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Top 10 Disturbing Child Characters In Horror Movies

by Estelle
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Most horror fans have by now probably binge-watched their favourite horror movies a couple of times or are, at the very least, planning a horror movie marathon if lockdown doesn’t end soon. Scary movies featuring creepy kids are often more popular than slasher films or other types of horrors. For instance, Regan from The Exorcist will probably always come to mind first for her head-turning performance, as well as those weird kids from Children of the Corn. And who could forget diabolical Damian from The Omen or the ghost twins from The Shining. Some still feel a chill when they think about the jump-rope girls in Nightmare on Elm Street slowing singing ‘One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…’

On this list are 10 more child characters with the potential to make you have nightmares. Oh – this list has spoilers.

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10 Mercy and Jonas

The Witch | The Twins | Official Clip HD | A24

In The Witch, viewers are introduced to possibly the evillest twins after the Grady sisters in The Shining terrified audiences in 1980. While Mercy and Jonas, fraternal twins, may look like normal, everyday children at first glance, it soon becomes apparent that there is something very wrong with them. They accuse their older sister, Thomasin, of being a witch and taunt her every chance they get. They also delight in claiming to have forgotten their prayers, angering their deeply religious parents. At one point they writhe around on the ground during prayers, as if possessed. Moreover, they have creepy conversations with the family’s goat, Black Phillip. It also becomes clear that their playmate is truly evil as Black Phillip is, in fact, Satan himself. In disguise. The twins’ cute faces belie their intentions at first, which makes the unfolding of their true nature even more unsettling to watch.[1]

9 Doris Zander

Doris Zander (Ouija) – Gothika

Doris Zander is a bit of an odd duck right off the bat. This is obvious even before she becomes possessed, her eyes turning white, creeping the living daylights out of another character in Ouija: Origin of Evil by exclaiming: “Do you know what it feels like to be strangled to death? First, you feel the pressure in your throat. Your eyes water, and you start to taste something very, very sour in your mouth. Then it’s like someone lights a match right in the middle of your chest, and that fire grows. It fills your lungs, and your throat, and all the way behind your eyes. And finally, that fire turns to ice; like pins and needles of ice are sticking into your fingers, your toes, your arms. You see stars, then darkness. And the last thing you feel… is cold.”

Doris goes on to draw stitches on the mouth of one of her dolls, claiming her deceased father did it “to stop the voices.” She also causes the death of two characters and just when you think they are finally rid of her demons at the end after her own mouth is sewn shut, she runs upside down on the ceiling in a mental hospital, giving viewers a jump-scare they are not wont to forget in a hurry.[2]

8 Rhoda Penmark

The Bad Seed (1956) Official Trailer – Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack Movie HD

In the 1956 movie, The Bad Seed, an innocent looking girl named Rhoda turns out to be pure evil too. Released four years before the critically acclaimed movie, Psycho, the film explores the psychopathic side that resides in a young girl who treats humans like they are absolutely nothing and regard their emotions as something alien.

Eight-year old Rhoda murders three people by means of drowning, arson and with the help of a staircase. While these killings happen off screen, the black and white film still manages to instil an uneasy feeling in viewers as they come to the realization that Rhoda is psychotic despite her big-eyed innocent look. After beating one of her fellow students and leaving him to drown, Rhoda arrives home from school early and asks for a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk before going out roller-skating as if nothing happened. While their handyman burns to death in the cellar after she started a fire and locked him in, Rhoda plays ‘Au clair de la lune’ on the piano over and over while he screams in pain and is engulfed in flames.[3]

7 Samara Morgan

The Ring – Samara Morgan TV Scene HD

A list like this wouldn’t be complete without everyone’s favorite creepy kid, Samara Morgan. While she wouldn’t scare most people in 2020, when Samara crawled through TV screens in 2002, she pretty much freaked out everyone who laid eyes on her.

Sure, she has a good reason for being evil considering she was thrown into a well and left for death. But as expected, this elicits little sympathy considering that she is now a vengeful spirit with long, wet black hair hanging over her deformed face. Even before she became this unnerving, haunting spirit, she was able to burn awful images into the minds of her adoptive parents. She could also burn these images onto transparent film. She caused horses to commit mass suicide and is eventually thrown into the well after being suffocated by her adoptive mother.

Samara wasn’t done with the world after dying. She created a videotape which she cursed so that anyone who watched it would die 7 days later.[4]

6 Stephanie

Stephanie – Trailer

Stephanie is another sweet little girl with evil on the inside. Not only is she abandoned at home by her parents during an apocalyptic event (because they realized all is not well with their daughter), she also keeps the corpse of her brother in his room after she kills him.

Her parents eventually come back and bury their son’s body. The corpse returns to the house via the attic window, but Stephanie seems unaffected by this. Soon it becomes apparent that there is no apocalyptic monster on the loose. Instead, the young girl herself is the monster. And she’s not alone. After torturing and killing her parents and leaving them at her brother’s grave, she uses her telekinetic power to destroy the neighborhood in tandem with other telekinetic children around the world.[5]

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5 Brandon Breyer

BRIGHTBURN – Official Trailer #2

What would happen if Superman used his powers for evil instead of good? While the movie Brightburn never explicitly states that its main character is Superman in an evil form, Brandon Breyer’s backstory closely resembles that of Kal-El. He crash-landed, presumably from another planet, and landed up in Brightburn where a married couple found and raised him.

Yet this is where the similarities to Clark Kent end. Brandon crushes a girl’s hand after she calls him a pervert in front of his peers. He uses his powers to kill the girl’s mother by piercing her eye with a shard of glass and then attacking her. He picks up a truck, with his uncle inside, and drops it forcefully to the ground, leaving the man with his jaw torn loose and bleeding to death. Brandon also kills his adoptive parents and causes a passenger plane to crash killing all 268 people on board. Oh, and he also dons a very creepy laced mask throughout the film.[6]

4 Luke Lerner

BETTER WATCH OUT (2017) Clip | What Has Gotten Into You?

Babysitting will never be the same again. After being scared out of her mind by what looked like a home invasion while babysitting, 17-year-old Ashley realizes the 12-year-old she’s looking after is the one that orchestrated the entire ‘attack’. Luke Lerner has a crush on Ashley and attempts to seduce her. When he is rebuffed, he becomes incredibly angry especially after Ashley calls him ‘mental’ for planning the home invasion prank.

Luke goes on to hit Ashley with a gun and with the help of his friend Garrett they also knock out and tie up Ashley’s boyfriend when he arrives at the house. Luke eventually kills his own friend and stabs Ashley. When she does not die, Luke tells his mom that he is worried about his babysitter and asks to go the hospital. This last scene happens during the credits, leaving the viewers to draw their own conclusions.[7]

3 Michael Myers

Michael Myers is arguably one of the most unnervingly creepy characters ever created. He never speaks. He only terrifies his victims with his white mask and heaving panting while he stabs or chokes them.

Perhaps the scariest thing about Myers is that he finds you where you feel safest. That, and the fact that he started killing at the age of six when he murdered his own sister in cold blood while wearing a clown mask, makes for a very disturbing character. Sam Loomis, Michael’s psychiatrist, says of 6-year-old Michael that he had the devil’s eyes and an emotionless face. He also says that he spent seven years trying to keep Michael locked up because living behind the boy’s eyes was pure evil.

He was not wrong. After spending 15 years in an asylum after murdering his sister, Michael Myers escaped and spent another 23 years hunting down the rest of his family, killing several others that got in the way.[8]

2 Eli

12-year-old Eli befriends the bullied 12-year-old Oskar in Let The Right One In and shares her secret with him; she is a vampire and has been twelve for a long time. Eli feeds on her neighbors and lives with a much older man.

In the film, she scales a hospital wall in search of a patient’s blood, and she cannot stand sunlight or eat food. Being a vampire, she must be invited in to be able to cross a threshold. When Oskar does not invite her in, she bleeds from her eyes, nose, and mouth in a very disconcerting scene. She eventually slaughters Oskar’s bullies, severing one’s head and arm. Throughout the film, Eli continually needs to feed on blood resulting in many casualties. Toted as a romance horror film, there is a lot more horror than love.[9]


Clip Hereditary: “Click”

Everything 13-year-old Charlie does in the movie, Hereditary, is creepy. From the clicking thing with her tongue to the way she gasps for air when she ingests peanuts (which she is allergic to). She also snips the head off a bird with a pair of scissors. She keeps the head in a box alongside other animal heads. When she finally loses her own head, literally, she continues being creepy in the afterlife with her brother hearing the clicking sound when he least expects it.

Towards the end of the film it is finally revealed that Charlie wasn’t being the strangest and creepiest kid in the world on purpose. She was temporarily possessed by the demon Paimon, and her own soul was freed when she was decapitated while being driven to the hospital by her brother.[10]

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fact checked by Jamie Frater

Estelle is a regular writer for Listverse.