Director – Max Kalmanowicz (Dreams Come True)
Starring – Martin Shakar (Invasion U.S.A., Blood Bath), Gil Rogers (Luther the Geek, Another World), and Gale Garnett (Mad Monster Party?, Friday the 13tgh: The Series)
Release Date – 1980
Rating – 4/5
Blu Release – 4/5
I’ve collected Troma films for almost as long as I’ve been collecting movies in general. My first viewing of The Toxic Avenger in high school turned me into a lifelong fan. I fucking love what Lloyd Kaufman has done to indie cinema and I’ll be a fan of his until I die. Many moons ago I got a copy of The Children on DVD from a used record store. I watched it a time or two while drinking so I didn’t remember a lot about it.
A year or so ago Vinegar Syndrome released the film on blu so I was quick to snag a copy for my collection but I never did get around to watching it. Last month Troma released their own blu of the film so this was another must own for me. I reached out to MVD and they were kind enough to send over a review copy for me. Thanks guys!
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a small town where a nuclear turns a bus load of children into murderous radiated creatures with black fingernails. The town sheriff and a local father are on the hunt for the kids when they come across several bodies severely burned. Their search for the missing children soon puts them face to face with the nuclear nightmares. **Spoiler alert**
I don’t remember a lot about my initial viewing of The Children but after watching it sober I have to admit that I fucking loved it. It’s one hell of a movie and even though it has several glaring flaws it still finds a way to be fun. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to actually watch it again.
The acting in this one is uneven but not bad. Martin Shakar and Gil Rogers deliver great performances. They do a great job with their characters and make the film as entertaining as it is. With that being said, a lot of the supporting cast members do deliver some flat performances. Not all of them but a few.
The story for this one is a nuclear powered spin on the Romero classic Night of the Living Dead which was loosely inspired by the Richard Matheson novel I Am Legend. We get a sheriff, a father, and his expecting bride in a home while children try to get in so they can hug them to death. You read that right…hug them to death. These kids were exposed to a leak from a nuclear plant and are now able to burn people by just a simple touch. It sounds completely idiotic but it really was great fun especially for an early 80s film that still had great influence from late 70s style.
Finally, the film has several deaths scenes but they don’t use the greatest practical effects. Hell, the effects we get are pretty laughable at best. They knew their limits and worked the no blood aspect into the story which ALMOST works. This was my only issue with the film. Overall, The Children is easily the most underrated title in the Troma catalogue. The story is goofy but it’s still very appealing. I highly recommend snagging this release from Troma but if you have the Vin Syn release it’s hard to justify the double dip. Both are exceptional releases with slightly different special features.
Full-length audio commentary with Carlton J. Albright, writer/producer of The Children
Exclusive interview with Carlton J. Albright
Exclusive interview with star Gil Rogers
Exclusive interview with production manager David Platt
Film introduction by Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma Entertainment and Creator of The Toxic Avenger