’s just the implication of that undying malevolence in the form of a child, and the harrowing events that surround him, that are enough to make us respect the value of birth control.

For more news and opinions on the world of horror, including a re-imagining of The Godfather as horror, a celebration of the music of NOES, and a humorous look at what Jason does on his days off, check out Brian’s daily blog, The Vault of Horror, at

* Editors Note: This content is being republished so we can transition it from the archives. Oh, and because it’s awesome.



  • Mater-Suspiriorum

    At number 14, you speak italian.

    Thing is, REC is a spanish movie, with spanish characters speaking spanish.

    C+ for the effort tho.

  • ripapes

    Agree with your list, though I’d add Poltergeist’s Heather O’Rourke and, ok, the kid from ‘The Middle’… yes, I know he hasn’t stared in any horror movie yet but, come on, what is he waiting for?
    And, yes: The girl from REC was Spanish!

    • MinaDoll7

      @ripapes, that boy in The Middle” has starred in a horror movie The Unborn (he plays the creepy neighbor kid on his little bike) and I think he should be on this list too. And Carol Ann of Poltegeist. i agree with Samara (“But he doesn’t know…”), girl from 30 Days of Night (“I don’t wanna play with you anymore..”), girl from REC (“Bullshit, tonsillitis!”), girl from Sixth Sense (barf scene), boy from The Orphanage (great movie!), boy from The Grudge (“Toshhioooo”), and Linda of The Exorcist

      • ripapes

        The Unborn! How could I miss that one… Thanks.

  • WalkWithMeInDarkness

    I feel like Isabelle Fuhrman as Esther in “Orphan” deserves a spot on this list, but I assume it’s because of the movie’s twist that she’s not included.

    • Cezseldher

      Yes, I also thougth of that, because if is not for that reasons, she deserves a spot here.

  • Cezseldher

    When I saw Samara in this list, I remember how creepy Aidan (David Dorfman) was on that movie, at least the first one, as I can remember. It was something about his constant apathetic expression on his face or that he somehow had a connection with Samara (he said that she showed him things). I mean, he was not “evil”, but he was just… creepy to me. Anyway, I agree with the least, and I’m glad to see there The Orphanage.

    • ktn

      “RACHEL” hahaha, he’s really creepy.

    • jchano123

      yes. he was also good in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003 remake.

  • ThunderDragoon

    I love you so much for putting Toshio on this list. 😀

  • djblack1313

    this is a good list! i agree!

  • Zombie-Killa

    Great list!

    But I would’ve put “Forever…and Ever…and Ever…”: The Shining at #1, because it’s such an iconic image in horror, and all of cinema TBH.

    Also, Chloe Grace Moretz from the Let The Right One In remake. That scene where she starts bleeding from the face after the kid won’t give her an invitation is CREEPY. Oh, and you can throw in the scene, where the kid cuts his hand to make a blood pact, not knowing Moretz is a vampire, and she gets this look one hr face like she wants to kill him, but she holds back.

  • anthonyd1

    When I was little my parents and grandparents showed me Salem’s Lot and that creepy boy knocking on the window scared the shit out of me! I had nightmares forever and that scene still gives me chills to this day and always has me second guessing looking out the window while I am in bed

  • doomas10

    Where is Santy from Del Toro’s “El espinazo del diablo”? That fucking ghost gave me nightmares!

  • DragonSlayer111

    First saw the exorcist when I was 7 years old….still hate that bitch to this day hahaha

  • Milk

    I’m happy to see Gage from Pet Sematary on this list. I was scrolling through looking for him. He was the one that scared me the most when I was younger. I also liked him in New Nightmare. That is one creepy kid!

  • jdscissorhands

    I remember seeing a TV movie back in the 80s (I must have been 11 years old then). I can’t remember the name, but the plot was about a red haired little girl who would kill other people to get what she wanted. Does anyone know this film?

    Other than that, this is a great list. Maybe it could have included characters from John Carpenter movies: Young Michael Myers, the kids from In the Mouth of Madness or from the Village of the Damned remake.
    Vampire kids are scary too (Near Dark, Let the Right One In and its remake, or Claudia from Interview with a vampire)
    And last but not least that psycho killer kid from the crappy movie Mikey, released in the 90s!

    • joesey

      red haired little girl killer? There was Alice Sweet Alice but that was in the 70’s. Unless you’re talking about Carrie? Also 70’s.

    • Amber

      Could be Daddy’s Girl, but that was released in the 90s.
      Maybe Little Girl Who Lived Down The Lane, which was late 70s.

  • joesey

    JOSHUA was a way creepier kid than Damien. My all-time favorite creepy kid though is Macauley Culkin in The Good Son. That part where he tried to kill his little sister–so fucked up.

    • joesey

      Also all of the kids from Lord Of The Flies.

  • Evan3

    IMO the slot on the girls from NOES was wasted. Also, Samara from the Ring should be WAY higher.

  • creepozoid

    Kevin from We Need to Talk about Kevin and the girl from The Orphan.

    • Evan3

      @creepozoid – Problem is… spoilers… the girl from the orphan wasnt a child, but an adult little person.

  • Great list, but I think the creepiest kid in “Children of the Corn” is Isaac, played by John Franklin, who had the time had a growth hormone disorder that made him look like a kid although he was 25 y.o. I’ve made an infographic about what these kids have become today, maybe that’ll interested you 🙂

  • Anonymouse

    Regarding the twins in “The Shining”:

    Technically those twins CAN’T be Grady’s daughter’s, since they’re meant to have been ages 8 and 11. More likely their appearance is some sort of combination of the two, and the “twin” aspect is symbolic, which you can pick up on in many aspects of Kubrick’s version of the film.

    The twins are also not part of the book, so you could say that Kubrick was using the source material as a platform to symbolically portray other things.

    Some point to his possible involvement in faking the moon landing, and that the twins represent the previous Gemini project, from which two of the astronauts would go on to die in the testing phase of the Apollo project, along with a third astronaut who was only associated with Apollo. It was a horrible fire under what were arguably predicable conditions. Look it up.

    There is also flashes of the twins seen when Danny is seen holding the door nob of room 237, and the shiny surface gives the illusion of him holding hands with himself…And even earlier in the film when he is talking to “Tony” while looking at his reflection in the bathroom mirror.

    In that case, it could be that Danny is being given glimpses of his own future, with the twins acting as a placeholder for the path to death (which has further significance in final hedge-maze scenes…and there’s some good analysis on YouTube relating to this).

    Whatever the case for using this twin imagery, these are not the daughters themselves, since the book AND script make it clear that they were not twins. They also speak as a single unit, and are always portrayed with some form of symmetry, lending credence to the idea that they represent two halves of a single unit.

    I’ll agree they’re creepy though.

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