Now, The Grady Twins aren't really horrible. I mean, they're victims. Ghosts. Echos of a tragedy. But their presence in Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece is still among the most unnerving creepy kid appearance in horror history.
On of the obscure gems spat out by distributor and exploitation movie fat cat Harry Novak, The Child plays like an eerie amalgam of The Bad Seed, Carrie and Night of the Living Dead. In it, a governess drifts into a rural town to take the position of caregiver to a troubled girl named Rosalie (Rosalie Cole), a motherless child with a chip on her shoulder a mile wide and whose hobby is to drag the desiccated corpses from the nearby cemetery out of their graves and play with them. Of course, when people cross her, she sends her monstrous friends out to tear them to shreds, something her nanny finds out during the films nightmarish climax.
We're huge fans of this modern riff on The Bad Seed and the casting of Kevin from Home Alone is ideal. As Henry, Macauley Culkin perverts his sweet face smashingly, killing, taunting, torturing and manipulating everyone around him until even his own mom has had her fill. Great film. Underrated.
No horrible horror movie kid list would be complete without an appearance by little Damien Thorne because, well...he's the freaking Antichrist! Forgive him, as he's just born that way. It's in the blood to be bad and Richard Donner's masterpiece frames his antics with one helluva domestic horror movie to play in.
Like The Grady Twins, we can't call Regan horrible, really. She's possessed by the demon Pazuzu after all. But under his/its spell, sweet Jesus does Regan behave terribly. Barfing, swearing, urinating, defiling herself with a crucifx, spinning her head 'round, tormenting Priests. The list of transgressions is long and horrible indeed!
Rick Baker's mutant hellspawn in Larry Cohen's still-shocking parental monster-mash is an iconic bad kid. I mean, this kid is murderous from the moment he exits the vagina, wiping out the delivery room before hightailing it to the hills to murder milkmen and everyone else who comes in his crawling path of carnage. Except his parents, which gives Cohen's masterpiece its tragic soul.
Director Ed (The Brain) Hunt's madcap horror film sees a trio of tots born during a solar eclipse and, ten years later, morphing into a crew of psycho killers. This one has to be seen to be believed and the kids are chilling. You'll laugh while watching only because Hunt goes so far to ensure we despise these fresh-faced moppets.
Okay, listen up: Orphan is a masterpiece and it doesn't get enough attention. In it, Isabelle Fuhrman sears the screen as an eastern European orphan who is taken in by a kindly family but soon shows her true colors. In fact, Esther isn't really a kid at all but she's trapped in a kid's body and she's one of the most hideous and terrifying pint-sized psychos in horror history.
Patty McCormack's malevolent incarnation of Rhoda in the 1956 adaptation of the novel and play The Bad Seed is still a chilling and unequaled portrait of a burgeoning sociopath. McCormack looks the picture of '50s kid cuteness but under her pigtails pulses a homicidal narcissist extraordinaire. Try to catch the cut of the film where Warner Bros. tacks on a "happy" ending where Rhoda gets spanked while giggling. A bizarre sugar pill swallowed after enduring such a traumatic film!