Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? (1976)

On the twenty-second day of Halloween, my boo love gave to me ... twenty-two one-way tickets to Kiddie Killer Island!

THE CARD:

Gorgeous Spanish beaches, a Spaghetti Western That Guy, the Pueblo of the Damned, Britain's Donald Sutherland, the cutest lil' gunman, and the worst case of indigestion ever caught on film.

More details here.

THE ANGLE:

The movie opens with an agonizingly long credit sequence that details the history of child deaths during war in the 20th century. Ok, nail firmly implanted into head, Mr. Director. We open to a young British couple traveling to a Spanish resort town for a holiday. The man is a biologist and the woman is a clueless pregger. They trek to the island of Almanzora located just off the Catalan coast. But instead of welcoming Spanish villagers with jamon, paella, and mojitos at the ready, they find the place deserted and dead quiet. While exploring the town, the two see little children dart around corners and dash about the peripheries of their vision. The children giggle eerily and stare at them with horrifying fascination. The pregger meets a little girl who is fascinated by and caresses her pregnant belly. Minutes later she witnesses the girl bludgeon an old man to death. They’re definitely putting something in the milkshakes. The biologist scrambles for a reason for the disappearance of the adults and the strange behavior of the children, but instead finds dead bodies, panicking Dutch tourists, and kids playing with another old man like a piƱata. As the kids’ behavior grows more bizarre and threatening, the couple struggles to find a way off the island while staving off the hordes of bloodthirsty kiddies in the mood to slash some snotty Brits, and the biologist with his newfound machine gun will discover if he can become the answer of the film's title and issue the ultimate time-out.

THE FINISHER:

Who Can Kill a Child? may sound like a kiddie killer film, but it's quite the opposite. Think of a combination of The Birds and Village of the Damned with a hint of The Wicker Man and you may be in the ballpark. Reminiscent in dark tone and eerie style of earlier reviewed film Long Weekend, this disturbing film deals with weighty subjects and themes such as the atrocities suffered by children during cataclysmic events such as the Holocaust by presenting the vision of children killers inheriting a bloodlust unframed within the caustic reasoning of war. Tension builds slowly and methodically, the children’s madness is not explained, and setting the film in the daylight with an innocuous threat such as children is particularly effective. Not so surprisingly, few horror movies set during the day succeed at bringing the fright as this film, which is a shame because more horror filmmakers should experiment with this approach. The movie also preys on fears of impending fatherhood, social isolation, and the wrenching question posed by the title: if you had to, could you kill a child? The lead actors are fine particularly dependable Australian actor Lewis Fiander as the biologist, and the cinematography is outstanding and masterfully blends the beauty of the Mediterranean sun and blue sky with the blood-drenched happenings in the town. Who Can Kill a Child? is a unnerving and well-made film, abounding with a nightmarish scenario and shocking images of killer teens and toddlers going outside, getting some fresh air, and meting out murderous ferocity and not locked in the basement playing Grand Theft Auto.

1 comment:

Margarita Sears said...

that movie is very famous in Spain. I remember seeing it when i was a girl. very scary!