Kids- love them or hate them we were all young once. For many of us childhood was when our love of horror began to blossom watching classic horror movies, regional late night horror shows or reading YA horror literature penned by R.L. Stein and Christopher Pike. Whether they are the the terrified or the terrifier in Podcast Episode Ten, Eric, Mike and special guest Roberta each chose their “terrible trio” of films with children front and center and the spawn of Satan himself rounds off our Top 10 Kid Themed Horror Movies!
1. The Omen (1976, Richard Donner)
It’s all for you, Damien! This legendary cursed film stars Gregory Peck and Lee Remick as an American couple who, unbeknownst to them, become parents to the Antichrist when he is swapped at birth for their stillborn baby. When the couple brings the bouncing baby boy home the body count begins to rise.
2. Who Can Kill a Child? (1976, Narciso Ibanez Serrador)
A film that opens with actual footage of children suffering the effects of war, ¿Quién puede matar a un niño? is the story of a couple on a “baby-moon” vacation who land on an island inhabited entirely by maniacal children. When forced to defend themselves the couple has to answer the question, who can kill a child?
3. The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976, Nicolas Gessner)
Acting powerhouses Jodie Foster and Martin Sheen star in this horror thriller about a 13 year old girl who seems to live alone in a rented house on the coast of Maine. When a pedophile takes an interest in her, the mystery surrounding the little girl who lives down the lane begins to unfurl with spine chilling results.
4. The Brood (1979, David Cronenberg)
Body horror, “Psychoplasmics”, murderous blind dwarves…David Cronenberg at his peak.
5. Poltergeist (1982, Tobe Hooper)
A suburban family is terrorized by their own house in the 80’s horror masterpiece Poltergeist. Crawling meat, a creepy clown, the world’s scariest tree and a pool full of bodies are just some of the iconic scenes from this film capped off by Carol Anne’s (Heather O’ Rourke) announcement, “They’re here…” Written by Stephen Spielberg, directed by Tobe Hooper and staring Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams you’d be hard pressed to find a better example of kid themed horror.
6. The Good Son (1993, Joseph Ruben)
Just a few short years after he was home alone, America’s sweetheart Macaulay Culkin showed his dark side as Henry a budding young psychopath in this thriller also staring Elijah Wood. A tight script penned by award winning novelist Ian McEwan, some wonderful child actors and a truly devastating ending keep The Good Son from feeling stuck in the 90’s.
7. Let the Right One In (2008, Tomas Alfredson)
Let the Right One In is a coming of age story about Oskar a true crime loving preteen living in the Stockholm suburbs in the 1980’s. Oskar is constantly bullied at school leaving him desperate for a friend so when a strange girl named Eli moves in next door Oskar is eager to form a bond. As the friendship develops and bodies drained of blood begin to be discovered it becomes clear that Eli is not the ordinary little girl Oksar assumed.
8. The Witch (2015, Robert Eggers)
The Witch is the story of a Puritan family ostracized from their colony who set up a farm on their own on the outskirts of a secluded wood. When the youngest member of the family, baby Samuel, disappears while under his sister’s (Anya Taylor-Joy) watch this story pivots from period piece to horror as it becomes clear that a witch occupies the woods and may be coming for the other children as well.
9. The Girl With All the Gifts (2016, Colm McCarthy)
“Hungries” is a term for the flesh eating zombies that make up the majority of the world’s population after the earth was infected by a fungus in this post- apocalyptic horror film. Melanie (Sennia Nanua) who craves flesh but still functions as a rational being, is one of a group of hybrid children being experimented on by a military as a possible vaccine source. When the lab is breached the surviving children, scientists and military personnel (lead by Glen Close) head for shelter encountering life threatening obstacles along the way.
10. The Box (2017, Jovanka Vuckovic)
The best segment of XX horror anthology film, The Box is based on a short story by prolific horror writer Jack Ketchum. In the film, Danny is riding a train at Christmas with his family when he sits next to a man holding a gift wrapped box. When the man offers to show Danny what is inside (red flag #1- don’t look in a stranger’s box) what he sees effects him so much that he stops eating. Not since Seven have we wanted to know “what’s in the box” so badly.
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