It's almost the Easter holidays so time for something for the whole family.
Quien Puede A Un Nino? (AKA Death Is Child's Play, The Killer's Playground, Island of the Damned, Who Can Kill a Child?, Would You Kill a Child? 1976)
Dir: Narciso Ibanez Serrador.
Cast: Lewis Fiander, Prunella Ransome, Antonio Iranzo and the cast of Byker Grove.
A pair of particularly posh English love birds, the mightily moustached Tom and the pountily pregnant poppet Evelyn (Doctor Who's drug dealing tinker Tryst from The Nightmare of Eden Lewis Fiander and victim of the Silurian plague Prunella Ransome) are enjoying a well deserved break from drinking Pimms, watching cricket and abusing the staff with a holiday in sunny Spain, taking in the local lifestyle (letting your hair get greasy, not washing, seducing underage girls etc - possibly) and travelling to various festivals buying carpets and the like.
Whilst ordering food in English and sniggering at the locals trousers like all Brits abroad obviously.
After much saucy fun,bikini clad frolicking, vast amounts of el cheapo Vino and a fairly serious chat about abortion (Tom wanted Evelyn to have one, she refused - see it's a kinda child killing thing isn't it? I see what they did there), Tom decides to finish the holiday with a visit to the beautiful island of Almanzora (these days frequented by such luminaries as Ian Botham and Daley Thompson fact fans) and the small village of Shi'moo where he had many a magical holiday as a small (non moustached) boy.
Hmmm...another child reference.
This Serrador bloke is good.
But the couple get a shock on arriving at the island, the town is abandoned, the hotel is empty and the local restaurant is deserted.
Worst of all tho' is that all the TeeVee's are broken and the corner shop is out of Take A Break magazines.
What has happened to this island paradise?
Tom, being a hunky hero type decides to play detective whilst Evelyn, being in the fat lady pudding club, rests her swollen feet.
No sooner has Tom jauntily skipped down the road than a young girl pops up at a window and waves merrily at Evelyn before slowly creeping over and obsessively stroking our plump pals mummy tummy before smiling and running away.
Returning to Evelyn empty handed save for a kiss me quick hat the pair, in a horror movie first decide to explore together, soon coming across an old man sitting at the roadside.
But I suppose that being heavily pregnant has put Evelyn off the sex so Tom has to get his jollies where he can.
But before the old fella can wipe himself down or even grunt "Aye son!" a small girl appears from nowhere and bludgeons him to death with his walking stick.
|Luckily the local kids fear the Bri-Nylon.|
|Front bum, back bum, shitey mooth....three for a full hoose!|
|Pixie Lott: Tunnel or funnel?|
Even more of that socio-political stuff, the director's a genius.
|Begging for a mooth shite-in.|
Unfortunately Tom's idea of fighting back is to lock himself and his wife in someones spare room and hope they can stay quiet enough to not attract any attention till the police turn up.
As the sun begins to set the children split into small groups, all the easier to infiltrate the mainland...
The bastard offspring of Village of The Damned and daddy to every kiddie based horror flick since (and no doubt where Stephen King ripped Children of The Corn off from), from it's opening montage of true life atrocities committed against children to it's downbeat ending Who Can Kill a Child? is as disturbing a movie today as it was at the time of release.
Thinking about it in these child safety obsessed modern times tho' it probably comes across as even more so.
Which makes the fact that a remake not only got green-lit but actually made even more disturbing.
But it's not just the subject matter - or the haircuts - that makes this film an unforgettable and fairly harrowing experience.
No it's more to do with the leisurely pace at which Narciso Ibanez Serrador unfolds his story, unafraid as he is to build the tension slowly as he works quietly toward the movie's climax with an ever growing sense of dread.
Filmed completely in broad daylight, Pedro Almodóvar's cinematographer of choice, Jose Luis Alcaine adds a sense of growing isolation whilst avant-garde composer Waldo de los Ríos' soundtrack of suitably soothing lullaby style songs gives a spooky Twilight Zone vibe to the proceedings.
But that's not all it has in it's favour, the small (in number as well as height) cast are unusually good for Spanish genre flicks of the time (casting English speaking ex-Doctor Who actors probably helped) and the Kiddie cast admirably pull of the task of going from sweet to shit scary in the bat of an eyelid.
A wee bit like my own podlings then.
Finally getting the love and care it deserves after years of being butchered, redubbed, retitled and generally pissed about, Serrador's masterpiece can now proudly take it's place as the missing link between the horrific excesses of Jorge Grau's Manchester Morgue and Paul Naschy's Werewolf series.
Well we all know how much I like my little boxes, plus it makes it easier to put on your shelves this way.