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DID YOU READ

The top 10 most evil children in movies

Children of the Corn

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Evil is somehow even more evil when it’s personified and/or inflicted by a minor. Here are some of cinema history’s creepiest little shits, from the raving Rhoda in “The Bad Seed” to the scalpel-wielding Gage Creed in “Pet Sematary” to the she-demon orphan of “Case 39.”


“The Bad Seed” (1956)

Pray you never get on the bad side of Rhoda, a pigtailed terror in a Sunday dress who’s not afraid to use her tap shoes as murder weapons in order to get what she wants. The hapless janitor in this scene should’ve ceased with his taunts a good minute earlier (much like the janitor in John Carpenter’s “Village of the Damned,” but we’ll get to that later), otherwise Rhoda might not have SET HIM ON FIRE (you don’t get to see that part in the video; you’ll just have to catch the whole movie on Netflix Streaming) ’cause he knows too damn much about her evil Rhoda doings. Believe it or not, this preposterous After School Special gone stark raving bonkers was nominated for four Oscars (including a Best Supporting Actress nod for Paddy McCormack’s performance as the insufferable brat); the Academy must’ve seen it as some sort of bizarro cautionary tale, complete with a post-credits comeuppance for the film’s mini-villainess as she receives a hearty spanking at the hand of Nancy Kelly (who was also Oscar-nominated for her performance as Rhoda’s mother). Weird.


“The Exorcist” (1973)

“Your mother sucks cocks in hell, Karras!” William Friedkin’s gonzo free-for-all adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s weirdo novel (read it if you haven’t; it’s bonkers) ended up being what many consider to be the best horror movie ever made — and a project that doomed a young actress named Linda Blair to a life of typecasting and appearances at horror conventions. Whatever, though — better to have one great role in one great movie than a life of digging ditches, and “The Exorcist” is just dripping (or perhaps oozing — check out the video and you’ll see what we mean) with greatness. The adult actors are terrific and all (particularly Jason Miller as Father Karras, whose beautifully underplayed performance often gets overlooked in favor of the more histrionic work of Ellen Burstyn and Max von Sydow), but it’s Blair who owns the show and steals it from herself as the little girl possessed by an impossibly vulgar, mercilessly manipulative demon (voiced by Mercedes McCambridge).


“The Omen” (1976)

Director Richard Donner’s tale of a well-to-do couple who start to suspect that their young son might be the spawn of Satan or something is cheesy ’70s horror played completely stone-faced seriously (well, for the most part), resulting in a truly unsettling thriller that stands proudly behind the shoulder of “The Exorcist” as one of the few religious horror movies that actually works. “The Omen” is filled with elaborate set pieces designed to shock and amaze, from the (ex-) nanny ruining a perfectly good birthday party by hanging herself to a priest getting impaled by the spear-like crucifix atop his own church that becomes unhinged during a rather nasty storm (conjured by the Prince of Darkness himself!) to David Warner getting decapitated by a runaway sheet of glass. Great stuff, with little Harvey Stephens delivering a particularly creepy performance as young Damien; you’ll believe he’s the Devil’s kid without any real stretch of the imagination, whether there’s a nasty Rottweiler lurking around or not.


“Children of the Corn” (1984)

This movie is ridiculous, and so is the Stephen King short story it’s based on, but damn if it isn’t an entertaining bit of hayseed horror with an exquisitely stupid premise involving overalls-wearing teenage bumpkins who knock off their moms and dads (and everyone else over the age of 18, at that) as they worship something called He Who Walks Among the Rows. Pete Horton and Linda Hamilton play the young couple who run afoul of these little creeps, but the key conflict is the rivalry between Isaac (John Franklin) and his power-hungry right-hand, uh, man, Malachai (Courteney Gains); the former being sacrificed to He Who Walks Among the Rows is one of the film’s freakiest scenes, made all the more so by Franklin’s disturbingly high-pitched voice (there’s no post production tinkering there; he actually sounds like that, courtesy of the Growth Hormone Deficiency that also accounts for his short stature and underage looks). Franklin reprised his role 15 years later in “Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return,” and it ruled.


“Pet Sematary” (1989)

It was the scariest movie in the world when you were, like, 15, but when you got a little older you probably realized that this B-movie adaptation of Stephen King’s C-level bestseller was actually kind of . . . dumb. However, what’s made at least some of “Pet Sematary” stand the test of time is its sheer tastelessness; there’s something truly brazen about how tacky this movie is, whether it be its reduction of poor Zelda to a moaning, convulsing guilt-demon (yes, Mr. King, we know you think disease = evil) or director Mary Lambert’s manipulative trickery in getting too-young-to-know-better Miko Hughes to be a snarling, grimacing, scalpel-wielding toddler from hell. “No fair!” cries little Gage when his father (Dale Midkiff) sticks him in the neck with a syringe for what seems like five minutes; we agree whole-heartedly, kid.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.