Sunday, May 24, 2009

WOAH THAT'S HEAVY: Killing Children in Horror Films.

After every recommendation email basically mentioned this, I had to make this the first topic. It was also my idea in case I got some craptacular recommendations, but I didn't! You guys were awesome! One of the biggest taboo's in horror films is to kill children.

Children are the epitome of hope. They're still growing, still learning, and still have a ton of life left in them. There's a reason that child murderers and child rapists get the shit kicked out of them in prison. It's because children are defenseless compared to a fully grown adult. Now, like I've mentioned before, my mother has been running a home daycare out of our home for as long as I can remember. I've been playing Mommy since I was 12 years old. I've had children come and go, grow out of the system, and just plain "not need a babysitter" anymore. I get Pet Semetary visuals when I see them close to the road...AND THEY'RE NOT EVEN MY CHILDREN! So I get the same effect when I watch horror films and they axe of children. There's a couple different categories and exceptions that I've found when watching these films.

Split Second Sights of Dead Children are A.O.K:
Did it disturb you in Sleepaway Camp to see the 4 second blip of chopped up sleeping bags? Did you recall that she killed off basically a troupe of Boy Scouts? No. You were more disturbed by the slow painful curling iron in the vag, the drowing under the boat, and the bees on the face. All of those deaths were children. Ages between 6-14. CHILDREN. Kids that aren't even in high school. And yet when Angela Baker kills off a fistfull of 8 year olds, we don't even budge. This scene happened so quickly, that I couldn't find an image of it on the internet! The same thing could be said for The Shining. (except I know I can find that image) Yes, it is VERY disturbing when you see the Grady Twins, it's even more disturbing to see them chopped up and bloodied all over the walls. However, because it's so short-we're more disturbed by HOLY SHIT CHOPPED UP BODIES than we are with "holy shit....those are children". Both of these cases are absolutely horrendous to me. Whether a child is shown for a minute or the entire film, it's still awful to see.

Killer Kids Are Scary, but we still won't kill them:
Watching the scene from The Children where the mother refuses to kill the killer kids just because they're children is something that isn't new. For some reason, no matter how demented or evil these little buggers are...we're conflicted with whether or not to kill them. We can't get past the small little exterior. This is exactly why people didn't suspect Damien, and why the Village of the Damned fell to destruction so quickly. How else did those damn Corn Children take over the town so quickly? Why else would be the reason that young Michael Myers wasn't executed early on.

Teenagers Don't Count:
I personally don't understand why we are so disturbed by children dying, but not when teenagers die. It's a tragedy when a 17 year old Class President is killed by a stray bullet, but it's a HOLY SHIT DID YOU SEE THAT! When a teenager is smashed by a plate of glass in front of his mother. Whatever reason, teenagers are still CHILDREN. We still live with our parents, we can't drink, and we still (in some cases) have curfews. So why do we allow teenagers to be hacked to bits, but children can't be? It's a double standard. I get the whole "teenagers are stronger" thing, but a teenager is still going to have a tough time fighting off a demon or a slasher. It's just weird that we mourn the losses of teenagers in high school yearbooks, but we scream in excitement when horror films blow them to bits. We almost LIKE to see "idiotic teenagers" die. It's really sick when you really think about it.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Ever realize how when you watch the NOES films, you forget that Freddy is a child murder? It isn't until Freddy Vs. Jason when he's seen in a room with pictures of little girls all over his walls and he starts to lick one that you remember, oh yeah...he kills kids. Yeah, it's sort of crazy that he kills people in dreams, but he's a CHILD MURDERER. That's worse. Way worse.

Spreading the blood of the innocent:
Like I said before, children are innocent. When your little brother broke the vase and didn't get in trouble, it's always because "he doesn't know any better". Which is why it is so heartbreaking (although an accident) when Frankenstein drowns little Maria. It's so simple that a child looks past a monster and offers him to make floating boats out of daisies. This scene is the EPITOME of the death of an innocent child. She is playing a game, looking past the exterior that would make normal people run in fright, and she's being punished for it. Just like that annoying little boy in The Blob. Even though the kid was annoying, he didn't deserve to die by any means. And to watch the poor soul be smothered by that blob was really heartbreaking.

Babies are even worse:
Even more innocent than the young children, are babies. I was told to look up this scene by B-Sol of The Vault of Horror and I'll admit, I was so completely destroyed by it that I don't think I'll ever get the image out of my head. In Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem has more disturbing children scenes as well as BABY scenes than I've ever seen. A kid has to endure the horror of seeing an alien embryo burst out of his father's chest before it happens to him as well. A young seven year old girl (after seeing an Alien) sees her father get ripped to shreds in front of her by the Alien after she tried to convince him there was a monster outside. Pregnant women get assaulted by the Alien Queen by having baby aliens injected in them through the stomach and you see baby Aliens shoot through pregnant woman's stomach There's even a suggestion that the Queen wants to get in to the baby nursery and implant all the babies as well. WHAT THE FUCK. Why else is INSIDE so fucked up? uh duh. Babies. Same thing with Dawn of the Dead....Oy.

Sidenote: I don't know if you've noticed but you sort of have to EARN the right to kill off kids. Films with killer kids or children dying are often times from Great directors and great writers. so AVP:R does not fit the bill, and it was totally uncalled for.

But the worst, absolute WORST things about children killing in horror is...

Parents: watching parents kill off their own children is the most disturbing thing I could ever see. Baby Blues is by far the best(worst) example of this. Its a look into an extreme case of Postpartum depression in which the mother tries to kill her children. But it just freaks me out. I don't know, maybe its just me. But after I have my children, if I ever have thoughts of killing my children, I'll separate myself from them, just because I think you know, killing is wrong and stuff. I don't know. It's just really strange.

So why is it that we still watch these films? Anyone, anyone, Bueller, anyone?

13 comment(s):

John said...

killing children/babies is my favorite thing in horror movies. I wish there were more of it. What I can't stand is killing animals. Particularly domestic ones like dogs and cats. A cat gets killed, I'm pissed.

B-Sol said...

If I may offer some insight by way of a shameless plug, the League of Tana Tea Drinkers did a mass posting a while back on the phenomenon of evil kids in horror, and while not the same, it does have something to say on this topic: agree about the insidiousness of how we are often made to cheer on the murdering of teenagers. It also struck me as weird/disturbing. The only explanation I can offer is I think there's something subconsciousthat makes people think of pre-teenage children as more innocent because they haven't yet been "tainted" by puberty. It's a puritanical Christian thing.

B-Sol said...

Oh yeah, and John--get some help, my man! :-)

gord said...

I wouldn't say I like seeing kids get killed in horror films, but I do usually give a silent/sad/shocked congratulations to films that have the balls to do so.

Stac said...

I have a really, really hard time watching kids get killed in movies. I love kids; I have several nieces and nephews, and have worked with kids all my life. I have a primal terror that always exists inside at the thought of a kid dying.

Great post; a lot of people seem to think that killing kids off is hilarious. It's nice to see I'm not alone. :)

Anonymous said...

It's people like this that are responsible for the pussification of this country. Children may be helpless, but are by no means innocent in every case. You cannot assume that just because they haven't reached the age of majority (set by man) that they are just innocent little darlings that haven't experienced a shade of corruption. While I'm not advocating the killing of children, I will say, deal with it. It happens.
Crazy bastards out there that kill their own children for rediculous reasons (wouldn't stop crying, depression, confusion, etc), and for the retarded lawmakers trying to pass a bill to allow mothers to get off on claiming temp insanity for killing their children within 1 year of birth (because they were depressed), should all be shot. But turning a blind eye to the reality that if a city blows up, a town gets slaughtered, a serial killer strikes... nevermind. It's just arguing logic vs. emotion.

As long as movie makers continue to make sure that you realize that no children were harmed during the razing of this village, everyone's happy.

BJ Colangelo said...

Coney- I'm not one to be confrontational, but you crossed the line. I wasn't saying that "killing children is awful and should never be seen" I was putting in my two cents about how I classify the different aspects of whacking off kids in films. I'm assuming right here that you are a man. Which I can almost guarantee I'm right because no self-respecting woman would tell another woman that she is responsible for the "pussification" of our country.

Sorry I choose not to live in a society where if we accept killing children, or rationalize it, then it is completely okay.

It all goes back to nature versus nurture. Children are young, naive, and i don't care the crime, should never face the same consequences as an adult. That's just damn horrible. Kids are too young to make their own conscious decisions completely void of any influence by not only outside forces but also as an act of imitation.

I will tell you that your little "logic" of age of maturity and corruption and what have you, is complete and utter bullshit. I've went through a childhood that no film maker would DARE put on screen and you know what, it IS an excuse. You said so yourself that children go through corruption. The difference between a corrupted adult and a corrupted child is the fact that a child has time to RE-LEARN. Adults are stuck in their ways. Why punish a child with death because they're 'corrupted' when children do not ASK to be corrupted. So that point is completely irrelevant to your argument.

You have NOT had a child come out of your body, and you have NOT experienced the physical and emotional trauma that SOME women face after having a child. Why else would the death of a child jump start the divorce rate more than any other circumstance? Children change everything. That bill is completely necessary. It's proven that the chemicals and hormones in your brain during pregnancy go completely out of whack, so you're basically telling a woman to rot in hell when she is SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN temporarily insane? That my friend, is STUPID.

You say that you are not advocating the act of killing children and yet you are basically telling me that I'm a pussy for feeling sad watching a child die? You are heartless. Absolutely, heartless. Just kidding, you're not're the stereotypical angry, frustrated male horror fan. The exact reason I started this blog in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your reply.

And I agree. That would be the view of a stereotypically angry, frustrated male horror fan.

Though I still think that "temporary insanity" is no excuse to drown your child, throw them in the trash, into a river, off a bridge, etc. And I do not believe that a law should be passed giving ANYONE a potential out when it comes to commiting such a crime.

So while I agree with your post, we will just have to agree to disagree on the bill.

I apologize for my attempt to get a rise out of you. Looks like I got more than I bargained for.


Johnny said...


Becky said...

damn skippy. well said BJ-C.

Unknown said...

Have you seen the "Bad Seed"? I've never been so terrified of a child in my life. Her mother had to choose: send her murderous daughter (who killed another child and at least 2 adults) to be locked away or dispose of her. She chose to try and kill her, but couldn't deal with the guilt.

I have to say, the ending was pretty Deus ex Machina; not satisfying at all.

Jess C. said...

I LOVED Pet Semetary because Gage died. Stephen King GOES there and it's so horrifying. Everyone expected his Dad to rescue him, but the Mack truck met with him first.

Anonymous said...

How in God's name could you LIKE seeing kids die? You're a demented freak sir

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