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Expensive horror films have more expensive theme tunes, they'd be sort of choirs of small children going, "Ahhahhhhahhhhahhhahhhahhh I died tragically ahhhahhhahh"

If a program or film wants to add fear to a scene one of the most creepy ways is to have a Creepy Child, or a whole creepy choir, singing somewhere in the distance or background, usually the tune is a mournful nursery rhyme. Sometimes it will seem like the characters can hear it and they may even call out, asking if anyone is there.

Compare and contrast: Ironic Nursery Tune which is always something the characters can hear and is often said or sung by one of them. Compare Ominous Latin Chanting. Contrast Cherubic Choir.

Examples of Creepy Children Singing include:

Anime And Manga

  • Black Lagoon: "My mother has killed me... my father is eating me... my brothers and sisters, sit under the table, picking up my bones! They'll bury them, under the cold marble stones..."
  • Amatsuki has a choir of children sing the creepy nursery rhyme "Toryanse" in a whisper when Yakou appears.
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind features several eerie moments when Nausicaa as a child chanted this eerie little tune, which is still quite ominous despite it being only "Na na na". If you fail to see why, consider that at the film climax, Nausicaa has more or less become an avenging version of The Messiah; in the manga, it is far, far worse.



 "One, two, Freddy's coming for you...

Three, four, better lock your door...

Five, six, six, grab your crucifix....

Seven, Eight, gonna stay up late...

Nine, Ten, never sleep again."

  • Easily half of Tim Burton's films (particularly those scored by Danny Elfman) tend to have this in the background somewhere. Special mention to Coraline, in which it's practically the whole soundtrack.
  • The opening of Children of the Corn depicts what happens to the town after the children murder all the adults through crayon drawings as a choir of children sing wordlessly.

Live Action Television

  • In Dark Shadows, we hear Barnabas Collins' Dead Little Sister Sarah long before we meet her. She sings "London Bridge" quietly, and occasionally plays a recorder.
  • Doctor Who has been doing this since at least "The Trial of a Time Lord" where the Doctor was hunted through a series of abandoned warehouses whilst Creepy Children sang Ring-a-Ring-o-Roses in the background. It wasn't clear if he could hear or not. The new series used it in the Series 6 episodes "Night Terrors", "Closing Time", and 'The Wedding of River Song".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

 Can't even shout, can't even cry,

The Gentlemen are coming by.

Lookin' in windows, knockin' on doors,

They need to take seven and they might take yours.

Can't call to mom, can't say a word,

You're gonna die screaming but you won't be heard.

  • Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series

 Hail, hail, fire and snow

Call the angel, we will go

Far away, for to see

Friendly angel come to me.


 Huffety puffety Ringstone Round.

If you lose your hat it will never be found,

So pull up your britches right up to your chin,

And fasten your cloak with a bright new pin,

And when you are ready, then we can begin,

Huffity, puffity puff!

  • Near the end of the second season of Veronica Mars, there's a closing-episode montage set to Alejandro Escovedo's "Falling Down Again", which features children singing in the chorus and laughing during the fade-out, playing in conjunction with the imagery of Thumper chained to a urinal, struggling while the stadium is being demolished.
  • The Poirot episode "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" makes use of this at the beginning and throughout the episode, as children ominously sing the nursery rhyme.


  • Caïna uses a sample of a small child singing as Book Ends in the song "Willows and Whippoorwills".
  • Decoded Feedback's "Death Control" opens with a child creepily singing "Ring Around the Rosies".
  • The "we will watch them burn" Fade Out of Suede's "We Are The Pigs".
  • Some performances of Gustav Mahler's "Das klagende Lied" have a boy sing the words of the slain brother when the flute is played.


  • Toby sings a creepy variation of "patty-cake" at the end of Sweeney Todd after realizing Todd had killed Mrs. Lovett and then killing Todd himself. This is left out of the Tim Burton movie, in which Toby just silently walks away.

Video Games

  • This trope is invoked in Dragon Age: Origins when the Warden explores a creepy orphanage rife with demons and ghosts.

 One, two, Maric's run through

Three four, the kingdom's at war

Eight nine and now you die

  • Strangely, subverted by Disney. The Beta for Epic Mickey was supposedly going to have this in the form of the iconic song It's A Small World playing backwards during the Gremlin Village level. According to Warren Spector, the launch version was supposed to have the lyrical version as the boss for the Clock Tower, but copyright reasons kept this from happening. One can assume this is why the song doesn't play backwards at any point in the game.
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