What is the scariest thing about horror films? Some may say the eerie mansion in which paranormal activities take place. Others may say the crazed masked murderer chasing down their terrified victims, but for most horror fans, it is the seemingly cute child who turns into a creepy sociopath that is the most terrifying.
A good example can be found in Jordan Peele’s box office smash hit, Us, which releases on DVD and Blu-ray on 29 July. The film follows the Wilson family who decide to take a family holiday to Santa Cruz where (SPOILER WARNING) they are attacked by sinister doppelgangers including evil mirror images of the Wilson children; Zora and Jason.
To celebrate the release, we examine other diminutive devils…
THE SHINING (1980)
A family of three head to an isolated hotel which has a notoriously violent past. While Jack, the patriarch, tries to focus on his writing, he is gradually tormented by the hotel’s supernatural guests. This evil force also starts to affect his young son Danny, who, while riding his bike through the hotel hallways, comes across a pair of twin girls. As the twins move menacingly towards Danny, he notices their bloody bodies lying on the floor next to an axe.
THE EXORCIST (1973)
A teenage girl moves to Washington DC while her actress mother films a movie. When young Regan starts to act out of character, her mother Chris starts to conduct neurological tests before calling a priest to perform an exorcism.
THE ORPHAN (2009)
Kate and John Coleman tragically lose their baby; to rebuild their troubled marriage, they decide to adopt a 9-year-old girl called Esther. Suspecting manipulative behaviour and possibly even psychological damage, Kate contacts the orphanage and finds that Esther has a mysterious and dangerous history.
VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1995)
A small Californian town is invaded by an unknown force leaving ten women in the village pregnant at the same time. Nine months later they all give birth on the same night, but one baby is stillborn. During the children’s early years they appear normal, but as they grow older, their differences become apparent. In addition to identical pale skin, platinum blonde hair and bright blue eyes, the children all have the power to control human behaviour.
THE PRODIGY (2019)
The plot centres around a child whose disturbing behaviour signals that an evil, possibly supernatural being, has taken control of his body. It slowly becomes apparent that the boy, Miles, has been taken over by the spirit of serial killer Edward Scarka, who was killed by police minutes before Miles was born and now seeks revenge on the woman who reported him to the police.
THE BAD SEED (2018)
A single father seems to have everything under control, until a tragedy takes place at his daughter’s school. When one of Emma’s classmates is found dead at the bottom of a cliff, he is forced to question everything he thought he knew about his child. As more strange things begin to happen, David is forced to keep a terrible secret as he uncovers Emma’s involvement in numerous murders.
THE CHILDREN (2008)
Elaine, her second husband Jonah, teenage daughter Casey and younger children Miranda and Paulie travel to Aunt Chloe’s isolated house to spend the New Year with family. They are welcomed by Chloe and her husband Robbie and their children Nicky and Leah. Soon, Paulie becomes sick, quickly followed by Leah. Over the next day all the remaining children become infected with a mysterious virus and begin to launch violent attacks on the adults.
THE OMEN (1976)
Robert Thorn is an ambassador to the United States whose wife has a stillborn child. Without her knowledge, Robert substitutes another baby for their own. As the child grows up grisly deaths begin to occur; the child’s nanny hangs herself and a priest is impaled in a freak accident. It turns out the child is the son of Satan and can only be killed with the seven daggers of Megiddo.
CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1984)
A young couple wander into a mid-western town where all the adults are apparently dead. The remote town is home to a dangerous religious cult of children who worship a malevolent force in the corn field, believing everyone over the age of 18 must be killed.
Us releases on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD from 29 July.