Creepy kids. You know ’em, you love ’em, you wouldn’t want to live next door to them. Creepy kids are abundant on the big screen and abundantly evil. They can afford to be. Creepy kids on the little screen have to tone things down a little bit. And, besides, sometimes the creepiest of kids are not invested with any malevolence at all. In fact, you might even argue that nothing is creepier than a creepy kid who turns out to be a nice guy after all.
Wednesday Addams: The Addams Family
The prototype for creepy kids who are good and decent has to be Wednesday Addams, Wednesday was a goth before there was any such thing as a goth. Or, at least, before goth went mainstream. The daughter of Gomez and Morticia Addams has all the hallmarks of a creepy kid: blank eyes, monotone voice devoid of the expectations of childish delight, a rather rigid gait and, let’s not forget, she loves to cut the heads off her dolls. Probably the last thing there is not quite as out there as we think. Despite her physical appearance and personality traits, however, Wednesday is every bit as much a nice 1960s kid as Opie Taylor over there in Mayberry.
Anthony Fremont: The Twilight Zone
Little Anthony Fremont is just the opposite of Wednesday Addams in “The Twilight Zone.” To all outward appearances, Anthony could be Opie. Heck, he even looks a little like that sheriff’s son. But the rural setting of “It’s a Good Life” is about as far away from peaceful Mayberry as you can get. Anthony somehow got himself in charge of the world and if you cross him, at best you sent to some unknown hell known as the cornfield. At worst, you may yourself with the body of a Jack in the Box. What makes Anthony Fremont such a creepy TV kid is not that he’s evil, but that he’s so cloyingly cute.
Nellie Olsen: Little House on the Prairie
Maybe it is because she’s such a prime antagonist for Half-Pint, but there is something downright unsettling about Nellie Olsen. She is creepy and evil and that angelic blonde hair doesn’t detract from her creepy quality but only adds to it.
Chloe and Radcliffe Denton: The League of Gentlemen
It takes a lot to stand out as creepy in the town of Royston Vasey. Pretty much everyone who lives in the small British town at the center of “The League of Gentlemen” is creepy beyond belief. Including Chloe and Radcliffe’s father whose innate creepy qualities we shall not even venture into here. Chloe and Radcliffe are two young girls directly inspired by the all time queens of creepy kids: “The Shining” twins. The daughters Denton don’t reach near that level of creepiness, but they do all right.
Arnie: Hey Arnold!
Arnie is the title character’s hick cousin who often seems to live in a bizarro parallel universe. He’s kind of exactly like Arnold except he’s not. He likes plain-flavored gum, collects lint and is just generally creepy. There is something truly disturbing about Arnie, but it is not something that is particularly easy to identify. Which, really, when you think about it, is what separates the creepy from the just plain weird.
Brenda: Night Gallery
Then there is the creepy kid who kind of gets to you. The “Night Gallery” episode titled “Brenda” is about a lonely girl trapped between childhood and becoming a young woman. One could argue that Brenda qualifies as a creepy TV kid to only part of the audience. The other half might view her as far less creepy than the other young woman her age on the show. Brenda does a truly creepy thing: she traps a bizarre monster in a rock quarry and perhaps torments him or perhaps saves him from a much worse fate. When she comes back to the vacation island a year later, Brenda is no longer a creepy kid, but perhaps a creepy young woman. Something has changed, that’s for sure. But many viewers will see her as creepy.