It is Henna Day, on a mild, overcast afternoon. We have had heat waves galore, but now Los Angeles seems to be contemplating autumn at last. (It does this every October here; it is annoying every year.)
Since it's October, I've been enjoying TCM's Friday night horror marathons. This Friday they focused on Scary Kids. They showed (along with classics of the genre The Bad Seed
and Village of the Damned
), a couple of films I'd never seen: The Nanny
(1965) and Children of the Damned
All I knew about The Nanny
was that it was one of Bette Davis's 1960s horror outings. I hadn't realized it was a Hammer film (written and produced by the awesomely named Johnny Sangster!). It's a battle of wits between a 10-year-old boy and his nanny; he claims she killed his sister and is planning to kill him, but he's given to playing nasty practical jokes and may well be the dangerous one. The film kept me guessing almost until the end. Extremely well done.
I had expected that the sequel to Village of the Damned
would feature another bevy of blond children, but to my surprise Children of the Damned
's superintelligent telepaths hail from various parts of the globe (China, India, Nigeria, the Soviet Union, the USA, and England), so we actually get a multiethnic cast of kids
in 1964. The children are a lot more sympathetic than in the first film, only using violence in self-defense, but swirling Cold War paranoia makes a peaceful outcome impossible.
TCM also showed the beautiful The Curse of the Cat People
(1944), though it does not qualify as a scary kid film: the little girl protagonist is adorable and (aside maybe from Roddy McDowall's childhood roles) is the movie child I would most like to give a hug. This film affects me more each time I see it, to the point that I need to be armed with Kleenex when I watch it.