Horror Movie Philosophy 101: Could You Kill A Child To Save Yourself Or Your Family
If you put me up against a pack of zombies, I think it is pretty clear I would kick some ass. If you needed me to invade a hive of vampires, I promise I would stab all those glittery bastards in the heart faster than you could say “sparkle”. And if you had a werewolf infestation in some Romanian village you needed me to quell, I would do so with all the zest of a Charlie Sheen banging a gaggle of porn stars. Hell, even a mindless killer like Jason Vorhees, I know all I need to do is decapitate that fucker and he really can’t do a helluva lot to me at that point. But what about “killer kids”? Little heathens without hearts who look up at you with those big, doe eyes, and ask you not to hurt them? Have you ever imagined what you would do in that situation? Well, maybe you should, because out of all the scenarios I just mentioned, only one of those can kill you in real life, and guess which one that is? Ironically, the one it would be hardest enough to bring yourself to kill: Children.
Why is this dude asking me if I could kill a kid?
If you are wondering that right now, that is probably a good sign. I am not actually asking you if you could kill a child, so shake that from your head. I am simply asking you what you would do in a situation where you life, or the life of someone you love, was threatened by a kid. Have you ever thought about that? I never had either. Until one movie asked me one question:
The movie came out in 1976, but I didn’t even hear about it until a few years ago.
It is a question that has been posed since the inception of the horror film itself, but it is a questioned never pondered too long. Who can kill a child? Because the very idea of it, the mental ramifications it would have on one’s being isn’t even fun to PRETEND to think about. Even when you watch The Exorcist, you never forget she is a child, and she is a victim in all of this, too.
But when you think about it, that very “killer kids” scenario has been given to us by pop culture, time and time again. Children of the Corn. Village of the Damned. Even movies like The Strangers show us how dangerous kids can get when they are bored. And you know what, in movies like that, when they have masks on, and are doing everything they can to KILL YOU, it is not hard to imagine doing anything you had to protect yourself and the ones you love. But what if the masks were off? What about that? The single moment when you realize, all too clearly, that it REALLY IS just a kid? What do you do then?
” Mom, the clowns you got for the party are starting to freak out the guests!”
I ask because I have to. I mean, do you realize the world we are living in? Werewolves won’t kill you, I can promise you that. And realistically, your family will never be cornered by a group of flesh-hungry zombies. But you know who could hurt you? Or even break in and kill you TONIGHT? Children could. I mean, really. Do you know the depravity of some people? A child is more likely to kill you then a vampire, we can all admit that confidently. But what would you do? To wake you all up a bit to what I am saying, here is a list of killer kids, incase you were wondering. Ones that have actually existed. Kids who did things so twisted and deviant, you WILL shudder to read them. And no single case is more unsettling and disturbing than the case of Mary Bell, who is number one on that list.
The detective who found the body of the little boy she had murdered had described the killing as “disturbingly playful”.
When I first read the story of Mary Bell, it did two things: It broke my heart and it chilled me to my core. She murdered a three-year old boy with a broken pair of shears, carving an M into his stomach, and partially skinning his genitals. The detective who found the boy said the killing reflected an almost playful act. He could tell a child had done it, and that had only made it even more disturbing to him. While initially making up a story of another (non-existent) boy to the police, she gave herself up inadvertently by mentioning the broken scissors, which the police had never made public information. When confronted, she caved, and said:
” Murder isn’t that bad, we all die sometime, anyway.”
She also left a rather disturbing note at the scene, which was never explained in any way:
Okay, that is some demon shit right there.
Mary Bell ended up being convicted at age 11 (for the murder of two boys, which can read about more in-depth at this thread right here), and sent to an all boys facility, because she was too young for prison, and too dangerous to be let free around other children. She ended up being released after twenty-three years, at which point the real details of her story were finally told. Though I will spare you most of the horrors of what the poor girl endured before she murdered that other child, I will tell you that her birth Mother was a prostitute who would often let her Johns have their way with her daughter if she herself was too drunk to perform. Having worked quite closely with survivors of abuse and trauma, I call tell you first hand that they lash out in some truly extreme and bizarre ways because it is all they know. That does not make it okay, but it explains the place where those acts come from a little better. After her release, 23 years later, Mary Bell fought diligently for the protection of her identity, which she won. She had a child while locked up (by the way, great call putting a survivor of sexual abuse in a male home for almost thirty years. That was well thought out) and remained anonymous. UNTIL NOW!
She could be your neighbor or your Mom’s best friend, and you wouldn’t even know it.
Mary Bell’s case is heart-breaking and extreme, and I don’t mean to jump from films to real life with such ease, but I am bringing her up to make an example. What would you have done if that was your three-year-old son, and you had found this eleven year old doing this to your him? Choking him and carving her initials sloppily into his belly? If you think of a parent’s rage, I bet even the most stoic of you would kill that child, right there, without even thinking twice. Even though she is the result of her environment, and didn’t know what she was doing, and was acting out against all males and what she had been forced to endure at that point, regardless of that, I think you, or anyone, would be irrational, and could kill a child in that scenario. And how scary is that to realize about the self?
And I bet when you started reading this, that is not what you were thinking. But that is not my point in all this, either. I don’t want you walking away from this thinking “great, I would totes kill a killer kid if the moment arose.” because that is sort of abnormal to walk around thinking. I am simply presenting you with a scenario that has never been presented to you, or, when it was, you just shut if off. I am simply asking: What would you do, and leaving you to answer that to yourself.
I am pretty sure I could kill this fat little bastard without much hesitation, actually.
There is no right or wrong answer here, but it still opens the door for you to ask yourself: Holy shit, what would I do? Also, please don’t mistake this is some veiled pro-life allegory, because it isn’t. I am pro-choice. A woman’s body is hers to do with as she sees fit, and I don’t hide agenda’s in my articles. This was about killer kids, and what you would do if faced with that scenario, so don’t go looking under rocks for things that aren’t there. Hell, don’t go looking under rocks that aren’t there. That just gives the killer kids more time to sneak up on you…