Kids: you can’t live with ‘em, you can’t kill ‘em. Whether it’s an unhappy baby that keeps you awake for days until your mind snaps, a demented infant that seems determined to drown you in its own poop, or a toddler who screeches a high-pitched wail until your face explodes, children are the ultimate evil.
In the 70’s and 80’s creepy kids became a mainstay of horror fiction, with one stepback cover of an evil child blurring into another on the racks. John Saul swung between putting kids in peril and making them evil, Ruby Jean Jensen was a one-woman evil baby machine, and Andrew Niederman gave us Brainchild, Child’s Play, Playmates, Teacher’s Pet, and Sister, Sister. Slogging it out down there in the trenches with them was Clare McNally, who wrote about 13 books between 1980 and 1997. Killer kids were an industry because, as Alain Robbe-Grillet once said, “What do little girls dream about? Knives and blood.”