1 of 13 Warner Bros. Pictures
Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), Orphan
The use of creepy kids is one of the horror/suspense genre's most time-honored clichés, something Esther reminded us of when she terrorized her adoptive mother and brother in this 2009 thriller. All bets were off as soon as she started bashing in a nun's skull with a hammer.
Click ahead to see more of our favorite disturbing big-screen offspring.
2 of 13 Merrick Morton/Dreamworks
Samara (Daveigh Chase), The Ring
Yes, the creepy, waterlogged, kill-you-after-you-watch-her-on-videotape Samara made our skin crawl, but once she crawled out of the TV (shudder) the pasty-faced, blank-eyed, corporeal version of her was equally frightening.
3 of 13 20th Century Fox/Everett Collection, 20th Century Fox
Damien (Harvey Stephens and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick), The Omen
No movie archetype is scarier than "your kid is the spawn of Satan." The actors in both versions of this film instantly fill us with unease.
4 of 13 Warner Bros.
Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), The Exorcist
She vomits split-pea soup. She levitates. Her head rotates a full 180 degrees. She uses a crucifix in the most sacrilegious way imaginable. What's not to be freaked out by?
5 of 13 Peter Iovino/Rogue Pictures
Barto (Ethan Cutcosky), The Unborn
This little spookster haunts a family for three generations with his cutting blue eyes and the film's utter stupidity.
6 of 13 20th Century Fox/Everett Collection
Henry Evans (Macaulay Caulkin), The Good Son
Sure, he still looks like the abandoned cherub from Home Alone, but this time Henry has more on his mind than whacking robbers with paint cans. His new weapons of choice: a crossbow and really big rocks that cause multi-car pileups.
7 of 13 Warner Bros./The Kobal Collection
The Grady Twins (Lisa and Louise Burns), The Shining
Kubrick knew that good things come in twos — even the ridiculously spooky slain kids of the former caretaker.
8 of 13 Spyglass Entertainment
Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), The Sixth Sense
It's not his seeing of dead people that gets us. It's more the fact that his natural precociousness makes him seem 40.
9 of 13 Everett Collection
The Children of The Village of the Damned
They may look like picture-perfect children, but these tow-headed buggers prefer chaos to perfection. Don't even think about trying to thwart their evil plans — their psychic powers are already way ahead of you.
10 of 13 Paramount Pictures
Gage Creed (Miko Hughes), Pet Sematary
What's worse than killer kids and zombies? Killer zombie kids. No parent likes losing a kid, but come on...
11 of 13 20th Century Fox
Emily Callaway (Dakota Fanning), Hide and Seek
Let's be honest: When doesn't Fanning freak us out, if only with her prodigious acting talents? Watch as she steals scenes right out from under Robert Freakin' De Niro — truly frightening.
12 of 13 New Line Cinema
Sean (Cameron Bright), Birth
Um, he got it on with Nicole Kidman by convincing her he was her reincarnated husband. There's nothing creepier than the specter of statuatory rape.
13 of 13 Everett Collection
Rhoda Penmark (Patty McCormack), The Bad Seed
Her sweet innocence (those braids!) may fool the adults, but watch out: She's systematically offing her classmates and the janitor who catches wise to her misdeeds. But we sort of sympathize: Kids today couldn't care less about their penmanship!