The Godsend (1980)

Based on the 1976 novel of the same name by Bernard Taylor, this film pulls no punches if you’re thinking that children are safe in a movie.

Alan and Kate Marlowe are walking with their four children — Davy, Lucy, Sam and Matthew — when a pregnant stranger (Angela Pleasence  — yes, Donald’s daughter) follows them home, staring oddly and doing strange things like cutting their telephone line before giving birth in their home. The next day she disappears — I guess hospitals weren;t around in 1980 England — and keep her child, who they name Bonnie. I also figure that the adoption system wasn’t a thing either.

Within days, Matthew is dead while lying in the same playpen as the mysterious baby. The Davy drowns in a creek, supposedly saving Bonnie’s life, which makes sense, until then Sam dies in a barn and Bonnie’s ribbon is nearby. Suddenly people are calling the Marlowes child killers. Then, Bonnie gets the mumps and kisses him, giving him the illness as well as a dream where he realizes she has killed all of his children other than Lucy.

By the end of the film, Bonnie has claimed the Marlowes’ unborn child when she trips Kate, broken up their marriage and used mind control — wow, where did that come from? — to make Lucy walk out a window. This ending is nothing like the book, so I’ve heard. I do like the close where Alan sees the woman in the park who started all this insanity, but nobody will listen to his prophecy of doom.

This was directed by Gabrielle Beaumont, working from a script by her husband Olaf Pooley. She was the first woman to direct an episode of Star Trek and also made Death of a CenterfoldHe’s My Girl and Beastmaster III: The Eye of Braxus.

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