It truly does seem that Hollywood has turned to children in a huge effort to make sure people are scared stiff in movie theaters. But this has been done for years. Some of the oldest and scariest films have introduced the ultimate horror via these creepy little guys and dolls. While it may seem that Hollywood is leaning a little too hard on “child labor,” there are some definite reasons why kids seem to scare grown-ups more than other grown-ups. In fact, I’ve got Five Good Examples to substantiate the declaration that Kids are in fact, scarier than adults in horror films.
They Have “The Sixth Sense”.
Because adults are so used to being in complete control of situations, it’s unnerving to think that a child is capable of doing things that adult cannot. Sure, grown-ups may be able to drive, buy alcohol, and see Rated-R films with no problem. But the fact remains that when it comes to more sensitive psychic abilities, we grown-ups just happen to fall short. In 1999, Haley Joel Osment wooed nine-year old girls everywhere with his innocently perfected declarations about the afterlife. In fact, his insight in the blockbuster film, “The Sixth Sense” was in many ways scarier than the dead people he proclaimed to see. Certainly, everyone in the theatre was aghast at viewing a teenage “ghost” walk around poor Cole’s apartment with the back of his head blown off. Truth be told, audiences were more aghast at the fact that Cole was privy to the sight instead of his mother. What’s really scary is having an innocent child look at you and reduce all of your complicated adult feelings to one sentence.
They Play “Hide and Seek”
Little Emily Callaway (otherwise known as Dakota Fanning) was fit to be tied by her imaginary friend, “Charlie.” 2005’s “Hide and Seek” starring both Fanning and Robert DeNiro (as her doting Daddy) did more than startle audiences with the heavy silences and foreboding set. “Charlie” in fact, remained invisible for about two-thirds of the film. His antics were terrifying. Opening windows and leaving foreboding notes in blood around the house is justifiably cause for alarm. But for some reason, it is Emily herself that causes audiences to freak out. Why? Because her delicate face is framed by a wig of dark hair. And that dark hair goes right along with the blank and disturbed expression that lingered on her face for much of the film. Dakota’s terse vocabulary and violent gazes made Emily’s character more ominous than the monster we couldn’t see. By the time we find out who has been playing Hide and Seek with Emily, it just doesn’t really matter anymore.
They Won’t Die
When children who have been drowned violently by their parents won’t seem to die, there is a problem. Such is the case with petite “Samara,” the Villainess Supreme whose image on a videotape suddenly came to life to scare her victims into the afterlife. “The Ring,” which starred Naomi Watts and David Dorfman (as equally creepy, “Aidan”), focused on a few subplots—but none of them more frightening than Samara’s. This child, in her videotaped interviews with Doctor, admits that she enjoys her self-imposed evil, and did not plan on stopping any time soon. This very vivid and concrete declaration is enough to give any adult the “willies.”
They Are Kin To The Anti-Christ
While most of these recent child ‘terrors’ were tangential in their brushes with evil, Damien WAS evil incarnate. Born the son of the Devil, he never even had a fighting chance. In watching “The Omen”, I was always amazed that few of the adults present felt strange around the child, especially the parents. And why is it that no one thought to examine the tot’s skull earlier in life? Surely, the “666” they’d encounter would be a dead giveaway. Instead, the family had to take the long way in discovering that something was not quite right with their perfect little angel. In 1976, child actor Harvey Stephens II, had his blonde tresses dyed black in order to portray the wicked tyke. This did nothing but magnify his already sinister demeanor. His menacing smile into the cameras at the end of the film was actually quite innocently provoked, according to the director of the film: Little Harvey was told not to laugh (a reverse psychology ploy). As a result of trying to withhold his chuckles, a small devilish (pun intended) smile ensued—succeeding in scaring enough viewers to tune into the sequel two years later.
They Vomit Pea Soup
Without a doubt, the all time scariest child of the century is “Regan”, the focal point of hit 1973 blockbuster, “The Exorcist.” Voted by Entertainment Weekly as the Scariest Film of All Time, one does not have to wonder why. More likely than not, Linda Blair’s (“Regan”) subsequent acting career came to an abrupt crawl after this role. Rumored to have made some audiences faint during the film’s release, “The Exorcist” succeeded in commanding the attention and respect of every adult viewer. Further giving credence to the horror is the fact that episodes in the film are reported to be based on real events. Knowing that somewhere in America, there really was a child who vomited pea soup at the command of the Devil, is the official stamp of Terror.