Monday, December 12, 2005

The Child-1977

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For many a year, Harry Novak has brought us soft core fun like Country Cuzzins (1970) and The Pigkeeper’s Daughter (1973.) How blessed are we that he found it in himself to offer us up some zombie action? Okay, blessed might not be the word I want to use…

Poor Alicianne (Laural Barnett) has taken a job at the Nordon house, to act as nanny to the young Rosalie (Rosalie Cole.) Poor Rosalie needs extra special care, as she is still grieving the death of her wacko mother. Okay, not poor Rosalie, as she’s a bit of a spoiled little freak show herself. She draws psychopathic pictures and feeds kittens to zombies in the cemetery next door. I can’t really tell for sure whether or not she raises the zombies herself through her telekinesis (which you are provided an example or two of), or if they’re just…there. And for whatever reason don’t mind doing the bidding of this bratty little kid.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that when you have an unpleasant kid who wields some sort of occult-like power, chances are you’re going to end up with everyone dead. This is pretty much the case. When all is said and done, we’re left with the classic Find-A-Structure-And-Board-It-Up motif, so popular in zombie films.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie has it’s moments. But they are few and far between, which wouldn’t be so exasperating if it weren’t for the maddening score by Rob Wallace. Wild piano, with dreadful synth accompaniment (what’s with the electronic duck-quack sound?) absolutely destroys any amount of suspense they were obviously going for. And they did try…maybe a little too hard. While fog in a cemetery is always spooky, so much of it that it obscures the action in frame sort of defeats the purpose and leaves you, not goose-bumpy, but straining your eyes to see what the hell is going on.

The zombies themselves, however, were neato. In one poorly executed scene, they swarm upon a car (with our heros trapped inside, of course.) For just a moment, they were scary. They are not unlike a cheaper, darker, crustier version of Karlof’s “Mummy.” They also reminded me of Cesare in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919), in that white on black thing going on. So, Cesare-Karlof-Mummy…only done very badly. You get the picture. And they are all over and they are scary and then they start rocking the car back and forth, as if they’re college students rioting after a game (only much less destructive.) For a long time they make no attempt to get into the car. They just rock it, back and forth. One even throws a spindly looking branch at the windshield. The point is: a perfectly good zombie swarming ruined by being completely anti-climactic.

Tagline: “Let's play hide and go kill...! "

Also Known As:
Kill and Go Hide (1977)
Zombie Child (1977)
Runtime: 82 min
Country: USA
Language: English

Directed by Robert Voskanian
Written by Ralph Lucas
Produced by Robert Dadashian
Exectutive Produced by Harry Novak


Laurel Barnett .... Alicianne Del Mar
Rosalie Cole .... Rosalie Nordon
Frank Janson .... Mr.Nordon
Richard Hanners .... Len Nordon
Ruth Ballan .... Mrs.Whitfield


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