Child’s Play (1984)

Feature Length episode of “Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense”
Article 3842 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-9-2012
Posting Date: 2-19-2012
Directed by Val Guest
Featuring Mary Crosby, Nicholas Clay, Debbie Chasan
Country: UK
What it is: Lateral thinking movie

A family wakes up to discover that their house is surrounded by an impenetrable wall.

I’ve taken to calling them “lateral thinking stories”. Basically, they’re stories that set up a totally inexplicable situation that is almost impossible to figure out, and the answer, hidden until the very end of the movie, hinges upon being made privy to the truth by looking at it from a perspective that is hidden to the main characters of the story. As a good example, think of “Six Characters in Search of an Exit” from THE TWILIGHT ZONE, and you’ll know the type of story I mean. The trouble is that once you’ve got it pegged that this is the type of story you’re watching, you’ll know when the explanation will come and you’ll know that you’ll just have to sit it out until then, so the burden really falls on the writers/actors/directors to do enough to hold your interest until then. That’s not too difficult when you’re watching an episode of a half-hour TV-series, but when your episode is feature length… well, to keep things short, let’s just say that I got pretty annoyed with the characters (especially with the obnoxious kid and the always-on-the-edge-of-hysteria wife) to make the wait much fun. And truth to tell, given the title of the story, I can’t say I was all that surprised by the final revelation. For the record, this episode has characters discovering logos on all sorts of things, and there’s slime dripping down the chimney; these might give you a hint if you’ve seen it before and can’t remember its name. It has a rating of 7.0 on IMDB, which leads me to believe that it has its fans, but for me, it was just a little too familiar.

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