The uncanny terror that only children can elicit. The uncanny terror of what goes missing—or reveals itself—in the dark spaces between generations. The uncanny terror that intergenerational misunderstandings unleash, again and again.
The discord between old and young is an issue that is both ages-old and frighteningly contemporary. The uncomfortable space between age groups is a global preoccupation, and the fear of the young/new, coupled with blame-for-change and fear of the old/known, is horribly relevant. The absurdity of placing the onus of responsibility on the young, while vilifying them for affecting change, is on full display in our current reality.
This year’s retrospective features timeless masterpieces, pure exploitation jewels, hilariously ridiculous gore-fests, and the most terrifying thing of all: tiny, innocent-looking manifestations of pure evil.
The Bad Seed
Mervyn LeRoy • 1956 • USA • 129min
Mon. Oct. 29 • 7:00pm
Christine Penmark (Nancy Kelly) and her daughter Rhoda (Patty McCormack) feign perfection to their community. When the the death of a schoolboy who won a penmanship competition brings suspicion to Rhoda’s hand, Christine assumes the worst about her little girl. As tension builds between characters, the calming atmosphere of suburbia is no match for this unsettling family dynamic.
Based on a book by the same name, THE BAD SEED begs the question, what is worse: a remorseless homicidal preteen, or a mother who will do anything to hide her family shame?
The Bad Seed
Ed Hunt • 1981 • USA • 85min
Tues. Oct. 30 • 9:00pm
Three children are born during an eclipse. Because celestial patterns cause Saturn—which controls emotion—to be blocked, the children have no feelings. Void of all morality, the seemingly innocent youths create chaos in the town around them.
In a film that epitomizes the grainy cult horror scene of the 1980s, BLOODY BIRTHDAY entertains, building its body count in a vicious cycle of birth, life, sex, cake, and murder—setting the standard for sociopathic spree-killing movie tykes for decades to come.
René Manzor • 1989 • France • 87min
Mon. Oct. 29 • 9:30pm
Thomas (Alain Lalanne), a French child prodigy obsessed with American action films, believes he will be the first kid to catch Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. When a thief dressed as Santa shows up instead of the real deal, Thomas’s vengeance for his crushed childhood dream takes on epic proportions in this influential film. Long thought to be the inspiration for American Christmas classic, Home Alone, this darker, gorier, French-er take on hardcore home defense will delight elves and Scrooges alike.
Who Can Kill a Child?
Narciso Ibáñez Serrador • 1976 • Spain • 112min
Tues. Oct. 30 • 7:00pm
In reality, war and famine wreck their devastating effects on the innocent in refugee camps and struggling countries. On a remote island, eerie children take matters into their own hands. When an English couple make their way to the island on holiday, they are forced to ask themselves: Who can kill a child?
Featuring a hypnotic score by Waldo de los Ríos, WHO CAN KILL A CHILD is an exploration of innate goodness and the lack thereof, and a violent confrontation between nature and nurture.