Top Five… Scary Kids’ Stuff In Movies
Kids can be cruel… and they can be downright scary too. As Halloween draws ever closer, Ross McD plays with the progeny props that petrify…
5. Rocking horses
Lot’s of kid’s toys are freaky (jack-in-the-box? Don’t even get me started on the sick pantomime that is Operation), but none as much as rocking horses. An animal that symbolises wildness, freedom, running, its legs peversely straightened and locked to a mocking pillory. There’s an easy trick to making kids things look scary – simply don’t have any kids there. And when they’re moving on their own – and a simply push or gust of wind is all that’s required in this case – well that’s a whole new level of freakiness. In Prom Night 2, poor Vicki gets locked in her bedroom with a demon possessed one, its writhing, rasping tongue protruding from its wooden mouth. Gross.
4. Children’s songs
Like toys, having a children’s song playing when there are no children about sets a sinister tone – indeed lots of nursery rhymes are supposedly based on history’s grimmest entries: Did you know for example that Ring-a-Ring-o-Rosie is thought to be about the Black Death and the Great plague; Jack and Jill are believed to be King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette; and Baa Baa Black sheep is apparently about the slave trade? The lyrics aren’t so subtle in A Nightmare on Elm Street, but that freaky chant of one, two, Freddy’s coming for you was the scariest thing in the whole series.
3. Ice-cream trucks
No offence to Ice-cream van drivers – but try describe that profession without sounding dodgy. The Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang tops many ‘worst villain’ lists, and with good reason, he is essentially a paedophile. His ‘treat-filled’ contraption was a terrifying hell-bound carriage of wrongness, which actually became a lot less sinister and repulsive once all the gaudy cardboard pretence fell away and its true nature of a simple cage was revealed. ‘Don’t take sweet from strangers’ became a moot piece of advice once mother’s let their kids watch this film.
Still can’t understand why these are so popular – essentially little dead bodies, lifeless eyes staring back, tiny arms outstretched, beckoning you to lift them closer to your chest, your throat, your eyes… There are countless examples of scary dolls – Jigsaw’s dummy from saw deserves a dishonourable mention, and how Toy Story 3 got a G rating with the freaky-eyed Big Baby stomping around, I’ll never know – but all must bow to the king of playthings: Chucky. Sure, watching Child’s Play now is more comedy than horror, but if you grew up with the generation who had to sneak to watch this film without their parents knowledge or consent, you’ll remember how terrifying the little ginger was. Seeing him run around on his tiny little feet was bad enough, but it was much, much worse when he was pretending to be lifeless…
Why do people say they’ve a fear of clowns like it’s the most unnatural thing in the world? Surely we all realise now that everybody is afraid of clowns? Who was the first person to imagine a grown man with his face painted would ever be appealing to children? In Stephen King’s It, the ‘It’ in question takes on many forms, focusing on children’s fears, but none even come close to Pennywise the Clown. There’s a whole generation of 80s kids who have chosen Burger King over McDonald’s ever since.
WHAT SCARES YOU?