A recent trend in media is the idea that children are scary or creepy. Girls seem to be particularly popular – from pale-faced, stringy-haired ghosts to demonically possessed victims, creepy girls are becoming a common feature in horror films and other genres. This list covers ten creepy girls who have appeared in films, TV and video games in the past thirty or so years, to frighten or fascinate audiences. Most can be terrifying but have a sense of sympathy to them, or some are just unstoppable creatures of evil wanting to rip the world apart.
Eli and Abby
Let the Right One In/Let Me In
Swedish film Let the Right One In and its American remake Let Me In are a pair of delightful horror/romance films featuring a twelve-year old boy befriending and eventually loving a vampire girl, respectfully named Eli and Abby in the two films. While appearing young due to their immortality and are seemingly innocent, both girls need human blood to live, forcing their guardians to venture out and murder people. This is to be expected of vampires, but without blood, it is implied that the girls have a more bestial side to them. In both films, Eli and Abby are left without blood and are forced to attack people like animals and drain their blood by force. They also show an ability to move at lightning speed and scale buildings and trees easily.
Two particular creepy scenes in both films involve Eli and Abby lapping up spilt blood like a dog when their friend cuts his finger, and when they enter the boy’s apartment uninvited and start bleeding from every orifice until he invites them in. In a surprising turn, it turns out in the novel the films are based on, Eli is in fact a boy who was castrated when he was turned into a vampire. However, this plot point was not passed over into the films.
This poor psychic girl had a rough life living in Silent Hill. Pretty much born and raised by her mother to be a host for an evil god which Alessa would eventually give birth too. Through a traumatizing ritual to impregnate Alessa, she received severe burns, and part of her soul split away to be reborn as baby Cheryl Mason who would have a role to play in future events. Alessa was hidden away in the basement of the local hospital, forced to stay alive due to an incantation put on her by her mother. Wishing to cease to exist and stuck with a dormant unborn god inside her, Alessa’s life has been pretty miserable. Alessa’s suffering and hatred materializes as the shifting worlds of Silent Hill, complete with twisted, inhuman monsters that stalk the streets, representing different parts of Alessa’s psyche.
In the 2006 film, Alessa was considered a demon by her crazy aunt Christabella and burnt alive to “purify” her. And it didn’t help that beforehand, she was bullied by her fellow students and raped by a janitor. Alessa was saved, but ended up in hospital with a charred body and a fury to match. She manifested her anger into Dark Alessa, a burnt, sinister and delightfully creepy incarnation of herself, who engulfed Silent Hill in darkness to punish those who had wronged her. Dark Alessa is a particularly creepy girl who wants nothing more than to exact revenge of her tormentors and dance in their blood. Alessa also frees her goodness as Sharon Da Silva, who is later lured back to Silent Hill to reunite with Dark Alessa. With help from Radha Mitchell’s character, Alessa is able to break into the church of the evil cult who condemned her to exact bloody vengeance upon them.
The Addams Family
The iconic daughter of the creepy and kooky Addams Family. In the television show, Wednesday was a friendly, sweet girl whose only oddity was to collect spiders. But her more familiar appearance is a pale-faced, gothic girl who never smiled, had a deadpan attitude, and was obsessed with physically harming or even killing her brother Pugsley. Maybe it was her own way of showing love for her brother. She has a collection of severed dolls heads, and her favorite doll was guillotined by Pugsley. Together, the two kids are quite sadistic, enjoying the misery of others and consider touring graveyards and torturing one another to be fun. Thankfully the Addams Family is a comedy, or Wednesday would have been sent off to the nearest mental hospital years ago, although the ironic thing is she would probably enjoy it.
Alma is a key character in the F.E.A.R. games and the main antagonist and source of the supernatural goings on. While she is quite similar to Samara Morgan in terms of appearance and powers, Alma isn’t stuck in a videotape. In fact she is a constant presence in the video games, appearing to players throughout the games as a disturbing little girl whose face is hidden under black hair. Having powerful psychic powers, Alma can turn her surrounding environment into a warped, hallucinogenic nightmare and possess people. Alessa had a terrible childhood, developing psychic powers from an early age, and spent her life stuck in a laboratory as a lab rat. And then she was forced into a coma, impregnated twice to create super soldiers who become the series’ main hero and secondary antagonist, and she gave birth to both at the ages of 15 and 16, and she eventually died. That was until her psychic energy pretty much resurrected her as a vengeful spirit. And to make matters worse, in the second game she causes more mayhem, appearing as a naked adult woman and rapes Michael Becket to conceive a third child, although the pregnancy only brings her more pain.
Elfen Lied is a heartbreaking, emotional and bloody manga and anime, focusing on a subspecies of humans called Diclonius, notable for having horns and psychic powers which materialize as deadly transparent tendrils called “vectors”. Most of the Diclonius are physically and mentally abused by a research centre which imprisons and tortures Diclonius, removing even their basic human rights on the basis that they are not even humans. As a result, most of the Diclonius are mentally unstable and violent, taking great pleasure in slaughtering humans. Lucy, the main heroine, suffers a lot in the series and makes a gruesome breakout of the research facility using her vectors to slaughter everyone in her path. During her escape, she is hit by a bullet which causes her to develop a second personality named Nyu, who is curious, child-like and has no memories of her other self. When she receives an injury, Lucy returns and resorts to her homicidal ways.
Other Diclonius appear in the series. Nana, younger than Lucy, manages to maintain her sanity thanks to her attachment to scientist Kurama, but ends up getting into a fight with Lucy and has her limbs chopped off. Marika Kurama, Kurama’s biological daughter, is even worse than Lucy. Cute and in a wheelchair, Mariko is deceptively deadly. Trapped in a cramped container with no human contact aside from the voice of a scientist, Mariko is understandably quite psychotic for her young age and uses her twenty-six vectors to maliciously rip people apart for fun. She eventually reunites with her father who was responsible for locking her up, leading to an emotional encounter between father and daughter.
I was unsure whether or not to put Samara Morgan or Sadako Yamamura of The Ring films onto this list. I decided to go with Samara. The iconic stringy haired ghost girl from The Ring lingers in the minds of moviegoers, tossed down a well by her foster mother and rose again as a vengeful spirit haunting a cursed videotape which kills whoever watches it within seven days unless certain conditions are met. The film has audiences sympathize with Samara, until it becomes clear that she is willing to drag the whole world down to hell to make everyone know of her suffering in life and “never sleeps”.
Sadako was good-intentioned and relatively gentle before she turned into a ghost, whilst Samara seemed to be homicidal even when she was an eight year old, willing to murder her parents’ beloved horses just to get their attention. And another creepy factor is that Samara actually torments those who watch her tape, causing them to suffer from realistic hallucinations and nightmares until she crawls out of the nearest TV to scare them to death. While can be speculated that Samara is simply a poor little girl wanting to be loved after being betrayed by three parents, she has a quality of creepiness to her that brings the former theory into question – she wants you to know her suffering and then she wants you dead.
A step up from Samara and Sadako is Kayako Saeki, the terrifying antagonist of The Grudge/Ju-On series by Takashi Shimizu. While Samara has at least some degree of reason to do evil, Kayako is completely consumed by a blind, unending fury. Murdered by her husband Takeo after he discovered she loved their son’s teacher, Kayako, her son Toshio, Takeo himself and the family cat Mar were all killed and their combined rage resurrected them as vengeful ghosts in the form of a curse. Whoever steps into their haunted house becomes part of the curse and will be eventually killed by the ghosts to spread the curse. While in the American films, the curse only spread to those who enter the container of the curse, in the Japanese films the curse was spread from person to person and place to place, even by mere association.
Anyway, the scariest aspect of The Grudge is Kayako herself. Since her ankle and neck were broken by her husband, Kayako can barely walk as a ghost and must crawl her way around, letting out a chilling death rattle with her black hair dangling over her face. She does have an extension of other powers, able to appear as a phantom made of hair, and materializes out of photos and popping up out of nowhere to drag her victims into an unknown oblivion; although in later films, it is revealed that the victims can turn into ghosts themselves to spread the curse. Kayako’s most iconic scene is crawling her way down a staircase to kill, crawling her way out of her own body bag. And the most disturbing thing is that she does this again and again, unable to end the curse and move on.
The Shining is considered one of the greats of horror films, and it is no surprise, with Jack Nicholson’s performance and the numerous iconic images and lines of the film. The Grady twins who appear in the movie give a brief but memorable performance. Nicholson’s son Danny encounters the two girls whilst cycling around the corridors of the Overlook Hotel, standing in the middle of the corridor and invite Danny to play with them. The scene is intercut with shots of the twins lying on the ground in a pool of blood, having actually been hacked to pieces by their father would went mad and killed his family before taking his own life. It is rumored that the way the twins stand side by side is based on the Twins photo by Diane Arbus, although Stanley Kubrick denies this despite studying the works of Arbus including the photo.
A relatively new member of the creepy child family, Yuno Gasai is the lead heroine, if you want to call her that, of the manga Future Diary. The series focuses on Yukiteru Amano, a lonely kid whose cell phone is given the power to predict his future by the resident god of time and space Deus Ex Machina. However, it turns out Yuki and eleven other people are in a survival game where the last man standing will become Deus’ successor. Yuki’s closest ally is Yuno Gasai, who happens to be obsessively, madly in love with him and has been stalking him for a year.
Yuno has two sides to her personality – a relatively normal, sweet side with a strong sense of loyalty and affection towards Yuki; and a psychotic, obsessive, murderous side that has zero empathy and considers anyone who even gets close to Yuki to be a potential threat. She wields knives and axes like a maniac, and seeing her interswitching between cute and psychotic is quite unnerving. Her personality is based on the Japanese character archetype called “Yandere”, a character who has an unhealthy romantic obsession, is violent and mentally unstable. Yuno has a tragic past like most of the characters on this list, and became attached to Yuki through a promise to go stargazing with him by becoming his eventual wife. Yuno’s violent tendencies and seeing how far she will go to protect Yuki make her a compelling character, and definitely one of the most disturbing characters to come from a manga.
At the top of the list is Regan MacNeil, a cute, harmless twelve year old girl. Who is possessed by the devil, better known as the demon called Pazuzu. The Exorcist was one of the most terrifying, and back in the 1970s, controversial horror films. Regan is possessed by Pazuzu and it is up to Father Damien Karras and Father Lankester Merrin to exorcise the demon from her. Linda Blair does a fantastic job as the possessed Regan, although the voice of Pazuzu was done by radio star Mercedes McCambridge. Linda had quite a lot to deal with in the film, not only was she thrown around a lot in stunt work, but the iconic exorcism scenes were shot inside a freezer, with Linda only wearing a nighty
Nevertheless, Regan is a marvelous horror villain even though it is Pazuzu who is in control, because everything she does is creepy and disturbing. Her body slowly undergoes a demonic transformation; she speaks in Latin and curses a lot; able to speak with the voices of the dead; telepathically throw stuff around; and spit out green vomit on characters. But those are just the tip of the scary stuff Regan does. She curses a lot as said before, telling her own mother to molest her and is a shocking scene, stabs herself in the privates with a bloody crucifix. The way she “spider walks” her way down the stairs on her back, and the awesome scene where she spins her head around a full 360 degrees. The exorcism scene is a moment of sheer chills, Regan putting up quite the fight against the two holy men, spitting slime in their face, tormenting Karras with the voice of his late mother, and even faking the release of Regan by floating up into the air and down again.