The Night Child
aka The Cursed Medallion
Italy 1975, 83m, Magdalena Produzione
DVD: Arrow Films (UK) - Cert 15
A documentary maker is investigating the role of the devil in art. He comes across a painting which begins to have an alarming effect on his already troubled daughter's behaviour...
Although one of a number of Italian horrors inspired by the success of The Exorcist, this particular film takes quite a different approach to the other imitators. Director Massimo Dalliano was formerly a cinematographer for Sergio Leone on A Fistful Of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More, so it isn't surprising that he turns in a film which looks gorgeous, using the central-Italian locations to great effect. Whilst it doesn't have much in the way of real shocks or chills, there are some effectively dream-like moments, whilst the creative use of paintings and sculptures adds to the slightly surreal feel.
The screenplay is somewhat muddled, but thoughtfully handled nonetheless, with a strong central performance from Richard Johnson. Let down somewhat by the re-dubbing of the Italian performers, and the odd bit of dodgy back-projection work, The Night Child has much to admire overall, as long as you don't expect any pyrotechnics.
Original US Teaser Trailer: