Scary Babies: Cinema's Creepiest Infants

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Babies, eh? Cute little buggers, laughing and crying and pooing and all that. You may not like 'em now, but chances are you'll suddenly have a change of heart and want loads when the time is right. Unless, of course, you're a film fan (and we're guessing you are) and you've met any of these little monsters, the two foot tearaways that the horror genre has given birth to, designed mainly to make you wet yourself. So out of respect for the scary baby Hall Of Fame's latest addition, that scamp from Paranormal Activity 2, here's some of our favourite scary little toddlers…

Scary Baby: Dawn, Allison and Sick Boy’s son

From: Trainspotting (1996)

Why so creepy?** **No-one in the Empire offices has ever been addicted to heroin nor had to go cold-turkey on the habit, but we’re reliably informed that it’s not very nice. At all. And serving as one of the ultimate reminders for kids to keep off the smack is the unforgettable baby-crawling-on-the-ceiling scene from Trainspotting. Nothing quite like the baby you may or may not have accidentally killed through H-fuelled negligence twisting its head around at you, Exorcist-style, is there? And that repetitive dance music? Well, that just makes the scary baby head-twisting all the worse, to be honest.

Scary Baby fact:** **Two twins babies played Dawn in the film, and the whole cast used to play with the pair of them to elevate the tension of the dark material they were acting out.

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Scary Baby:** **Veronica’s dreamed maggot spawn

From: The Fly (1986)

Why so creepy? It’s a situation no-one wants to be in: your lover has accidentally fused himself genetically with a fly, and though at first there doesn’t seem to be a problem, it’s suddenly getting pretty heavy. And quite vomity, too. Anyway, you’re pregnant, and you’re not sure if the baby was conceived before or after the disastrous genetic blunder. Cue one hell of a nightmare where an obstetrician is delivering a monstrous maggot baby from your writhing body. Now, what are you going to call the little babbie? Maggie? That would make sense.

Scary Baby fact: Director David Cronenberg plays the doctor at the birthing scene – also, in a scene removed from the final cut, Veronica also dreams she has a baby with beautiful butterfly wings. How sweet!

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Scary Baby: The Davis baby

From: It’s Alive! (1974)

Why so creepy? Good news! You’re baby is very healthy, and super strong! Pop open some champagne, get those grandparents around. Wait, what? Claws? Fangs? An innate desire to kill? Who knew a combination of contraceptive pills and experimental fertility drugs could produce such a monster? Well, director Larry Cohen did, for one, his psychotic infant feature earning Kim Newman’s ultimate plaudit of ‘The best mutant killer baby movie ever made.’ And Kim doesn’t say that lightly. On top of being eminently rewatchable even today, this ‘70s classic spawned (pun intended) two other half-decent sequels, the similarly baby-filled It Lives Again and It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive.

Scary Baby fact:** **There was a remake in 2008. It is appalling.

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Scary Baby:** **Luda’s zombie baby

From:** **Dawn Of The Dead (2004)

Why so creepy?* **Cape Fear, The Thing, The Thomas Crown Affair, Scarface, The Departed… there are far fewer decent remakes than there are crap ones, and luckily for us, 2004’s redo of Romero’s zombie classic is a damn fine effort, bringing us more scares than the original did and refusing to trample over its predecessor. One of the elements it brought to the remake table was the idea of a zombie baby, a newborn delivered while his infected mother slowly died. Remove the swaddling, and there’s a grotesque little monster under there, black and blue, squealing like a pig, and making you do likewise. Doesn’t last long, mind…

Scary Baby fact:** **Originally, the zombie baby scene was going to show the child attacking and killing its mother, but it was decided it was a little too graphic in nature. We agree, frankly.

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Scary Baby: Big Baby

From:** **Toy Story 3 (2010)

Why so creepy? In a nutshell: the night time playground scene. That shot of his little head turning right around seriously gave us the chills. Er, not us: someone else. A nearby child – that’s it, a nearby child got the chills from Big Baby, a kid’s toy baby doll with a wonky eye. At the screening of Toy Story 3 we went to. Not us, no sir. Maybe it’s because of the eye, or maybe it’s because he’s Lotso’s enforcer, but there’s definitely something about Big Baby that scares us. A little bit.

Scary Baby fact:** **The name of the actual baby who voiced Big Baby is ‘Woody.’ True story. Lee Unkrich told us so.

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Scary Baby: The Chestburster

From: Alien (1979)

Why so creepy?** **Sure, it’s not a conventional baby, but it’s definitely a baby, and as babies go, it’s one of the scariest cinema’s got – and it’s not thanks to Giger this time. In fact, Giger’s original design left the cast and crew giggling, apparently resembling a “degenerate plucked turkey” instead of a vicious tiny monster. So Ridley Scott and special effects artist Roger Dicken bandied together to create this rib-smashing phallic number, all blood, guts and tiny supersharp teeth, screaming to the sky before scooting away, sharpish. And don’t they grow up quick?

Scary Baby fact: The chestburster scene was done in one take, with four cameras, and though the cast were vaguely aware of what was going to happen, details were not revealed – such as Veronica Cartwright getting drenched in blood.

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Scary Baby: Rosemary’s baby

From:** **Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Why so creepy? When your baby is born on June 6th, 1966 (6/6/66), you’re either going to dismiss it as a coincidence or wonder, if only for a moment, whether this 666 baby might be the spawn of the devil. Unfortunately for Rosemary, she wondered correctly… but only too late. The creepy, dark, disgusting Devilish rape dreams she’d been having were probably the biggest clue that something was awry, besides the sudden desire to eat a lot of red meat, and lo, Satan’s son was duly born. And bizarrely for a scary baby in this list, we don’t actually see the little mite – and he still scares the dickens out of us.

Scary Baby fact: When Mia Farrow eats raw liver for the baby… she actually eats raw liver. Yeesh.

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Scary Baby: Billy The Baby

From:** **Tin Toy (1988)

Why so creepy?** **What is it about Pixar and scary little infants? Maybe it’s the giant nappy, the dribbling drool dangling from his mouth, his stomping, Godzilla-like gait, or the fact that he’s chasing our beloved Tinny around a room. It may be the fact that, in the infant days of CG animation, the computer wasn’t very good at curves and the baby looks weird. Whatever it is, Billy is not a kid we’d like to babysit. No offence, Pixar, but it’s true. That said, he had to have been doing something right, what with Tin Toy eventually winning the 1988 Academy Award for Animated Short Film. Also, on a side note, don’t put bags on babies’ heads. Just a pointer.

Scary Baby fact: Tin Toy was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 2003. Baby done good.

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Scary Baby:** **The spirit of Freddy Krueger in baby form

From: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

Why so creepy?** **Why can’t mothers just enjoy the birth of their child? Does something horrific always have to happen? Well, as this is an Freddy Krueger movie, yes it does. In a dreamspace of some sort, a nun called Amanda Krueger gives birth to a little baby – who promptly runs away to the church where Freddy was killed in the last film. This doesn’t bode well. Lo and behold, the baby suddenly grows up into Freddy Krueger and so the carnage can begin. Kids, eh? Leave them alone for a second…

Scary Baby fact: The studio was so impressed with how cheaply Stephen Hopkins shot the movie, they let him direct Predator 2. Make of that what you will…

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Scary Baby:** **Henry and Mary’s ‘baby’

From: Eraserhead (1977)

Why so creepy?** **Where to begin? This is a film with characters called ‘Lady in the Radiator’ and ‘Man in the Planet’ – hell, it’s a David Lynch movie, so it’s all completely bonkers. The film’s baby has a pencil neck, eyes on the side of his head, a pig-like snout and essentially looks like an alien golf club. In one dream sequence, Henry’s head is replaced with his baby’s head – now that’s freaky. Then there’s the moment when the baby’s neck stretches to an extraordinary length… and that’s not the half of it. Truly one of the weirdest babies cinema’s ever brought us.

Scary Baby fact:** **The mutant baby was apparently created by Lynch from the embalmed foetus of a calf. We’ll just let that sentence settle in for you there.

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