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

If a program or film wants to add fear to a scene one of the most creepy ways is to have a CreepyChild, 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: IronicNurseryTune which is always something the characters can hear and is often said or sung by one of them. Compare OminousLatinChanting. Contrast CherubicChoir.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime And Manga]]
* ''Manga/BlackLagoon'': "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[[MusicalisInterruptus ...]]"
* ''Manga/{{Amatsuki}}'' has a choir of children singing the creepy nursery rhyme "Toryanse" in a whisper when [[EldritchAbomination Yakou]] appears.
* ''Manga/NausicaaOfTheValleyOfTheWind'' features several eerie moments when Nausicaa as a child chanted [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbk6AKl0_cI 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 [[spoiler:become an avenging version of a MessianicArchetype; in the manga, it is [[DarkMessiah far, far worse]].]]
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' uses this in the Rebuild movies in the distressing scenes.
* Although no words can be made out, you can hear childlike vocalizing in [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zAMJXZnJoY Nui Harime]]'s leitmotif in ''Anime/KillLaKill''. [[CuteAndPsycho She has this leitmotif for a very good reason.]]
* "Ake ni Somaru" from ''Anime/HellGirl'' starts with this, followed by creepy trance music. It did a damn good job of turning mundane, peaceful scenes (like a cityscape at sunset) into spooky panoramas.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The ghosts in the short story ''Ashes, Ashes'' (from the compilation ''Literature/SomewhereBeneathThoseWaves'' sing the eponymous nursery rhyme to draw attention to their skeletons.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/TheInnocents'' has a few instances, plus a child's creepy poem recital for good measure.
* An iconic one from ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'': [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOf1AsaJWXY "Freddy's Coming For You"]]
--> "One, two, Freddy's coming for you...
--> Three, four, better lock your door...
--> Five, six, grab your crucifix....
--> Seven, Eight, gonna stay up late...
--> Nine, Ten, never sleep again."
* Easily half of Creator/TimBurton's films (particularly those scored by DannyElfman) tend to have this in the background somewhere.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Coraline}}'', this trope is practically the whole soundtrack.
* The opening of ''Film/ChildrenOfTheCorn1984'' depicts what happens to the town after the children murder all the adults through crayon drawings as a choir of children sing wordlessly.
* ''Film/{{Poltergeist}}'' (composed by Music/JerryGoldsmith) has a great one with "Carol Anne's Theme", a semi-religious sounding lullaby that sounds very innocent and pure. Taken to a disturbing level in the ending credits when the children laughed ominously.
* In a creepy scene in ''Film/TheBirds'' by Creator/AlfredHitchcock, schoolchildren sing the nonsense folk song "Risselty-Rosselty" while a mass of CreepyCrows slowly gather on an empty playground, [[AdultFear waiting to attack them as soon as they leave]]. Subverted in that the children themselves are innocent victims, the creepiness coming from the context, suspense, and situation.
* Samara Morgan sings one herself in ''Film/TheRing''.
-->"Round we go, the world is spinning.
-->When it stops, it's just beginning.
-->Sun comes up, we laugh and we cry.
-->Sun goes down, and then we all die..."
* Not actually singing, but in ''Film/TheBadSeed'', Rhoda playing "Au Clair de la Lune" on the piano, especially [[spoiler: when Leroy is burning to death]].
* The opening theme to ''Film/PetSematary'' is this trope to a T.
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}} 3: Europe's Most Wanted'', when the three lemurs wind up in Sonya the bear's supposedly empty train car. Creepy child-like singing appears...but it turns out that Mort is singing. King Julien, who gets freaked out by the chanting, tells him to stop.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In ''Series/DarkShadows'', we hear Barnabas Collins' dead little sister Sarah long before we meet her. She sings "London Bridge" quietly, and occasionally plays a recorder.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' has been doing this since at least "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS23E1TheMysteriousPlanet The Trial of a Time Lord]]" where the Doctor was hunted through a series of abandoned warehouses whilst [[TropeNamer 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".
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
--> 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.
** Also, the episode "Miri" has unseen children singing standard schoolyard chants, to creepy effect.
* ''Series/{{Quatermass}}''
--> 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 ''VeronicaMars'', there's a closing-episode montage set to AlejandroEscovedo's "Falling Down Again", which features children singing in the chorus and laughing during the fade-out, playing in conjunction with the imagery of [[spoiler: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.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'': The episode ''Grace'' has Major Carter wandering away from the X-303 Prometheus' bridge to investigate a rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star that seems to be coming from somewhere nearby. She doesn't find the source.
* ''Series/TwilightZone'': Did this in the 1960 episode ''Nightmare as a Child''. Helen hears her child self singing ''Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'' over and over again. Need creepiness with a tight budget? Just add reverb!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Ca´na uses a sample of a small child singing as BookEnds in the song [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88d-Aw2dVNQ "Willows and Whippoorwills"]].
* Decoded Feedback's "Death Control" opens with a child creepily singing "Ring Around the Rosies".
* The "we will watch them burn" FadeOut 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.
* Music/{{Nightwish}}'s ''Imaginaerum'' album is full of this, particularly on "Scaretale."
* The fanmade ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' song [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xA9dFZJtQWc "Daddy Discord"]] combines this trope with a VillainSong; for all her natural pony cuteness, Screwball quickly lands herself in CreepyChild territory as she sings of her unflinching desire to help [[MadGod her creator]] take vengeance for [[AndIMustScream his imprisonment]] [[TakenForGranite in stone]] by tearing the world apart through fear and chaos.
-->'''Screwball:''' '''Cause you... are my Daddy Discord... and I... am a piece of you.''
* [[OingoBoingo Oingo Boingo]]'s song ''Insanity'' features keyboardist Carl Graves's children chanting the bridge lyrics.
-->Like a wave we cannot see / washing over you and me / hiding here and hiding there / madness hiding everywhere
* Cygnus X's "Kinderlied Part 1".
* Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem" includes a distant boys' choir. The Latin texts the boys sing are entirely innocent, though the context is rarely innocent and at one point directly contradictory. The boys' slow singing of the "Hostias" over a dissonant organ/harmonium chord (up to the final line, "Quam olim Abrahae promisisti et semini ejus" [[labelnote:Translation]]"That which was promised to Abraham and his seed"[[/labelnote]]) is intercut with the final line of Wilfred Owen's "Parable of the Old Man and the Young" (sung by the tenor and bass in an unrelated faster tempo), which holds Abraham responsible for killing "half the seed of Europe, one by one."
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Professional Wrestling]]
* TheWyattFamily has used children as psychological weapons in their feuds, attempting to unnerve opponents by having one (or a chorus) sing the children's Christian song "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" and selling their characters as a psychopathic, bloodthirsty, ''{{Deliverance}}''-type Satanic cult. This was used to great effect by Bray Wyatt and his "followers" in their 2014 feud with JohnCena.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theater]]
* Toby sings a creepy variation of "patty-cake" at the end of ''SweeneyTodd'' after realizing Todd had killed Mrs. Lovett and then killing Todd himself. This is left out of [[Film/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet the Tim Burton movie]], in which Toby just silently walks away.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* This trope is invoked in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' 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 ''VideoGame/EpicMickey'' 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.
* ''VideoGame/{{Dishonored}}'' features a rather ominous variant of TheDrunkenSailor known as "The Drunken Whaler".
* The tag children singing "Kagome, Kagome" around Miku in the first FatalFrame, and the handmaidens singing "Sleeping Priestess" in the third one. Specially effective with the handmaidens, since they are singing [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uidSR_fIgQw about skinning and impaling people in a monotone, almost entranced tone of voice]].
* At the end of the first Episode in VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry, Natsuhi, George, Jessica and Battler are taking refuge in Kinzo's study when [[EvilPhone the phone rings]]. When they answer the only voice they can hear is [[spoiler: [[CreepyChild Maria]] singing in the background]].
* In ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'', Thresh the Chain Warden's leitmotif involves little children singing a [[IronicNurseryTune creepy nursery rhyme]] about how the rattling of Thresh's chains may be the last thing you hear.
* ''VideoGame/TheBindingOfIsaac'' plays Jesus Loves Me over the credits when you beat it enough times, with a creepy distorted effect.
* In ''VideoGame/RuleOfRose'' the aristocrats sing a creepy tune about stray dog around a fire in the chapter Sir Peter, [[spoiler:shortly before jennifer is forced to shove the rat stick in Amanda's face]].
* In ''VideoGame/BravelyDefault'' the theme tune of the [[spoiler:[[BonusBoss Ba'al bosses]]]] includes a segment of this in their {{Leitmotif}}.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' used this trope in the episode "Ginger Kids".
[[/folder]]

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