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Why are kids so creepy?


As October comes to a close we’re officially entering the season for scary movies and slutty costumes (more on the slutty costumes next week). And though I’ve always been a fan of Halloween (Playing dress-up and free candy… what’s not to like?) I have to admit, I’m not really a big fan of scary movies.

Both Claudia and Elisabeth are connoisseurs of the horror genre. Though Claudia is more of a fan of spooky films than the ‘hack-and-slash’ variety, she’s seen them all. She enjoys them. In fact, if I were a horror filmmaker I would actually pay Claudia to come to my test screenings because she has the most awesomely over-the-top, yet completely genuine reactions to scares. I remember seeing The Ring with her in the theater and I could barely focus on the movie – it was much more entertaining watching Claudia react. And she had already seen it!

I’m sort of the opposite. I really don’t enjoy being scared. A horror/scary movie has to be really exceptional for me to see it, let alone like it. Instead of the fun adrenaline-rush that most horror junkies get from being terrified, I just get really tense and headachy. Which is not what I call a good time. I remember my mom renting Watchers In the Woods for my sister and me when we were little and I just about lost my shit. And that was a Disney movie.

And though I don’t see most scary movies, I watch the trailers for all of them (with the exception that I will never, ever watch another trailer for any variation of The Human Centipede ‘franchise’. I felt the need to give my brain an enema after watching the trailer and was physically nauseous). I also have a weird fascination with knowing the plots of movies I have no desire to actually watch (thanks www.moviespoiler.com), so I feel like I’m pretty aware of what the horror/scary movie genre has to offer of late. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that if you leave out the torture porn genre, the most creepy thing one can possibly put in a movie is a child.

Seriously, why is it that people find little kids so scary? It seems every other movie out there features some ghost child darting behind furniture or slowly opening it’s mouth. Here are just a few of the creepy/scary/evil kid movies that I could think of off the top of my head – and I don’t even know that much about scary movies:

The Omen, The Changeling, The Grudge, The Others, The Other, The Orphanage, The Bad Seed, The Innocents, Children of the Corn, Orphan, Case 39, Let the Right One In, The Sixth Sense, Village of the Damned, The Ring, The Exorcist, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark…

The list could go on and on. In fact, if the trailer is to be believed, The Woman in Black, Daniel Radcliff’s period ghost flick about to be released, is just another in a series of ‘something-bad-happened-and-now-creepy-kids-are-going-to-pop-out-behind-something-and-make-you-jump’ movies.

Again, I know that I’m not a fan of the genre, but I just don’t get what is so creepy about a kid lurking in the background. I find lurking children more annoying than scary. Granted none of the lurking children I’ve encountered in real life have been ghosts.

But before you think me totally lame (too late?), here is a list of movies I genuinely love despite the fact that they scared the crap out of me*:

28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, The Descent, Alien, Psycho (though in many ways, I find Vertigo more terrifying), Silence of the Lambs (not a horror film, but it scared the crap out of me at the time), The Shining, Poltergeist 1 and 2 (not sure how well these would hold up but they scared me when I saw them. Though the parts that scared me the most were the scenes with Zelda Rubinstein and Julian Beck), Jaws, Let the Right One In (original).

And finally, I have to give a shout out to Splinter directed by Toby Wilkins – a totally great modern monster movie. You may not have seen but should. And I’m not just saying that so I continue to get invited to his BBQs.

*I know I’m supposed to say Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, but I didn’t see them until I was a grown-up and though I think they are excellent films, for some reason I wasn’t particularly scared by them


2 Responses to “Why are kids so creepy?”

  1. Claudia Maittlen-Harris October 21, 2011 at 9:37 am

    In my defense when that kid comes out of the tv in The Ring – that’s really scary. But I come from a long lineage of over-reactors. You should meet my mom. But after reading your list, why is it always white little kids that are creepy? Latino kids? Asian kids? Black kids? Apparently – not creepy at all, just adorable.

    • Megan Gray October 21, 2011 at 10:04 am

      Huh. It is mostly white kids! You can’t get much whiter than those children of the corn kids. And despite his name, who’s whiter than Ron Melendez?

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