17 Comments

Zombie Kids

I don’t see that many zombie children in movies. Most of the zombie movies I’ve seen have one or two token kids, but what about a whole schoolhouse filled with them? Something must have happened to the children. Something must have made them all disappear. Or is it that film producers shy away from such a scene knowing parent groups may rebel against such a movie?

Zombie Kids (Photo credit: Unknown)

Zombie Kids (Photo credit: Unknown)

My Monday Mayhem series wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t talk about such a controversial subject as children in zombie movies. I say controversial because of the ramifications a film may possess if kids became the focus of a zombie apocalypse.

If the opening scene of 2004’s Dawn of the Dead is any indication, I can see why movie studios would repel ideas depicting children as undead corpses craving human flesh. Although the producers presented the notion in a tasteful matter (no pun intended), the fact of the matter lies with the question posed, “What do we do with the kids when they’ve completed their task?” Of course, the answer to that dilemma has more to do with the answer to the same question exchanging the word “kids” with “adults”. And we all know what happens to zombies when their turn is up.

Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead

I’m sure the decision not to include more zombie children in movies has to do more with child labor laws than creative license. For instance, hiring a child in a movie involves having that child work limited hours, whereas adults can work round-the-clock. Also, there’s the moral question that would come into play portraying kids in a bad light. Would it benefit or detract from the production if a child has blood dripping from its mouth?

Again, if the production has one child to work with, the director could utilize some creative means in order to not represent the scene in a most brutal and gruesome way. Dawn of the Dead does a good job at that.

What if, though, it wasn’t one child? What if the script called for a whole schoolhouse filled with them, as I had mentioned? What kind of logistical problems would that pose for the production?

Given each child actor would probably have to sign a contract, the parents or guardians would probably do their best to ensure their child does not commit something that would present them in a unfavorable light. This would otherwise pave the way for a lawsuit, should any of the children do anything beyond their stringent agreement with the studios.

And the schoolhouse filled with children, what happens to them?

It’s an idea that may never come to fruition, given the legal nightmare such a scene would present.

Therefore, we may never see that schoolhouse scene in the theater. Or anywhere else, for that matter. But at least we have zombie movies that can still cause heads to turn (no pun intended).

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What do you think of a group of children attacking an unsuspecting victim on the street? Do you think it’s something you’ll like to see in a movie?

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17 comments on “Zombie Kids

  1. I think you’re right that children as zombies is upsetting to parents, but The Walking dead did feature three little girls who had turned, but thankfully, did not focus too much on them feeding on humans.

    • I think you’re right. Much of the zombie genre entails having adults in those roles where the enemy “get theirs”. And yes, I remember the little girls in that episode. I think much of what went on steered away from making them the center of attention.

  2. I wonder if another part of it is that adults don’t want to put kids through the ‘trauma’ of being in a horror movie. So, it’s hard to find a lot of kids for such a thing. I remember there being child zombies at the beginning of Zombieland, but you never see them in the horde. Though, I swear I remember seeing a movie with a schoolhouse full of zombie kids. It was a midway point and I don’t remember what it was. I keep wanting to say Resident Evil: Apocalypse.

    • I think when you’re on the movie set, it’s a different atmosphere. The kids know when it’s not real. I know when my kids were at an age to watch more intense movies, I’d always made sure I said, “You know it’s not real, right?” They knew. As for Resident Evil: Apocalypse–you’re right. Shows you I need to re-watch some of these films so as my memory doesn’t fade.

      • I’m surprised I remembered that because I had issues with that movie. Mostly that I was routinely beaten down by Nemesis in the game and there’s someone getting into a fist-fight with him.

      • Ha! I have yet to play any of the Resident Evil games. Maybe one day when I get some free time, I’ll sit with a stack of games that I’ve accumulated over the past year and play them all in a marathon challenge!

  3. Resident Evil: Apocalypse did have a scene that took place in a school and there was a horde of flesh-eating children. Other than that, there aren’t many zombie movies that show children zombies and I don’t think there are any that focus on children zombies. I always thought the subject must be some sort of taboo and didn’t think about the lack of zombie children being due to child labor laws. Great post, Jack! :)

  4. Children in the horror genre are frequent: Children of the Corn is franchise based on it. The issue with having Zombie children is how you would portray the slaying of Zombie children? Even in Dawn of the Dead the zombie child is shot out of camera shot. We cannot normalize killing children regardless of the circumstances and audiences would not have the desire to witness such events. In the play ‘Dogville’ *spoilers* a baby is lifted out of the crib and shot on stage to horrific responses. In short can we have a zombie children in films… but there better be a cure and none of them can get killed/damaged (so freeze ray-guns or magic amulets around.)

  5. I don’t really watch zombie movies, but I really like that first picture. Another reason that kids might not be in zombie movies could be that producers don’t want to go through the trouble of having the kid stand still while the make-up artists do their job.

  6. I think logistics and as inkwellknightuk said, the slaying issue. As conceptually interesting (and even more horrific, to my mind) a zombie child/young zombie horde is, the killing of said horde would be very hard to watch!

  7. I want to see a movie with a schoolhouse full of zombie kids! There are plenty of ghost kids in movies. The baby zombie in Dawn of the Dead is so freaky!

  8. I think The Walking Dead has done a lot with the idea of zombie children. From Sophia to the Governor’s daughter, they haven’t really shied away from the idea. As a parent, it’s kind of hard to watch. Actually, it’s really hard to watch. The idea of trying to protect my toddler in a situation like a zombie apocalypse is terrifying.

  9. Why zombies at all? Oh, yeah: vampires got overdone. Need I say more?

  10. I think you are right, as well. The parental instinct goes on high drive when seeing kids suffering. But there is another trend that I noticed in zombie books, movies, etc. They never really focus on teens either. At least, I have never seen anything on teens other than as potential meat/distraction.

  11. Interesting, I never thought about why there aren’t more zombie children in movies. I was just glad there weren’t because zombie kids really freak me out.

  12. The idea that children can be possessed by demons, abducted by aliens, kidnapped by bogeymen and monsters of all kinds, turned into vampires, but NOT transformed into zombies is ridiculous. But still…it might be hard for a very young actor to pull off that sort of living-death act. That’s the only reason I can think of as to why it might not be practical.

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