Who Can Kill a Child?  (1976)

Octoblur 2015 - #10: Who Can Kill a Child? (1976)

 
By dorrk, October 9th 2015
Octoblur: If the quality doesn't scare you the quantity will.

Part of the fun of Octoblur is following thematic whims from one movie to another, and the creepy kids from Goodnight Mommy inspired me to watch the Spanish grindhouse classic Who Can Kill a Child? It's an atypically serious outlier from the main body of 1970s exploitation and, with the exception of some spectacularly dumb characterizations, it's remarkably tense and effective; a sort of a cross between the original The Wicker Man and The Children of the Corn.

Director Narciso Ibáñez Serrador announces his intentions straightaway by opening Who Can Kill a Child? with nearly 10 minutes of authentic news footage of children maimed or killed in warfare. It's gruesome and sobering, and not something he could follow with your usual Eurosleaze. Lewis Fiander and Prunella Ransome star as Tom and Evelyn, an English couple vacationing in Spain — a rare getaway without their two children before the arrival of their third. They should have stayed on the mainland, as their excursion to the island of Alcazora coincides with a mysterious phenomenon that is sure to earn a low rating from the Rough Guide.

Some might find the first half of Who Can Kill a Child? slow — certainly, the opening montage is hard to stomach — but I appreciated how the mundane depiction of Tom & Evelyn's last night on the mainland established a naturalistic tone to both their relationship and the film at large. This is crucial to framing their experience on the island, grounding the fantastic occurrences that follow and enhancing their shock value. It's also important because it's the last time Tom and Evelyn show any common sense, but having that glimpse of them as "real" people mitigates some of the frustration that their later behavior might evoke.

Excusing the couple's relentlessly terrible choices as borne from shock, Who Can Kill a Child? is gripping, visceral and a fairly frightening exercise in practical as well as moral terror. the title question is posed both explicitly and throughout the final act of the film, but never in a gratuitous way that is not informed with the full weight of its implications.

Great lesser-known horror movies

Fun, weird & dark corners worth exploring.
A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

Demon Seed (1977)

Demon Seed (1977)

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)

Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

The Funhouse (1981)

The Funhouse (1981)

The Guest (2014)

The Guest (2014)

The House Of The Devil (2009)

The House Of The Devil (2009)

Housebound (2014)

Housebound (2014)

The Johnsons (1992)

The Johnsons (1992)

Kill List (2011)

Kill List (2011)

Little Otik (2001)

Little Otik (2001)

Motel Hell (1980)

Motel Hell (1980)

Orphan (2009)

Orphan (2009)

Seed Of Chucky (2004)

Seed Of Chucky (2004)

Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

Spider Baby... (1968)

Spider Baby... (1968)

Starry Eyes (2014)

Starry Eyes (2014)

The Stepfather (1987)

The Stepfather (1987)

Suicide Club (2001)

Suicide Club (2001)

A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)

A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)

Dorrk's Top 20 horror movies

The boring list of horror essentials. If you haven't seen these yet, what are you doing?
The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist (1973)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Shining (1980)

The Shining (1980)

Jaws (1975)

Jaws (1975)

The Thing (1982)

The Thing (1982)

The Fly (1986)

The Fly (1986)

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960)

Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist (1982)

Alien (1979)

Alien (1979)

The Omen (1976)

The Omen (1976)

Rosemarys Baby (1968)

Rosemarys Baby (1968)

Halloween (1978)

Halloween (1978)

Nosferatu (1922)

Nosferatu (1922)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986)

Frankenstein (1931)

Frankenstein (1931)

The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

Suicide Club (2001)

Suicide Club (2001)

Repulsion (1965)

Repulsion (1965)

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Trailer for Who Can Kill a Child? (1976)

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  • ¿Quién Puede Matar A Un Niño? Aka Island Of The Damned Aka Death Is Child's Play Aka Island Of Death Aka Would You Kill A Child? Aka Trapped Aka The Hex Massacre

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https://letterboxd.com/dorrk/list/octoblur-2014/
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The Top 20 Movies of All-Time

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#2: The Godfather (1972)

#2: The Godfather (1972)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#3: West Side Story (1961)

#3: West Side Story (1961)

Dir: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise
#4: Manhattan (1979)

#4: Manhattan (1979)

Dir: Woody Allen
#5: The Graduate (1967)

#5: The Graduate (1967)

Dir: Mike Nichols
#6: Tootsie (1982)

#6: Tootsie (1982)

Dir: Sydney Pollack
#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Dir: Irvin Kershner
#9: Star Wars (1977)

#9: Star Wars (1977)

Dir: George Lucas
#10: The Exorcist (1973)

#10: The Exorcist (1973)

Dir: William Friedkin
#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Dir: Peter Jackson
#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

Dir: Martin Scorsese
#13: Annie Hall (1977)

#13: Annie Hall (1977)

Dir: Woody Allen
#14: Vertigo (1958)

#14: Vertigo (1958)

Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Dir: Steven Spielberg
#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson
#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Dir: Tobe Hooper
#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

Dir: Frank Capra
#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Dir: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
#20: Zodiac (2007)

#20: Zodiac (2007)

Dir: David Fincher