Narciso Ibanez Serrador's shocker opens with a grim montage of atrocities perpetrated against children before launching into a sun-drenched tale of terror that turns the tables.
English couple Evelyn (Prunella Ransome) and Tom (Lewis Fiander) are vacationing in Greece, and it will probably be their last trip for a while: Evelyn is heavily pregnant with their third child. Their last stop is the small, isolated island of Almanzora, which Tom's family used to visit when he was young. The boatman who ferries them over voices some concerns – there's only one boat out every week, phone service to the mainland is non-existent and with Evelyn so far along they might find themselves stuck without proper medical care. Evelyn reassures him that she'll be fine: She's already had two children, her pregnancy is progressing normally and she's not due until long after they return home. The town is a group of beautiful, blindingly white buildings clustered beneath a brilliant blue sky and surrounded by sparkling azure water. But where is everyone -- at a festival, maybe, or on the other side of the island for some communal farming or fishing activity? Tom and Evelyn leave their luggage at the strangely empty hotel and comb the streets, discovering along the way that all the power is off. They finally see signs of life – children darting in and out of doorways, giggling and shrieking. One young girl approaches Evelyn and reverently touches her belly before running away. Tom eventually spots an old man lurking in a doorway, only to see a little girl grab his cane and beat him to death; Tom later sees the corpse strung up in barn as a mob of youngsters swing at it with farm implements. Tom is eventually forced to tell Evelyn what he himself can barely believe: The island's children have risen up en masse and killed every adult that could find; the handful of survivors, including a German tourist and a local man driven half mad by what he's seen, are in hiding. Outnumbered and hampered by Evelyn's condition, their only hope is to get off the island. But how?
Made three years before the United Nations declared its "Year of the Child" to draw attention to the suffering of the world's youngest citizens, Serrador's film ran up its own vivid red flag. Timeliness aside, it may be the finest variation on an enduring horror theme: The violent rebellion by children against cruel or indifferent adults. Released in the US in a severely truncated version called ISLAND OF THE DAMNED, it was finally released uncut on DVD in 2007.
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- Released: 1976
- Rating: NR
- Review: Narciso Ibanez Serrador's shocker opens with a grim montage of atrocities perpetrated against children before launching into a sun-drenched tale of terror that turns the tables. English couple Evelyn (Prunella Ransome) and Tom (Lewis Fiander) are vaca… (more)