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Who Can Kill a Child?

Year of Release: 1976
Theatrical Release Date:

Director: Narciso Ibáñez Serrador
Writing Credits:
Juan José Plans, Narciso Ibáñez Serrador
Run Time:
112 min
Studio: Dark Sky Films

Cast: Info coming soon

More Info: Visit Official Site

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Summary: On a vacation away from their family, Tom (Lewis Fiander, of DR. JEKYLL & SISTER HYDE) and his pregnant wife Evelyn (FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD’s Prunella Ransome) sail to an island off the coast of Spain that seems deserted… until its children emerge from the shadows with the blood of their parents on their hands… and hatred in their hearts for every adult.

Unflinchingly horrific and unapologetically downbeat, Narciso Ibáñez Serrador’s WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? was heavily censored for its American release in 1976 as ISLAND OF THE DAMNED. Dark Sky Films is proud to present the complete film, uncut and uncensored, for its long overdue American DVD debut.

Reviewer Film Ratings:
Plot: 3.5 | Fun Factor: 3.5 | Gore: 2.5 | Nudity: 1.5 | Scare Factor: 2.5 | Overall: 3.5/5

Could You Kill a Child?
Reviewed by GregMO ROberts

Could you kill a child? I suppose that is the question director Narciso Ibáñez Serrador wanted to challenge his audience with in the 1976 classic Who Can Kill a Child? (aka Island of the Damned). Serrador makes a good case for the question to even enter one’s consideration in the first place. His two main characters, Tom (Lewis Fiander) and Evelyn (Prunella Ransome) are on the island of Almanzora when they are attacked by a mass of children who have assaulted and murdered all the other elders on the island just off the coast of Spain.

Tom and Evelyn are soon fighting for their own lives on the run from these manic and seemingly possessed children. And they are confronted with occasions to where they could possibly defend themselves or escape their attackers – if they dare to kill children threatening violence in their path.

Having screened the film 35+ years after its initial release, I couldn’t help but think of how provocative the film must have been back in 1976. Sure, Steven Spielberg had a child eaten by a flesh craving Great White Shark in 1975, but Serrador doesn’t sneak a death on screen via a man vs. nature confrontation. Instead, he showcases scenes where young children are shot at close range, and in one scene, mowed down by machine gun fire.

Many of the acts of violence both by and towards the children on the island should seem incredibly tame based on today’s crop of gore porn/no-holds-barred horror filmmaking. But when taken in as a 70’s foreign film, Who Can Kill a Child still packs a small punch.

It is unfortunate that the envelope wasn’t pushed just that small inch further. Filmmakers such as Wes Craven, Meir Zarchi and Pier Paolo Pasolini were already testing ratings boundaries with films Last House on the Left, I Spit on Your Grave and Salo: 120 Days of Sodom. And it would have been an interesting venture had Serrador elected to incorporate more brazen into project.

Like most films of its era, Who Can Kill a Child is a bit slow on the upstart. Where today’s filmmakers are conscious of the fact that if an audience is not captured with a shock in the first 15 minutes of a horror/thriller, they may be quick to dismiss the entire project, Who Can Kill a Child takes it methodical time before revving the engine. And this lack of urgency might turn off even those viewers that were looking to turn back the hand of time and give this classic a look.

But for those that do have the patience, Who Can Kill a Child has a fairly rewarding payoff.

Reviewer Film Ratings:
Plot: 3 | Fun Factor: 1.5 | Gore: 1.5 | Nudity: 1.5 | Scare Factor: 2.5 | Overall: 3.5/5

Obscure Spanish Film Well Worth Tracking Down
Reviewed by Gavin Schmitt

A young English couple are vacationing on a Spanish island. Normally, this might be romantic, but in this film, the island is affected by an unexplained curse where the children have all turned murderous, even against their own parents. And there`s no stopping them, because as the title asks, who can kill a child?

I`ve run across numerous films of this era taking place on islands with not-so-pleasant happenings. Typically, the islands happen to be Greek ("Antropophagus" or "Island of Death", for example). So, this is a nice variation on a theme. There aren`t many inhabitants beyond the children, but there`s really no need for them in this story. The children are quite creepy, and were cast well. I am not personally scared of children (pedophobic?) but if I was, this one would give me the willies.

I`ve heard people say this film anticipates such later successes as "Child`s Play", with the idea of child killers and how unnerving it is to have innocence turned against well-intentioned people. I don`t see the connection. Far more obvious to me is the link between this and "Village of the Damned", as both clearly focus on children who share similar murderous mindsets and one man who is able to stop them (hopefully). If you liked "Village", you`ll like this one.

While probably tame today, there are some scenes that come across as pushing the limits. Can you kill a child on screen? Can you kill several? What about a fetus that has turned evil and wishes to kill its mother, even if it means sacrificing itself? There`s something really disturbing about that thought. (For those who are strongly pro-life, would you support abortion if the fetus was maliciously trying to kill the mother?)

If I had one complaint, it would be the relatively slow pace of the film, at least at first. For about thirty minutes, I had some difficulty getting into the film. Maybe I`m too accustomed to today`s fast-paced slaughter films. But regardless, after that half hour, I was in. And the excitement only escalates. There`s no climax and then another twenty minutes of drag, my friend... it builds and builds until the movie ends. You`ll be left wanting more, or at least wanting to see it again. This is a winner. (Thank you, Dark Sky Films.)


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