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Horror Movies Where Even The Kids Weren't Safe

The horror genre is predicated on pushing boundaries and shocking the viewer. In most other films, you can more or less depend on a happy ending, even if it's bittersweet or complicated. But in horror, all bets are off and no one is safe.

It's all too common for horror films to kill off even the most likable of characters and in the most gnarly fashion possible. Even children might be fair game for punishment. Not only that, but oftentimes, a child character can receive the worst fate of all, often resulting in some truly twisted moments.

Whether it be a grizzly death, physical mutilation, mental torture, or death via killer clown, just because you're below the legal drinking age, it doesn't mean you're safe. So grab your closest blunt object and don't forget to check the children, because these are some horror movies where even the kids aren't safe.

Alice, Sweet Alice

When it comes to slasher movies, "Alice, Sweet Alice" is never held in the same regard as "Friday the 13th" or "Halloween," which is a shame. The film is a unique gem, heavily entrenched in haunting religious imagery and some truly gnarly onscreen murders.

The film introduces us to the Spages family — single mother Catherine (Linda Miller) and her two daughters, Karen (Brooke Shields) and her older sister Alice (Paula Sheppard). Alice is quickly established as a very mischievous and potentially malicious personality, often abusing her younger sister Karen. On the day of Karen's communion, someone about Alice's height and build kills her while wearing a doll-like mask. Not only is Karen strangled to death, she's also set on fire, with her grisly remains discovered by nuns shortly thereafter. This immediately sets Alice up as the prime suspect, but as we soon learn, things aren't always as simple as they appear.

Karen is the only child who meets with a gruesome end in the film, but it's a shocking way to kick things off. If you've never seen "Alice, Sweet Alice," definitely seek it out, as it's a truly under-appreciated addition to the slasher sub-genre.

Final Destination 2

While far from the most subtle of horror franchises, one cannot deny the effective nature of the "Final Destination" films. Each entry follows a cast of victims who, due to some inexplicable precognition, avoid a tragedy that was set to kill them, only for fatally bad luck to pick them off one by one.

For the most part, kids and young teenagers have usually been spared a gruesome fate throughout the series. The exception is "Final Destination 2," which sees the character Tim Carpenter (James Kirk) meet a particularly sickening end. As one of the survivors of an earlier tragedy, Tim has been marked by Death itself to die as he was intended to.

Tim meets his end partway through the film when, upon leaving a medical complex with his mother, he sees a flock of pigeons. Looking to stir them up, Tim runs into them, causing them to distract a construction worker who accidentally releases a pane of glass. The pane falls and crushes poor Tim into fruit jam in mere seconds, much to the shock and horror of his mother.


It's only fitting that one of the most infamous child deaths depicted on screen would take place in one of the most famous horror films of all time. Universal Pictures' 1931 adaptation of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" from director James Whale still stands out as one of the most influential films ever made. From the exemplary makeup work to Boris Karloff's portrayal of the titular character, it's no wonder why the film is still a keeper for many.

Following the monster's escape from Dr. Frankenstein's lab, he makes his way into the countryside where he encounters a little girl, Maria. Not terrified by the well-meaning and misunderstood monster, Maria invites him to join her in tossing flowers into the lake to see them float.

The monster, still impressionable and not quite understanding the concept, proceeds to pick up Maria and toss her into the water. Maria then begins thrashing and struggling in the water, with the monster very quickly realizing that he has messed up. He flees in fear and, just a few scenes later, we see Maria's father carrying her lifeless body through town. Even today, it's still a tragic sequence, so one can only imagine just how shocking it was all the way back in 1931.


In a vast sea of evil clown horror films, "Clown" definitely stands out from the rest of the crowd, as its body horror with an added dose of white greasepaint delivers a unique onscreen monster. While cleaning out an old house he'll be selling, husband and father Kent McCoy (Andy Powers) discovers an old vintage clown suit in the basement. With the clown for his son Jack's birthday AWOL, Kent opts to slip on the costume and entertain at the party. The next morning, Kent and his wife Meg (Laura Allen) discover that the suit, including the wig and rubber nose, refuse to come off. In pursuit of a solution, Kent discovers the horrific truth: The suit itself is actually the skin of an Icelandic demon creature known as the Clöyne.

It seems Kent's transformation can only be reversed by eating five children, something he's resistant to ... at first, anyway. As the film goes on, the Clöyne's influence takes hold and Kent sets off on a ravenous clown rampage. Not only does Kent devour his son's school bully but he even munches up two kids playing inside a Chuck E Cheese. Filled with ample body horror and child death, "Clown" stands as yet another reminder of just how terrifying clowns can be.

Halloween 3: Season of the Witch

If ever there was a horror film that was grossly misunderstood upon its original release, it'd definitely be "Halloween 3: Season of the Witch." Following the first two "Halloween" films that centered on the masked murderer Michael Myers, John Carpenter and Debra Hill (still guiding the franchise as writer-producers) took the series in a bold new direction. As he mentioned in the pages of Fangoria, Carpenter wanted to break the format and take the series in a more anthology-based direction, and he tapped director Tommy Lee Wallace to make a stand-alone "Halloween" movie.

This resulted in "Halloween 3: Season of the Witch," in which Dr. Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) is swept up in an evil conspiracy concerning Halloween masks. The masks are a product of the Silver Shamrock company, run by the sinister Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy). It's revealed the company is a front for a sinister plan involving a Halloween broadcast that, when watched while wearing a Silver Shamrock mask, kills the viewer. We get a taste of this when we see a child in a pumpkin mask lurch over in agony before bugs and snakes emerge from his head.

Given that the broadcast still airs at the film's chilling conclusion, we are only left to assume countless children suffer the same fate. As the odd man out in the "Halloween" chronology, the third installment definitely boasts one of the series' most sickening moments.

Doctor Sleep

The plot to "Doctor Sleep," especially when you hear it for the first time, isn't quite what one would expect from a sequel to "The Shining." The film, set decades after the original, sees an adult Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) still coping with the trauma of the Overlook Hotel and its many ghosts. As Danny grapples with his demons — both literal and at the bottom of a bottle — a new threat emerges. We're introduced to a group of vampire-like humanoids known as the True Knot, who feast on children with the Shining ability.

In their introductory scene, we see a little girl lured in by the True Knot's leader, Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), before being claimed as yet another meal. But this is utterly tame compared to the fate of their next target, a young baseball player walking home alone after a game. After being lured into their van, the group pin him down at a construction site where they begin stabbing him to death. This releases his essence in the form of steam which the members of the True Knot begin sucking up with sinister satisfaction. Both of these deaths help to solidify the True Knot as a legitimate threat and enhance the film's sinister tone.


Nothing quite beats a Christmas-themed horror movie. The cheerful and often whimsical visuals of the holiday season paired with gore and mayhem is often a match made in heaven. From "Gremlins" to "Black Christmas" to "Silent Night Deadly Night," there are plenty of unyielding yuletide classics to stuff your stockings with.

"Krampus" is a film that falls perfectly into that category, paying tribute to one of European folklore's most interesting entities, the Krampus. We meet the Engels, an extended family of dysfunctional weirdos settling in for what promises to be an awkward Christmas visit. Following a destructive family dinner, Max (Emjay Anthony) rips up his letter to Santa Claus, essentially turning his back on Christmas all together. This slight against Christmas itself seems to invoke a sinister snow storm that, in almost no time flat, envelopes the neighborhood. Cut off from civilization, the family soon finds itself under siege by killer gingerbread men and a slew of murderous children's toys.

It's honestly amazing that "Krampus" made it to theaters with a PG-13 rating, because even with minimal blood, plenty of children meet gruesome fates. From getting devoured by jack-in-the-box demons to being dropped into fiery hell portals, the kids are most definitely not alright.


Long before Steven Spielberg was dazzling critics with "The Fabelmans," he was terrifying moviegoers with 1975's "Jaws," one of the original summer blockbusters. The film's presence in pop culture is so ubiquitous that generations have been unable go to the beach without thinking about it.

The film is set in the island town of Amity, a community with a thriving summer tourism season. All seems fine until a swimmer's remains wash up on shore, confirming the presence of a killer shark. Despite the warnings of police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) and oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfus), the town's mayor (Murray Hamilton) foolishly keeps the beaches open. This leads to one of the most famous scenes in the movie, the death of a young boy named Alex Kintner (Jeffrey Voorhees).

Needless to say, Steven Spielberg knows what he's doing behind the camera, putting us right into the shark's point-of-view as it stalks its prey. Poor Alex's final moments are shown in their near-entirety as the shark approaches, eventually dragging him to his untimely doom. We're even treated to a brief but horrific moment of the shark mauling Alex as blood shoots up from the water. In a film filled to the brim with standout sequences, it's impressive that this one, even decades later, still sticks with people.

Pet Semetary

Stephen King has had zero qualms when it comes to killing off characters. Case in point, "Pet Sematary," a story that utilizes two of King's recurring hallmarks, supernatural terror and dead children.

We meet the Creeds — Louis (Dale Midkiff), Rachel (Denise Crosby), and their two children, Ellie (Blaze Berdahl) and Gage (Miko Hughes) — a family who've just moved to a small town in Maine. However, it turns out the Creeds have moved next door to a makeshift pet cemetery (marked by a sign bearing the titular misspelling), which they're shown by their neighbor Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne). Things take a turn when Louis is warned of the cemetery's apparent evil by Victor Pascow (Brad Greenquist), a jogger who gets hit by a truck outside the Creeds' home. Louis' hand is forced not long after when, after wandering into the middle of the road, Gage is killed by another truck. Despite warnings from both Jud and Victor's ghost, Louis buries Gage in the "pet sematary" in order to resurrect him.

This results in Gage rising from the dead with a haunting new appearance and sadistic tendencies, even killing Jud and his own mother. Simply put, there are few horror writers who know how to make children as terrifying and evil as Stephen King can.

Both versions of IT

Oh, hello Stephen King. Nice to see you again. We've already mentioned King's willingness to kill his child characters in gruesome fashion, and nowhere is that more on display than in "IT." The immense novel has seen itself adapted both for television in the '90s and for theaters in the 2010s. Both versions saw the titular monster played to perfection, first by Tim Curry and later by Bill Skarsgård.

The story sees the small Maine town of Derry menaced by a sinister creature that often takes the shape of a circus clown named Pennywise. We meet the dancing clown when he introduces himself to Georgie (Tony Dakota), Bill Denbrough's (Jonathan Brandis) little brother. After enticing Georgie with the promise of carnival rides and snacks, Pennywise grabs him by the arm and bites the limb clean off. We're spared this horrific visual in the miniseries, though that didn't stop the 2017 version from showing it in all its glory.

Regardless of which adaptation you're watching, aside from Georgie, countless other children are threatened with an unfortunate end courtesy of Pennywise. Whether it's in the sewers, a house of mirrors, or under a bridge, Pennywise can appear just about anywhere he smells fear.


Ari Aster made a sizable splash in the world of horror when he unleashed "Hereditary" on unsuspecting moviegoers in 2018. Even from watching the trailers, no one could've predicted just how uniquely terrifying Aster's debut feature would end up being.

The film sees the tragic downfall of the Graham family — Annie (Toni Collette) and Steve(Gabriel Byrne), along with their two kids, Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Millie Shapiro). Their young daughter, Charlie, is weird from jump street, making bizarre clicking noises and decapitating dead birds with scissors. It's mentioned early on that Charlie has a debilitating peanut allergy, a fact forgotten by her older brother. When Peter is forced to take Charlie with him to a party, it isn't too long before she's exposed to peanuts. Gasping for air and with her EpiPen AWOL, Peter drives like a maniac to get his sister medical attention.

It's here that Charlie, struggling in the back seat, sticks her head out the window for fresh air just as Peter swerves by a telephone pole. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out what the ensuing thud means as Peter sits idle, eventually driving home in a traumatized trance. The sequence concludes the next morning when a screaming Annie comes outside to see Charlie's decapitated body in the back seat. We are then treated to the lovely sight of Charlie's head, still sitting on the road, now covered in ants.

Maximum Overdrive

Hey, Stephen, leave them kids alone! Okay, we swear that this is the final time that Stephen King will be mentioned on this list, for real this time. "Maximum Overdrive" holds the interesting distinction of being directed by King himself, rather than an established filmmaker adapting his work. Per King's tongue-in-cheek message in the film's original theatrical trailer, "I just wanted someone to do Stephen King right."

The film follows a ragtag group dealing with a fleet of killer machines given sentience by the tail of a passing comet. This includes ATMs, soda machines, trucks, cars and even a steamroller, which leads us to the death scene we'll be discussing. While not the first time a child has met their end via vehicular manslaughter in a King project, it's most definitely the most gruesome.

During an insane montage of various machines going on a rampage, we are treated to a young boy being flattened by the aforementioned steamroller. While no actual gore is shown, the visual itself is shocking enough on its own that it leaves a major impact on the audience.


The dawn of 2023 saw the rise of a new horror icon, primed for Gen-Z audiences, in the form of M3GAN. The film itself, named after its eponymous villainess, is a glorious reminder that sometimes the best horror is the cheesiest.

The film follows Cady (Violet McGraw) and her aunt Gemma (Allison Williams), stuck with each other following the death of Cady's parents. Gemma, a roboticist at the fictional Funki toy company, finds inspiration through Cady to test her passion project, M3GAN, the ultimate kids' toy. M3GAN not only resembles a little girl, she's programmed to be an ideal companion, even helping Cady cope with her complicated feelings. However, the more M3GAN learns, the more obsessed with Cady's safety she becomes, eventually taking her duties to disturbing extremes.

This includes defending Cady while on a class trip where a malicious little boy named Brandon is harassing her. After setting his sights on M3GAN, Brandon quickly learns just how deadly she can be, especially when she rips his ear off. This causes a horrified Brandon to run and fall onto a busy road, where he's hit by a car and killed. As M3GAN's first human victim, Brandon's death effectively establishes just how menacing she can be despite her doll-like appearance.

Trick 'r Treat

Michael Dougherty's "Trick 'r Treat" was actually delayed for up to two years before it saw a release in theaters and video-on-demand. The film tells the tale of four intertwined stories that all take place in the same town and on the same Halloween night.

"Trick 'r Treat" covers everything from zombified kids to sexy werewolves, from serial killers to the very spirit of Halloween itself. One of the commonalities among every story is an appearance from the film's mascot, a masked trick-or-treater named Sam, short for Samhain.

The other commonality is a surplus of on- and off-screen child death, resulting in many of the film's most disturbing moments. This includes a snide trick-or-treater being killed with poisoned candy before having his head turned into a jack o' lantern. There's also a group of young pranksters being left to be ripped apart by a group of zombified bus crash victims. On that note, there's also a flashback that sees a school bus full of developmentally challenged kids drive off of a cliff. Halloween as a holiday has always had an aura of danger to it, so it makes sense for the film to embrace that sinister vibe.

Speak No Evil

Horror films from different countries will often go beyond the pale and depict things far more shocking than American audiences could even conceive of. The Danish film "Speak No Evil" centers on Bjørn (Morten Burian), Louise (Sidsel Siem Koch), and their daughter Agnes (Liva Forsberg). During their travels, they meet Patrick (Fedja van Huêt), Karin (Karina Smulders), and their son Abel (Marius Damslev), a young boy who his parents claim was born without a tongue.

It soon becomes clear to Bjørn and his family that something is definitely off with their hosts. They eventually discover that not only is Abel not Patrick and Karin's actual son, he's one of dozens of kids who've been kidnapped by them. This is confirmed when Bjørn finds evidence of the past families they've brutalized, while Abel is found floating dead in the pool.

The film's climax sees Agnes get her tongue cut out like Abel, before her parents are stoned to death by Patrick and Karin. We then end on a shot of a now permanently mute Agnes, as Patrick and Karin introduce themselves to a new family, starting the whole cycle all over again.

The Witch

Robert Eggers is quickly establishing himself as one of the finest horror directors working today. What's so interesting about his most popular films is that they aren't overly horrific at first, seemingly beginning as subdued character dramas. This applies to both "The Lighthouse" and Egger's breakout film, "The Witch," both of which strive for total immersion.

In "The Witch," everything from the setting to the dialogue is a pitch perfect representation of the early 1600s. The film introduces a family consisting of William (Ralph Ineson) and his wife Katherine (Kate Dickie), their eldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor Joy), her brother Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw), and two young twins, Mercy and Jonas (Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson).

Exiled from their previous home in a Puritan settlement, the family sets up near the woods, where they soon find themselves targeted by seemingly supernatural forces. The family's demise is set into motion when, after running into the woods, Caleb is apparently hexed by the witch seen lurking nearby. He returns, not only naked and disoriented, but ill as well, eventually going into convulsions before he dies in front of his family. Even the twins aren't safe, as later on it seems as though the twins may have met a similar end to their older brother, though their ultimate fate isn't explicitly shown.