Something Weird Video // 1976 // 180 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // January 25th, 2003
Let's play Hide and Go Kill...!
Alicianne Del Mar has been hired by the Nordon family to serve as nanny for their youngest, oddest child, Rosalie. Seems the girl has never truly gotten over the death of her mother and spends far too much time in the local graveyard, remembering the funeral and communicating with her "friends." Anti-social and abrasive, Rosalie threatens everyone around her, claiming she will call upon her cemetery pals to punish those who bother or have wronged her. No one really takes her seriously (she's just so...strange) but perhaps they should. For you see, Rosalie has psychic powers and the ability to reanimate the dead. She's been hanging out in the boneyard working on bringing the local residents back to life. And it's these flesh hungry fiends who Rosalie commands to do her evil bidding. After several of the local townsfolk turn up dead, all eyes fall upon this disturbed and destructive kid. Unfortunately, she has that undead army to protect her, and when Alicianne and Len (Rosalie's older brother) try to escape, the ambulatory, angry corpses chase the hapless duo into an abandoned lumberyard. There, it's a final showdown between the living dead, their intended victims, and the evil mastermind behind the mayhem...The Child.
For a low budget, even lower expectations exploitation horror movie, The Child is a surprisingly effective and incredibly creepy zombie workout. The movie mingles aspects of the classic Dead films and American Gothic style horror with references to other "evil children" films like The Bad Seed and Village of the Damned. The small budget and atmospheric locations bring an aura of authenticity and naturalism that an overly produced Hollywood film cannot create. While Rosalie Cole (in the role of...Rosalie?) is a little dull (she comes across as more spoiled than scary, more amateur than menacing), the rest of the cast are first rate, selling the terror and terrorizing seriously and realistically. There is a feeling of uneasy suspense and foreboding created, in both the sets and direction. The final showdown between little Rosalie's living dead "friends" and our heroine/hero is also exciting and terrifying. Thankfully, there is blood and gore aplenty, especially in said finale and the scene where the groovy ghoulies slaughter an old neighbor woman. Anyone expecting a cheap, cheesy slice of drive-in style dreck should walk away from The Child with their bloodlust sated and their reanimated corpse craving satisfactorily quelled. While not up to the standards set by Romero, or even some of the Italians, this is still a solid, claret spewing creep fest.
Perhaps it was too much to hope that Something Weird Video would unearth another worthy, lost living dead picture to pair up with The Child, thereby creating a classic cannibal combination. Instead, we are subjected to the insipid, uninspired I Eat Your Skin, a film whose title is the only thing remotely gruesome or ghoulish about it. This 1964 yawner is basically another "city folk stumble across jungle mad scientist playing God deep in the scary woods" movie where the evil MD is all a-twitter about getting egg eyed natives to groan "what flavor" when he shouts "ice cream." About the only interesting twist to this otherwise standard soft soap is that the urbanite in question is a cad about town author whose agent is constantly saving him from another adultery related assault. Even in a far more gritty, noir-ish black and white presentation, I Eat Your Skin still comes across as horribly unrealistic and staged. You just keep waiting for the Three Stooges or Abbot and Costello to show up and completely sink this Titanic of a stinker. Still, what should one have expected from Del Tenney, the auteur behind the memorable movie monster mierda known as The Horror of Party Beach? Perhaps he should have imported the Del-Aires into his dark continent conundrum so they could conjure up a little of their Gary Lewis and the Playboys meets Arch Hall Jr. surf music magic. Anything to enliven this shoddy snooze-a-thon.
Thankfully, the extras on this DVD save it from being a buy or die one-sided shindig. First, we have a wonderful slice of psychological social climbing called The Outsider, which does for plain Janes what The Texas Chainsaw Massacre did for disgruntled meat eaters. This toxic shocker deals frankly and honestly with the entire concept of peer pressure and clique politics, which means it basically blames your wallflower image and dateless wonderment on stupid individuality. Equally as eerie and damaging to one's social status soul is the second short, The ABC's of Babysitting. If you ever wondered why the police are so ticked off at your average Joe or Jane Doe in America, beating or high speed chasing him or her to death at the slightest whim, this mini-movie will provide the answer. Apparently, decades before, whenever anything happened (fire/hangnail/unusual skin blemish) while in guardianship of the wee ones, the wise sitter was mandated by the au pair code to ring Barney Miller and asks Sgt. Wojciehowicz to make a house call and kiss the boo-boo. Along with a fairly clean full screen image on The Child and a peppering of hilarious/scarious trailers and drive-in exploitation art, this is a Something Weird title worth owning. Just remember to be extra nice to Rosalie. IF you aren't she'll call on her friends...and then they will all force you to sit through I Eat Your Skin again. Argh!
Review content copyright © 2003 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Something Weird Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 180 Minutes
Release Year: 1976
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Creepy Kids Shorts
* Gallery of Horror Drive-in Exploitation Art
* Horrorama Radio-Spot Rarities
* Theatrical Trailers
* Extra Undead Feature -- 79 minute I Eat Your Skin (1964)
* IMDb: The Child
* IMDb: I Eat Your Skin