Monday, February 12, 2007

Terrified of Tots

Are you afraid of children? I am.

Especially children between the ages of three and eight, because before three they are just babies, and by about nine they've become socially adept enough to realize that other people are not bugs or leaves. But from about three to about eight, they're just incredibly weird.

If you, too, are terrified of tots, with their tiny fingers and toes and supernaturally high pitched voices--if the pitter-patter of little feet in the hall makes you sit bolt upright covered in sweat and scramble for the golf club you keep under the bed--then you might like the following films.

In no particular order, this is an entirely idiosyncratic list--not inclusive--just films I like for their visual power, engrossing and bizarre storylines, and scary children. Oh, yeah, and SPOILER WARNING!

The Shining
I know Stephen King wasn't wild about Kubrick's interpretation, but those girls at the end of the hall have traumatized a generation of filmmakers worldwide. To see them once in the film is to see them in your worst nightmares--over and over.

There go those little footsteps again, honey. Where is your gun?

Slow, strange, with a chilling pay-off. Gore and fast-edit fans will never stay awake long enough for the disturbing conclusion to this tragic warning against the temptation to adopt. (Don't sign the papers until you see this movie!)

The Omen
That's right. You did what I told you not to do, and now you're the adoptive parent of Satan Junior.

This movie actually has two scary girls, but the more frightening by far is a pre-schooler with the best sneer I've ever seen. In fact, this child is so effective, I am pretty sure she is not an actress. I think the director cast a psychotic five-year-old with telekinetic powers. When she makes THAT face, cover your ears or suffer permanent hearing loss.

This one is a revenge tale. And you will see why this girl has every right to come back and mess these people up. Fun!

If you ever have a blow-out in a storm on a deserted road--make the kid get out and change the tire. I'm not telling you why.

Because the first time I saw this, I actually counted the days on the calendar, just to be sure when it was over.

Dark Water
Moody water. Murky water. Mommy water...

A Tale of Two Sisters
Okay, she's probably twelve, but she's as scary as an eight-year-old when she pops out from under the furniture and slides down the door.

Pet Sematary
I never trusted Gage, not even when he was alive.

The Brood
Ooooo, look! They're coming out of YOU!

Have fun. And remember: Always be kind to children, because they're dangerous and they might kill you on a whim.

Now I have to go work on my novel about a scary girl who lives in the woods.

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