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It’s Not a Chemical Imbalance — Disciplining the Wicked Kids of Horror

Novelist Scott Sigler’s horror columns will appear every Thursday.

I was looking at the AMC movie schedule and saw The Omen and its sequel were coming up next month. And that got me to thinking — What’s the deal with all these bratty kids in movies?

Take, for example, Damien Thorn (Harvey Stephens). Seriously. Will someone just discipline that kid? I mean, come on, he’s rambunctious, he doesn’t listen, he has a horrible attitude and a nasty proclivity to kill people by pushing them down the stairs. And how about Thorn’s fourth-grade classmate, Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) from The Exorcist ? Oh, you want to crab-walk and embarrass your poor mother in front of everyone? How about a size-10 boot in your little crab behind? How would that suit you?

Take Responsibility
Oh sure, I hear you talking: “It’s not their fault,” you say. “It’s a chemical imbalance,” you whine. “It’s society failing our youth,” you blab. Listen up: Stop blaming society for every problem our children have. And yes, that includes being possessed by the devil.

Hey, Mr. and Mrs. Thorn, Mr. and Mrs. MacNeil, how about you take
some responsibility here? You know what? Like most children, I was
possessed when I was a kid. Mr. and Mrs. Sigler didn’t bring in
priests. No sir. They took me to the woodshed and gave me a whooping I
won’t soon forget. The problem was kept in the family, and solved in
the family. (And as a side note, that priest Brennan? He gives Irish
priests a bad name, I tell you. Brennan couldn’t beat his way out of a
wet paper bag if he swung a sharpened shillelagh.
If you are going to call in the heavy-hitting religious types, could
you at least make sure they could win a cage match with Sally “The
Flying Nun” Fields?)

The lack of kiddie discipline isn’t just
the idyllic past of the ’70s. The ’80s treated us to a case with a
complete lack of respect for parental authority and the government. Charlene
‘Charlie’ McGee (
Drew Barrymore) of Firestarter can reach out and touch you with her pyrokinetic
ability. Sure, she gives a new definition to the term “little hottie,”
but what’s the big idea blowing up a secret governmental installation
like that? That’s taxpayer money, cupcake, and that doesn’t just grow on trees. Talk about parents with zero
control. Sometimes you have to put these kids with a foster parent
specially suited to the child’s needs — Charlie, meet your new daddy,
Smokey the Bear. Problem solved.

It Continues in the New Century

Case in point, some unwashed girl named Samara Morgan (The Ring).
Now here’s a situation where the parents (adoptive) went old-school on
their misbehaving daughter, and maybe it didn’t work out so well. The
girl was put in a black plastic trash bag, hit in the head with a big
rock, then thrown in a well where she died seven days later. So this
was a case with discipline, but they needed to go a snoodge farther.
Grounding the girl just isn’t going to get it done. The girl likes
videotape? Fine. Trick her into transferring herself onto a VHS copy of
Sometimes They Come Back … For More, and she’ll never be heard from again.

So for all you “It Takes a Village” types who want to be your child’s “friend” instead of your child’s parent,
the next time your precious baby’s eyes glow with the light of Satan do
us all a favor — exorcise some tough love.

Scott Sigler writes tales of hard-science horror, then gives them away as free audiobooks at Infected, hit stores on April 1, 2008. If
you don’t agree with what Scott says in this blog, please email him Please include all relevant personal
information, such as your address and what times you are not home, in
case Scott wishes to send someone to “discuss” your opinions.

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