“You were a child once!” quips anybody I dare express my anti-social feelings towards their Little Darlings. OK, so I don’t loathe kids, but they seem to be at the root of most annoyances in life: making horrible shriekly noises at the movies/on the bus/at the library; existing to warrant prams the size of Humvees that hog the entire pavement (soon to come with razor-edged wheels to really show those nasty adults!); and influencing their parents to shoot visual daggers your way should you dare to express facial disatisfaction at such a minion blocking your mobile trajectory or screaming so loud your ears threaten to short out…
Anyway, kids become teenagers and we like teenagers because they serve to get hacked to frack in all manner of slasher flicks, but some such films have dared explore the notion that prepubescents are just as capable of homicidal evils as much as any backwoods dwelling sack-headed psycho…
Three women go home to the town where another galpal of theirs was murdered years before for the wedding of a fourth friend – however she’s just perished in a car accident. The heroine, Claire, believes she has seen Milo, the rainmacked brat who was responsible for their friend’s death as kids. She tries to warn her pals but, of course, nobody believes her and they all end up dead. The explanation has something to do with abortions, Vincent Schiavelli, and kids who can’t grow. Can’t remember it now, but it sucked… And from the creator of Anaconda! Sold.
Evilness of Child: 66%
DEAD KIDS (1981)
Somehow this film is set in Illinois despite being shot in New Zealand… Maybe one of the experiments going on at the local college has something to do with teleportation. Whatever they’re up to, they’re making the neighbourhood kids into psychopathic killers who don’t think twice about slicing up those who get in their way. A kind of pre-cursor to Children of the Corn (see below) but crossed with some sci-fi gobbledeegook. There’s a great scene where the local busy-body babysitter drops in to make a snack for an 11-year-old, only to find her charge being carved up in the bathtub by a zombified teenage girl! Bonus points for maliciously offing a kid – gotta love that.
Evilness of Children: 18% (they didn’t know what they were doing – same excuse the tabloids use.)
BLOODY BIRTHDAY (1981)
Three 10-year-olds who share the same birthday are evil. In my experience, most kids become quite evil around their own birthdays. “I want! I want! I want!” Here, instead of tantrums over playing statues or the guaranteed horrendous bow-tie or dress* they’re forced to don for the party, Debbie, Steven and Curtis lack certain emotions that translates into remorseless children of DEATH!
They shoot their teacher, parking couples, interfering older sisters and try to run down whiny astrologically-informed heroine Lori Lethin and her little brother. The climax is pretty bizarre too, with action evidently tamed so the brat actors can’t be harmed (grr). It’s trash, to be sure, looks like Graduation Day on the surface of it, and the kids annoyingly don’t get what they deserve…
Evilness of Children: 85%
*gender depending, though not always. My 8th birthday is one to be remembered.
CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1984)
Coming from Stephen King’s short story but going in a vastly different direction, Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton are a bickering couple on their way to Seattle when they run over a country kid on a back road in Nebraska. Contrary to the advice of your assembly line aged gas station owner, they look for help in the small town of Gatlin, which ‘has religion’. It’s got religion alright; three years earlier, all the adults were slain by their own offspring under the leadership of creepy Isaac, who takes advice from He Who Walks Behind the Rows, later revealed to be piss-poor flamey animation. One of the better killer-kid opuses with some creepy small town ambience but the wheels gradually work progressively loose until they fall off the wagon completely come the end. Nevertheless, it obviously did something right, spawning an unbelievable six follow-ups, some okay (2, 5 & 7), the rest leaving an aftertaste worse than a KFC cobette.
Evilness of Children: 59%
Victor: Bloody Birthday. Debbie, Steven and the super-eeeeevil Curtis win this one with their brand of bratty adulticide.
What Have We Learned From This Horror?
I’d recommend avoiding kids in yellow rainmacks, never babysitting kids with steely glares, or becoming a teacher…or a parent. And don’t go to Nebraska.