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The Children (1980) - Blu-ray Review

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The Children (1980) - Blu-ray

There won’t be a soul left standing when our kids turn on us.  One touch is all it takes.  A single hug from one of these contaminated heathens and “BLAMMO!” your face turns to mush, splotchy with burn marks and red welts.  Receive a hug and you die.  That’s the price for affection in this drive-in flick. 

And it is all because a school bus went down a road that was heavily polluted by a cloud of radioactive gas.  Oops.  The Children, in which a bunch of tiny tots become killers with black fingernails, is a low budget freakshow that will have you swearing out loud to never set foot on a bus again . . . or to never show a kid any affection, the little bastards.

The horror film, slightly yellowed with science fiction touches, is very unsettling.  Especially when you watch these kids, some dressed like porcelain dolls, wander lone highways deep in the winding hills.  All alone, they sneak up on unsuspecting people and wait for the appropriate time to strike.  They appear to be innocent, so no one suspects them of being anything but . . . a kid. 

"This is a drive-in film that deserves the extra attention.  With a gruesome agenda but little money behind it, the film STILL delivers a good shock or two."


It is damn creepy to see their approach.  They seriously stalk their targets, leaping out at them from around corners and from behind doors.  People are shocked, sure, but then they relax.  Oh, it’s just Billy.  Sigh.  After all, we know they are EVIL but no one else does.  And, aided by the eerily familiar score (ripped straight from Friday the 13th), these children – free from the yellow school bus that stopped just out front of a cemetery – know how to give GREAT hugs. 

The small town of Ravensback is about to go down in hug-giving history.  Starring Martin Shakar and Gil Rogers as Sheriff Billy Hart, The Children rolls out in a paranoid fashion that is not unlike George A. Romero’s The Crazies.  Lots of people are looking for other townies in this flick.  Already, the town is on edge.  Just what is going on here?

And the children are relentless in their abilities to give hugs.  Open arms indeed, Steve Perry.  They trod along like little brain dead monsters crying MOMMY MOMMY over again, planting one foot in front of the other, but the life is gone behind their eyes.  Nothing good will come out of what they are obviously wanting.

One by one, the town is getting decimated by children who just want hugs.  Mutilations.  Cut phone lines.  And a rising sense of dread – especially among the local gas station owner (Shannon Bolin) who operates out of her home.  She threatens to blast anyone to Kingdom Come if they dare knock on her door.  Of course, all of that is forgotten when she sees the missing children on her front porch. 

From deputies who know better to the families who just want their kids back home, The Children at the center of this horror film aren’t behaving badly.  They just want some l-u-v from their parents.  And then they strike!  Directed by Max Kalmanowicz (Dreams Come True), the film has obvious origins in the Three-Mile Island nuclear accident and movies like The Bad Seed and Night of the Living Dead.  It just doesn’t really SAY much of anything.

The Children (1980) - Blu-ray

This is a drive-in film that deserves the extra attention.  With a gruesome agenda but little money behind it, the film STILL delivers a good shock or two.  The acting might be hokey at times, but the practical effects are great.  They kids even go after the dog!!!  All of it, on a relatively dim shoot, looks pretty great on this newly scanned and restored 2K transfer. 

Vinegar Syndrome, using the best possible prints for this new scan, have gone out of their way to deliver what is being labeled as the Director’s Cut of this flick.  It is now available on blu-ray.  Careful, though, there is only one way to stop these hugging monsters . . . and it requires you to keep a sword, er, handy.

3 beers

The Children (1980) - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
93 mins
Director
: Max Kalmanowicz
Writer:
Carlton J. Albright, Edward Terry
Cast:
Martin Shakar, Gil Rogers, Gale Garnett
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
It only takes five to hold a town in TERROR...
Memorable Movie Quote: "I dunno, looks like some kind of a... a pimp."
Theatrical Distributor:
World Northal
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 13, 1980
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 23, 2018
Synopsis: Something is terrifyingly wrong with the children of Ravenback. After their school bus passes through a mysterious cloud of yellow smoke, the children are are transformed into bloodthirsty zombies with black fingernails which burn anything they touch. As parents and unwitting townspeople are burned to a crisp, the local police force frantically searches for the missing kids, unaware of their new and deadly powers…

The Children (1980) - Blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

The Children (Slipcover)

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray
- November 23, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Newly scanned and remastered in 2K from the best surviving sources, The Children looks as good as it is ever going to get.  Presented with an aspect ratio of 1.85, it is the punched-up color you will notice first.  The reds are delicious and the greens are fertile.  The blues go deep, too.  From the whites of the farm houses to the glint of silver in the moonlight, the transfer has the film loaded with details and fresh-looking life.  The sound is presented in a choice between DTS HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 options.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is a NEW audio commentary from director Max Kalmanowicz included with this release.

Special Features:

With reversible cover art, a new commentary track, supplemental items featuring archival audio interviews from the filmmakers, new interviews with the cast and crew, a look at the locations of the shoot, a lost scene, and more archival interviews, fans of this low budget slasher will be pleased with Vinegar Syndrome’s efforts.

  • Archival audio commentary with producer/co-writer Carlton J. Albright
  • Childhood Memories: Making the Children
  • Return to Ravensback
  • The Lost Scene
  • Archival video interview with Carlton J. Albright
  • Memories of The Children
  • Making The Children
  • The Children: The Musical

The Children (1980) - Blu-ray

The Children (1980) - Blu-ray

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