Whose Child Am I? (1976) / Weekend Murders (1970) Dark Force Entertainment Blu-ray Review
Aside from an odd pairing of these two films, both movies have some merit, although Weekend Murders is the better of the two. The transfers are nice in high definition.
Whose Child Am I? Plot:
A trendy young couple finds out that the man is sterile, so they try artificial insemination, which leads to some serious problems in their relationship.
Paul and Barbara Martin (Paul Freeman and Kate O’Mara) are a young, attractive couple living in England with an incredible sex life, but when they try conceiving a baby, they are stunned when they’re told that Paul is sterile. Their doctor proposes something that seems alien and morally wrong to them: Artificial insemination. They try it out, but it fails. Then, the doctor suggests something to Barbara that takes the daring to the next level, forsaking science altogether – She should have sex with a donor to try to conceive a child. With trepidation, she gives it a try without telling Paul. After several failed attempts, she goes all in with the donor, a handsome swinger named Michael (Bob Sherman) whom she all but begins a sexual affair with on a nightly basis for months on end. She becomes pregnant and she cuts Michael out of her life. Years pass, and she and Paul are happy with their young daughter. They get a windfall of money when a fortune is willed to their daughter by her godfather, and when Michael reads about it in the paper, he begins harassing Barbara by demanding that he is the girl’s father and should be in charge of her inheritance. This puts Barbara in a position where she has to reveal to Paul how their daughter was conceived, which in itself threatens their relationship, but what’s worse is when Michael takes them to court over the matter, putting their family at risk.
A sexploitation drama in the guise of a serious social commentary personal interest story, Whose Child Am I? has tons of sex and nudity in it, which I’m sure appealed to the horny filmgoers of the mid-late ’70s who prowled around the grindhouse theaters, but there’s also a pretty prescient (if somewhat dated in its approach) theme at play here that might appeal to casual viewers interested in a drama. This was Paul Freeman’s first film, and obviously he went on to become much more recognized for his role in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and his sexual performance here might raise some eyebrows. Filmmaker Gerry O’Hara was clearly more interested in showcasing as much sex and nudity as possible than in touching hearts and minds.
Weekend Murders Plot:
A family gathers around a wealthy estate to hear the reading of the will of the family patriarch, and then murders happen.
The wealthy patriarch of a prestigious family passes away, and all members of the family congregate for the reading of the man’s will. He basically cut everyone out of his will except the only woman who treated him right, even excluding his own daughter. Reeling from the proverbial slap in the face, the family bickers and gnashes their teeth over the next few days and nights as they try to enjoy the wealth of the estate while they still can. Sure enough, some attempted murders and deaths occur (several are practical jokes), but by the time four people are killed or are found dead, a bumbling Sergeant named Aloisius Thorpe (well cast Gastone Moschin) baffles everyone by his surprisingly sharp deductive reasoning and manages to solve the puzzle of the murders and singles out the killer – or killers – in a nicely staged set-up where everyone is at the same place at the same time.
If Weekend Murders didn’t directly inspire Rian Johnson’s Knives Out movies, then I’m a monkey’s uncle. This was an entertaining comedic mystery set around a huge mansion and a sprawling estate, complete with an unsuspecting detective and a bunch of characters who hate each other. It’s clearly the template the Johnson used for his two whodunnit mysteries, and while the cast isn’t exactly well known, one can easily see how it inspired its much better and more expensive Hollywood productions later on. Using an Italian cast and crew, this one should tickle the right itch for fans of these kinds of movies. From director Michele Lupo.
Dark Force Entertainment strangely paired these two titles onto one disc in a package that emulates the grindhouse aesthetic, complete with a packaged presentation that goes for the drive-in style. Weekend Murders is presented in a new HD master, while Whose Child Am I? has a new 2K master presentation. Some extra trailers are included.