The Child (1977)

Alicianne Del Mar (Laurel Barnett) is hired on by the widower Joshua Nordon (Franke Janson) as a housekeeper.  Chief among her responsibilities are to care for his daughter Rosalie (Rosalie Cole) who is just as bat shit crazy as her father who takes great joy in the poisoning death of a troop of boy scouts. His son, Len (Richard Hanners) seems to be the only sane one among the Nordens who tries to balance out the family back to simply “odd” instead of bat shit crazy.  Pretty Alicianne takes a shine to the young Len and the two strike up a fast friendship that will help them through their upcoming ordeal.

THE CHILD is basically a creepy kid flick but with a couple of bonuses, zombies and a scarecrow.  It’s some twisted shit because not only is Rosalie creepy as hell and crazy too but she believes that several people were involved in her mom’s death and she intends to exact her revenge with her zombie friends.  It makes sense when you notice that Rosalie feeds the undead with kittens and shit to keep them sated until she can turn them loose on her enemies.  The scarecrow thing is not revealed too clearly.  There is this evil looking scarecrow who walks around trailing straw whenever he is off to kill and he even uses a shotgun when dealing with the gardener.  Will anyone be left once she has unleashed her rotting minions?

This flick is gothic in nature yet possesses an Italian zombie film sensibility.  Once unleashed the shambling horde is quick to work its way through much of the cast culminating in the usual zombie last stand.  Doors are barred, weapons are sought and zombies start knocking down the barricades.  There is no glimmer of hope in the final reel.  It seems as though the survivors won’t be such for much longer, and it doesn’t disappoint when it splits the odds.  The end is very dark indeed.  Alicianne goes from a strong character to a whimpering, quivering, gelatinous mass of zombie chow.  The character is just pathetic as hell when the shit hits the fan.  THE CHILD is a genuine horror oddity from the one and only Harry Novak.  Check it out, its gritty, its sweaty, and its mean spirited. 

The Something Weird DVD includes the Del Tenney’s film I EAT YOUR SKIN as an extra.  There are also trailers for THE CHILD, AXE, BEHIND LOCKED DOORS, BOOBY TRAP, FRANKENSTEIN’S CASTLE OF FREAKS, KIDNAPPED COED, THE MAD BUTCHER, THE TOY BOX, and TOYS ARE NOT FOR CHILDREN.  There are two educational shorts about and for children THE OUTSIDER, and THE ABC OF BABYSITTING.  Finally, a gallery of horror drive-in art and radio-spots rounds out the special features.

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