The Wednesday Children (1973)

USA, 1973
88m
colour
mono, English

An American horror film directed by Robert D. West.

Plot Summary

In a barn near a small town, the church janitor is teaching the local children how to dispose of their neglectful parents by using a teleportation technique he calls “transference.”

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Robert D. West
A Venture Film Production Co. release
Produced by: Homer Baldwin, Cal Clifford
Written by: Robert D. West
Director of Photography: Homer Baldwin
Editor: Homer Baldwin
Music: Tom Baker, Dene Bays
Locations: Wadsworth, Ohio

Cast
Marji Dodril (Mrs Miller)
Donald E. Miller (Mr Miller)
Tom Kelly (Scott Miller)
Carol Cary (Edith Barlow)
Al Miskell (Mr Fenton)
Robert D. West (the minister)

Alternative Titles

Mr. Fenton – working title

Press

1973
Variety 20 June 1973
“Witchcraft, rock music and an ironic indictment of hypocritical standards of American middle-class families are pungently woven together in this modern morality story of a children’s revolution. […] lt’s quite obvious that Robert D. West, an imaginative film script writer and also program director for Cleveland’s station WJW-Radio, borrowed some of his thematic ideas from television’s Bewitched and the latter day Satanism-cult trend. Yet West, who doubles as director […] does handle the modern allegory very sympathetically. […] All the country settings have rich photographic color and the fresh appeal of the juvenile players. Sometimes they out-shine their elders in the cast with their joyful games. […] Where the offbeat pic slips is in too many early repetitious scenes used to set the mystic back-to-nature background.” – from a review by Pullen

Cleveland Plain Dealer 22 June 1973 p.4
The Wednesday Children is a sunlit horror story of considerable attainments. It would have had more attainments if the horror had taken hold early in the game. Unfortunately, there is no hint that we are to be in for it in the last half of the film; consequently a lot of people may be late getting their goose bumps tuned up. This is partly true because The Wednesday Children doesn’t bow to tradition. Its horror is not the black cat, rainy-night kind. The horror here happens in the sunlight. […] West is a disciple of Val Lewton, who is known for his more-or-less subtle horror films including The Cat People [sic] and I Walked with a Zombie. It is subtlety that West has strived for. He perhaps has gone a bit too low key. […] The camera work is remarkable, although perhaps with a tendency to be a shade too arty. A camera should not call attention to itself by too often crouching under trees or shooting through shrubbery. Enough is enough. On the whole, The Wednesday Children made on half a shoestring, is a remarkable undertaking – honest, straightforward, sensible. And when it eventually gets around to it, it musters up considerable quiet horror.” – from a review by Emerson Batdorf

References

Periodicals
Variety 20 June 1973 – review (by Pullen)

Newspapers
Cleveland Plain Dealer 22 June 1973 p.4 – review (by Emerson Batdorf)

Books
Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.532 – credits