There are certain taboos that few filmmakers will breach. Killing kids is one of them. That’s why a good child murder remains one of the moments in any movie that will shock even the most jaded connoisseur of extreme exploitation.
Some of you reading this will believe that kid kills are beyond the pale, but remember – this is just acting and make-up. This list is the best fictional kid kills – you won’t see the Twilight Zone movie on this list. Adjust your outrage-meters accordingly and settle in for ten of the best minor murders ever committed to celluloid.
Totalled Tot: Ice cream loving Kathy
Kiddie Killer: White Warlord
Minor Murder Method: Silenced pistol round to the ice cream cone
John Carpenter’s first feature is not just a great updating of Rio Bravo but also a movie featuring one of the all-time great kid kills. Kathy and her dad are lost in a bad neighborhood; while dad phones for directions, she goes for a Vanilla Twist cone from a local ice cream truck. Too bad a politically correct gang is roaming the streets, looking to kill an innocent person. Kathy almost gets away from the bad guys, but when she goes back to complain that she got the wrong ice cream flavor – ‘I wanted Vanilla Twist!’ – she takes a silenced round to the chest.
Kathy’s death sets off the entire siege story of Assault on Precinct 13, but it’s also notable for the fact that young actress Kim Richards was the star of Escape from Witch Mountain and a couple of Disney TV movies. Audiences seeing this back in the day would have been doubly outraged by the gang’s killing of the precocious child star. Or doubly delighted.
The Happening (2008)
Totalled Tots: Josh & Jared
Kiddie Killer: Lunatic survivalist
Minor Murder Weapon: Rifle – at close range!
Make no mistake: M. Night Shymalan’s The Happening is a terrible film, but it’s also compulsively watchable and completely hilarious. I’ve seen it two and a half times in the last month, and I could sit through it again at a moment’s notice.
The film’s basic concept has people suddenly killing themselves in droves, usually in extraordinarily comedic ways. One highlight is a guy in a zoo who lets lions rip off his arms – it looks just like a Saturday Night Live skit. If M. Night was trying to make a film that was its own parody, he exceeded at genius levels.
Amongst all the dumb kills are two actually ballsy kills that almost redeem the movie (okay, who am I kidding? This film cannot be redeemed. Jesus himself couldn’t save this one). Marky Mark is wandering the countryside, trying to outrun the wind, alongside his estranged wife, John Leguizamo’s daughter and Spencer Breslin and a random black kid. They come upon a house in the country and investigate. Inside is a crazy survivalist who guns down both kids point blank.
Unfortunately, Night pussed out and edited down one of the deaths. We get to see Spencer Breslin shredded by buckshot (so satisfying), but Random Black Kid’s death is cut away from at the last moment. Night includes the full, chunky, JFK-esque kill in the deleted scenes, though, and I’ve included a shot from that as a bonus.