Tuesday 27 March 2018
Who Can Kill A Child (1976) + 3 = 4
Spanish light entertainment TV magnate Narciso Ibanez Serrrador is often hailed as some unheralded genius of horror. But his two films are quite nasty. The House That Screamed (1969) is an 80s slasher in 60s Gothic drag, with Lilli Palmer and John Moulder-Brown (star of the similarly nasty Deep End and the similarly grotty Vampire Circus). It uses excess footage of historical tragedy in between Wish You Were Here... type footage with Lewis Fiander and Prunella Ransome wandering about the Costa Packet. The idea of an island full of murderous kids is one of those ideas that is interesting but usually don't play well i.e. Children of the Corn or the fun-if-you-are-a-kid Peopletoys/Devil Tmes Five (1974). Yes, we all dream of seeing annoying child actors get murdered, but in a realistic context, it's not so pleasurable.
Chris Tarrantino and Eli What? like this film. It seems to relish in violence (there's a fatal miscarriage played as a shock death scene), but I can see why people like it. Serrador isn't a hack. The film's slow - but that's because the idea is more of an anthology segment than a feature. His films look decent enough, especially Who Can Kill A Child/Would You Kill A Child? It doesn't look like a cheap Franco or Naschy or even Bava film. Then again, it has the benefit of being shot on location, in bright light, but still it looks good for the budget it must have had.
No wonder Serrador quit directing and created 3-2-1. It does have a lovely soundtrack, per most Euro-shock nonsense. In this case by charity shop regular neo-classicist Waldo De Los Rios, which does convincingly sound like the sort of music British/Irish tourists would bring back from a week in Marbella.
Then again, I like horror films to be fun. And only the soundtrack is fun.
Franco's best films are for Harry Alan Towers. He could've livened up the usually staid and languid adaptations of Ten Little Indians Towers did. The best, 1965's Ten Little Indians is an okay attempt at mimicking William Castle and Margaret Rutherford (same director as her Marple films - George Pollock), but nothing more. Better than that weird, forgettable ABC Murders with Tony Randall.