Who Can Kill A Child?-Movie Review

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Who Can Kill a Child?

Dir. Narcisco Ibanez Serrador
Spain 1975, 112 min.

A man and his pregnant wife arrive on the isolated island of Almanzora to find it almost entirely deserted the only visible population seems to be composed of children. When they finally spy an adult, they watch in horror as a little girl beats the man to death with his own walking stick.

Who Can Kill A Child? (retitled Island of the Damned in North America) is a briskly-paced socio-political horror film that has garnered much critical acclaim over the years for its revealing look at the effects of repression and the notion that the worlds of adults and children are separated by an unbridgeable gulf(Pete Tombs).

The children are constantly laughing and playing, but what they are playing with are primarily the bodies or body-parts of the recently-dead adults; a preoccupation that is subject to little reflection or remorse. Be warned: this is no Children of the Corn there is no readjustment of morals courtesy of the outsiders, nor is there a supernatural smokescreen to hide the implications of the film.

As the prologue to the film illustrates (which was cut out of the American release but will be restored for the Alamo screening), children have been mercilessly exploited by adults for centuries; what would happen if the tables were turned? And furthermore, what does our response to this say about our Rousseauian ideals concerning childhood? Altogether brilliant and frightening as hell.

Kier-La Janisse