Kirk Hammett Blog: It's All About The Kids
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IT’S ALL ABOUT THE KIDS

Kirk Hammett Kids

30 Oct IT’S ALL ABOUT THE KIDS

YOU KNOW what’s amazing to me right now? I’ll pick up a horror magazine, look at the latest articles on the latest horror films, and it seems like 75% of them feature small children as protagonists! You know, sure! If something goes crazy with children, it’s scary. But it’s got to the point where it’s just a bit overdone, because this trend has been happening for a while, at least the last five or ten years. Whenever I think about some of the best horror movies even in that time-span, a lot of them do involve children; like, for instance, The Ring or The Babadook, any of The Conjuring series, The Reckoning series or the Sinister movies.  They all involve children. And yeah, it’s scary when you have that not fully-formed individual terrorizing you, your family, your psyche and your whole reality. But damn, it’s just become such an overdone thing.

The Ring

The Ring (2002)

Looking back, I was trying to remember when kids in horror movies first really happened in this sort of way. Some of the earliest that I can think of are the Village of The Damned/Children of The Damned British movies, and The Innocents, which is also a British movie based on the Henry James novella, The Turn of the Screw. But when you think about it, way back then, in the ’50s and ’60s, those were really the only films that featured children as THE major protagonists.

Village of the Damned

Village of the Damned (1960)

The ’70s saw things kick up a level, and The Omen is one of the creepier uses of children in horror and really effective, because from the very beginning you KNOW that kid is the son of Satan, and it’s great to watch, just waiting for the evil to manifest. There was Children of the Corn and The Amityville Horror series…but I think the first really major, major film that had a child as a protagonist and that fully hit home was The Exorcist.

The Exorcist

The Exorcist (1973)

After that, all boundaries dissolved. Children became open targets for all sorts of crazy stuff heading into the ’80s, ’90s and whenever. The Sixth Sense, and even The Shining, you know? When it was really first happening like that, it was really something. But nowadays, I see a new movie, I see the poster for it or the ad, and if it has a child in it my heart sinks a little.

In science-fiction, the trend to include children is pretty strong, with movies like Super 8, which was more like Stand By Me. And what’s cool about the children in those movies is that they were believable! Therefore, count movies like Stand By Me or Super 8 because these are films where children are portrayed as children instead of children portrayed as the main victims, or the main protagonist.

A friend of mine just asked me what I thought of Let the Right One In, and I think it’s one of the better movies involving children to come out in the last few years. You don’t really see a lot of movies about children vampires. In fact, Let the Right One In was a bit on the brilliant side because they didn’t take the usual routes with children and preying on our perspective of their innocence, our perspective of just wanting them to be pure beings. With Let the Right One In, you’ve got some of that innocence until you realize she’s a vampire. It stands out from what I’ve been talking about, because it takes it into a realm that hasn’t been occupied too much in movies before, child vampires.

Let The Right One In

Let The Right One In (2008)

Do I think children in horror is a done deal? Do I think children in horror should die away? Not necessarily. I’m simply raising the awareness, because it seems like a lot of people out there aren’t seeing this and aren’t realizing that it’s starting to become redundant. So I’m hoping that if I raise the awareness around it, maybe some of the screenwriters out there who are fans, who listen to what other people might have to say, maybe they’ll take that into consideration and change their screenplays from children being the main protagonists to something original like… you know… rubber duckies, stuffed animals, grannies, trolls, Granny trolls even! Or something!

Before I take off, I recently saw Willow Creek, which is a Bigfoot movie but for me, it was confusing. I generally like Bigfoot themed movies, but this was really confusing because it looked like it was trying to straddle the line between a faux documentary and horror movie. I couldn’t tell at any given point what it was trying to be more of. It really had the potential to be a great Bigfoot movie, but kind of got lost halfway through.

Lastly, I must comment on the Ash vs Evil Dead TV show. I love that The Evil Dead finally got their own spot on prime-time. Those movies are so epic in my mind, so to get a TV series out of it is just great. I think they’re shooting Season Three. Epic! I would never have thought that I would be getting more Evil Dead like this. And another thing that I have to say that I’m pleased as pie about, is The Exorcist TV show. In my Exorcist-racked brain it’s already 5 stars , and I haven’t had the pleasure to even watch it yet! But just the concept of there being an Exorcist TV show really, really, really makes me really happy.

Happy Halloween ghouls!

Kirk Hammett Signature

14 Comments
  • john Babb
    Posted at 06:22h, 31 October

    Great observation, hopefully this will enlighten some great ideas for future scary movies!
    Happy Halloween Kirk+CO…muya!

  • Phil Earles
    Posted at 06:32h, 31 October

    I’m very pleasantly surprised with The Exorcist TV show. I was very skeptical about it considering the legacy of the movie. While nothing will ever come close to movie it does do it justice.

  • Cathy Jordan
    Posted at 06:49h, 31 October

    I’m so glad I happened to stumble across this today 🙂 Kirk, you are truly amazing!!!! You need to come do the Comic Con in Niagara Falls in Canada 😉 Happy Halloween to you and your family!

  • Donnie Kirchner
    Posted at 07:00h, 31 October

    Kirk, you really hit the nail on the head with this, brother. Horror films have always used children as either antagonists or protagonists and the psychological effect their inclusion brings on, like you touched on, their innocence, resonates well when done right. Even as far back as Whale’s “Frankenstein”, the scene with the little girl by the lake just straight SHOCKED audiences then. But lately it’s become trite and boring. There are some VERY well done child-centered films though being produced, most of which you mentioned, but I particularly enjoyed “The Possession”, which dealt with demonic manifestations brought on by a meddling with a dybbuk box! Have you seen that one? Definitely strays from the typical path and plays into Jewish religious beliefs which is pretty rare in horror but FASCINATING.
    Great blog sir! Hope for more soon!
    Ps Hardwired kicks ass.
    -Donnie K

  • Ronnie Highnote
    Posted at 07:23h, 31 October

    Kirk, have you watched Stranger Things yet? What are your thoughts? Since you mentioned Super 8 in here I found it to be an even better take on that movie. I loved Super 8 too. Stranger Things kept the mystery going so well. I grew up as a kid in that time period and they nailed it so much. Great show and I can’t stand waiting for season 2!

  • nina Doum
    Posted at 07:30h, 31 October

    Children’s pure unstoppable energy towards their goals-to learn, to satisfy, to survive is the adult’s biggest fear.
    Because they are driven by pure powerful instinct, whereas we only project our fears before even wishing for anything.
    How do u stop a child. How can u really explain a child why u stop it. After the second “why” I personally feel stupid. But it took me years to wake up from my sleep, and remember who I was and what I wanted when I was a child. And sometimes I think that if I could now, turn back time I would most likely act like all these vampire children in order to protect who I was.
    But most of us never realise that and so, children remain…..fear.
    And our world is built on fear.
    So fear sells.
    Whatever sells tickets will be top demand.
    So as long as we remain “who” we became- powerless and fear-full to go after what our gut tells us- children will remain our worsts waking up call on screen or off screen.
    And it will sell.
    (Personally upon confusion I go to the beach at dawn)
    Bye

  • Moritz Martini
    Posted at 08:30h, 31 October

    Hey kirk, you’re absolutely right about the evil dead movies really one of my favourites, if not the number one two and three on my list. Even army of darkness which was more of an comedy approach to the genre. But I would say it wouldn’t be so great without the great performance of bruce campbell. And now years later to learn that there’s a tv show based on it made me so freaking happy. Finally Ash is back to kick some deadites ass.

  • Mike Benedict
    Posted at 08:30h, 31 October

    Spot on, Kirk! Not only are the kids overused in boring ways, so many other plot lines have become played out and lame.

    The problem is audiences are generally dumb and it’s easier to sell them a dumb story than one that requires deeper thought.

    I like dumb horror too, but it’s really getting stale out there.

  • Shawn Hagerdash
    Posted at 09:10h, 31 October

    You should give Exists a look. Excellent (IMO) take on a Bigfoot film!

  • Bob O'Rourke
    Posted at 10:14h, 31 October

    Gotta agree Kirk . . . I think, these days especially, it seems like having a child in a Horror movie is an easy cop-out. To me it seems like it started with The Sixth Sense and then The Ring movies (loved the first one, but absolutely hated the sequel — primarily because of the kid in it and how the story focused on him so much — wooden acting and all). Now it seems the final ingredient for a Horror movie to make millions at the box office (and start a franchise) is simply to add a “weird/creepy little kid”. Once the formula is complete — bingo, instant money-maker. I’m not a parent, though I have two nieces, so I haven’t really thought it about in the argument you’re making here . . . so cheers for opening my eyes to it! My wife hates it when children are used as a shock tool or attacked/injured in a Horror movie…if they show a crying child — especially a little girl who might resemble our nieces — it’s over!

    Did you see The Visit? Normally, I’m not much of a fan of M. Night Shyamalan’s but I did enjoy the two young protagonists in The Visit. Their characters seemed to be treated with a little more respect instead of just being a shock trope to be exploited.

  • Tracy Paseman
    Posted at 07:08h, 02 November

    After reading your post Kirk, another film that comes to mind is 2001’s The Others starring Nicole Kidman,
    another really good ghost story and a terrific job by the child actors. Come to think of it, one of my fave horror flicks,
    Salem’s Lot, also has a lot of child characters and Lance Kerwin turns in a great performance.

    My all-time favorite scariest child character is hands-down, Samara from The Ring.
    When she climbed first out of the well, then out of the t.v.set in that loft scene,
    I came dangerously close to seriously dying of a heart attack.

    • Tracy Paseman
      Posted at 05:46h, 03 November

      Lance Kerwin’s character, Mark Petrie, was a brave hero in the film,
      and so was the strong and intuitive but blind Dinah in The Langoliers.

      I agree with you there’s too much usage of kids in horror films, but another way to see it,
      is sometimes the kids can be huge heroes in the story,and that’s a lot of fun !

  • Greenie
    Posted at 09:42h, 01 December

    I completely agree. Children and mental illness are over used in Horror, to the point where it has become a lazy plot device.
    Would love to interview you sometime about your horror collection.

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    Posted at 19:02h, 15 May

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