Who Can Kill a Child?
|Who Can Kill a Child?|
|Directed by||Narciso Ibáñez Serrador|
|Produced by||Manuel Salvador|
|Written by||Juan José Plans
María Luisa Arias
|Music by||Waldo de los Ríos|
|Cinematography||José Luis Alcaine|
|Edited by||Antonio Ramírez de Loaysa
|Distributed by||American International Pictures (U.S. theatrical)
Dark Sky Films (U.S. DVD)
|April 26, 1976 (Spain)
June, 1978 (USA)
|111 minutes (unrated version)|
Who Can Kill a Child? (Spanish title: ¿Quién puede matar a un niño? and also released as Island of the Damned) is a 1976 Spanish horror film directed by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador. It is about an English couple who find an island inhabited by maniacal children.
A montage of documentary footage depicts the effect of war on children. This mondo imagery cuts to the story of an English couple, Tom and Evelyn, who are taking a vacation before Evelyn gives birth to their third child. They arrive on an island where they encounter grim-faced, silent children who seem to be the island's entire population. Throughout their stay, they witness the children behaving strangely. They later learn the children are capable of violence and have murdered just about every adult on the island; they are now forced to consider killing the children in self-defense. It is implied that the long list of atrocities and horrors brought upon children by the fighting and apathy of adults has caused the children of the island to take matters into their own hands. Also, it is shown that normal children are changed like the rest on the island merely by making eye contact with them.
Tom reluctantly shoots one boy with a gun when they are cornered into a room. Trapped in the room, Evelyn is killed when her unborn child joins the children of the island, and attacks her from inside. By the next morning, a weary Tom is completely alone.
Tom eventually shoots an MP-40 at a group of children as he tries to escape the island, but the children follow him to the dock and attack en masse as he tries to cut a boat loose. As he tries to fight off the children, a Spanish military/police patrol boat arrives. The crew thinks that Tom is killing the children in cold blood, and one officer draws his weapon on him, ordering him to stay still. When he doesn't, the officer shoots him dead. The patrol boat docks, and the officers begin tending to the injured children, with the officer who shot Tom wondering aloud, "what kind of man...?" When asked where their parents are, the children point towards the town, and the three officers begin to leave, leaving their boat and their weapons unsecured. One officer is stopped by a child calling out "Goodbye!" He turns to see the children have boarded the patrol boat and are unloading its small-arms inventory. One of the boys kills the three officers with a rifle.
The movie ends with a small group of children preparing to head to mainland Spain on a motorboat, taking care to go with low numbers to avoid suspicion. When one girl asks, "Do you think the other children will start playing the way we do?" the boy in charge grins and says, "Oh, yes...there are lots of children in the world. Lots of them."
The film was based on a novel by Juan José Plans titled El juego de los niños (The children's game) and adapted for cinema by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador under his pseudonym Luis Peñafiel.
It had been virtually unavailable officially until it was released on DVD by Dark Sky Films in June 2007. In 2010 it was released in the Netherlands and Flanders by the Mr. Horror Presents label, a label owned by film critic Jan Doense as well as in Germany by the Bildstörung label, and in 2011 it was released in the UK by Eureka Entertainment.
- Children of the Corn, a Stephen King short story with a similar plot, released a year after Who Can Kill a Child?