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Scott Sigler – Run… Run for Your Life! The Orphans Are Here!

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Just what the world needs: A cautionary tale about adoption. No, I’m not talking about Madonna or Angelina Jolie: I’m talking about the horror-thriller Orphan, which hits movie screens tomorrow.

The powers that be kept a tight lid on pre-release plot details, but the movie tells the tale of Kate and John Coleman, who lose their baby to a miscarriage and adopt a 9-year-old girl to fill the hole in their hearts. This being a horror flick, the wee lass is not all she appears to be. The trailer (see it here) kicks ass and hints at intellectual horror with an unguessable twist — I mean, come on: Could it really be a cut-and-dried case of little Esther is an evil brat hell-bent on taking out anyone she dislikes? Doubtful.

In any event, Esther is hardly the first scary orphan on the block… not by a long shot. See if you remember these “sugar and slice, she’ll cut you twice” movies.

Samara Morgan, The Ring (2002)
What list of murderous orphans would be complete without the lovely Samara Morgan? Adopting this kid. Bad call, Ripley, bad call. And sealing her away in a back attic of the barn? Also a bad call. Look, the first time my kid puts evil mental projections into my family movies, it’s infanticide time. Yes, there is a justification, and behaving like Samara is one of them.

David, Screamers (1995)
Peter Weller (Robocop) plays a grizzled Colonel in this far-future scifi tale of Von Neumann devices gone haywire. Don’t know what a Von Neumann device is? Well Phillip K. Dick did — he wrote the story upon which the movie was based — but let’s not digress into lightyear-spanning, self-replicating robot technology. Let’s stay on point, the point being dangerous orphans. The little stray boy here is, of course, not what he appears; in fact, that might be the understatement of the century. Fun scifi flick, even if it doesn’t pay much attention to plausible science. You like mechanical monsters and blood? Rent it.

Rynn Jacobs, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)
Jodie Foster and Martin Sheen team up for this psychological thriller that leaves you guessing just how evil this little girl might be. She doesn’t start out as an orphan, but becomes one due to some tasty cups of cyanide-laced tea.

All the kids on the island, Who Can Kill a Child? (1976)
Seems the American bicentennial was a bad year to be a parent. First Jodie Foster makes you drink some souped-up killer tea, then a couple takes a vacation to an island full of child killers. No, wait, the children are the killers, so while they are “child killers,” they are more aptly named as “adult killers.” Also known as “The Island of the Damned” or the original Spanish-language title “Quien puede matar a un nino,” this is akin to an early Children of the Corn only with more guns and less He Who Walks Beneath the Rows.

Malachai, Children of the Corn (1984)
Did I just mention this flick? Hell yes, I did. Perhaps it’s not high-grade cinematic art, but it’s a hot time for small town orphans. Why are they orphans? Because they killed their parents. Some with a meat slicer, which is particularly nasty. The movie kicked out one of my all-time favorite horror quotes: “He wants you too, Malachai … he wants you too.” Damn! When that line is delivered? Just shudder-ville.

Adopt! Adopt!
Please, don’t let this list of flicks dissuade you. Adopting is a very cool thing to do. Honest. But, a few caveats. Make sure your prospective family member a) is not a card-carrying member of the NRA, b) does not quote his or her own, freshly written scripture, c) comes wandering in out of a nuked-out, wasted warzone holding a teddy bear, d) likes tea parties … a lot, or d) dumps her thoughts onto your old VHS copy of Who’s the Boss.

If the child covers any or all of the above, perhaps it’s time to consult a fertilization specialist instead.

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New York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler writes tales of hard-science horror, then gives them away as free audiobooks at www.scottsigler.com. His novel INFECTED was named as the Border’s #1 mystery, thriller and horror novel for 2008. His latest hardcover, CONTAGIOUS is in stores now. If you don’t agree with what Scott says in this blog, post a note in the comments section below. Please include all relevant personal information, such as your address and what times you are not home, so Scott can come visit and show you his world famous Chicken Scissors.”

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