Created By: callsignechoAugust 4, 2010 Last Edited By: callsignechoAugust 4, 2010

Evil Orphan

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Needs More Examples. Rolling Updates.

Indices: Horror Tropes, Subverted Innocence, Youngsters, Villains, Stock Characters, Characters As Device

Sometimes you get lucky, and the Mysterious Waif you adopted becomes a well-adjusted and welcome addition to the family. Other times. . .not so much.

Of course, the young couple has no idea anything is wrong, but tropers will know right away there's something not right with this newcomer. She's a Creepy Child, who looks like she strolled straight out of the Uncanny Valley. It's not long before things start going wrong around her. Pets start acting up. Things go missing. There are fires. Injuries. Nocturnal birds of prey show up everywhere.

As if they don't have enough to worry about, the couple's biological child is making up crazy stories about how the orphan is planning to kill them all in their sleep! They will be ignored. Sometimes one or both of the parents figure it out at the very last minute. Sometimes it falls to the children to stop her.

The Evil Orphan is the modern-day incarnation of the changeling tale. It uses the tried-and-true horror of Subverted Innocence and the Devil In Plain Sight, as there is little that can compare to the fear and revulsion of discovering that one has been succoring evil incarnate in ones own home.

Expect anything of the Ungrateful Bastard, but be particularly on the lookout for those that play on her youth, like the Wounded Gazelle Gambit. May cause Fridge Horror when the audience wonders just how she became an orphan in the first place. Incorporates any and every trope having to do with with Creepy Children. See also Enfant Terrible.


  • Johan from Monster, of course. And then there was that time his twin sister poisoned a room full of people...


Live Action TV

Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • August 2, 2010
    Lord Voldemort started as this.
  • August 2, 2010
    The man from 19 years ago (no, a shorter name hasn't been provided yet, although Battler tries to say that he is him in the fifth arc), from Umineko No Naku Koro Ni.
  • August 2, 2010
    Isn't the pic a bit too big ? Maybe you could reduce its size a little, eventually.
  • August 2, 2010
    Yeah, I can't photo edit on this computer, so if someone can resize it, I'd really appreciate it. Removed for now, but I got it from the Orphan work page.
  • August 2, 2010
    Could be a hint that they are a Self Made Orphan.
  • August 2, 2010
    CSI has the very Creepy Insufferable Genius Hannah, who's parents have died (the details are never explained) by her second appearence. In her first appearence she gets her brother off a murder charge (albeit an accidental one). In her second she frames him and Drives Him To Suicide to keep him dependant on her. She also Hannibal Lecture's Sara, possibly contributing to her decision to go on a vacation to the rainforest.
  • August 3, 2010
    The Bad Seed + orphan.

  • August 3, 2010
    I have associated to The Bad Seed because of the Creepy Child trope too but it is not an example because the heroine is not an orphaned kid.
  • August 4, 2010
    • The Omen. The boy Damien is an orphan substituted for the couple's real child, who died shortly after birth.
  • August 4, 2010
    ^ On that note, Replacement Goldfish often goes together with this trope - sometimes the kid is mad because he's only tought as a second to the biological child.
  • August 4, 2010
    Johan from Monster, of course. And then there was that time his twin sister poisoned a room full of people...

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