Horror films are filled with monsters, slashers, psychopathic murderers, people that torture and kill others, curses, clowns, mysterious happenings, rabid animals, …
And yet, one of the scariest “things” in horror movies are, without a doubt, kids. What? Children aren’t scary. Well, not in real life. And not before midnight. However, they are still a trope commonly used in horror movies or games to put fear into the viewer or player.
But why is that so? Let’s find out!
Why Are Kids Scary?
If you’re a parent, you surely had to withstand the temptation to roundhouse-kick your toddler in the middle of the hallway around midnight. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s easy to understand this concept. After all, many movies have indoctrinated us to fear them. Just think of the following examples:
- The twin sisters from The Shining
- All kids from Village of the Damned
- Little Charlie from Firestarter
- Possessed Regan from The Exorcist
- Formerly innocent Gage from Pet Sematary
- Damien from The Omen
- Samara/Sadako from The Ring and Toshio from The Grudge
But why do these children manage to make our blood run cold?
Most people suspect that the creepy factor comes from how we perceive children in the first place. They are supposed to be innocent, viewing the world wide-eyed and curiously. The schema of childlike characteristics (or cuteness) is what naturally makes us perceive children as helpless, defenseless. The round face shape, big eyes, small nose, and overall cute features are fixed action patterns that trigger parental investment. They make us want to nurture and protect small children as well as young animals that also fall into this pattern.
What horror movies do is corrupt these traits. While our instincts telling us to protect these innocent little creatures, they are displayed as inscrutable, corrupted, possessed, …
It’s scary to think that something or someone you feel so protective over, someone that could hardly harm anyone, could be the root of all evil overall. This contrast between the innocence and potential threatening nature leads to confusion and, subsequently, fear.
Creepy Kid Ambiences
You want to use this scary kids effect for your own Halloween party, haunted porch or haunted house experience? Easy! Check out the ambient noise tracks below.
|?️ The Meek’s Kids Bedroom
Children’s room in a creepy, haunted house.
→ Doors closing, children singing, creepy musicbox music
|? Trick or Treat
It’s Halloween and the kids are out Trick or Treating.
→ Cats, owls, a windy atmosphere, children having fun
|? Ghostly Girl in the Orphanage
An abandoned orphanage, but it’s not as empty as it seems.
→ Humming, piano music, creepy child voices, doors, and windows randomly closing and opening
|? The Overlook Hotel
The famous hotel from The Shining.
→ Clocks ticking, chair and floorboards creaking, a woman is screaming
|?️ The Lodge – Until Dawn
The lodge from the horror video game Until Dawn.
→ Wind howling, leaves rustling, ghouls screeching
|? Child Ghost in a Creepy Mansion
An abandoned mansion, but there is someone left.
→ Thunderstorm, wailing, werewolf howls, dark ambient sounds
The one creepy children ambient you want is not in the list? Create your very own for free with Ambient Mixer, your online ambient noise generator!