Posted : September 2011Author :
In summer 2011, Hanna hits screens, and to celebrate we thought we’d go back and take a look at some killer children in pop culture who have been trained to eliminate targets with no remorse. Adults are dangerous, true, but the real threats come from the next generation. The concept of a little kid trained to end lives has been employed many times across films, games, comics and more. Little girls and boys raised from birth to slay are vicious beasts, bereft of the moral qualities that adults have. Here are some of the most violent, dangerous and weirdest killer children in pop culture.
I don’t want to act like killer children can’t be rehabilitated, so here’s a great example from the wacky world of comics. Cassandra Cain was the daughter of two of the world’s greatest assassins, David Cain and Lady Shiva. Naturally she was raised to follow in the family business. Her dad subjected her to insanely torturous training, including being raised without any verbal communication. Her mind developed in other ways, allowing her to flawlessly read body language and other nonverbal cues. Thankfully, Batman and his crew managed to rehabilitate her and, for a while, she worked as the vigilante known as Batgirl.
You always had a feeling that Macaulay Culkin had a dark streak in him – after all, some of his traps for the robbers in Home Alone could have caused permanent physical harm. But it wasn’t until 1993′s The Good Son that he was declared one of the deadliest killer children, in a film that may have killed his career. As Henry Evans, Culkin is a menacing little bastard intent on ruining the life of his cousin Mark (played by Elijah Wood) and killing anyone who stands in his way, including his own brother and mother.
Sure, all of the protagonists of Kick-Ass are underage, but it’s Hit-Girl who is one of the deadliest killer children. Damon Macready was a cop who lost his job when he dared to go up against organized crime in the city. His instrument of vengeance is his daughter Mindy, who he has been training to be the brutal vigilante known as Hit-Girl. While the titular Kick-Ass is a bit of a schlub, HG is the real deal – she slices, dices and shoots her way through criminals with an aplomb that is a little unusual for an 11-year-old girl. In the sequel, she’s seemingly hung up her costume, but we’re sure that’s only temporary.
The horrible antagonist of the Ring films proves that kids don’t even have to be alive to be creepy. Samara was the adopted daughter of a couple on a small island in Washington State who died at the bottom of a well – and boy, is she pissed. Now anybody who watches a mysterious videotape is cursed by her ghost to die in seven days. That’s kind of an indirect way to kill people, but she is still one of the deadliest killer children.
Known as the “Crimson-Eyed Criminal,” Lieselotte Achenbach is one of the deeply unusual player characters from the Arcana Heart series of fighting games. Her entire family was brutally murdered, leaving 10-year-old Lieselotte on her own in the hard, cruel world. Naturally, she decided to support herself by becoming an assassin. Her primary weapon is the life-size puppet of her dead sister that she carries around in a briefcase. That’s unusual, but she’s still one of the deadliest killer children.
Let’s go way back for this one – the 1956 sleaze classic The Bad Seed set the bar high for killer children in movies. Young Rhoda Penmark demonstrates exactly how far poor impulse control can get you when she beats a classmate to death with her tap shoes and throws him in a lake to steal his penmanship medal. Her mother finds out and is torn between protecting her child and making her pay for her crimes. Eli Roth is allegedly working on a remake, which should be fun.
One of the O.G.s of the killer kid game, Damien Thorn has a very good excuse for being a murderous little bastard – he’s actually the Antichrist, reborn in human form. In 1976, this was kind of a shocking concept! Accompanied by his ever-present watchdog, Damien doesn’t get his hands dirty with murder directly. He much rather use his supernatural abilities to gruesomely off anybody who stands in the way of his global domination. The son of Satan definitely qualifies as one of the deadliest killer children, we’d say.
Exposed to the Water of Life in the womb, the younger sister of Paul Atreides from Dune is plugged in to some deep cosmic concepts from birth. At 4-years-old, she poisons her uncle Baron Harkkonen with a needle loaded with meta-cyanide and takes out a bunch of other wounded soldiers with a crysknife. She’s probably the youngest of the killer children on this list, but she’s one of the most accomplished.
Having claws in the Marvel universe can be a blessing and a curse. Using a damaged genetic sample from Wolverine, a team of scientists create a female version of the fast-healing X-Men. Unfortunately, the people funding the experiment aren’t in it for the public good, and they turn her into one of the deadliest killer children at the age of six by bombarding her with radiation to force her power into activation, giving her adamantium claws without anesthetic and training her to respond to a “trigger scent” by flying into a murderous rage. They then use her as a sanctioned assassin, giving her her first kill at the age of twelve.
Killer children exist in the real world, too, but who wants to live there? The character of Tran, the pint-sized Southeast Asian warlord from Tropic Thunder, was actually based on real people – Johnny and Luther Htoo, the leaders of the Karen National Union guerrilla group that marauded through eastern Burma. The Htoo brothers took over the group at the age of ten, claiming to be bulletproof and possess other magical powers. The fictional version leads the Flaming Dragon gang and doesn’t smoke quite so many cigarettes, but he still means business.
When we first meet Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill, she’s a ripe old 17. Sadly, she doesn’t live to get any older. Clad in traditional Japanese schoolgirl uniform, she faces off with the Bride in an epic showdown that features skilled use of a meteor hammer before she’s slain with a chair leg to the head. Not much is known about Yubari’s history, but given the ease with which she slaughters people, best bets are that she’s been doing it for an awful long time.