The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane is one of the great thrillers of the ‘70s, yet it wasn’t always recognized as such. Its earliest listings in Leonard Maltin’s TV Movies and Steven H. Scheuer’s Movies on TV dismissed it as sick trash. As the years passed, their judgments skyrocketed. Maltin settled on calling it complex, unique, engrossing, and one of a kind.
Why did this low-budget Canadian-French co-production take so long to achieve respect? Perhaps critics were confused by an ad campaign that sold it as the latest in the “evil child” trend after The Exorcist and The Omen, but even then, you’d think people should have no trouble seeing the multi-leveled chiller right in front of them. At least the folks at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films did, for they named it Best Horror (against dreadful competition, admittedly) and gave an award to Foster.