Earlier today we posted a selection of kids’ Halloween costumes that they’re too young to understand. But now we’d like to take another moment to think about the children. More specifically: the fictional children from our favorite horror movies, the ones who once scared — and in many cases, still do scare — the total crap out of us. Aren’t you curious whatever happened to those bloodthirsty/possessed/undead kids? From a former kid zombie who now crafts jewelry to an evil child preacher turned creative writing teacher, we think you’ll be surprised by what we found out.
Linda Blair: Regan MacNeil from The Exorcist (1973)
Linda Blair had been a working actor since the age of six, but she didn’t become a household name until she starred as the possessed Regan MacNeil at 14. After starring in a handful of movies in the ’70s (including Exorcist II: The Heretic), her career hit a roadblock following a drug arrest in 1979. There were some low-budget horror films in the ’80s, Repossessed (an Exorcist spoof) in 1990, and even a cameo in the first installment of Wes Craven’s Scream franchise, but today her focus is promoting veganism and animal rights — she even created the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation to help rescue abandoned dogs throughout the LA area.
Miko Hughes: Gage Creed from Pet Sematary (1989)
Little Miko’s Gage was the cutest member of the Creed family… until he came back from the dead and started knifing people. Miko went on to have a pretty packed career of both hits (Apollo 13) and misses (ahem, Baby Geniuses), but now spends most of his time DJing and tending to his 30,000 bees (don’t worry — not the killer kind).
Lisa and Louise Burns: The Grady Twins from The Shining (1980)
The Grady twins were the last kids we wanted to play with — not even once, never mind forever… and ever… and ever. For the Burns twins, the feeling must have been mutual since they returned to obscurity soon after their bloody, 40-second debut. Lisa got a degree in literature and Louise is now a microbiologist.
Macaulay Culkin: Henry Evans from The Good Son (1993)
After the explosion of fame that came with Home Alone, there was no better way for young Macaulay to shake his cute as a button image than by flashing that same smug smile while crashing cars and tormenting Elijah Wood. For a while, adult Macaulay was the subject of many a tabloid, amidst rumors of heroin addiction and even death, but lately he’s taken up a healthier habit: creating visual art as one third of 3MB Collective.
Daveigh Chase: Samara from The Ring (2002)
Daveigh got famous by making us terrified to watch any unlabeled VHS for fear that she would climb out of our TV — good thing DVDs became the norm pretty soon after! — but she was no stranger to drama before crawling out of a well. Remember her as Samantha in Donnie Darko? She continues to pursue challenging roles, including Rhonda in HBO’s Big Love and young addict Mary in the recent Nick Cassevetes film Yellow.
Patty McCormack: Rhoda from The Bad Seed (1956)
Patty’s cherubic Rhoda gave us one of the earliest cinematic examples that it’s usually the cutest kids who turn out to be the most deadly. Patty continues to have a successful film career, with parts in 2008’s Frost/Nixon and, most recently, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.
Martin Stephens: David Zellaby from Village of the Damned (1960)
Little Martin already had a pretty full resume before winning the part of the evil-eyed David Zellaby, having been featured in a number of British films and television dramas. As an adult, he went on to pursue a career in architecture and is now semi-retired and living in Portugal — except for the occasional cast reunion, as in the photo above. Kind of makes up for all the destruction David caused, huh?
John Franklin: Isaac from Children of the Corn (1984)
John’s short stature helped him helped him win the role of child preacher Isaac even though he was already 25 — ironically, an age too old to survive film’s kiddie cult. He’s more famous to later generations for playing the shaggy Cousin It in the Addams Family films. These days he has mostly retired from acting, teaching English and creative writing at a high school in California.
Kyra Schon: Karen Cooper from Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Kyra’s role in the George Romero classic is one of the most memorable: after getting zombie-fied she feasts on her dad and attacks her mom with a trowel. Luckily, she’s much tamer in real life, spending most of her time crafting jewelry and teaching art. That said, she’s never shied away from her undead past, and makes frequent appearances at conventions and in documentaries.
Harvey Stephens: Damien from The Omen (1976)
And then, of course, there’s Damien — AKA: Harvey. Where would we be without the literal spawn of Satan? Well… probably with more babysitting jobs. Harvey had a quick cameo as a reporter in the 2006 Omen remake, but mostly stays out of the spotlight and works as a property developer in Kent, UK. We’re guessing that means he’s okay with churches now.