The Child (1977)

THE CHILD (1977)
Article #1750 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-29-2005
Posting Date: 5-28-2006
Directed by Robert Voskanian
Featuring Laurel Barnett, Rosalie Cole, Frank Janson

A woman takes on the job of housekeeper for a family which has recently suffered the loss of the mother. She discovers that the daughter blames the other members of the family for her mother’s death, and that she has strange powers to seek vengeance.

John Stanley’s guide describes the movie as an EXORCIST rip-off, but I don’t really see it. A better description is the one on the back of the DVD package, which describes it as a cross between CARRIE and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD by way of THE BAD SEED, and I think that pretty much captures it. The child has the ability to make scarecrows walk and to resurrect flesh-eating zombies. The movie is cheap and badly-paced, but since it was doing a fair job of creating an eerie atmosphere of dread, I found myself setting aside these flaws and enjoying it. Nonetheless, the movie alienated me in the final reel, when the heroine goes into one of those horror-movie performances that annoys and infuriates me. You know the type; she spends the last twenty minutes of the movie in a non-stop display of screaming, shrieking, crying, mewling and moaning, being almost totally useless when it comes to doing anything useful, and places her hands over her ears (probably to drown out the annoying sound of her screaming, shrieking, crying, mewling and moaning). Yes, I know this is supposed to express sheer traumatizing horror, but anytime it goes on for more than a minute, it outstays its welcome and loses its effectiveness. However, the very ending did prove to be a bit of a surprise. Nonetheless, I’m not surprised that this is Robert Voskanian’s sole directorial credit.

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