Tuesday, March 29, 2011


By Nick Cato


During the early 80s uprising of home video film renting, I would often scan the bottom shelf of my local video store’s horror section, looking for something I had never heard of. And thanks to exploitation film guru Harry Novak and his “Frightful Flicks” VHS double-feature series, I rented KILL AND GO HIDE (which is on DVD today as THE CHILD), a weird, low budget horror film that actual works on some levels bigger budget productions never do. And the VHS cover was covered in dust on the bottom shelf when I rented it around 1983, indicating many had passed over this seldom-seen gem.
Alicianne (man do I hate that name) moves to a remote house in the woods to be a nanny for young Rosalie, whose mother recently passed away. Rosalie (she looks to be about 12 years old) lives wither her father and older brother, and right next to their house is a cemetery that always seems to be filled with fog. This Rosalie girl’s a strange kid: she draws scary pictures of people who had attended her mother’s funeral, seems to hate everyone around her (including her new Nanny), and likes to go to the cemetery late at night by herself to talk to something that lurks in the nearby woods.
Like most films distributed by Harry Novak, there’s a couple of stretches here that will test your patience. But it’s worth the wait as KILL AND GO HIDE delivers some genuine chills and a few unexpected gore scenes.

The first time I watched this I was annoyed at the many unanswered questions: Why do these creatures in the woods kill for Rosalie? Where do her telekinetic powers come from? Why does Rosalie need the help of these zombie-like creatures if she’s able to do things such as make a shotgun fire and kill someone on its own? But upon second and third viewings over the years, I learned (as a b-movie addict) to let these things slide and just enjoy the ride.
And what a schlocky-good ride KILL AND GO HIDE is.
For a film where the main character is a 12-year old girl, KILL AND GO HIDE is quite nihilistic. The gloom of the many cemetery sequences spills into the aura of the whole film; you never know for one second if someone is going to live or die (even a sweet little old lady isn’t safe from Rosalie’s wrath). You never know if young Rosalie is going to laugh or freak out and summon either her undead pals or use her psychic abilities to rip a face off or commit patricide. Then again, when we see a young girl feeding cats to graveyard ghouls in the middle of the night, maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised at the slightly off-balanced nature of this freaky pre-teen mourner.
While I’ve seen KILL AND GO HIDE advertised as a zombie film over the years (it was also released with under the title ZOMBIE CHILD on VHS at one time), the zombies aren’t the main focus of the film (so if you’re expecting an apocalyptic cannibal attack, you’re going to be disappointed). The zombies here are simply one of several ways Rosalie has of killing (another question I had is just where do these zombies come from? Perhaps Rosalie raised them with her powers?).

Either way, this film is the epitome of a bottom-shelf video store classic; it’s no masterpiece, but it sure does work.
Despite spending perhaps too long searching, attempts to find a picture of the Frightful Flicks VHS hard-shell cover came up empty, although I found the above images quite easily. Something Weird’s DVD version as THE CHILD is loaded with extras, and the film itself looks great and is the best print available today.
Zombie and psycho-children film completists, take note.

--Nick Cato