(director: Adam Holender; screenwriters: Glenn Kershaw/Bruce Graham/based on Jack Horrigan’s play Children! Children!; cinematographer: Alexander Gruszynski; editor: Lillian Benson/Peter Hammer; music: Michael Bacon; cast: Christian Slater (Mark Collins), John Cunningham (Jim Kempler), Lois Smith (Helen Giles), Tandy Cronyn (Evelyn Collins), Dan Ziskie (Phillip Collins), Brooke Tracy (Susan Collins), Karl Taylor (Williams), Noelle Parker (Jeanette), Michael Benhar (Metz), Dina Merrill (Nell Kempler); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Bruce Graham; Hemdale Home Video; 1985)

“A viable twisted character study of a violently disturbed kid.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The only film directed by cinematographer Adam Holender. The under-the-radar suspense tale about a “killer-kid” was shot in Danbury Connecticut, and not released until seven years later. It’s based on the play Children! Children! by Jack Horrigan. Writers Glenn Kershaw and Bruce Graham only flub with an absurd ending. Otherwise it’s a viable twisted character study of a violently disturbed kid.

Teenager Mark Collins (Christian Slater) might be a child prodigy, but he’s also evil. He torments his younger sister (Brooke Tracy) and makes her take drugs. He also cruelly dissects animals. If that wasn’t enough, the kid also kills people. The little monster pushed his maid down the stairs, giving her a broken neck.

Mark has talked his jerky parents (Tandy Cronyn & Dan Ziskie) into letting him have a secret sound system, where he can hear conversations in every room. When Helen (Lois Smith) is his new baby-sitter, replacing the maid, he torments her with swords and by playing Hitler speeches. After he tosses her kitten into the fireplace, Helen realizes she must battle the kid to survive the night.

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