Old Films for the First Time: THE CHILDREN (1980)

by Joey Paur

I found a really cool piece of art not too long ago that I posted on the website of five little kids fighting off a horde of Zombie children in a playground. This picture which you can see here, got me to thinking if there was a movie out there that dealt with Zombie children, so I went and looked around on netflix and came across a little 1980's horror film called ‘The Children'. Since I had a little free time recently on my day off I broke down and watched it.

Now this is a very low budget horror movie, mix that up with the fact that it was made in 1980 and you have your self a pretty terrible little horror film about a group of five kids that go around microwaving people to death. Which is pretty original for a zombie to do. Most zombies go out and feed on brains and human flesh, these Zombie kids go around baking people to death.

The movie was very poorly made and the acting was awful, but it was entertaining, for what it was. I'm not saying you need to go out and watch this film, it's just a film that exists that many people probably have not heard of before. I'm just putting it out there in case anyone was wondering if there were any zombie kid movies out there. Apparently on opening weekend of this movie, a drive-in in Tucson, Arizona had a 6-mile backup.

Here are the Tag Lines for the film:

...thank God they're somebody else's!

Something terrifying has happened to the children... pray you never meet them!

It only takes five to hold a town in TERROR...

So here's the story of how it all goes down:

Of course it begins with a nuclear power plant. Two maintenance employees are conducting a little safety check when they get lazy and end up leaving without finishing the whole safety check. Of course they overlook that a large buildup of pressure is causing a yellow toxic gas to leak from one of the pipes. The gas forms into a large cloud that drifts across the ground.

As this is happening, of course a school bus carrying six students home from school is driving along a road near the nuclear plant, and drives right through a large cloud of toxic yellow gas.

The Sheriff Billy Hart of the town happens to be driving along the road and finds the bus haphazardly parked along the side of the road, which looked like it had been abandoned in a hurry, with no sign of the children or the bus driver. Hart pays a visit to the home of Tommy Button, one of the children on the bus. Tommy's moms lover Dr. Joyce Gould goes out to the bus to look for Tommy While she is looking she sees Tommy standing in a nearby cemetery. She runs up into the cemetery, where she stumbles across the horribly mutilated body of the bus driver; he has been burned from within his clothes, his flesh horribly charred and disfigured. Little Tommy appears behind Joyce, his fingernails are black, the black finger nails are the mark of the children zombies. She is so happy to see him that she give him a big ol' hug, as she does her flesh begins to char and she lets out a blood curdling scream. Tommy's hands have roasted his moms lesbian lover alive.

The five children on the bus have been transformed into smiling zombies by the cloud of radioactive vapors, intent on burning alive anybody who comes into their path. They move through the town, visiting their parents and families, most of whom are caricatures of bad parenting. Little Janet Shore's parents are swingers who don't even know or care where their daughter is. Paul MacKenzie's sister is a slutty blonde who is more interested in bedding the dopey town deputy. Cathy Freemont is pregnant with her third child, yet she still gives into smoking in times of stress. John Freemont joins the sheriff in the hunt for the children, trying to keep from Cathy that their daughter Jenny is among the missing children.

Every time the kids kill they do with the most evil yet innocent smile a kid can give which is actually pretty creepy.

John and Sheriff Hart find are finding charred bodies all over the town of Ravensback. Nobody suspects that the children are behind the deaths, and everybody makes the deadly mistake of hugging the kids when they come across them. When they finally do realize that the kids are causing the deaths John rushes home to protect Cathy and the youngest Freemont child, Clarkie, who escaped the poisonous gas because he was at home with a cold.
The best part of the movie is when John and The Sheriff barricade the house and start shooting the zombie kids with hand guns and shot guns. who have grouped together in the yard outside the house. Bullets have no effect on the zombies, they just pick themselves back up smiling and keep coming. While the adults are distracted, one of the killer children sneaks into an upstairs window of the house and fries little Clarkie to death. It then tries to kill Cathy, but John attacks it with a samurai sword he had laying around the house, chopping off its hands. The zombie howls in pain and dies.

Armed with the sword, John hunts the zombie children down, cornering them in a barn, when he is confronted with slashing them up he hesitates when his zombie daughter calls him daddy. The Sheriff then takes the sword from him and starts hacking away at the kids. Unfortunately, they forget about Janet Shore, whose fingernails have changed to black. She end up cooking the sheriff to death, lurching at him out of the back seat of his car. John then comes in and hacks Janet to death in retaliation.

John then hears the cries of Cathy from inside of the house, his wife is giving birth. As the sun rises, the sounds of Cathy giving birth to her child fill the house. The baby is born and all seems well, until John notices as Cathy is breast feeding her that its fingernails black!
Directed by
Max Kalmanowicz
Produced by
Max Kalmanowicz,
Carlton J. Albright
Written by
Carlton J. Albright,
Edward Terry
Martin Shakar,
Gil Rogers,
Gale Garnett

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