#26 -- Masters of Horror: The Fair Haired Child (2006)

Director: William Malone
Rating: 4 / 5

I cannot say it enough: the creators of these films really are masters. They're not as long as regular movies (usually about an hour) because it's actually a television show, but they have so much story that you don't even notice the length. They pack more storyline and character development into one hour than some movies can in two. This one is wonderfully frightening and, even upon a second viewing, I found myself wanting to cover my eyes. 

Tara is riding her bike home from school through a spooky wooded area. She is hit by a van, dragged into the back of the van, and chloroformed. She awakes in what appears to be a hospital room, but she soon learns that it is all a fraud. She tries to escape, but ends up being thrown into the basement. The stairs have been broken away; there is no escape. After a little exploration, she finds a boy hanging from a noose. She helps him down and learns that he cannot speak. He communicates by writing in the dust on the floor. His name is Johnny. There are several frightening messages written around the room, warning of some "thing", and saying "Get out before it wakes up." And, the final message reads: "Beware the fair haired child." Tara and Johnny open the door the last message is written on, and they find a bathroom: the tub is full of blood.

There are a few flashbacks of the people who abducted Tara. It appears that they had a son who drowned in the lake on their property. They've made some kind of deal with a demon, or satan (it is never made clear) to bring their son back to life. It's not much of a surprise when we find out that Johnny was their son.He convinces Tara of this by showing her an empty urn with his name written on it. He also shows her a book of witchcraft. The deal that his parents made came with a price: twelve. They must sacrifice twelve children - one each year - and Tara is to be the last. At certain intervals, Johnny transforms into The Fair Haired Child, and he kills the children himself. He cannot help what he's doing, and he hates himself for it. He tells Tara that he does not want her blood on his hands, and he asks her to forgive him. We cannot see much, but when Johnny's parents descend into the basement, we find Tara - dead, covered in blood. And there's a note, written in that blood: I forgive you Johnny. Tara knew all along that Johnny was a good person, and that he shouldn't blame himself for what his sick parents were doing. It is sort of implied that Johnny has feelings for her from the very beginning. And that explains completely what Johnny does to help her, in the end.

They complete the ritual, and Johnny is fully revived. His parents are playing a piece of music while Johnny is sitting in the middle of the floor. When his mother asks him what he is doing, he says that he is waiting. He is staring at a drawing that Tara had done. He then reveals to his mother that he's found his talent: bargaining. He's made a deal as well, but his deal only requires two sacrifices. Enter another Fair Haired Child, and Johnny's mother's head is squashed like a bug. 

Tara wakes up with a note that says to meet Johnny in the recital room. She can't remember anything, but Johnny tells her that this is her home and that he'll help her get through her troubles, once she remembers everything. They walk hand in hand down to the lake. 

It is quite a sweet story, and despite the witchcraft/necromancy, doesn't seem all that scary (when reading about it). But when Johnny transforms into The Fair Haired Child, it gets real scary real fast. I'm sure I said this in my last MoH review, but I repeat: if you haven't seen any of them, please do - any of them at all. If you're a horror fan like I am, these are a must-see. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

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