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ISLAND OF THE DAMNED (1976)

Directed by Chicho Ibanez-Serrador

Starring Lewis Fiander and Prunella Ransome

One of the most terrifying horror films ever made, "Island" also goes under the Spanish title "Quien pude matar a un nino?" Or "Who Could Kill a Child?"

Unique for a horror film because it takes place entirely in broad daylight, "Island" is by far the greatest "evil children" movie ever produced, even better than the original "Village of the Damned". Many believe it inspired Stephen King`s short story "Children of the Corn", which itself spawned a less-than-satisfying series of films in the U.S.

A couple on holiday from England decide to visit a remote island. The first part of the film shows them enjoying themselves on the mainland. Like "Rosemary`s Baby", "Island" builds up slowly, without giving a hint of the horror that`s to come. It doesn`t open with a killing or a horrifying "prologue". It`s simply a young couple on holiday.

Once they arrive on the remote island, they notice it`s devoid of adults. Children help the get off their boat. A few kids greet them in the streetsóbut no adults.

Finally, they find one adultóan old man with a cane. Before they can reach him, a girl runs up and beats him to death.

Their investigation eventually leads to the inevitable conclusion that all the children on the island have somehow gone insane and are killing anyone over the age of about 14. The film builds slowly, climaxing with a battle for survival as terrifying and nihilistic as anything in "Night of the Living Dead".

I heard about this film for years, but had never been able to watch it as it`s never been released on video and is way too horrifying for TV. It`s a crime that it isn`t currently on VHS or DVD. Truly, one of the best horror films of the past 30 years, it`s been imitated many times here in the U.S., with less than spectacular results. The "Children of the Corn" series and "Beware, Children at Play" are too of the most obvious copycats, although there have been others.

The clones are but a pale imitation of this terrifying original. One of the most horrifying scenes in this film, and one of the most horrifying ever set to film, has a father being led to his own slaughter by his daughter. Another adult asks him not to go. But, the man says, "This is my daughter," before leaving with her.

This is killer stuff. Please, somebody release this on DVD in the U.S. It's truly one of the greatest horror films ever made.

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