Friday, December 23, 2011

The Children (1980) - Grindhouse Experience

After a long absence from reviewing a new chapter of the Grindhouse Experience set I have returned with 1980's horror film THE CHILDREN. This has nothing to do with the more recent film of the same title. This was a movie with every chance to be a piece of classic 80s horror VHS glory.

After a couple of nuclear power plant workers decide to say fuck it and get a beer instead of working overtime to fix a leak at the plant a giant yellow gas cloud engulfs a school bus with a few kids and the driver aboard. The cloud only effects the kids who come out looking normal aside from black fingernails (Carson Daly syndrome) and generally creepy (as country town kids often do). The kids prey on the townsfolk who aren't very worried about their kids not coming home from school on the whole... apparently a bus driver taking a kids on a picnic or down to the quarry while abandoning the bus in the middle of the road isn't much of a problem to the town of Ravensback. The kids attack with deadly force in the form of... hugs. Yes, hugs. The power of love is enough to burn, melt and just completely mangle their adult victims. Sometimes the hug is accompanied by a similar yellow gas cloud. Eventually the sheriff figures out that there is some weird shit going on and tries to fight back. The problem is all but solved until... GASP!

This movie was a breath of fresh air compared to the memories of much of what I have watched in this set. It started out with great promise and an easy premise. Kids are naturally creepy in certain situations but the budget limitations on makeup really sell this movie short. The black fingernails just isn't convincing and certainly doesn't grab you and pull you in. There is also no explanation why the gas cloud didn't effect any adults either. The makeup looks fine after the kids attack but the whole hug thing isn't funny after the first time you see it. This could have been golden 80s cheese and simply fizzled out into slow, spotty, schlock. It was good enough for me to give it a positive review, because it wasn't bad and it even had a serious VHS tracking moment at the end but it does fall short of anything worth revisiting anytime soon.



DethRabbit3K said...

I agree 100%. It was a decent movie, but not anything spectacular. "Beware, Children At Play" is much more satisfying, though not really any better. Call me sick, but there's just something so rewarding about seeing a child impaled by a pitchfork and trying their best to pretend they're dead.

Celluloid Terror (Seth Poulin) said...

That is a Troma title right? Hopefully the Troma OD channel puts it up when they pull some of this Julie Strain garbage.