The last time I checked in on horror’s misunderstood youth was back in October 2018. (Clearly, I would make a lousy babysitter and even worse parent.) Recently though, I have been reminded of some further past examples while being introduced to a new generation of potential evil whose behaviour may or may not fall under the category of “misunderstood”. Here is my round-up of 10 more questionable kids too old for a time-out and too young for the electric chair.
RHODA PENMARK from THE BAD SEED (1956)
8-year-old Rhoda Penmark is a perfect example of ‘blonde ambition’, a girl who knows what she wants and is prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal, even if it involves the senseless murder of others. But is Rhonda really to blame for her actions when it’s discovered that a cracked branch of her biological family tree is a serial killer grandfather? I suppose some family traditions are better off broken.
THE BROOD from THE BROOD (1979)
Childhood can be complicated enough for a 5-year-old girl like Candace, whose parents are estranged from one another. But add into the mix a brood of violent creatures literally born from her mentally ill mother’s rage, to which the brood psychically respond by attacking (read: killing) anyone who happens to piss off their unaware mommy, and suddenly having siblings isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.
CHARLIE MCGEE from FIRESTARTER (1984)
Every parent thinks his or her child is gifted, but very few can claim that the gift in question is pyrokinesis, the psychic ability to create and control fire with the mind, or that their child can also see the near future. Charlene “Charlie” McGee is such a child; one who needs time and patience to better understand her fiery powers, and not the unwanted attention of some interfering government agency hell-bent on weaponizing Charlie’s power. Given those circumstances, it’s not surprising or Charlie’s fault when her emotions tend to get the better of her.
BRAHMS from THE BOY (2016)
Some children are more fragile than others, but few are more fragile than porcelain boy Brahms, or at least that can be said for the doll that bears his name and in which his spirit possibly inhabits. But anyone who has seen Child’s Play knows that with some dolls, there is more to them than meets the glass eye.
LUKE from BETTER WATCH OUT (2016)
Puberty is an awkward part of life for pretty much everyone, but especially for 12-year-old Luke, whose handling of his mad crush on his 17-year-old babysitter is hormones-fueled psychosis at its worse. Wet dreams at any age should never result in the blood of others.
LUCAS from LITTLE EVIL (2017)
Children conceived as part of a satanic cult ritual admittedly begin life differently than those conceived in more traditional ways; after all, not everyone gets to be the Antichrist. And while there is no better reason for bad behaviour than being Satan’s spawn, that does not mean one’s destiny cannot be something other than ending the world.
MILES BLUME from THE PRODIGY (2019)
Experiences help to shape one’s identity, but in the case of 8-year-old Miles an increasing amount of who he is becoming is courtesy of Edward Scarka, a serial killer who died only minutes before Miles’ birth and whose spirit is very keen on replacing Miles with his own so that Edward may resume his killing spree. Seriously, where are Ed and Lorraine Warren when you really need them?
BRANDON BREYER from BRIGHTBURN (2019)
Being adopted can result in issues of identity for the child in question, unaware of one’s biological parents, hereditary traits, and such. Similarly, adopting a child like Brandon brings with it unique set of challenges for the parents, especially when the infant they rescued from the forest is not-of-this-earth and possesses destructive superpowers triggered by the unwelcome combo of puberty and some serious anger management issues.
CHRIS O’NEILL from THE HOLE IN THE GROUND (2019)
One’s environment, both social and geographic, can have a profound impact on the well-being of children and adults alike; even more so when that environment includes a large, mysterious sinkhole located in the forest behind the rented home you share with your young son in the Irish countryside. Climate change is nothing compared to the potentially dangerous changes that may be going on in your own backyard and/or under your own roof.
MIA & AIDEN HALL from THE LODGE (2019)
It is a little unfair of Aiden and Mia’s father to ask them to spend some quality winter-remote cabin-time with him and his girlfriend only 6 months after the kids’ mother committed suicide. Not adding any appeal to an already unwelcome scenario is that said girlfriend was raised in an extremist Christian cult AND the sole survivor of its mass suicide. So, when work unexpectedly forces dad back to the city, you can’t really blame the siblings for wanting to have some mischievous fun at the expense of daddy’s emotionally fragile lady love. Until they take her to the breaking point, that is.