Preface: Back when KINDERTRAUMA was just a mere glint in your Unkle Lancifer‘s aquamarine eyes, he asked your Aunt John to come up with a short list of movies, T.V. shows, etc. that terrified me as a tot. Aside from my usual suspects of Spelling-Goldberg produced mayhem, and that Little House on the Prairie freak-out episode, your Aunt John would always come back to 1978 Wonderful World of Disney T.V.-movie CHILD OF GLASS. I vividly remember it always aired around Halloween time, usually in tandem with THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. Unfortunately, your Unkle Lancifer had never heard of this gem, and the folks at Disney, after releasing it on VHS in the ’80s, seem content to leave it locked away in their mythical vaults alongside SONG OF THE SOUTH. I had honestly given up on ever seeing and writing about it, until it was recently brought to my attention that a near complete copy of it had made its way onto the youtubes. Catch it soon before it disappears again for another 30 years. Scratch that; it looks like it’s already been removed.
Shortly after Alexander Armsworth (STEVE SHAW) and his family take up residence in an old-timey Southern plantation, presumably somewhere near New Orleans or anywhere where exaggerated Cajun accents are commonplace, our pre-teen hero realizes that he has the gift of the sixth sense. Yes, he can see dead people, but unfortunately for him, he can only see the ghost of an insanely bossy Creole girl named Inez Dumaine (OLIVIA BARASH). According to the sad yarn Inez spins, her uncle was a river pirate, she was the victim of foul play and unless Alexander can solve her mysterious riddle (“Sleeping lies the murdered lass, vainly calls the child of glass. When the two shall be as one, the spirit’s journey will be done”) by midnight on Halloween, she will haunt him with her off-key renditions of Frère Jacques for an eternity. Did I mention she’s really bossy? Fortunately, Alexander’s bespectacled pal Blossom Culp (KATHY KURTZMAN) has a knack for crystal ball gazing and the duo sets out to solve Inez’s brainteaser. They correctly surmise that Inez is the murdered lass, and they make the obligatory trek to the super-creepy mausoleum in which she is entombed, but the second part about the child of glass has the precocious pair stumped. By the time Alexander puts two and two together and figures out the child of glass is Inez’s doll, a bitter ex-employee of his parents shows up to torch the family barn. Alexander escapes the arsonist by tumbling down a long-abandoned well in an adjacent building on the property. His family assumes the worst until brainy Blossom shows up and peers down the well. Like a scene not found in THE DESCENT, Blossom is lowered down the well with some laundry line and she rescues both Alexander and Inez’s missing dolly. When the pair returns to the cemetery to reunite Inez with her child of glass, they stumble ass first into the angry arsonist who wants Alexander dead so he cannot testify as a witness in any subsequent barn burning trials. Inez materializes just in time to scare off the attacker, caterwaul another chorus of Frère Jacques, and repay the kindness of Alexander and Blossom with the stash of diamonds concealed in her doll.
- THE WIZARD OF OZ meets THE RING insanity that ensues when Blossom’s crystal ball play replays the death of Inez
- Blossom’s Motley Crue-esque make-up for said crystal ball gazing
- Inez and Alexander’s uncomfortable waltz at his parents’ cotillion
- Cemetery chase scene in which Blossom trips to enhance the suspense