We all know adults can be evil, but in the modern era we are still under the impression that children are born good. Which is why it scares the bejesus out of us to imagine a reality where wicked children reign. The youth below range from the ambiguously bad (e.g., Miles in Turn of the Screw) to the Antichrist (e.g., Damien in The Omen), with eight other stories in between. Is there any bad seed we missed, dear readers? Let us know in the comments section below.
Veda from Mildred Pierce by James Cain
This 1941 hard-boiled novel is set during the Great Depression and involves a working mother willing to do anything for her prissy eldest daughter, Veda, who displays open contempt for anyone she deems “provincial.” The girl is spoiled rotten, and she’s ready and willing to do what it takes to promote her singing career, even if it means becoming a W-H-O-R-E. Mildred Pierce serves as a cautionary tale for helicopter mothers.