Plot: What’s it about?
Rosalie Nordon (Rosalie Cole) has been rather strange since her mother’s death, so her father has hired a full time governess to watch over her and the house. The mansion is large and eerie, with a sense of gloom & doom always present, it seems. The governess is Alicianne Del Mar (Laurel Barnett) and while she knows Rosaline is a little unusual, she has no idea just how off the rocker she is. Alicianne begins to notice objects moving without being touched, as well as just eerie feelings and unsettling atmosphere at times. As odd as it seems, Rosaline has some sort of telekinetic powers and she uses them to move things, even bringing a creepy old scarecrow to life at one point. But Rosaline has special plans for her powers, as she wants to settle the score with those whom she feels are responsible for her mother’s death, including her own father and anyone else to tries to stop her on this hideous quest for revenge. Her treks to the nearby graveyard soon turn evil when she has her “friends” help her in her attack, which means flesh eating zombies now prowl the area. Will Rosaline be able to collect the vengeance she seeks, or will someone manage to stop her and her undead minions before it’s too late?
This horrific tale of youth gone evil was the final production by Harry H. Novak, who had produced some infamous flicks in his career. But this is not just worth a look because of that, as The Child is an eerie, creepy, and of course, just plain bad movie. I’d say this one is part Carrie clone and part zombie movie, but it is all Novak and that means minimalist budget and hilarious moments. So no, The Child is not a razor sharp horror picture, but it does have some very well created atmosphere, even with a very tight budget. The makeup effects look decent given the circumstances, but won’t measure up to better funded projects, while the writing and acting is on the usual Novak scale, at least I think so. No, the actors won’t be remembered as gifted thespians, but they do manage to keep a straight face and in this case, that proves to be enough. But even with a lot of flaws, I think The Child is a very cool movie and is a lot of fun to watch, which to me, is more than enough reason to check it out. This disc from Something Weird (via Image Ent.) is a more than solid one, so if you’re a fan of low rent horror/exploitation, give The Child a whirl.
Video: How does it look?
The Child is presented in a full frame transfer, which seems to be an acceptable aspect ratio. I saw no visible pan & scan and the framing looks accurate in most scenes, so I would think this is an acceptable form. The print looks worn of course, but some scenes look better than others, some even look almost pristine, which was a welcome surprise. But a lot of scenes show frequent nicks and debris, though never to an extreme level. I was pleased with the darker scenes, as they seemed clean and stable, which I didn’t expect, to be honest. In the end, this is a very solid looking visual effort, given the nature of the material and such.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included mono track is nothing to shout about, but it covers the basics and in this case, that’s enough. The materials have some signs of age, but nothing too serious, just some slight distortion in a couple places. The elements seem in fine working order, but of course, you won’t want to use this track to showcase your home theater system. The sound effects come through well enough and the dialogue is clean, which is about you need here. Not the best track out there, but it handles the material well, which is what counts.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The only film specific extra here is the film’s theatrical trailer, but more related goodies can be found here also. A slew of bonus trailers start us off, as well as radio ads and artwork for various exploitation flicks. Next up are two “creepy kids” short films, The Outsider and The ABC of Babysitting, both of which are humorous and well worth a look. The main extra here however is a bonus feature film, I Eat Your Skin and of course, it makes for a decent watch. I wish Something Weird wouldn’t burn their logo into the bonus films however, as it lessens the experience. I understand with the supplements sometimes, but I hope their future bonus feature films are free from that trend, as it almost ruins the idea, if you ask me.