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The Orphan (1979)

 -  Horror  -  November 1979 (USA)
4.1
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Ratings: 4.1/10 from 137 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 5 critic

A disturbed young man is plagued by horrific headaches that he believes make him commit murders.

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Title: The Orphan (1979)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Peggy Feury ...
Aunt Martha
Mark Owens ...
David
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Afolabi Ajayi ...
Akin
Stanley Church ...
Dr. Thompson
David Foreman ...
Percy Ford
Jane House ...
Jean Ford
...
Toyman
...
David's Mother
Eleanor Stewart ...
Mary
Donn Whyte ...
David's Father
Edit

Storyline

The film plots a child's descent into madness without the guiding forces of a benevolent adult. After the mysterious nasty death of both his Roaring '20s party animal parents, young David is left in the care of his prudish, restrictive aunt, who refuses to let him indulge in his adolescent instincts. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

murder | animal | death | aunt | boy | See All (18) »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

November 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Friday the 13th: The Orphan  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The producers of the Friday the 13th franchise, which began production shortly after this film was released, had to negotiate a settlement with this film's producers in order to use the title. See more »

Connections

Version of Sredni Vashtar (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Make Me Laugh
Written by Teo Macero & Carl Sigman
Performed by Judy Roberts
See more »

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User Reviews

Not good but interesting--and certainly offbeat--70's horror/art flick
24 November 2008 | by (Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile) – See all my reviews

This is one of those films that kind of fall into the unfortunate "no man's land" between art and exploitation. I can't really claim that I found it either wildly entertaining or artistically brilliant, but it is more interesting than some of the other reviews make it sound. There aren't. for instance, too many other American horror movies based on a short story by a renowned British-Indian author or that feature a title song by 70's folk singer Janis "Seventeen" Ian (the alternate choice I guess was Leonard Cohen which REALLY would have been interesting). There are only three, not especially bloody, murders, which makes the "Friday the 13th" retitling kind of unfortunate (even though this came out a year or so before the slasher series). It is bound to disappoint somewhat as a horror movie, let alone if you're expecting a "Friday the 13th" style gorefest.

This is a movie about a young boy whose frequently absent father, an African explorer, has been killed in an unfortunate accident which also indirectly claimed his mother. His stern, disapproving aunt comes to take care of him and tries to bend him to her will. She chases away an African associate of his father's who is staying at the house (and is apparently the lonely boy's only friend), she intentionally kills his pet chicken, and accidentally kills his dog. The boy also has a complicated and (at least on his end) somewhat sexual relationship with the family maid, but their relationship curdles after he hides in a closet and listens to her having sex with her boyfriend. He eventually goes crazy and ends up reverting into a kind of "Lord of the Flies" mode, worshipping a stuffed gorilla called "Charlie" as a kind of pagan god and waging war against his well-intentioned but wrongheaded aunt. Needless to say, things do not end well.

This movie was apparently made over a ten year period(!) and it shows in some of the uneven direction and seemingly random plot twists. Some of the acting, especially that of the main child actor, is pretty weak. Still it is one of these movies that is interesting simply because it so far out of the generally accepted cinematic universe that it would never get made today. It's not very good perhaps, but it still might be worth checking out, especially if you like offbeat 70's films like I do.


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