I once heard in an interview with Eli Roth that one of his top five favorite movies was this Spanish shocker from 1976, Who Can Kill a Child?. I may not care much for the man, but I do like his movies and now it seems his taste in movies is something to be admired, as well.
Is there a word for the killing of a child?: Tom and Evelyn are an English couple vacationing in Spain, and they soon head for an isolated and less crowded island off the coast called Almanzora. When they arrive, the island is strangely deserted - except the children. Something has made the kids murder all the adults and Tom and Evelyn are next.
The credit sequence is a series of news footage clips showing the devastation of various wars around the world, highlighting the effects on innocent children. This puts the viewer in the frame of mind to possibly side with the children. Yes, they are innocent and it's the evil adults who are responsible for their misery, so why shouldn't they give a little back and teach them a lesson?
I read that in the book the film was based on, the murderous tendencies of the children is explained by some sort of weird yellow dust over the town, but we get no such explanation in the movie. The kids just wake up one night and go from house to house, brutally killing all the adults they meet. There is one scene where the kids have followed the couple to the other side of the island where it appears the children have not been affected (the adults there are still alive). One of the bad kids just stares into the eyes of one of the good kids for a while and the evilness is magically transferred or something.
When Tom must finally take real action against the kids, it's a horrible scene. The couple is trapped in a room surrounded by the kids, when one of them crawls to a window and points a gun at Evey's head. And it's a little, little kid, too. Like six years old. But Tom's wife and their unborn child are in danger and he reacts by shooting the kid. So are you still able to justify his actions, or at least empathize with him?
This is also the part where we see the best example of red paint blood I've ever seen. It's seriously awesome, folks, the way the paint - I mean, blood... yeah, it's blood, right? - drips down the wall. It took me out of the moment of shock for a minute, but I really couldn't help myself. It's a sign of the times and you have to appreciate that.
I love the cinematography and location(s) of the film. There is almost no color, or at least what we do see is all muted earth tones. All the buildings are stark white, blending with the dusty ground. The red paint from the bloody corpses of the adults is the only splash of real color you'll see here. The island seems like a nice place to live if you can survive - clear water, beautiful weather - and it's all perfectly shot for the movie. It's a stark contrast between the pretty location and the horrible events going on there, especially when most of the events happen during the day.
A very interesting under-appreciated film with some fine acting and one of the creepiest groups of creepy kids I've seen. A few of the kids have some real shining moments and give wonderful performances. Great movie!
Sidenote: I can't believe they left those two women alone with the kids after they realized the evil had been transferred. Didn't even try to help them. Then again, I guess it would have been hard to convince them.