Monday, October 13, 2014

The Children (1980)

When technicians at the nuclear power plant are unable to locate a suspected issue, they figure that reporting this will result in unwanted overtime, and punch out to drink at the local bar.  Not a good choice since a leak of black sludge has somehow resulted in a toxic yellow fog.

Ignoring basic safety precautions, a school bus driver drives into  a yellow cloud of fog covering the road.  When the children  don't return home, the Sheriff goes out looking for them and discovers the bus abandoned, and partly blocking the road. Inside are the children's belongings, but no sign of what may have happened to them or the driver.

With nervous parents and missing children, the police block the roads in and out of town, just in case the children have been abducted.  There's no sign of the kids until one randomly shows up at her parents house.  Her mother is overjoyed at the safe arrival of her child and smiles as she hugs here - until that hug  ends up with Mom being burned alive by her toxic nuclear cloud child.

Soon the Sheriff has his own close call with the children, and beings warning the other parents about what will happen if their children show up and want to give them a hug. It's easy to tell who's been in the nuclear fog because their fingernails have turned black. 

This movie scared the hell out of me when I saw it in the 1980s. Quite honestly, the kids just look pale and have black fingernails, but there's something about them that's super creepy. It's like when you're a kid and your brother pretends to be a zombie and slowly walks after you with arms outstretched.  At first it's silly, then it's annoying, but then it's creepy.  You know it's just your brother, but in the back of your head there's this small thought that says, but what if it isn't? 

I really like this film. It may be partly nostalgia and partly because it's an indie film from the 80s, but I also find it entertaining, which is the most important thing about any movie. Granted there are times the movie gets slow, but overall I like it.  While the movie was released on DVD by Troma, it's not a Troma movie. It was an independent film that was later picked up by Vestron Video, one of my favorite VHS labels.  So don't be scared off if you don't like Troma films.

The claw is a nice touch.
Driving blindly into a cloud of fog? Bad bus driver!
Put some clothes on, and cover up your package.
Everyone's happy until.....
... Mom starts burning.
Black fingernails means death!
Cut off their hands and win a prize.
Evil killing machines? But look how cute they are.

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