The 10 most evil children in movie history. By Simon Miraudo.
This week we were treated to the super-creepy new trailer for Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, in which Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly play parents who must come to terms with the fact that their son might be pure evil (dead giveaway: the bit in the trailer where baby Kevin gives his mother the stink eye when she playfully rolls a ball toward him. Get the hell out of there Tilda!). In honour of Kevin’s shudder-factor, we’re looking back on the 10 most evil children in cinema history
1. Regan MacNeil in The Exorcist
This is an easy one, so let’s get it out of the way early. Perhaps there is no more famous ‘evil child’ in the history of film than The Exorcist’s Regan. BUT, it’s not the one that gets imitated time and time again (see #2 for that). You have to appreciate 13-year-old Linda Blair’s bravery and boldness in playing a tormented girl possessed by a sexually-charged demon
2. Damien Thorn in The Omen
Often imitated and never bettered, the template for the dead-eyed and irrefutably wicked youngling was set by Damien in The Omen. Fathered by Satan, and birthed by a jackal (seriously – a jackal), not even a nurturing adoptive family could sway Damien of his evil ways. The first red flag? At a birthday, he wishes for his nanny to hang herself. And she does it!
3. Klara in The White Ribbon
Outdamning the Children of the Damned, and outcorning the Children of the Corn, the elusive ringleader of Michael Haneke’s band of creepy kids is either responsible for some psychotically weird and cruel crimes, or totally innocent. We’re leaning towards the former.
4. Michael Myers in Halloween
In the opening moments of John Carpenter’s horror classic Halloween, we witness – in chilling first person POV – the brutal murder of a pretty young thing. When the sequence ends, the camera pulls back and reveals it was her brother – little Michael Myers, in a clown outfit – that did the deed. Years later, Rob Zombie would build an entire movie around this peerless scene, almost ruining cinema in the process.
5. Claudia in Interview with a Vampire
6. Sam in Trick R Treat
Can we classify an immortal mutant who exists purely to enforce the rules and regulations of All Hallows Eve as an ‘evil child’? Sure, we can do whatever we like. What is this, Ceaușescu’s Romania?
7. The Grady Twins in The Shining
They’ve not really done anything evil per se (it wasn’t their fault they were murdered, although showing little Danny their bloodied corpses and begging him to play with them ‘forever’ could definitely be considered inappropriate). Still, they give us the chills.
8. Eli in Let the Right One In
Depending how you watch Let the Right One In, it’s either a touching love story between a young boy and the female (enough) vampire girl who protects him. OR, it’s the tale of a manipulative and ageless castrato who convinces an innocent kid to become their slave. But they’re both two sides of the same coin anyway, right?
9. Mathilda Lando in Leon: The Professional
OK, she’s had a pretty hard life, but she’s still essentially a sociopath. See also: Hit Girl from Kick-Ass.
10. Jacob Benson in The Day the Earth Stood Still
Don’t let Jaden Smith fool you. There may not seem to be anything particularly evil about this kid … until you realise the fate of the universe rests solely on his shoulders (and whether or not Keanu Reeves’ alien Klaatu likes him enough to keep Earth alive). The kid is almost annoying enough to convince us viewers that the world is probably better off dead.