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Movies Kelly Parks Review by
Kelly Parks
THE GODSEND - 1980
MGM
Rating: Finland: K-16 / Sweden: 11 / USA - Unrated

Cuckoo. Not a scary word, is it? It means crazy and/or the sound made by a clock of the same name. Cuckoo. It’s also the name of a bird. A funny name for a funny bird that does a funny thing. Nature can be funny, and by funny I mean brutal and hideous and really nasty.

THE GODSEND was directed by Gabrielle Beaumont (NIGHTMARE CLASSICS [TV], BEASTMASTER III) and written by Olaf Pooley (THE CORPSE, THE JOHNSTOWN MONSTER) and Bernard Taylor. It takes place in the green English countryside. Kate Marlowe (Cyd Hayman: THE HUMAN FACTOR), her husband Allen (Malcolm Stoddard: TREE OF HANDS) and their four children are out for a walk when they meet an odd pregnant woman. She’s wearing a simple dress and looks like a hippie. Kate invites her back to the house for a drink.

The strange woman spooks Allen. She talks in a dreamy, emotionless way and gives vague answers to every question. When asked if this pregnancy will be her first child she says, “I have others.” When asked how many she says, “Quite a few.” When she’s left alone the stranger pulls the phone cord from the wall and then goes into labor. Allen has to go fetch a doctor but by the time he comes back it’s all over. The stranger has had her baby and is still talking in a disconnected, dreamy voice as though nothing odd has happened. She doesn’t want to hold the baby and instead asks for a cigarette.

Of course the next morning the stranger is gone, leaving her newborn daughter behind. You’d think it’d be time to call in the British equivalent of child welfare but no. Kate falls in love with the baby, names her Bonnie, and insists they keep her around.

Everyone is happy about the new addition to the family, but then tragedy strikes when Kate and Allen’s infant son dies mysteriously while sharing a crib with Bonnie. Kate is heartbroken but decides soon after to make their adoption of Bonnie official.

Flash forward a few years. Bonnie (Wilhelmina Green) is about five when the next incident occurs. The family is on one of their frequent nature walks when Bonnie is momentarily left alone with her big brother Davie (Lee Gregory). Bonnie’s screams bring the family running only to find Davie drowned in a nearby creek. Scratches on Bonnie’s arms lead Allen to conclude that Davie was trying to pull her from the water when he himself drowned, thus dying a hero. It’s small consolation for the loss of another child and not even close to what really happened. Bonnie’s other brother Sam is afraid of Bonnie now. He suspects what his parents are still in denial about. The progression here is obvious, but why? Why is Bonnie murdering her siblings? The only way to explain that is with a

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
Horror movies often borrow horrible realities from nature and imagine what it would be like if they were applied to humans. In this case the innocent looking cuckoo is the model. The female cuckoo lays her eggs in unattended nests of birds of other species. The baby cuckoo doesn’t look at all like the other chicks but birds identify each other by voice, not appearance and cuckoos are talented mimics. The unknowing adoptive parents feed the baby as if it were their own. And just to maximize its parental attention, the cuckoo waits until the parents are away and then pushes the other chicks out of the nest to their deaths. What if there were some human variant or sub species that used a similar strategy?

Generally the deaths of children are considered taboo in horror movie world but you couldn’t tell this story any other way. Speaking of story, it is a bit plodding as we wait for somebody to realize what’s going on and do something, anything to save the remaining kids.

Many people compare this movie to THE OMEN, even going so far as to call it a rip off. I completely disagree. Just because they both involve an evil child doesn’t mean one was inspired by the other. THE OMEN was satanic fantasy but this is pure sci-fi.

I give it three shriek girls.


This review copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.

Return to Horror Movies

Kelly is correct in bucking the tide of opinion when he says that
THE GODSEND
is not a rip-off of
THE OMEN.

There are two separate sub-genres working here, both with as much validity as Vampires or Ghosts.

The
"Evil Child in the Family"
and the
"Evil Child as Intruder".

In the former you will find such movies as
The Bad Seed
THE BAD SEED
(1956)

ROSEMARY'S BABY

THE EXORCIST

DEMON SEED

IT'S ALIVE

PET SEMETERY

and

CHRISTINE

In the latter you will find

Village of the Damned
VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED
(Original title:
The Midwich Cuckoos
1960 and 1995
)

THE OMEN

THE GODSEND

CHILDREN OF THE CORN

POISON IVY

and

THE GOOD SON

The list is far more extensive than this as it carries over into books ranging from Robert S. McCammon's BAAL to T.M. Wright's STRANGE SEED.

S. King's CARRIE and FIRESTARTER are not included in this line-up as the child is neither evil nor possessed by evil, but has benign powers that are twisted by those around them into doing evil things.

 
Feo Amante's Horror Home Page and feoamante.com are owned and copyright 1997 - 2006 by E.C.McMullen Jr.
All images and text belong to E.C.McMullen Jr. unless otherwise noted.
All fiction stories belong to their individual authors.