With It about to come out featuring a prominent child cast (although non-evil) and The Lost Boys just hitting 30 it’s a great time for children in horror. Children in horror tend to fall into two groups victims or villains. Let’s have a look at the ones that sometimes fall in the middle of these two categories vampire children and teenagers of film. It’s also a good time to explore the key themes and concepts each vampire child embodies.
Lemora: A Childs Tale of the Supernatural (1975)
Lemora is all about a young innocent girl called Lila who leaves her church community to find her father and is enticed by the beautiful lady vampire Lemora. Lemora spends a lot of time seducing “lost children” in a way that is very disturbing. The ambiguous ending suggests that Lila is turned into a vampire and thus she fits the pattern. She is a naïve innocent girl caught up in a world she doesn’t understand and certainly serves as a template for other young female child vampires.
The Lost Boys (1987)
This classic film features a group of vampire teenagers terrorizing the boardwalk of Santa Carla. Whilst this film features a bonafide child vampire in Vladdie, it is the teenagers that are the most interesting. They are a family of boys who lure victims for their “father” Max. However, we only find out later on that the boys are being loosely controlled by Max. The true chilling moment is the lead boy David’s death he is shown as innocent and young. His face suddenly de-aged presumably to what he looked like before Max turned him.
Interview With The Vampire (1994)
Adapted from the cult book series by a controversial Goth maven, Anne Rice 1994’s Interview with the Vampire is a gorgeous sweeping film and also contains one of the best-known child vampires of all time. A young Kristen Dunst plays Claudia, a little girl turned into a vampire by Lestat to give Louis a family. She’s petulant and throughout the film gets broodier. She grows up mentally but her body stays young. She cannot change her appearance in any way without it going back to how she looked before. Her death like her creation is used to taunt and further Louis’s suffering and gives her no agency other than her decision to hold her new friend as they turn to ash together.
Let the Right One In (2008)
This film diverges slightly from the pattern of some of the others films as it focuses on a friendship between a vampire child and a human. Eli is a centuries-old vampire and Oskar is a bullied human boy and the two have a dysfunctional ultimately heart rending relationship. Eli is androgynous, violent and starts killing the people that hurt Oskar. One big divergence from a lot of the other child vampire films is that Eli survives and she leaves with Oskar on the train. It’s one of the only happy endings for child vampires and is ultimately a really charming and satisfying payoff.
The opening scene of Daybreakers features a vampire little girl writing a letter while looking at pictures of her and her friends she then goes outside sits on the tarmac and waits for the sun to come up and burns to death. In just under two minutes the film shows a very similar child vampire to Claudia. In her note, the girl writes that she will “never change” and “never grow up” a sentiment shown in both The Lost Boys and Interview with the Vampire but in different ways. Interestingly all these movies have in common is that they are all American films so perhaps it’s part of their vampire movie traditions or perhaps it’s just a coincidence. But no matter Daybreakers opening scene gives us a short but engaging look at the downsides of child vampirism.
As you can see corrupted innocence seems to be the lowest common denominator with most of these child vampires. Often this also comes up in the horror genre but with child vampires, it seems all the more pronounced. It is likely to do with Catholic origins of vampires and their views on children and the soul. However what we definitely know is child vampires can sometimes be just as scary as the fully-grown variety!