You know how this goes: some movie comes out about a little kid who's not what he/she seems and every online wag has to throw together a list ranking each child that's given us the willies since The Bad Seed. Problem is, every one of these lists has the same characters: Damien Thorn (The Omen), Regan MacNeil (The Exorcist), any role Dakota Fanning's ever played...not to overreact, but it's an outrage.
We hold ourselves to a higher standard here at Hair Balls. I mean, children are pretty freaky already, so drawing dark circles around their eyes and sticking them on a tricycle under an overcast sky doesn't do a lot for us. Instead, we're going to promote our Orphan DVD contest with a list of five disturbing children whose evil has been unjustly overlooked by the listmaking community.
5. Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) -- Home Alone (1990)
There's a short story by horror author Jack Ketchum called "The Rifle" about a child with a taste for torturing animals. The idea being that evil can be identified early on, and needs to be dealt with as swiftly as possible. I don't think anyone can argue that young Kevin is a brutal and dangerous sadist who must be stopped at all costs.
4. Carol Anne Freeling (Heather O'Rourke) -- Poltergeist (1982)
"They're here" isn't very helpful, kid. How about, "The angry ghosts of the people buried under the suburban development built by your dad's company are here, and they're going to try to kill the whole family before the Beast sucks our house into another dimension?" It might have eliminated some confusion.
3. Curly Sue (Alisan Porter) -- Curly Sue (1991)
Because she's living in a shameless post-Reagan Era fantasyland that tries to convince us being homeless isn't all that bad, Sue's sociopathic good humor is somewhat understandable. Her eager willingness to spend time in the company of Jim Belushi is indicative of more sinister undercurrents, however.
2. Clifford Daniels (Martin Short) -- Clifford (1994)
In addition to the sheer tonnage of WTF? generated by casting a 40-year-old Short as a ten-year-old boy, we have young Clifford's actions themselves. When not making phony bomb threats, he's shutting off a plane's engines to force a landing at the Los Angeles Dinosaur Park. He's lucky he pulled that shit during the "anything goes" Clinton years, because if he tried it now he'd spend the next two years in Guantanamo.
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1. Alia Atreides (Alicia Witt) -- Dune (1984)
If there's anything creepier than a five-year-old witch with a fully developed adult's intellect who can control your mind and walks around with glowing blue eyes and a poison needle, I haven't seen it. And you don't want to know how she gets her nickname, "St. Alia of the Knives."
Win an Orphan DVD -- we dare you. Be among the first three people to email firstname.lastname@example.org (Put "orphan dvd" in the subject line) and it's yours.