Who Can Kill a Child? Poster

Who Can Kill a Child? (1976)

Horror | Thriller   
IMDB Rayting:   7.3/10
Country: Spain
Language: English | Spanish

A couple of English tourists arrive on an island where all the children have gone crazy and are murdering the adults.

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Cujo108 26 July 2010

While on vacation, a man and his pregnant wife visit an island that the former knows from his past. They arrive to find that the place is not how he remembered. In fact, it appears to be quite deserted aside from several children. It isn't too long before they come across an adult. Pity the kids get to him first, killing him and stringing his body up for use as a human piñata. You see, adults are no longer welcome on this island. At least not if they're still among the living.

For my money, "Who Can Kill a Child?" is a masterpiece of the genre. It makes other killer kid films look like jokes in comparison. Originally seeing it via the "Island of the Damned" cut, it's a very tense and unsettling film with some interesting socio-political subtext as relates to child violence. The likable main characters really struggle here, both physically and morally, in a picture as bleak as they come. It has such an impeccable mood and atmosphere to it. The closest comparison I can make is to that of Werner Herzog's short documentary, "La Soufrière". The isolated, disquieted feel of the island is very predominant.

It's unfortunate that director Serrador faded into the land of television after this film. He clearly had a lot to offer the genre.

KuRt-33 11 February 2004

"Quién Puede Matar A Un Niño?" (I know there should be an inverted question mark at the beginning of the title, but try telling that to my keyboard) is an obscure Spanish cult movie from the Seventies. I say 'obscure' because the movie hasn't been seen or released that much, even though it has a good reputation. The biggest culprit here may be the film's subject: murdering children. The movie starts with several minutes of news footage, showing us how badly children have been treated, contrary to common belief that noone wants to harm children. There aren't many films that'll start with footage of WWII's concentration camps, wounded children in Vietnam and African infants starving to death. The accompanying soundtrack of children chanting seems awkward, almost perverse. After seven minutes of hard-hitting history lessons the movie starts with kids enjoying themselves at a beach. Up to the moment waves carry a woman's corpse to the shore. "Quién Puede Matar A Un Niño?" has started: enjoy yourselves.

Like so many other European films from the Seventies, "Quién Puede Matar A Un Niño?" (released in 1975) has more titles than anyone can remember: so far I've come across 'Who Could Harm A Child?', 'Who Can Kill A Child?', 'Could You Kill A Child?', 'Trapped', 'Island of the Damned', 'Island of the Dead', 'Scream' (I kid you not), 'Todliche Befehle aus dem All', 'Les Revoltés de l'An 2000', 'Killer's Playground' and 'Death is Child's Play'. One title better than the other, still Quién? doesn't manage to beat possibly the best movie title ever, "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things" (Bob Clark's zombie movie made in 1972). Quién's director is Chicho Ibáñez-Serrador, the son of two actors who made two movies for the big screen and two for tv. Ever since, Ibáñez-Serrador has made his living directing tv shows. The other movie he made was "La Residencia" (1969), a sleazy thriller best known as "The House That Screamed".

Quién's protagonists are Lewis Fiander (Tom) and Prunella Ransome (Evelyn), a happily married couple enjoying their holidays. Ransome is best known for being in "Alfred The Great" and John Schlesinger's "Far From The Madding Crowd". Lewis Fiander has the best cult credentials from being in Hammer's underrated film "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde" and the Phibes sequel, "Dr. Phibes Rises Again".

Back to our film. Tom decides to visit a nearby island he remembers visiting when he was very young. This is the biggest mistake they could've made. They take the boat to a little village that seems to be deserted. The ice cream is runny and there's noone in the pub. The couple can only spot a handful of kids. So what has happened? Where is everyone? You don't need too many clues to figure out that the children have started killing adults and there aren't that many left. Some people are killed onscreen and this is quite upsetting: to the children, murdering someone almost seems like a game. And perhaps it is.

I can't tell you more without revealing too much of the plot, but there are still a few things to be said. "Quién Puede Matar A Un Niño?" is a horror movie, but don't expect it to be gory or you'll be disappointed. I'd describe it as psychological horror, which is why the few gory bi

el_monty_BCN 10 October 1998

It is hard not to be suspicious about where Stephen King might have got his "inspiration" for "Children of the Corn" when you witness the striking plot similarities between his novel/movie and the little-known but notable spanish movie "Quien puede matar a un nino?", which was also based on a novel. The subject of children who become a menace has been treated several times in horror cinema(e.g. Village Of The Damned, The Exorcist) because the idea of seemingly-innocent beings hiding dark and murderous forces within them is especially mind-bending and terrifying. Director Ibanez-Serrador (who later became more famous in Spain for directing TV game shows (!)) tries to make the most of this concept, and, although the final result suffers a bit from poor acting and lack of budget, he is altogether quite successful; He intelligently uses a sunny and placid holiday setup which gives us no clue about the horrors we're about to see, and builds up suspense so the film becomes more and more scary as it advances, reaching really sick heights of dementia towards the end. This is definitely a movie to discover for all Horror-cinema-lovers.

pmsusana 31 January 2001

This remarkable and unusual horror film contains many powerful sequences, but one in particular stands out in my memory: The young husband, who's just beginning to realize that something about this island is very wrong, is attracted to a doorway by the sound of children's delighted laughter. He peeks through a crack in the door and observes a number of happy youngsters, all looking upward and swinging sticks, pinata-fashion, at something suspended from the ceiling. Then his gaze drifts upward, and we in the audience share his profound shock as he sees what the kids are swinging at.

This film hasn't received nearly the public or critical attention it deserves in the U.S. and isn't an easy film to find, except from off-the-beaten-path video companies. It is, however, well worth the patience of any true horror fan. Look for it!

EVOL666 17 October 2005

SPOILER: WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? is a relatively unknown but great little film. It contains some pretty heavy subject matter and is genuinely creepy. The film revolves around a man and his wife who go to a small island on vacation. The man had been there when he was young and wanted to experience the place with his wife. The island is a few hours from the mainland and is pretty isolated. The man and his wife get to the island to find it deserted. Eventually they begin running into a few children who all act very strange. Soon they realize that the children have flipped out and are murdering the adult townspeople. The couple is now torn between their disgust at the thought of committing violence against small children, and their own will to survive.

WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? really is a well done film. The acting is good, and the action is tense. The other thing I really liked was the downbeat ending. Altogether a very good film. Definitely Recommended 8.5/10

HumanoidOfFlesh 14 February 2005

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?" mixes socio-political themes with extremely eerie atmosphere of isolation and hopelessness.The tension builds slowly until it reaches incredibly horrifying climax.A sequence in which Lewis Fiander and Prunella Ransome walk through the village,gingerly stepping past the children who have gathered to watch them is extremely creepy.The children also do a terrific job-they are truly threatening and chilling.The photography by Jose Luis Alcane is wonderful and the soundtrack by Waldo De Los Rios is fantastic.Still the film is really unsettling,so if you are easily disturbed don't watch it.10 out of 10.

EyeAskance 20 February 2004

This tense, skillfully effectuated shocker spent a good many years lingering in relative obscurity, being largely unattainable outside of "grey market" trading circles. Now, more than three decades after its initial release, WHO CAN KILL A CHILD is finally getting the attention it deserves. The sagaciously conceptualized tale concerns an expecting young couple voyaging to a small island and finding that the adult population has declined considerably, as the resident children have gone inexplicably berserk and killed them off. With pint-size danger lurking at every turn, the couple must be fleet of foot and find a means of escape from the island. Defending themselves against an army of evil youths proves difficult, however, because...."who can kill a child"?

A singular horror film with able performances, first-rate direction, and effective filming locations which kindle a parched and desolate quality, recalling somewhat the unsettling flashback sequences in the closing moments of SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER(1959). This chalk-dusted atmosphere of barren paucity and isolation is unique, and one of the key aspects contributing to the film's success. Genre fans might recognize one of the rancorous rugrats as Marian Salgado of DEMON WITCH CHILD(1976).

Strongly recommended. 7.5/10

rundbauchdodo 5 August 2001

Everyone who thinks that the "Children of the Corn"-films or boring stuff like "The Children of Ravensback" are cool horror movies about kids killing adults hasn't seen this movie.

It starts off quite harmless, an American couple on vacation in Spain leaves the mainland to escape the other tourists. They go on a little island. What they (and the viewer) don't know is that the children there have started to kill all adults on the island for no apparent motive.

The story may sound strange and hardly making any sense. Obviously, the German distributors of this gem didn't understand it at all: the German video version got the title "Tödliche Befehle aus dem All", "Deadly orders from space", which is absolute nonsense because there is no science fiction in it! But the motive of the children is only secondary here. The film is a subversion of the thinking standards of people all around the world: Children are always innocent and adults destroy the world. And all this is made with an uncanny and creepy atmosphere that makes this film thoroughly unique. The only other "killer kids" film that is - positively - comparable with "Quien Puede Matar a un Niño" is the fourth and last segment of Jeff Burrs very good anthology horror film "The Offspring" (aka "From a Whisper to a Scream").

Just as Serrador's earlier masterly horror film "La Residencia" (see also my comment on that), this undoubtedly unpleasant film was ahead of its time and will forever stay a unique and unusual horror film.

ma-cortes 6 December 2009

The amazing story deals with a young couple (Lewis Fiander, Prunella Ransome) on Holiday at Mediterranean Spanish coast . They decide go to island of Almanzora . At the beginning the place is abandoned but then some kids spontaneously appear . Later on , there happens several astonishing murders with bloody and gruesome executions . Various suspect children are implicated at creepy killings . Meantime , the couple is besieged and escaping of the wayward children who are originating a frightening massacre .

This is an unrelenting shock-feast laced with touches of denounce especially in its prologue . Chicho Ibañez Serrador's first great success is compelling directed with startling visual content , skill use of images-shock and some zooms . Several sequences are homages to Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963), for example, the image of all the children in the island's village square ready to attack Tom and Evelyn, and the final escape from the island . However , most of the movie was filmed far from the sea as Ciruelos (Toledo) . This frightening movie is plenty of thrills , chills , high body-count and glimmer color in lurid image with phenomenal results . This is a classic horror movie where intrigue , tension , suspense appear threatening and lurking in every room , corridors , interior and exterior from the deserted island . This film along with ¨La Residencia¨ and ¨Sleeping corpses lie¨ result to be the tree essential movies of the Spanish terror cinema . This genuinely mysterious story is well photographed by Jose Luis Alcaine on location of Sitges , Menorca and Ciruelos , Toledo . Creepie and eerie musical score by Waldo De Los Rios .

The film was released simultaneously as "Would You Kill a Child?" and "Death is Child's Play" in the UK. Similarly, American International Pictures released the film as "Trapped!" and "Island of the Damned" simultaneously in the USA . The motion picture was well directed by Chicho Ibañez Serrador and he originally wanted Anthony Hopkins to play Tom . Chicho directed another classic as ¨La Residencia¨ also titled ¨The Boarding School¨ and for TV , ¨Historias para no Dormir¨, being his last film an episode titled ¨Blame¨(2006). Rating : Good, this is one more imaginative terror pictures in which the camera stalks in sinister style and still packs a punch for those who like to be terrorize . It manages to be both eerie and skillfully made , furthermore holds deservedly its cult status . At the time considered the plus ultra of disturbing movie is less disagreeable by nowadays's standards, yet its fundamental power to thrill remains undiminished .

Countorloc 16 March 2012

I rather liked Who Can Kill a Child. It relies a great deal on mood, suspense and strong, strangely frightening images. It is not a typical horror film, having a Picnic at Hanging Rock-vibe to its eery, daylight desertion. For especially the images are what makes the film with the excellent photography of surreal horror. That being said the mood is really what drives the film as little quality in the field of writing or acting shines through for the most part. Especially the writing suffers. The dialogue just doesn't flow naturally possibly because the scriptwriters were Spanish. Especially the wife character is given some truly cringe worthy lines besides not having to do much so as to advance the story. The husband, the protagonist for by far the most part, often acts eerily illogically. This occasionally results in unintentionally humorous moments because of both the writers' and actors' shortcomings. However this is mostly during the first half were the couple's banter is in focus. The other, being much more action oriented works much better and the couple is much more appealing leading to some truly distressing scenes. Perhaps this occurs because there is a better translation of themes (as fear is a universal feeling, whereas it is difficult to characterize the ordinary, but specific). As such it is a film the qualities of which surpass the anachronisms and general writing and acting problems. It is a very imperfect great film.

ThreeGuysOneMovie 22 September 2011

English tourists Tom and Evelyn are traveling in Spain. The town they want to stay in is overcrowded so they decided to go to an island that Tom knows of about 4 hours off the coast. When they get to the island they discover that there are no adults on the island, only children. They soon realize that they are trapped on the island and that the children have killed all the adults. Now they must fight and kill the angry mob of children before they are killed themselves.

OK, so I was watching a video on youtube with Eli Roth where he talks about his five favorite films. He mentioned this film on his list and I was intrigued. I had never heard of it before so I started doing a little research. The film was made in 1976 and for a long time was almost impossible to find anywhere. Then in 2007 it was released on DVD by Dark Sky Films.

The movie is extremely well done for its time and budget. It was a very risqué film at the time since it dealt with a taboo subject matter, killing children. This is 8 years before Children of the Corn and while I have no proof of it I have a hard time believing Stephen King didn't use this movie as inspiration. Unlike, COTC however, this movie doesn't have any religious undertones.

I was pretty blown away by this film. It's truly creepy without being overly gory and it definitely sticks with you for a while afterwards. This is not a film for everyone. There are some scenes in the beginning of film that show documentary footage of children in concentration camps, starving in India, etc. This was done by the director to supposedly explain why the children decided to rise up against the adults but I found it a bit gratuitous and unnecessary.

If you are horror fan, or someone who just looking for something different to watch, then I recommend checking this one out.

On a side note I saw that they had planned on doing a remake of this film back in 2008. It was going to be called In the Playground and had a Director (David Alcade) and star (Diego Luna) all lined up. I even found a poster for the film. It doesn't look like this film was ever made though, and I can't find any record of it on IMDb.

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