The six most frightening movie characters under the age of two.

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by Ryan Perez

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April 22, 2009

1. ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968) directed by Roman Polanski

After winding us as tight as a drum for two hours, we learn that Satan has knocked up Mia Farrow. (Why couldn't they just adopt like she and Woody did?) In a stroke of diabolical genius, Roman Polanski knew what an audience could imagine was far worse than anything he could show them. "What have you done to its eyes?" a bad-addled Rosemary asks. Forty years later, we are still wondering.

2. ERASERHEAD (1977) directed by David Lynch

Despite the oft-promulgated notion that parenthood is somehow rewarding, it more often seems like a viper's nest of worry and revulsion. With Eraserhead, Lynch made the greatest parental anxiety film ever. During dinner with his girlfriend's family, Henry (Jack Nance) is told there is a baby waiting to be picked up at the hospital (Lynchian nightmare logic at its best). For the rest of the film, he is forced to raise a mutant covered in sores. Quite possibly the most effective abstinence training movie ever made.

3. ROCKY II (1979) directed by Sylvester Stallone

Pugilist Rocky Balboa and mousy pet-store proprietor Adrian have their first child in this sequel to the beloved 1976 original. Complications develop during Adrian's delivery, causing Rocky to reflect on his career in (surprise!) a montage. The infant finally emerges from Adrian's womb with a disturbingly full head of black hair. The pure volume of fur is unlike anything I have seen on a newborn infant, real or imagined. The climactic rematch with Apollo Creed plays like a quaint denouement after learning Rocky is the proud father of a freakish ape-child (creatively named Rocky Jr.)

4. TRAINSPOTTING (1996) directed by Danny Boyle

The spectre of a neglected-to-death baby haunts Scottish heroin-addicted Renton (Ewan McGregor) as he attempts to kick his habit. The tot crawls across the ceiling, performing Exorcist-like head calisthenics as Renton screams bloody murder. This is such a dark scene,  McGregor doesn't even manage an opportunity to show his penis. If quitting junk means going through withdrawals this severe, I will keep right on chasing this particular dragon, thank you very much.

5. COLD MOUNTAIN (2003) directed by Anthony Minghella

When Inman (Jude Law), a deserting Civil War soldier happens upon a remote cabin one rainy night, he encounters beautiful young war wife (Natalie Portman) and her GINORMOUS baby! Simply put, Natalie Portman's baby is huge. Shockingly huge. It pretty much dwarfs her by comparison. It could play the lead in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid without any special effects. Worship this baby. Bow to it. If you don't, it will eat you.

6. THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (2004) directed by Mel Gibson

During one of many delightful flogging scenes, Jesus Christ (King of Kings, The Greatest Story Ever Told) hallucinates the Lynchian vision of Satan holding a demon baby with face of 40-year old man and hair on its back. The image recalls a twisted variation on Madonna and child- Giovanni Bellini meets Clive Barker meets The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. However, this hairy baby would have been a lot more disturbing to me were I not already acquainted with the far bushier Rocky Jr.