In this stylish and atmospheric psychological thriller reminiscent of Henry James's Turn of the Screw, a widowed English writer brings a young, glamorous new bride to his bleak, isolated home in rural Spain. She soon becomes obsessed with her 12-year old stepson, who she learns has just been expelled from school for mysterious offenses; while the boy enjoys, exploits, and feeds her increasing paranoia about him. That he is a brilliant and lonely child is obvious. But is he the victim of a neurotic woman's overwrought imagination-- in Shakespeare's words, the innocent flower, or the serpent under it? Written by
Paul Emmons <email@example.com>
A beautiful woman begins to suspect that her angelic-looking stepson murdered his real mother, then fears that the disturbed child may have similarly sinister plans for her.
This underrated '70's psycho-thriller is aided by a strong cast, which includes Mark Lester(of OLIVER! fame) as the disturbed youngster, Britt Ekland as the terrified stepmother, Hardy Kruger as the boy's well-meaning, but clueless father, and Lilli Palmer as a seemingly level-headed psychologist. Admittedly, it's little more than THE BAD SEED with a sex change and a few kinky, voyeuristic sequences thrown in for good measure, but the wonderful cast has done wonders with their roles, particularly Lester who gives a startlingly mature and downright chilling performance as the evil child. After seeing him go at it as the little stepson from Hell, it's hard to believe that this is the same little boy who captured our hearts in the award-winning musical "OLIVER!". It takes a good actor to play two wildly different roles so convincingly, and that's Lester. After seeing him in these two films alone, I'm convinced he's one of the finest child actors of all time! After doing some research, I've discovered that the magnificent Lester has retired from show business and is now an osteopath. The medical profession's gain is our loss.
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