Creepy Little White Girls In Movies

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 6:44 am,

The Last Exorcism Clips Creepy Little White Girls In Movies

Every so often the forces of fate and destiny combine to push a person to examine what is truly important in life.  The universe has provided me with very clear signs that you, beloved Screen Rant readers, are in need of a reminder of one of the greatest character archetypes in our shared cinematic history…

Yes, I am of course referring to the “Creepy Little White Girl”.

Last week, one of my best friends decided to “lovingly” refer to me as the “creepy little white girl” from the George Lopez show (more on how I pick my friends later). In addition, one dark and stormy evening this week, another dear friend moanfully lamented that, “it seems like every year around fall some movie comes out with a creepy little girl.” Of course, upcoming films like The Last Exorcism Case 39 and  Let Me In only further this assertion.

Eureka!  Or, “Huh…that’s weird,” as the case may be. The light bulb went off. I decided to investigate this supposed trend, and while it is not always in the Fall, there does seem to be a predilection for releases of “creepy little white girl” movies. The tendency began with the September 1956 release of the film about the child that is now the most iconic “creepy little white girl” of all, The Bad Seed.

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[This Article Contains MAJOR SPOILERS About Some Of The Older Movies Being Discussed]

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This film may feel just a tad dated now, but at the time it offered a startling vision of what might lay beneath the appearance of innocence. In fact, little Patty McCormack’s portrayal of Rhoda Penmark created so much of a stir that it earned her an Academy Award nomination.

The Bad Seed Nancy Kelly Creepy Little White Girls In Movies

Horror movies often speak to deeper cultural issues or subconscious fears. They are at times highly moralizing tales, as with the slasher films of the seventies and eighties, all of which followed a now-familiar pattern:

  • 1) Relentless, often silent, and odd male stalker uses phallic weaponry to punish sexualized youth.
  • 2) Virgin girl prevails in the end to defeat the beast-like male sexuality.
  • 3) Said virgin is subsequently murdered (or sought again) in the sequel; after she has likely made the mistake of giving it up.

“Creepy little white girls” (or boy as the case may be) represent a different subconscious fear – the fear that all is not as it appears. America in the fifties presented itself as clean-cut, sanitized, and well-mannered. Yet, a feeling of misalignment existed beneath that image, a sense of harsher realities that did not mesh with the status quo. The Bad Seed presented the idea that even what appears to be perfect could in fact be the harbinger of darkness and ill-will. It spoke to a very human fear that you cannot trust what you see and that the devil is, indeed, in a Sunday hat.

The trope is now so standard that, as mentioned, it inspired a character on comedian George Lopez’ Show (my new namesake) “Creepy Little White Girl” herself.

Creepy Little White Girl Creepy Little White Girls In Movies

This week brings us some looks at the latest illustrations of the “creepy little white girl” character in cinema.

Case 39 has gone through a series of fits and starts in terms of a release date over the past few years, but is now set for October the 1st; the very cusp of the Halloween horror season. The film stars Renée Zellweger, Bradley Cooper, and Jodelle Ferland (as the requisite creepy little white girl), and tells the story of an overworked social worker (Zellweger) who comes across a frightened young girl (Ferland a.k.a. case #39) whose parents are plotting to kill her. As the social worker fights to save the girl, she becomes more and more personally involved, only to discover that a relentless evil is at work.

Take a look at the trailer below:

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“The Devil Is After Your Daughter”

The merits of Case 39 are somewhat called into question by the repeated delays. Ferland is now a creepy little white teenager as seen in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. That aside, Case 39 is “the devil is after your daughter” variety of the CLWG (creepy little white girl) lore. For our purposes, the devil will stand for all manner of evil. She can’t help it, but wherever that CLWG is, death is right by her side.

Often a strong parent/mother figure must come in to save the CLWG from said evil. This aspect of the “creepy little white girl” trope hits on a couple of subconscious fears and desires. It is every parent’s worst nightmare to have an unseen and seemingly insurmountable danger after their child. It is therefore deeply cathartic to see the parent vanquish said evil, thus ensuring the continuation of life.

It often becomes the standard to have a mother or surrogate mother come into these scenarios. The woman stands in for the animal-like mother lion. These movies often follow a familiar narrative trajectory: Order, the destruction of order, order restored OR new order. That “new order” can mean the sacrifice of the parental figure, thereby establishing a new set of parameters for the child. Alternatively some films will leave the success of the parent as a question mark – creating an opening for a sequel.

Silent Hill Jodelle Ferland Creepy Little White Girls In Movies

Case 39’s Jodelle Ferland can be seen as another version of “the devil is after your CLWG” in 2006’s Silent Hill.

Kim Basinger fights to save her niece from the forces of evil in 2000’s Bless The Child. Little Cody is another version of the “creepy little girl” – the creepy little savior girl.

In 2005’s Dark Water Jennifer Connelly is given a double-whammy of mamma bear saving baby cub duty. She is forced to protect her daughter Ceci from a malevolent entity by giving the aforementioned entity the one thing it so desperately craves – a mommy. She sacrifices her own life in order to save the life of her daughter, and as a result saves the poor “creepy little white ghost girl,” Natasha, from an eternity of longing after what life denied her, a mother’s loving embrace.

Often a “little ghost girl’s” death is due to a failure on the part of the parents or the adults in charge. She is in need of saving (even in her life after death) and a release from her apparitional coil. Nicole Kidman was under the impression that she was protecting her creepy little white girl and boy in The Others. She was later shocked to discover that she was the failed/devouring mother who had created two “creepy little ghost kids” of her own. The twist, of course, is that it became her task to protect her children from the living.

We can even see this trend in the Sci-Fi classic Aliens – in the relationship between Ripley and Newt.

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“The Devil Is IN Your Daughter”

This is perhaps the most straightforward, as well as one of the scariest, versions of the CLWG narrative. The most famous example is Linda Blair in The Exorcist, the movie that, to many, still hails as the scariest of all time.

The Exorcist Creepy Little White Girls In Movies

2005 brought us a new vision of this tale with the terrifying film based on a true story, The Exorcism of Emily Rose. These stories reach us on a deep level because they represent pure innocence obliterated by pure evil, leaving the adults helpless to do anything but destroy what they love, or be destroyed by it. The latest incarnation of “the devil is in your daughter” story (brought to us by producer Eli Roth) is The Last Exorcism. New clips from the film were released recently which illustrate the films implementation of the new favorite storytelling technique for horror — faux documentary. It is a documentary-style look at an evangelical minister’s “last exorcism” of a troubled young woman.

Take a look at these clips from the film:

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Continue to more creepy little white girl types, and the creepiest girl EVER…

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

“Your Daughter IS The Devil”

Interview With The Vampire Kirsten Dunst Creepy Little White Girls In Movies

Another familiar creepy little white girl conceit is “your daughter (or son) is the devil/evil.” Evil, as in either sociopathic, as in The Bad Seed (or the boy version, The Good Son) – or that your child is the literal embodiment of evil.

Of course the image of a dangerously evil child is just inherently creepy. How can you fight what you cannot control, what you don’t understand and worst of all, what is yours to protect?

Sometimes the little girl is evil due to circumstances outside of her control – like being turned into one of the undead at an impressionable age. Such is the case for poor doll-like Claudia in Interview With The Vampire. The bloodthirsty little wench is easily the film’s most compelling character and arguably Kirstin Dunst’s best performance to date.

Let Me In Chloe Morentz Creepy Little White Girls In Movies

The latest little blood sucker brought to celluloid is of course Abby from the soon to be released Let Me In, the remake of the Swedish film Let The Right One In, which featured one creepy little white boy and one sexually ambiguous creepy little white… Eli. Now Abby may not be evil in the strictest sense of the word, but I won’t be running out to grab her a “#1 PLAYDATE” mug any time soon.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the weirdest (and most nonsensical) “creepy little white girl” of recent years – Ester from Orphan.

esther.orphan Creepy Little White Girls In Movies

Ester was actually a 33 year-old lunatic trapped in the body of a little girl, who as a result of her impairment, finds it necessary to dress as if it’s 1933… and kill folks. Of course the actress who played Ester (Isabelle Fuhrman) was actually a creepy little white girl playing a sociopathic dwarf… which actually makes the whole thing even creepier when you think about it. She almost did too good of a job in that role.

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Creepy Little White Kid Gangs:

village of the damned Creepy Little White Girls In Movies

From time to time, the children of rural or suburban America find it necessary to gather together to terrorize and/or slaughter all of the adults in the surrounding area. It’s just one of those things.

Perhaps the two most quintessential examples of this phenomenon are Children of the Corn and Village Of The Damned (see above). If you thought the Hitler Youth weren’t scary enough – just add active parental mind control. As a nation obsessed with youth, where the toddlers so often rule the roost, this trend speaks to an understandable fear of the amount of power we give to the young.

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Creepy Little Girl Meets Boy:

This combination offers a bit of creepy little romance. There is no overt mention, but some may infer that puppy love is coming Pet Cemetery-style for these boys. The “redrum” ragamuffin himself, Danny from The Shining, scored with twins his first time up to plate! That is if the “plate” is an old, rickety, vacation lodge that houses a gateway to hell.

The Grady Twins The Shining Creepy Little White Girls In Movies

The Mischa Barton character in The Sixth Sense is set nicely against Haley Joel Osment’s broody little white boy. She is of course the “little ghost girl” in need of retribution, reaching out to the living boy for help. Another “little ghost girl” haunting of an angsty little boy can be seen in Lady In White, which makes amazingly eerie use of the song “Did You Ever See A Dream Walking.”

The romantic element is far more overt in Lady In White.

Though she may not be evil herself, the creepy little girl often displays some feeling of malevolence against the creepy little boy’s preternatural sense… ah, women. Can’t live with em’, can’t kill em’ as they are previously murdered ghosts with a bone to pick.

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Creepiest Little White Girl EVER:

There are plenty of qualified candidates for this honor listed here and still more that could be included. Yet the one big eyed, sweet dress wearing child that this girl considers the creepiest little white girl of all has to be Samara from The Ring.

TheRing2 e1276215301290 Creepy Little White Girls In Movies

The Ring performed a quasi bait and switch with the character of Samara. She embodies several aspects of the CLWG archetype. She (seemingly) steps out of the grave as a “creepy little ghost girl” in need of saving – and retribution against the parents who failed her. Naomi Watts plays the lioness mother saving her (seriously creepy) son, Aidan. She believes she is also meant to save little Samara from the clutches of a nefarious past – only to discover that sweet, lost Samara is in fact the embodiment of the monster in the closet that the boogeyman runs screaming from.

Samara personifies all the underlying fears that fuel the “Your Daughter IS The Devil” version of the CLWG archetype. In addition she represents one of the darkest notions the human mind can grapple with. She is inexorable, meaningless evil. She is relentless, she is without cause or reason, and the only way to stop her is to commit an act of evil yourself. This tale does not follow the traditional rules of other more moralizing horror films, and as a result it taps into what is perhaps the deepest human fear: that the world is without order or causality, that you are not protected, and that beneath the layers of self-created meaning  there is only a void that cares nothing for you or your life. Alrighty then!

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Such an abundance of creepy white kids begs the question, why is the devil always and forever after whitey? As a creepy little white girl myself, I am just killing to know.

The Last Exorcism hits theaters August 27th

Case 39 and Let Me In follow a month later on October 1st

Follow me on Twitter @jrothc and Screen Rant @screenrant

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TAGS: case 39, children of the corn, let me in, the last exorcism

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  1. Ok, I haven’t read the article yet (I will but am pretending to work), but the title is FUNNY!

    • DrSamBeckett,

      It’s another great article from our only resident lady contributor. :)

      Vic

    • LOL

  2. i have no interest in those 3 movies that are coming out lol eli roth stooping to a PG-13 level..dear god lol

    • “Stooping to a PG-13 level” – I know for a fact the rating wasn’t a consideration in how they made the film. Roth (who produced it, not directed it) gave total free reign to the director to do whatever they wanted. When you see the film, you’ll know they didn’t set out to make a PG-13 movie, they just made it, and the MPAA gave it a PG-13. It never feels like they are trying for a easier rating.

      • im not gonna see the film lol, and im well aware he didnt direct it. him being involved in a PG-13 film is beyond me, end of story:)

        • Again, the movie was intended to be rated-R but the MPAA gave it the PG-13 rating instead, you know how weird they are.

          • @Jose & John Campea

            You guys could try to apply logic for days – some people who comment on this site just get themselves into a mindset and stay there.

            I will be seeing this film.

            • The strangest thing…when I read this article, I was reminded of a PG movie called Poltergeist.

              Strange.
              Real strange.

        • anthony,

          I’ve seen the film (review on Friday) – it’s very effective at PG-13. They could have bumped it to R with some gratuitous nudity and f-bombs, but it wouldn’t have added anything to the story.

          Vic

          • And hey… I’m a big fan of gratuitous nudity and F-Bombs… but once you see the film, you’ll understand why they just wouldn’t have fit. It would have been out of place and felt forced.

        • I still fail to see the connection (because there is none) between a movie’s rating, and it’s quality. How does cursing, blood, and boobs help a film’s story or acting? It doesn’t. Alien Ressurection had blood and cursing, and it sucked. Big time. TDK had graphic violence and themes with a PG-13 rating, and it was far superior to many R rated films.

          If you’re tired of hearing about TDK, then I have plenty examples of great PG-13 films.

          • Yup, some films benefit from, or really need to have facets that make them R, but I’ve seen films that would have been perfectly fine without those additions and could have been PG-13. I’ve also seen films that are PG-13 and would have been just fine with a PG – sometimes it seems that they introduce things into a should be PG movie just to bump it up to PG-13 so it won’t be perceived as a kids’ film.

            Vic

            • You know Vic you almost never see PG anymore it’s strange. Most things are G or PG13 and PG sort of rarely gets used. It’s like they are afraid if they make it PG adults will be afraid to bring their 3 year old and adults won’t want to come alone lol.

              • In the uk you never see PG anymore.

          • I agree. I just don’t see a correlation between a films rating and it’s creative and entertainment value. The only time it’s awkward is when it’s clear that something (that for purposes of story shouldn’t be) is sanitized in pursuit of a PG 13 rating. In other words you can not do a movie about gangs and specifically NOT have them curse. It would be unrealistic. But that wasn’t the case with this film. Not at all. Everything was appropriate to the characters as established.

            Thanks!

            Roth

  3. How about the Red Queen from Resident Evil? I thought she was horrible.

    • she wasn’t creepy.

  4. Wow i will definitely see these! :D

  5. I don’t see Sarah jessica Parker mentioned for the sex in the city series/movies…….

    • You made me spit up my drink in laughter, good one.

      • HA! Now THAT”S funny!!!

    • as Scary Carrie?

    • Lmao!!!! *Sigh* good one

  6. I thought Jodie from the Amityville Horror should’ve been mentioned. haha

    • Yeah I thought about her – she is a good example of The Devil Is After Your Daughter :)

      Thanks!

      Roth

  7. Great article. I agree on The Ring. That movie made me feel very uneasy.

    • Thanks! Yeah, I really was scared by that movie.

      Roth

    • Sorry, but I thought it was awful. Not scary at all.

      • No need to be sorry – different strokes for different folks. Movies are subjective – part of the fun is talking about them and seeing other peoples points of view :)

        What scares you?

        :)

  8. the ring was good,but they couldve done so much more with that idea.

    • lol…

    • Possibly due in part to seeing it at midnight on Halloween night – but man that movie scared me good.

      Roth

  9. The little girl from Poltergeist always creeps me out.

    • Me too. Yeah she would have been a great illustration of the Creepy Little Savior Girl :)

      Roth

  10. what about that “girl” from orphan???

    • She’s there – on page 2 and yes VERY creepy she is :D

      Roth

  11. I might of not seen it on the list. But what about Wednesday Addams?

  12. Ugh Not intention in seeing any of those films they are all pretty un original copy’s of other films that sucked as well. It’s among the most unoriginal Genres there is. I get most movies are ideas spawned from other stories, but the horror genre is almost a shot by shot copy of what ever recent horror movie was a success. This article proves that. Throw in a few cheap scares where nothing happens, but there is a load noise or a cat jumping out of something add a creepy little girl and kill people off. Not to mention a bunch of girls only one survivor if they are lucky. Everyone of those things is in everyone of these types of movies. Basically all these Grude or Ring type films are the same and even when they usually try to change it up the smallest it still sucks. The films just are not good films.

    All that said loved the article. It’s so very true almost anytime I’m forced to sit through a crappy generic horror film I find my self waiting for the creepy little girl I know it’s coming. it’s a common thing that I identified long ago, but it’s nice to get a little list of sorts and have others talking about Hollywood horrors oldest most common trend. Hell as much as I love the show Supernatural they have even done it several times. Just once couldn’t we get a creepy black girl at least? Switch it up a little bit? Try to at least pretend like your trying something new.

    • daniel…look behind you man, its a creepy black girl! :)

      • Holy crap anthony don’t do that I nearly pissed my self lol

        • hahahaha

          • guys there will be blood tonight muahahahaha!

            ROTH CORNET
            Oh yeah must have missed her lol!

            • not mine sucka

              • damn….sucks for Daniel F,looks like hs gonna lose blood LMAAO!

  13. Ah, but no mention of little dead girls in red parkas?

    Don’t Look Now….

  14. I’m failing to understand why movie ratings and budget costs and things other than the pure attraction make people not wanna see a film. If i wanna see a movie i wanna see a movie regardless of the minor details.

    • Same here.

  15. I knew she wouldn’t be on here, but the little girl from the beginning of Dawn of the Dead scared the heck out of me the first time I saw it. And if you have ever seen The 40-Year Old Virgin, a hilarious scene spawned off of that girls scene.

    I actually think Zombie/Vampire kids (small parts) in horror should have been represented in this. Could have included the 30 Days of Night girl too.

    • Mmm, that does make sense – creepy little zombie girls. And yes the girl from the begining of Dawn of the Dead was really scary.
      There is are a couple vampire girl mentions on the second page.

      Good thoughts.

      Thanks!

      Roth

      • Yeah, I thought about that after I posted. But, I am more talking about girls that weren’t the main stars in the movie. Like the little girl from 30 Days of Night (I love watching my mom jump everytime that scene comes up!).

  16. Roth, you forgot to mention one creepy white girl movie coming out. That justin beibher 3D movie lol!

    • That made me laugh out loud! He/she/it is a vile creature that should be anihilated at all costs.

    • that is so not funny i bet he is a better man then you are…………

  17. SULLY

    OMG,LMAO,ROFL thats so funny :D !!!!!!!!!!!1

  18. This made me both chuckle (creepy little white girl) and gave me chills as I remembered scenes from some of the films mentioned (and not mentioned).

    As for movie ratings — don’t even get me started. I think the entire system (in the US anyway) makes no sense. I think violence is more of a reason than curse words or nudity for a more mature rating in many cases. And why an innocent scene w/ mere sexual innuendo that involves people of the same sex rates an R when I’ve seen more graphic/explicit scenes that are heterosexual at a PG-13 has never made sense to me.

    Next tangent — I have since seen the trailer and MIGHT go see Let Me In. I really liked Let the Right One In and I really don’t get the whole remaking a movie (especially one that just came out) — see also Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (etc…) as I hear they are remaking that as well.
    It’s not even always a matter of people being reluctant to seeing foreign/subtitled films. What was with Death at a Funeral??? Explain that one to me???

    • @”innuendo that involves people of the same sex rates an R when I’ve seen more graphic/explicit scenes that are heterosexual at a PG-13 has never made sense to me.”

      That’s b/c like most people, the MPAA thinks it’s “wrong” to be homosexual. It’s ridiculous.

    • Hey Dana,

      Thanks! :) I really agree on the ratings system. I said this in an earlier reply as well – so sorry if I am getting repetitive :) But I do not see the correlation between a movies artistic merits and it’s MPAA rating. I also – absolutely agree that violence is more of a reason for a higher rating than nudity. Peoples response to nudity is always so surprising to me. It’s just a body for goodness sake! We all have them. It makes me sad that ppl make it something wrong. That’s what creates some of the more negative images of bodies and sex. All that shaming creates conditions for crude or demeaning interpretations of sex – which we do see far too much of I think. I think there would be a lot less of that is we were all a lot more natural and comfortable in our own skin.

      I would rather my child see (a positive) image of human sexuality than a ton of violence as if that is okay somehow. I think that’s what makes ppl so apathetic when it comes to real violence in the world. Makes me very sad. Okay *off soapbox* we are in agreement.

      As to Let Me In, I am really keeping an open mind. I liked Let The Right One In as well. But think this may be a decent remake.

      Many Thanks!

      Roth

  19. Ha! This article is great! I hope the sequel of creepy little boys (The Omen, Pet Semetary, Child’s Play, El Orfanato) is coming soon.

    • Thank you :D! Hmmm, will have to start working on that ;)!

      Thanks!

      Roth

  20. How about “Juno”s Ellen Page being the “Creepy Little White Girl” with a brain in “Hard Candy” That’s a losing battle

    • LOVE Hard Candy – favorite femme vigilante movie!

      Thanks!

      Roth

  21. Holy crap, yeah, horror movie kids are the freakiest!
    I don’t know what it is, but the silent, staring one’s are the worst (or the best!)!!!
    Soooo unnerving!

    • Totally agreed!Silence speaks volumes! It’s what your own mind can fill in that is really so creepy!

  22. Is that picture of Samara not from The Ring remake? She is far scarier in the original, in the US version she just looks like a zombie, her big black eyes in the original creep me out.

    • DrSamBeckett,

      Yeah, I tend to agree – the original Asian version of the film FREAKED me out. I believe the focus here was US films, though.

      Vic

  23. I would like to add the “creepy little Japanese boy” of Ju-on (The Grudge)
    Also the “creepy little white boy” from Sleep Away Camp Series.
    And what about the creepy little blonde boy from the soap opera Dark Shadows. And then there is the creepy little white girl from Harry Potter Moaning Myrtle. just thought I’d add a few.

    • All great ones!

      Thanks!

      Roth

  24. i hate when the director and producers put inicient little gurls to play the bad people in movies…..EVEN THOUGH I WOUNLDN’T MIND TO BE IN A SCARY MOVIE BUT ANY WAY…..i still don’t see what the reason is for come on put older people in the being bad position…..it just dosen’t make any sense when a child is the bad person in the movie you feel me……….BYE

  25. samara is the creepiest girl ever.