2.5/10
172
8 user 5 critic

Moonchild (1974)

R | | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi | May 1974 (USA)
A young artists spends the night at a mysterious inn, where he meets a group of strange, sullen people, among them the innkeeper's beautiful daughter. What he doesn't know is that he has ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Maitre D'
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Mr. Walker
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Alchemist
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Girl
Pat Renella ...
Manager
Mark Travis ...
Student
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Homunculus
Marie Denn ...
Maid
Jack H. Conrad ...
Driver
Robert Randles ...
Heretic
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Red Monk
George Parrish ...
Purple Monk
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Storyline

A young artists spends the night at a mysterious inn, where he meets a group of strange, sullen people, among them the innkeeper's beautiful daughter. What he doesn't know is that he has wandered into a kind of spiritual void, and the inn's residents are engaging in a battle over his soul. Written by Anonymous

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Racing towards his final exorcism!

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Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi

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R | See all certifications »
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May 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Full Moon  »

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1.85 : 1
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Referenced in Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unusual and intriguing fantastical art-house mood piece
24 November 2011 | by See all my reviews

Its easy to see why Moonchild has a 2.1 average rating on this site and very few reviews. Marketed as some kind of low budget horror, its actually more of a psychological mood piece conducted with creepy atmosphere than something easily digestible. It apparently began life as a student film and I can well see that, it feels the product of a student brain, brain like dope softened sponge, heavied to dripping with ideas and questions, gripped in slipping hands that know not what to do. The concept and underlying themes are distinct but the execution less so, it ends up a head film that isn't really thought out well enough. The story, such as it is, follows a young student who come to a mission turned hotel in his search for perfection of art. There he comes into contact with an array of strange persons whilst facing the resurgence of his past. Its all rather vague until a final act that brings things into a manner of focus, powered mostly by talk and some interesting visuals. Talk of the meaning of life and death, of art and love and god and man, multiple views entwining and arguing, on paper and indeed to the recollection it seems nothing more meaningful than a spewed up half digested morass of philosophical talking points, but due to some sterling performances and a consistently weird, anti commercial tone the film actually manages a rather engaging atmosphere, snaked through with unease and unpredictable currents of tension. Plaudits are deserved by more or less all the key performers. Victor Buono as the hotel maitre d', a pious bon vivant with certain sinister edge, Pat Renella as the straight and stern manager, William Challee a kindly old man and alchemist, and a good sized role for John Carradine as a wandering keeper of words, guide of sorts. Mark Travis is slightly stiff as the student at the centre but he does his best and is suitably bewildered by things. His unshowy turn actually works nicely, as those around him bring the portentous dialogue to strange life he gives a good impression of being trapped in some Kafka-esque prison of twisted language and impossible questions, a prison of abstract thought overlaying the actual confines of the hotel. The effect comes to somewhat resemble Last Year In Marienbad, albeit a less assured, more New Age and nebulous approach to similar themes, the hotel, its geography and inhabitants all uncertain, perhaps all mind born phantasms. The use of eerie organ drones at times seems a direct reference to the Resnais film, as well as some of the tracking shots. Moonchild goes in for many more jolt edits though, and its notions of mind, memory and destiny are less clear edited, they appear as if viewed through clouds. The audience for a film such as this is undoubtedly small, and in what it sets out to do it is not entirely successful. But it's watchable, and it's interesting and decidedly strange. Fans of the genuinely unusual in cinema could do worse than give it a look, those seeking standard issue genre kicks or easy viewing will doubtless find it a terrible chore.


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