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The Godsend (1980)

Ah, the old "Cuckoo in the nest" routine. Never was it done as crassly and obviously as in The Godsend, a little known, overstretched, badly acted gem of a Brit horror flick from the "wilderness years" for the genre (late 70s/early 80s).

Put very simply, spooky and pregnant Angela Pleasance weadles her way into the home of a typically middle class family ("She just turned up. I couldn't say 'bugger off'," explains the wife), where she promptly gives birth and, well, buggers off - leaving the puzzled household plus one baby.

However, they're not "plus one baby" for very long, as the wee mite has soon murdered their own newborn. See what I mean about cuckoos?

Just in case the audience hasn't cottoned on to the plot (they were a bit thick back in them days) , we have it absolutely sledgehammered home. Pleasance explains she always goes South for the winter (bang!), and the children are handily colour coded (the original kids - two boys and a girl - have bright ginger curls and long dark hair respectively, the "cuckoo" - Bonnie - wears a hideous luminous blonde fright wig) (crash!).

Bonnie doesn't waste any time making room in the nest, either. She's soon wrecking family picnics with assorted drownings and pushings-off-high-ledges. After the triple tragedy (which no-one seems particularly bothered about) the family moves to London, where Bonnie gives dad mumps and makes him sterile, and he begins to suss out what's going on…

The Godsend would have made a good one-hour TV chiller, but it's overstretched at 90 minutes. However, there's much fun to be had with the "Little House On The Prairie" - style happy families routines, the ginger kids, and guessing who Bonnie's going to off next.

There's also a modicum of tension created as it becomes painfully obvious that the wife is NOT going to accept that odious little Bonnie is the guilty party. The Dad's onto a no-win situation - if he tries to keep his family together, Bonnie will kill all his children. If he kills her, no-one will believe his story… In a way, The Godsend is a lost opportunity.

Director: Gabrielle Beaumont Writer(s): Olaf Pooley Bernard Taylor

Credited Cast: Cyd Hayman - Kate Marlowe, Malcolm Stoddard - Alan Marlowe, Patrick Barr - Dr. Collins, Joanne Boorman, Wilhelmina Green, Lee Gregory, Angela Pleasence - Stranger

 

Last updated: February 23, 2010

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