Yesterday I was perusing Twitter, and came across a series of photographs by the rather wonderful Joshua Hoffine, who creates horrific scenes with the touch of an artist. The photos that grabbed my attention can be found in this Huffington Post article, and in them he uses his own children to create horror stills, for no other reason than that adding children to horror is really scary!
He's right you know. There's something just truly creepy about the use of children - in particular 'child ghosts' or 'demon children' in horror stories. Think of all the movies that have played on this theme over the years: Village of the Damned, Children of the Corn, The Dark Water, Ju-on: The Grudge, The Orphanage, The Exorcist (kind of), Poltergeist, and more recently 'Mama' (see the trailer below, if you don't fancy sleeping tonight).
There are lots of theories about exactly why we find children in horror settings so scary, and it makes for fascinating reading. There's something subversive and challenging to our psyche to see the innocent as a façade for evil, or the 'safe' becoming the horrific in one fell swoop. I kind of think that, in the same way that we naturally find crimes against children abhorrent, our minds rail against the idea of 'evil' or 'frightening' children. When we see it played out on the silver screen or in a book, our brains reject the notion, and generates an almost instant phobia of the thing we're seeing. You've probably noticed recently that zombie movies have started to include zombie children - zombies just aren't scary any more, but zombie children instil that sense of revulsion that cinema-goers had when they first saw Night of the Living Dead.
This isn't meant to be an in-depth blog post (I've linked to one of those above); more a random musing. As I'm currently writing a horror book, I've been looking at creative ways to use the 'supernatural child' trope in my own work. Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, you can see the results for yourselves.
Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite.