Night of the Spooky Boy

Hollywood's spookiest monster might be living in your own home.

You know all the classic movie monsters–werewolves, vampires, mummies, zombies–but there's one that might not immediately come to mind, and boy oh boy is he spooky.

We're talking, of course, about the Spooky Boy®. Oh yeah, he's bad. Real bad. He does the wrong things in school, kills small animals, and slurps spaghetti. But what exactly is a Spooky Boy, and why is he always trying to kill Moms™? The answers may spook you.

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Anatomy of the Spooky Boy

The Omen Damien 2006 Spooky Boy Damien from The Omen (2006)

Spooky Boys are, in essence, scary little boys that appear in movies and on TV. They are always white and never minorities. Their skin tends to be pasty and their faces angelic, albeit with blank expressions. In rare cases, spooky little girls can also be Spooky Boys.

Spooky Boys are also notorious for doing Spooky things. They eat bugs. They steal sharp objects which their Mom usually finds hidden amongst some toys. They draw pictures of people dying. They also murder people, but often they stand there looking spooky. For instance, here's a scene from The Prodigy where Spooky Boy Miles comes to help his mom.

The Prodigy Exclusive Movie Clip - What Did You Do? (2019) | Movieclips Coming Soon www.youtube.com

Why's he need to be so creepy about it? Just give her the hammer like a reasonable person, dude. And sure, he's probably got some cat bodies in there or whatever, but how about letting those speak for themselves? Being weird about it beforehand is just going to ruin the reveal for your Mom.

The movie logic behind the Spooky Boy's spookiness boils down to a few core reasons:

1. The Spooky Boy is possessed by an evil entity (i.e., The Prodigy)

2. The Spooky Boy is an evil entity (i.e., The Omen)

3. The Spooky Boy is just a real bad apple and perhaps also an adult in disguise? (i.e., The Orphan)

One important thing to note is that Spooky Boys are not ghosts. There are Spooky Ghost Boys (i.e., Insidious), but while they may have some visual similarities, they don't fulfill the fundamental requirement for spooky boys––a hatred of Moms.

Spooky Boys Hate Moms

Spooky Boy from The Hole in the Ground, hating his Mom

The core directive of a Spooky Boy is to kill his Mom. He may kill others along the way, including babysitters, child psychologists, and classmates, but the end goal is almost always a battle between mother and son. Dads can also be Moms, and sometimes both parents are primary targets, especially when one of the parents is super easy to destroy.

Best Horror Scenes - The Omen www.youtube.com

Here's a spoiler, Spooky Boy Damien wins pretty hardcore. But the important part is that a parental clash occurs, this being the core thematic element of every Spooky Boy flick.

The narrative of a Spooky Boy movie always flows the same way:

1. Meet Spooky Boy and his Mom. Mom loves Spooky Boy.

2. Spooky Boy does some bad things. Mom denies it.

3. Spooky Boy's misdeeds ramp up. Mom notices. Spooky Boy notices that Mom notices.

4. Mom tries to stop Spooky Boy. The Spooky Boy turns on Mom.

5. Mom tries to kill Spooky Boy. Spooky Boy attempts to guilt Mom. "Don't you love me, Mom?"

The end. Sometimes the Mom succeeds and kills her Spooky Boy. Or sometimes an outsider steps in just in time to stop the "crazed" Mom from killing her "innocent" son. The result doesn't matter. They'll both be back again and again. It's an eternal struggle between two opposing forces, the Spooky Boy and the Mom.

Regardless, it's always pretty great seeing a parent just let loose on a Spooky Boy, like in this scene from The Orphan.

Orphan | "What did you do?!" Scene youtu.be

Why Do Spooky Boys Exist?

the bad seed spooky boy OG Spooky Boy from The Bad Seed

Surprisingly, the first Spooky Boy movie was actually about a spooky girl. The Bad Seed, a 1956 black and white film about a murderous elementary school girl named Rhoda, was the first major motion picture to place a child in the villain role. But it wouldn't be until 1976's The Omen, starring Gregory Peck as the adoptive father of a demonic little boy named Damien, that the Spooky Boy genre would hit mainstream success.

Monsters almost always function as physical embodiments of our fears. Vampires can be a manifestation of pestilence, distrust of sexual partners, or the genuine fear of men who sparkle. Zombies can represent anything from our fear of dead bodies to our fear of groupthink.

In this light, Spooky Boys are representative of parental fears, mainly the existential terror of failing as a parent and raising a "bad" person. That's why the movie always ends with the parent crushing their maternal (or paternal) instincts and attempting to destroy their child for the greater good. Of course, these movies tend to soften the blow through demons and possessions to reassure viewers that if their children are bad, it's not their fault.

After all, some boys are just born spooky.


Dan Kahan is a writer & screenwriter from Brooklyn, usually rocking a man bun. Find more at dankahanwriter.com



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