8 user 8 critic

The Orphan (1979)

R | | Horror | November 1979 (USA)
A disturbed young man is plagued by horrific headaches that he believes make him commit murders.


John Ballard


John Ballard, Hector Hugh Munro (story "Sredni Vashtar") (as Saki)




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


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


You have a date...with death!




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


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 »


Did You Ever Dream?
Written by Teo Macero & Carl Sigman
Performed by Judy Roberts
See more »

User Reviews

Well-Made But a Bit Dull
4 October 2017 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Orphan (1979)

** (out of 4)

After the sudden death of his beloved father, David (Mark Owens) goes to stay with family members where he struggles to fit in and understand why he has no parents. Before long he starts suffering bad headaches and soon he thinks they might be causing him to murder.

I had never heard of this film until I read Stephen Thrower's Nightmare USA where this was covered. This here is basically a movie that tries to fit into the art-house market so if you're expecting some sort of slasher or graphic horror movie then you're going to be disappointed. As long as you go into the film knowing what you're getting then you're going to find a flawed but well-made picture.

The film is actually well-made and the direction by John Ballard is more than respectable. This film is basically taking a look at a kid suffering from his mother's death and then having to deal with the death of his father. THe horror elements are certainly here but they are pretty much in the background because the main focus is the mental state of this kid and what impact being an orphan might have on him.

Technically speaking the film is impressive as it looks quite good and we're also given some good performances. Owens is quite good as the young child and he at least helps you stayed glued to what's going on. The biggest problem with THE ORPHAN is the fact that it's just too slow and too dull in spots to fully keep you entertained. This is one of those movies where it's easy to respect what the filmmakers were able to do but by the time the movie is over you really weren't all that entertained.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 8 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

November 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Killer Orphan See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (edited)

Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed