The best horror movies take advantage of viewers by presenting ideas or situations that make them uncomfortable. It is no surprise then that children are sometimes selected to be an actual personification of horror. Children are considered innocent and adorable, so audiences are often horrified deeply when a child is in fact a terrible creature, say someone who has been possessed by a demon (or is the personification of Satan himself) or space alien or one who has been turned into one of the living dead.
The list below chronicles five of the best horror kids in horror cinema.
Linda Blair was 13 years old when she tackled the role of Regan McNeil in 1973’s The Exorcist. Lonely Regan is responsible for unleashing the demon Pazuzu when she beings to mess with an Ouija board. Regan believes she has made friends with the entity she calls “Captain Howdy.” Sadly, the entity turns out to be an ancient demon, one that has a bone to pick with Father Lankester Merrin (Max von Sydow).
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Harvey Spencer Stephens was only four years old when he played the role of Damien Thorn in 1976’s The Omen. Damien is in actuality the son of the devil, the antichrist born in flesh. His end goal is to start the apocalypse.
Born in London, England, Stephens is a natural blond, so for the role his hair was dyed dark brown. Thirty years later, Stephens made a cameo in The Omen remake, appearing as a news reporter. Stephens lives in London working as a trader on the London stock market. He continues to appear at horror conventions, bringing along his signature tricycle (watch the movie to discover why the tricycle is important) and signing autographs for fans.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British Studios
Although more properly considered a science fiction movie, 1960’s Village of the Damned has earned its reputation as a horror film also. The movie was inspired by John Wyndman’s 1957 novel titled The Midwich Cuckoos. The original movie was followed by a sequel, 1963’s Children of the Damned.
Village of the Damned tells the story of Midwich, a village whose inhabitants one day suddenly fall unconscious. After this “time-out” incident, all the village women of proper age are suddenly pregnant. The resultant children are “possessed” by alien entities that lack any emotions. As they grow, they display great telepathic and telekinetic abilities.
There was a 1995 remake of Village of the Damned. In this version, when the children use their psychic abilities, the pupils of their eyes are saturated with red- or green-flecked sparks. The colors then turn bright white when they exert themselves using their psychic abilities. All the children have bright white hair.
Kyra Schon was 11 years old when she played Karen Cooper in George Romero’s epic Night of the Living Dead. Kyra played the daughter of the ever-bickering Coopers, Harry and Helen, who along with another couple are hiding in a house’s basement as a result of a zombie apocalypse.
Schon is the real-life daughter of Karl Hardman, the man who played Harry Cooper. In Night of the Living Dead, Karen is hurt off screen. During the movie’s climax, Karen dies and becomes one of the living dead. She attacks her mother with cement trowel, one of the film’s bloodiest and intense scenes. When dad descends into the basement, he finds his daughter eating his mother. Karen then kills her father with the same trowel.
Kyra Schon runs a website titled Ghoulnextdoor. Check it out, particularly for her cool merchandise, as well as her blog and convention schedule. I especially like her custom-made trowels.
Daveigh Chase was 12 years old when she played the role of Samara Morgan in The Ring, the American remake of the Japanese horror movie Ringu. The character of Samara Morgan is a dead girl somehow trapped in a netherworld, where she uses a power known as nensha (psychic photography) to burn images into the minds of others. It is this power that Samara uses to create a cursed videotape and ultimately climb out and invade the real world through television screens. Samara wears a white dress. She has long dark hair that covers her face. When entering the real world, Samara moves in a disjointed manner.