Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Who Can Kill A Child?

An unusual subject for a horror film? Who Can Kill A Child (1976) sets out its stall with a fairly lengthy montage of documentary film showing the mass slaughter of children in various fields of conflict.  A serious horror film dealing with famine and war? Well not quite, although I think the Spanish director, Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, who also wrote the screenplay, had the best of intentions in mind.

The films narrative involves a smug and unlikable English couple that goes to an idyllic Island off the coast of Spain to have a quite holiday before their expectant child is born. When this naïve couple arrives they encounter grim faced and silent children who appear to be the only inhabitants, these youngsters appear to be playing some kind of macabre game. I’m sure you don’t require me to expand on this story and can probably work it out for yourselves but it appears that director has set up this juvenile rebellion as a metaphor for the wrongs done to children by their natural enemy: adults!

We're going somewhere different next year!
Shoot in nine weeks and using various Spanish locations this film does not seem like your normal horror film. There are no night scenes; the sun-bleached cinematography seems to have been deliberately shot to replicate a non-horror film, although the children are reasonably spooky.  The worse thing about this film is the male lead, even the director has been reported as stating that he did not like Lewis Flanders portrayal of the husband Tom, originally wanting Anthony Hopkins to play the part! Tom’s wife Evelyn is played by the TV actress Prunella Ransome. This movie had been virtually unavailable until its release on DVD in 2007. It’s a real curiosity, probably only of interest to a horror enthusiast?

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