The "killer child" film is an intriguing niche, one in which the perceived innocence of kids runs in sharp contrast to their violent actions on screen. It's a gimmick, to be sure, but quite a few such movies have reached beyond pure shock value to create great moments of thrills, chills and even depth.
25. Children of the Corn (1984)
© Anchor Bay
One of the films most synonymous with the "killer kid" genre, this Stephen King adaptation actually isn't all that great, but it creates enough atmosphere -- especially in an early massacre scene -- to make it entertaining.
© Anchor Bay
It will never be confused for a good movie, but The Pit
remains absurdly watchable, thanks to its fascinating train wreck of a lead character. Watching 12-year-old Jamie is like watching a serial killer hitting puberty. He's an emotionally disturbed, pathologically lying perv who looks up women's skirts and sends harassing photos of naked women to his teachers. His teddy bear is even more pervy, prodding him even further into voyeurism. If there's anyone who shouldn't be trusted with a pit full of maneating troglodytes, it's him. But unfortunately for everyone else, he's the one who discovers the pit, and his natural inclination is to lure people he doesn't like (of which there are many) to it and push 'em in.
© Warner Home Video
The idea of a mutant killer baby is laughable, but cult writer/director Larry Cohen treats it with a remarkably straight face in It's Alive
. The seriousness is helped by the fact that the claw-footed kid -- little more than a cheap rubber doll -- isn't shown much. Mostly you just hear it off screen, crying and screaming when it's scared...which is a lot.
After Drew Barrymore won our hearts in E.T.
, she set them on fire as the sympathetic title character in this Stephen King adaptation. She stars as a little girl whose ability to light fires with her mind draws the unwanted attention of the military...and weenie roasters nationwide.
21. The Children (1980)
In this entertaining low-budget feature, six children on a school bus ride through a toxic cloud from a nearby nuclear power plant, turning them into zombies. These zombies aren't interested in eating anyone, though. The twisted plot has them developing the ability to burn people alive with their hands, meaning that all the kids have to do to kill their parents is to give 'em a hug.
20. Case 39 (2010)
Playing like a feature-length version of the classic Twilight Zone
episode "It's a Good Life," this long-delayed and underrated flick starring Renee Zellweger as a social working hired to handle a troubled girl delivers solid, if derivative, entertainment value.
19. Sick Boy (2012)
One of the more underrated killer kid movies, Sick Boy's classic babysitter-in-peril setup is turned on its head when the source of the peril turns out to be the child she's babysitting. Cinematic direction, oodles of atmosphere, a strong cast and realistic, well-rounded characters overcome the low production value and make this a true diamond in the rough.
© Dark Sky Films
Italian legend Mario Bava directed this tale of the ghost of a six-year-old girl (although the actress appears to be much older) who seeks vengeance on the residents of a small Transylvanian village who let her die years before. Despite a silly American title, this is a somber film that showcases Bava's visual style, with kinetic camerawork, dreamlike sequences and lush colors.
In this Stephen King adaptation, a grief-stricken man buries his young son's body in a magical burial ground that resurrects corpses. However, when the tyke returns, as they say down South, "That boy ain't right." It seems he's developed a fondness for the feeling of scalpels slicing through human flesh. Frankly, though, since he's just a toddler, he's hardly scary (And somehow, despite being run over by a tractor trailer, he has only a small scar on his forehead.). It's a testament to the movie, then, that it remains entertaining despite a nemesis you could pick up and toss with one hand.
© Lions Gate
Pale-faced, black-eyed zombie kids dressed in Depression-era clothes climb out of the mine they died in and roam the woods every night, carrying pickaxes. If that's not scary enough, they use the axes not only to kill you, but also to tenderize you before their meal.