Wednesday, September 11, 2019

THE CHILD (1977) Blu-ray review

The Child (1977) d. Robert Voskanian (USA) (82 min)

When lovely nanny Alicianne (Laurel Barnett) returns to her childhood burg to take a position caring for Rosalie (Rosalie Cole), a strange little girl whose mother recently passed away, she unwittingly enters into a bizarre small-town realm where small animals – and soon the human residents – are disappearing into the clutches of a growing army of resurrected corpses. Seems young Rosalie has been sending her undead “friends” to avenge her mother’s death… even though there isn’t a lot of evidence to support her claims that anyone actually contributed to it!

This vicious brand of immature illogic and hostility, alongside a palpably creepy atmosphere of the uncanny, is what elevates what could have been just another “evil child” yarn combined with Night of the Living Dead elements into something curious and wonderful indeed. This is all thanks in no small part to the dodgy ADR work and screenwriter Ralph Lucas’ offbeat dialogue (“After supper we’ll do some anagrams!”) spoken by an ensemble of players whose delivery ranges from highly theatrical to monotone without ever landing in the neighborhood of “realistic.”

Further amping up the weirdness is the aggressive Moog organ/piano score by Bob Platt and Rob Wallace, with Jay Owens serving up some impressive home-style '70s gore effects and zombie makeups, both of which hit their sweet spots in the fever-pitch finale while Barnett screams her lungs out.

Distributed by notorious exploitation raconteur Harry Novak, who declared himself executive producer in the credits and subsequently made off with the profits (the film did quite well on the drive-in circuit), leaving the struggling filmmakers with nothing to show for their efforts.


1.37:1 and 1.85:1 presentations of the feature

Audio commentary with director Robert Voskanian and producer Robert Dadashian, moderated by Stephen Thrower

“The Zombie Child” with author/curator Stephen Thrower (14 min)

“Fathers of The Child” with Robert Voskanian and Robert Dadashian (13 min)

Original Theatrical Trailer

Original Press Book

The Child is available now on Blu-ray from Arrow Video (along with Dream No Evil and Dark August) as part of its American Horror Project Vol. 2 and can be ordered HERE:

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