Top Ten Horror Movies Featuring Freaky Children

Dead Air

When it comes to horror, writers go back to the old “evil in the shape of a child” motif time and time again. I know some people who hate it and I also know some people who love it. I am part of the latter group. I’ve always found things extra creepy when evil is represented as a child, especially when the character has a tragic aspect to it. The problem with top ten lists is that there is no way to include everybody so I give you something that is most assuredly not definitive but a pretty good representation of what I’m partial to. Here we go!

10) Rhoda Pennmark (The Bad Seed 1956) Nothing like little miss perfect in pigtails being a killer sociopath. I was reluctant to include her on the list because; while The Bad Seed is an excellent thriller I wouldn’t exactly say it’s horror. Highlights include her conversation with the old groundskeeper Leroy that results in him being burned alive.

9) The Grady twins (The Shining 1980) When it comes to iconic images of ghosts, you can’t really deny that the Grady twins are right up there. Even though they don’t really do much in Kubrick’s film, I’ve always been creeped out by their scene with Danny. “Come play with us?” No thanks!

8 ) The Brood (The Brood 1976) Anyone who has sat down to watch David Cronerberg’s The Brood cannot deny that it’s a wild ride into what-the-fuck. For those of you who haven’t seen it, I highly recommend that you do. You have a bunch of murderous children psychically linked to their mother who kill whoever enrages her and it’s not pretty. Highlights include the children overwhelming poor Raglan and busting through the closet door after Candice.

7) The infant (It’s Alive 1974) What’s scarier than the prospect of being a new parent? Well how about if your baby is a horrible mutant with fangs that kills anyone it sees. It’s Alive makes the list on the laurels of being a killer baby movie. It’s totally ridiculous but I think that’s why I like it. Highlights include the birthing scene and the baby stalking the milkman to his doom.

6) Santi (the Devil’s Backbone 2001) In the wake of the 6th sense, Hollywood churned out quite a few ghost stories, one of which was the Devil’s Backbone. Santi is a tragic apparition that serves as a powerful reminder that history can and does repeat itself. The flick was directed by Guillermo del Toro, so his special brand of heavy handed messages are found in abundance. The Highlights is defiantly Santi’s tragic origin.

5) Isaac/Malaki (Children of the Corn 1984) There was something about the children of the corn that really made me want to see those kids get what was coming to them. I think if one evil child is creepy, than a bunch of them would be even worse. I couldn’t decide who was freakier in Children of the Corn, Isaac had the whole religious zealot thing going on, or Malaki who was much more brutal. Highlights are defiantly Malaki sacrificing Isaac, and then Isaac’s revenge.

4) Damien Thorn (The Omen 1976) For the fourth spot I picked Damien purely because it doesn’t get much better than straight up being the anti-christ. The Omen would see a lot of lesser sequels spawned from it and, of course, the remake in 2006. Despite all of that, the film has always been a great example of stuffing a lot of biblical evil into a cute little kid.

3) Regan MacNeil (The Exorcist 1973) There would be no way to do this list without including Linda Blair’s foul-mouthed pea- soup-spitting monstrosity. The Exorcist was nothing short of groundbreaking, and the special effects coupled with the insane language just makes for a totally in-your-face horror icon. Highlights include the crab walking scene down the stairs and the infamous “cross scene.”

2) Sadako/Samara (The Ring/Ringu 1998/2002) Whether you like the originals or the remakes, it’s hard to deny that The Ring produced an instantly classic and freaky little ghost girl. The Ring brought Japanese horror to the mainstream and made me kind of afraid of my own television. Highlights include her first emergence from the television set, and her well climb in the Ring 2.

1) Toshi Saeki (Ju-on/The Grudge 2003/2004) Well we’ve reached the number one spot and many of you might be surprised at the decision. Trust me, I don’t mean to lessen the ground breakers that have come before it, but for me the freakiest kid has to go to Toshi AKA cat-boy. Like The Ring, I enjoyed both the originals and the remakes. I don’t know if I was the right age or in the right place, but The Grudge movie sucked me in and this kid scared the crap out of me (I mean jeez look at that thing’s face). The worst part about this kid is how he just turns up everywhere. Highlights include showing up under the table at a restaurant and, of course, his attack on William’s family.

Well that’s my list. Have I missed some of your personal favourites? Or do you think I have the order all screwed up? Comment and tell me what you think and as always thanks for reading!


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      1. Piracy_productions September 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm

        Any one of the creepy little bastards in “The Children” would’ve made my list.

        • HorrorMovies September 19, 2011 at 9:46 pm

          good call! 

        • Marco December 3, 2013 at 4:13 am

          Thats exactly what i thought!!!!! 😛

      2. Guest September 26, 2011 at 8:31 am

        It’s Toshio, not Toshi

      3. Horrorqueen17 September 27, 2011 at 9:09 pm

        Possible point of contention, but how about Esther from Orphan?

      4. Kira Ashley Marie Andrews December 1, 2013 at 7:21 pm

        How bout the orphan

      5. Patrick Lubben December 1, 2013 at 7:24 pm

        Eden Lake

      6. Kira Ashley Marie Andrews December 1, 2013 at 7:26 pm

        Or the good son

      7. Bob Mikkelsen December 1, 2013 at 7:33 pm

        The orphan had an amazing performance from the child actress.

      8. Tarzan Jenkins December 1, 2013 at 7:40 pm

        Case39 or looper? Even though one is more of a suspense thriller and the other sci fi action,the kid performances were still creepy!

      9. Rainy Nitez December 1, 2013 at 8:01 pm

        We get loads of freaky kids on our buses and they don’t need to be actors to behave the way they do!

      10. Alyssa Bartlett December 1, 2013 at 8:07 pm

        I would have thought children of the damned would be on here

      11. Alyssa Bartlett December 1, 2013 at 8:11 pm

        It village of the damned… Both have creepy kids

      12. Mike Males December 1, 2013 at 8:19 pm

        Outlander we have your woman

      13. David Macumber December 1, 2013 at 8:23 pm

        Boo! The ring and grudge should not have the number 1 & 2 spot..that little girl(woman) from orphanage was way more intense. Also what about Mcauly Caulkin in The Good Son? Haha he was creepy as fuck

      14. Tarzan Jenkins December 1, 2013 at 8:38 pm

        John carpenters village of the damned!

      15. Marigen Beltran December 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm

        Like your list! How about Alice from Alice Sweet Alice

      16. Jennacide December 1, 2013 at 9:23 pm

        The dead kid with the bag on his head in The Orphanage — def the creepiest kid of all time.

      17. Martin Brock December 1, 2013 at 9:36 pm


      18. Steve Kent December 1, 2013 at 9:52 pm


      19. Steve Kent December 1, 2013 at 9:54 pm

        The omen

      20. Steve Kent December 1, 2013 at 9:55 pm

        The exorcist

      21. Steve Kent December 1, 2013 at 9:56 pm

        Danny in the shining, carrie etc, etc…

      22. Giovanni Deldio December 1, 2013 at 10:59 pm

        You are missing: Orphan, Bloody Birthday, The Good Son, The Children (2008), and the original Village of the Damned.

      23. Maribel Salinas December 1, 2013 at 11:28 pm

        the original the children,low budget,creepy black finger nails,but such a classic

      24. Derek Smith December 2, 2013 at 1:44 am

        TThe Brood is just so disturbing & well what else can be said about The Exorcist & Linda Blair’s very believable perfornance at such a young age..i would’ve included the kid from Pet Semetary & the early 80’s Troma flick”The Children”& the kid’s from “Bloody Birthday”!!!

      25. John W December 2, 2013 at 2:43 am


        The Children

        Wednesday and Pugsley

        The Orphanage

        The Orphan

        Salem’s Lot

      26. Wes Knipe December 2, 2013 at 3:20 am

        Holy Moly, it’s back!

      27. Hans Curtis December 2, 2013 at 8:28 am

        steve kent you posted three times movies THAT ARE ON THE LIST. did you even look? i was hoping to see WHO CAN KILL A CHILD or at least PET SEMETARY. another list of main stream crap, thanks again to the first year film student writing these shitty lists. this is the last one for me

        • Benjamin Camden December 17, 2013 at 9:41 pm

          I don’t know how you consider the original Ju-On mainstream crap… just because it was remade does not make the original more mainstream. How many more people viewed Ju-On on account of The Grudge? Probably not many seeing as not many people will take the time to read a movie; especially horror movies. Same goes for Ringu and The Devil’s Backbone. Also, Pet Semetary could be considered mainstream seeing as it grossed well over it’s budget (40+ million) not to mention “based on a novel by Stephen King” being attached to it.

      28. Sean P. Pratt December 2, 2013 at 11:11 am

        Children of the Corn

      29. Demas Dino Mireles December 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm

        you mean to tell me that none of the Step Up or High School Musical children constitutes as “freaky” ??

      30. Simona Sardelli December 2, 2013 at 4:57 pm

        Children of the corn!

      31. Gabriel Cervantes December 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm

        Obviously, children of the corn… “No! Bring me Malachai!”

      32. Debbi December 2, 2013 at 11:12 pm

        How bout Alessa Gillespie of Silent Hill 2006?

      33. James Baumann December 17, 2013 at 1:38 am

        young Michael myers

      34. Marigen Beltran December 17, 2013 at 1:53 am

        The ghost kid from The Devil’s Backbone was good, scary but good

      35. Dustin December 17, 2013 at 9:48 am

        Esther from Orphan should be on this list.

      36. Darcus December 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm

        Milo, creepy little undead sadist that wants to impregnate former classmates. It’s a little known classic.

      37. Disgruntly December 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm

        I would applaud this if The Ring and The Grudge weren’t in the 1 & 2 spots… I’m even considering holding a “grudge” that they were even included. There are far better ghost stories and far, FAR better killer kid movies. I guess you have to go with what’s popular to appease the masses.

      38. Nik December 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm

        That’s what I was thinking! Those kids are creepy!

      39. Dee February 25, 2014 at 7:52 pm

        Come out and play.

        • Dee February 25, 2014 at 7:56 pm

          Oh, or the original Island of the damned.

      40. Vitória August 7, 2014 at 6:01 pm

        the good son ? it’s a best movie (:

      41. david April 20, 2015 at 1:37 am

        debatable if Lord of the Flies is a horror, but its a good honorable mention.