The upcoming release of ParaNorman features one quirky kid with a very special talent. The titular Norman is a plucky boy who speaks to the dead: pretty handy when your town's besieged by monsters and zombies. This got us thinking about some of our all-time favorite kid heroes in horror movies. Because if you can save the world before you can drive a car, well, that's a special kind of awesome.
Oskar and Eli from Let The Right One In
There's no love like your first love, right? That's especially true for Oskar, who falls for the vampire-next-door, Eli. In the original Swedish film we see a nuanced performance from both young actors. The movie quakes with tension, almost none of which has anything to do with Eli being a vampire. Their slow-to-form friendship blossoms as Oskar's main girl feeds, feeds, and feeds again. This is puppy love with a seriously nasty set of fangs.
Mike from the Phantasm series
Now here's a kid we really get to see grow up and become a badass. Sure, Mike starts as a bummed out kid who just buried his parents. But when strange deaths occur all over town, Mike's main suspect is the local mortician (The Tall Man). Gripped by fear, Mike finally mans up and faces his problems head on. As the series progresses, he and Reggie (the awesome, pony-tail sporting ice cream man) go all around town shooting the shit out of evil alien dwarves. Way to be rad, Mike, way to be rad.
Glen and Terry from The Gate
Talk about a rough weekend. Glen and his buddy Terry just want to hang out without too much angst from the older kids while their parents are away. Easier said than done, especially when a gate to hell has opened up in your back yard. They get their eyes poked. They get clawed, mauled, and scraped. And when Glen finally defeats the demon that comes through The Gate, the explosion sends him flipping through the air at what looks like 100 miles per hour. And they survive it all wearing huge glasses and high-tops. Good old Glen and Terry: so brave, so ingenious, so eighties!
Brian from Little Monsters
Do you remember Little Monsters? The movie starred a young Fred Savage as Brian, who befriends a monster named Maurice (played by Howie Mandel... yes, for real). The two quickly become best buds and galavant around the monster world (which is full of candy and videogames). This may not be the scariest movie on the planet, but like all great movies for kids in the eighties it had some really scary parts. A big fat monster named Boy kidnapped Brian's baby brother, and sometimes when Howie Mandel's character "got upset" a slimy, mutated chicken would pop out of his head. The action was funny and the monster make-up looked cool. Fred Savage - you always knew how to pick the best movies to star in!
Danny from The Shining
Maybe this entry on our list is a little predictable. But come on, be honest, have you ever seen a performance by a child actor (or adult actor, for that matter) quite like the one by Danny Lloyd? His ability to perfectly distill the complicated emotions and troubles going through his little head still leaves us in awe. He is the original little hero. Without Danny riding his tricycle down the hallway horror cinema would be a very different landscape. So here's to you, Danny! Keep wagging your creepy little index finger and croaking through your throat.