1. Edelman chooses to use the capitalized term “the Child” to refer to the concept of “reproductive futurism” and the avatar of its political power in order to distinguish it from actual children or children’s bodies.
[return to page 1 of essay]

2. As there are two films in this piece with the same title, I will continue to use the release year when referring to these films as a means of differentiation.

3. Films implicated in the subgenre include The Space Children (1958), Suddenly Last Summer (1959), The Innocents (1961), These Are the Damned (1963), Children of the Damned (1963), Don’t Deliver Us from Evil [Mais ne nous délivrez pas du mal](1970), The Other (1970),The Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971), The Fury (1978), It Lives Again (1978), It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987), The Brood (1979), The Children (1980), Children of the Corn (1984), Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1993), Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995), Children of the Corn 666: Isaacs’s Return (1999), Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996), Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998), Children of the Corn: Revelation (2001), Beware: Children at Play (1989), Cuckoos at Bangpleng [Kawow tee Bangpleng] (1994), Heavenly Creatures (1994), Sister My Sister (1994), Fun (1994), Village of the Damned (1995), Battle Royale [Batoru rowaiaru] (2000), Battle Royale II [Batoru rowaiaru II: Chinkonka] (2003), Stacy (2001), The Plague (2006), The Children (2008), and Child’s Game (2010).

4. For a side-by-side analysis, see the documentary adaptation of Vito Russo’s The Celluloid Closet

5. Based on the novel Child’s Game [El Juego de los Niños] (1970) by Juan José Plans.

6. See the DVD extras on The Children DVD and the official website for the musical adaptation at <http://www.thechildrenthewebsite.com>.

7. Based on a Stephen King short story of the same name from his book Night Shift (1979). Interestingly, it has been suggested that King’s short story is concise reworking of Juan Jose Plans’ novel The Children’s Game, which was adapted as Who Can Kill a Child?

8. Lloyd Kaufman, “Introduction,” DVD, Beware: Children at Play, directed by Max Kalmanowicz, 1980.

9. See Kathryn Bond Stockton’s “Growing Sideways, or Versions of the Queer Child: The Ghost, the Homosexual, the Freudian, the Innocent, and the Interval of Animal,” Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004, and The Queer Child: Or, Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009.
[return to page 2]

10. Interestingly, it is suggested in a number of the mid-reading sequences that the children can read the adults’ hateful, and even murderous, impulses towards them. The adults register shock at this suggestion, which is either an anxious rejection, or a sign that the children have access to their unconscious motivations—essentially that they know the adults better than they know themselves.

11. This notion of a “secret language” has long been a characterization of queer cultures. Certainly practices of gay male cruising or cottaging relies upon a complex system of unspoken visual codes, often reliant upon the act of looking (and returning the gaze). Even on the floor of the House of Representatives in 1950, Senator Miller of Nebraska warned that the “invisible menace” was transmitting cryptic messages in plain view, stating “[t]hose people [homosexuals] like to be known to each other. They have signs used on streetcars and in public places to call attention to others of like mind.” See 81st Congress 2nd Session, Cong. Rec. 96.4 (29 March-24 April 1950): 4527-4528,

12. A notable exception is the original Children of the Corn, which uses a child leader due to the film’s deployment of the “cult” anxiety, though it should be noted that his subjects eventually overthrow the cult leader when he no longer supports their collective wishes. [return to page 3]

13. Margaret Mead’s “Child-Training Ideals in a Postrevolutionary Context: Soviet Russia.” Childhood in Contemporary Culture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953) delineates “good” U.S. and “bad” Soviet child-rearing practices, the latter of which raises overcivilized adult-like children.

14. The Children is not alone in its inclusion of revolting children within the “Homo Horror Guide.” Other alums include Apt Pupil, The Baby, Bride of Chucky, The Exorcist, Ginger Snaps, May, Sleepaway Camp, and The Unborn.

15. The musical is still in rep at several theatres around the country. More information is available at http:://www.thechildrenthewebsite.com.

16. “The Children: The Musical,” The Children, DVD Special Features, 2001.


Best,  Joel. Threatened Children: Rhetoric and Concern about Child-Victims. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Butler, Judith. “Is Kinship Always Already Heterosexual?” differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 13:1 (2002), 14-44.

Buzz. “The Children (of Ravensblack) [review],” CampBlood. 04 February, 2010. <http://campblood.org/Reviews/Review%20-%20The%20Children.htm>.

Clover, Carol. “The Eye of Horror,” in ed. Linda Williams, Viewing Positions: Ways of Seeing Film. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1995, 184-230.

Cowie, Elizabeth. “Fantasia.” The Woman in Question: M/f. ed. Elizabeth Cowie. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990.

Edelman, Lee. No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004.

Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. NY: Pantheon Books, 1973.

---. The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Volume One. NY: Vintage, 1990.

Gilbert, James. A Cycle of Outrage: America’s Reaction to the Juvenile Delinquent of the 1950s. NY, NY: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Hanson, Ellis. “The Undead.” inside/out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories. ed. Diana Fuss. New York: Routledge, 1991. 324-340.

Hecht, George. “1950-1960: The Decade of the Child,” Parents’ Magazine (January 1950), 2-8.

Holland, Patricia. Picturing Childhood: The Myth of the Child in Popular Imagery. London: I.B. Taurus, 2004.

Jenkins, Henry. “Introduction: Childhood Innocence and Other Modern Myths.” The Children’s Culture Reader. Ed. Henry Jenkins. New York: New York UniversityPress, 1998.

Moon, Michael. A Small Boy and Others: Imitation and Initiation in American Culture from Henry James to Andy Warhol. Durham: Duke University Press, 1998.

Paul, William. Laughing Screaming: Modern Hollywood Horror and Comedy. NY: Columbia University Press, 1994.

Rai, Amit. “The Future is a Monster,” Camera Obscura 21 (2006): 59-61.

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy and Howard Stein, “Child Abuse and the Unconscious in American Popular Culture,” in Ed. Henry Jenkins, The Children’s Culture Reader. New York: New York University Press, 1998, 185-199.

Stacey, Jackie. Star Gazing: Hollywood Cinema and Female Spectatorship. London: Routledge, 1994.

Stockton, Kathryn Bond. “Eve’s Queer Child.” Regarding Sedgwick: Essays on Critical Theory and Queer Culture. NY: Routledge, 2002.

---. “Growing Sideways, or Versions of the Queer Child: The Ghost, the Homosexual, the Freudian, the Innocent, and the Interval of Animal.” Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.

Tudor, Andrew. Monsters and Mad Scientists: A Cultural History of the Horror Movie. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989.

Vitagliano, Ed. “Targeting Children: How the Homosexual Movement Uses School as Instruments of Change,” American Family Association website (12 January 2010),

Weston, Kath. Families We Chose: Gays, Lesbians, Kinship. NY: Columbia University Press, 1991.

Ziolkowski, Eric. Evil Children in Religion, Literature, and Art. NY: Palgrave MacMillon, 2001.

To topPrint versionJC 53 Jump Cut home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.