I won’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of the 1978 made-for-TV Disney movie Child of Glass. I was very possibly the only blogger on the internet excited about its DVD debut this year, when I learned back in April that Disney had begun to release obscure treasures like this one as part of the Disney Generations collection. As I explained in that post, the only copy I had of this movie before the DVD came out was on an extremely old VHS that my grandmother had recorded for me off the Disney channel sometime in the early 80’s–complete with grainy picture, tracking issues, and a weird record-scratching sound that accompanied that audio every time she had stopped and started recording in an attempt to cut out the commercials. (My grandma was awesome like that.)
Child of Glass isn’t really a Halloween movie, but it is a ghost story. I think the main reason I tend to associate it with this holiday, however, is that it was recorded on the same VHS as Disney’s Halloween Treat, another old Disney special that has never seen a DVD release. As damaged and of crappy quality as that tape was, I never went a Halloween without watching both of these specials together. Even though Child of Glass is lacking in the Halloween department, it’s spooky enough to make up for it.
According to the film’s credits, Child of Glass is based on the book The Ghost Belonged to Me by Richard Peck, which I’ve actually never read. (I should really fix that considering how much I love this movie.) It tells the story of a young teenage boy Alexander Armsworth who moves into an old Southern mansion with his family. The house is hundreds of years old and was once the estate of the wealthy Dumaine family, who met a tragic end. The day Alexander moves in, he receives an ominous warning from Lavinia, a palmist and spirit medium who also happens to be his friend Blossom’s aunt. (Convenient, I know) She tells him, more or less, that he’s been chosen by the spirits for an important task. Soon afterward he’s visited by the ghost of a young girl named Inez Dumaine, who gives him a ghostly riddle to solve so that she can rest in peace. Alexander and Blossom work together to figure out the mystery and eventually discover what the “Child of Glass” is and how Inez died.
For me, Child of Glass is one of those movies that I remember being much better as a child than it actually is. Having first seen it when I was only about six years old, it both excited and scared me. Watching it as an adult, however, I can understand why this movie lives in obscurity. It’s full of convenient plot devices, the adults in this movie behave like imbeciles, and it’s certainly a product of a low budget. It’s not what you’d call a “good” movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s one that comes from a special place in my childhood, and one I continue to watch every year around Halloween. Nostalgia is funny like that.
Sleeping lies the murdered lass…
…vainly cries the Child of Glass.When the two shall be as one, the spirit’s journey will be done.
What is 31 DVDs of Halloween?
As a special feature for the Halloween Countdown, I’m showcasing 31 Halloween DVDs from my personal collection. I have a lot of Halloween-related and horror DVDs in general, but for this year’s countdown I’m only going to focus on my absolute favorites–the ones I consider 100% essential for my enjoyment of the holiday.