Main cast: Lindsay Pulsipher (Tara), Jesse Haddock (Johnny), Walter Phelan (Demonic Johnny), William Samples (Anton), and Lori Petty (Judith)
Director: William Malone
William Malone designed Mike Myers of the Halloween franchise, or so I’m told, so for that, he deserves a slot in Masters of Horror, even if most of his directorial input are the pits. Fair Haired Child is a twisted, almost dark fairy tale-like tale involving homicidal adults preying on teens, but the end result is a mishmash of hilarious overacting and messy execution.
Tara is a 15-year high school girl minding her own business while cycling home from school one day when she is hit by a car and subsequently brought to this creepy big house. There, a couple brusquely demand to know whether she’s a virgin before tossing her into the basement. When Tara collects herself, she finds a boy there, about to hang himself. She stops him, of course, and the boy, Johnny, and she form a bond… until he transforms into a demon-thing. It turns out that he is the son of the couple who died some twelve years ago, and the gruesome twosome made a pact with some kind of demon – if they sacrifice a virginal girl to it once a year for twelve years, it would restore Johnny back to life. The demon thing is currently using Johnny as a host, and the poor lad can’t control its murderous impulses. Will Tara ever make it out of this alive?
Well, true love reigns in the end, but not in the way you may think. I like how the twist comes out, but to be honest, it comes out of the blue – out of script writer Matt Greenberg’s rear end, more likely – so the whole thing feels like something slapped on at the last minute. That or the original script turns out to be too long to be fit into the fortysomething minute format, and some key scenes had to be cut out as a result. Whatever the reason, the whole feels like a jigsaw puzzle with several key pieces missing.
And, of course, I’m supposed to believe that the passion of two fifteen year old kids would translate into permanence, or that the two of them would be allowed to live happily ever after together in a big house that looks like it’s more at home in some 19th-century Gothic horror tale than a modern day setting.
Then we have the adult cast members overacting to such a cringe-inducing degree, while Jesse Haddock underacts to such a degree that they and he only accentuate one another’s ham. Only Lindsay Pulsipher gets to retain her dignity here.
I really like the basic premise of this story, because it’s so twisted and sick, especially when you think of all that violence and gore being inflicted on kids, but the end result is… well, it’s like someone with big dreams to create a masterpiece, only to halfway realize that the resources are just not there and he’d have to settle for what’s available. So bye bye masterpiece, hello… whatever.