Ratings Key



★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Suffer, Little Children (1983)

Directed by:
Alan Briggs

Made by the students in writer/ producer Meg Shanks' Drama School, this no-budget, shot-on-video British production (which claims to be based on a true story!) is so inept that it's taken on new life as a minor camp classic in the UK. It was never released here in the United States (or probably anywhere else outside England for that matter), but thankfully we live in an age where previously impossible-to-find junk is now easy-to-find junk so we can all suffer, suffer, suffer little viewers through amateur home videos such as this! At Sullivans Children's Home, a school/home for orphans, a weird, mute little girl named Elizabeth (Nicola Diana) is left on the doorstep with a note from her mother saying she can no longer care for her. The school administrators; uptight, straight-laced Maurice (Colin Chamberlain) and blonde free spirit Jenny (Ginny Rose) welcome the girl with open arms despite the fact she seems like she'd be better off at a special needs school. Elizabeth turns out to be an evil Satanic moppet with telekinetic abilities who immediately gets to work raising a little hell. She slams a girl into a door, knocks a boy down the stairs, forces a girl to stab herself in the leg, moves furniture, turns two of the girls into her mindless slaves by making them have a nightmare about zombies and causes others to scream, fight, freak out and eventually kill.

Meanwhile, Mick Philips (Jon Hollanz), a pop star who grew up in the orphanage, pays a special visit, plans a charity concert and takes Jenny on a date to a punk club called "Cloud Busters" where a bunch of Boy George look-a-likes dance horribly to reggae music. As their romance blossoms, Elizabeth's army of pre-teen Satanists is growing. She has special ceremonies lit with candles and a strobe light, where her followers pound their fists in the air while screaming "Come, Devil, Come!" and little Liz shrieks in an EXORCIST-like possession voice. If that's not enough, just wait until the big finale where... drum roll, please... Jesus Christ himself (complete with his crown of thorns) makes a special guest appearance to ward off the evil by pointing his almighty finger at them, which results in a cheesy laser beam sound effect and the kids screaming even more than they already have been while apparently having the evil spirits driven from their bodies. Wow.

Watch as every filmmaking sin in the book is committed before your very eyes in a video that makes absolutely no sense, is full of continuity errors, flubbed lines, horrible editing cuts and issues with the lighting, camerawork, sound recording and every other possible technical aspect that goes into making a film. In many of the scenes, it seems like about ten characters are all talking at once, over top one another, and it's impossible to really make out what anyone is saying as a result. In other scenes, the music almost completely drowns out the dialogue, which might actually be a blessing. But on the plus side, they were smart enough to record a "Suffer, Little Children" theme song and it's hilarious! During the end credits, the movie also makes sure to acknowledge all the films (CARRIE, PSYCHO, HALLOWEEN, etc.) it was "inspired" by, as well as thanking the parents of the young actors for allowing their children to embarrass themselves in a cheap horror video.
.
Apparently it was released on VHS in 1985 by the UK label FGL (Films Galore, Ltd.), though I can find no scans of an actual box anywhere online to prove this.

SBIG

2 comments:

PAUL said...

omg is this anywhere online do you know.I was 14 and was involved in this film.I never got to see how awful it turned out but it was a lot of fun to make.Paul N

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

I sure do. Either comment back here with your email address or send me an email to capkronos00@hotmail.com and I'll give you the details.

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