Film #94: THE NIGHT CHILD
The Night Child (aka Il Medaglione Insanguinato aka The Cursed Medallion)
2 out of 5 stars
Back in the mid-70s, after the financial success of THE EXORCIST, everyone and their brother was making “possessed child” knock-offs. In 1975, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE’s director Massimo Dallamano threw his hat in and made THE NIGHT CHILD. While the film only barely deals with possession, it does take a stab at the story of a troubled child who is under supernatural influences. It’s just never full-blown demonic possession. The property must have looked good on paper, because it drew the likes of Richard Johnson (THE HAUNTING, ZOMBIE), a very young (and nude) Joanna Cassidy (BLADE RUNNER), and Nicoletta Elmi (TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE, LE ORME, DEEP RED, DEMONS). It also enticed the great Italian film composer, Stelvio Cipriani (TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE, DEATH WALKS ON HIGH HEELS, TENTACLES, THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW) into providing the music. Sadly, THE NIGHT CHILD is a talky, uneventful (I mean, even when something happens, nothing happens), and well… boring film. Joanna Cassidy is beautiful here and Richard Johnson does his best Richard Johnson impersonation, but no sparks fly either in the narrative or between the actors. Many reviewers though will cite THE NIGHT CHILD as a showpiece for young actress Nicoletta Elmi… I’m not sure what film THEY were watching, but this is hardly the case. Not since Giovanni Frezza (“Bob” in Fulci’s HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY) has an actor been so annoying and so off-putting. Fans (and completists) of “possessed children” films may want to check this one out, but… go in knowing the film is pretty mundane. Fans of Joanna Cassidy will definitely want to check it out (as she is nude). The bad news is that so is Richard Johnson (they do a sex scene). Not a great film by ANY stretch, but it serves its purpose if you’re in the mood.