THE CHILDREN (2008, 84 min.) on HBO Go for the first time.DING! DING! DING! WINNAH, WINNAH!Two upper middle class British families with very small children gather in a snow-covered isolated rural home to celebrate New Year's. The oldest kid, a teenager named Casey (Hannah Tointon), wants nothing more than cut out and go back to London with her mate. But one morning, soon after one of them catches some sort of flu-like virus, every under-10 kid turns violent. Only Casey can see though the little shits' charade of normalcy, which escalates her tension with stepfather Jonah (Stephen Campbell Moore) to the boiling point. With no cellphone reception (landline only) and a snow storm keeping the police at bay, Casey and her incredulous mother Elaine (Eva Birthistle) are at the mercy of little children that look like their half-sisters/daughters, but act/behave like Michael Myers at the start of "Halloween."It's visually hinted that some sort of airborne virus (like the spores from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers") might be the cause of the kids turning violent. Then again, the lack of an explanation works to the film's advantage. There are at least three WOW! moments of brutal violence from and against children that somehow manage to not feel reprehensible despite being gruesome. "The Children" takes itself seriously and manages to be creepy, fucked-up and super tense despite taking place mostly outdoors during sunny daylight. Highly recommended, especially as not-subtle, laughter-free social commentary on the everyday horror that is raising small children. MIKE-POMARO-SPLOITATION! :-P
This is a really underrated, great Horror film with amazing atmosphere. I bought it blind on DVD when it was released as one of those Ghosthouse Underground titles. I actually like the ending as well which I think has mixed feelings for most who have seen it.
I love the ending but don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it. I like the end as a better explanation for why the police don't show up more than the alleged winter storm, which on-screen appears as just a pleasant sunny day,
Bloody Birthday (1981)Nothing like a goofy 80s slasher to get you out of a terrible mood. I mean this movie decides to go for the Jaws/Psycho musical styles and a shot of two girls walking home that looks incrediably similar to Halloween. Though I am not sure if they could beat Kevin McCallister in a booby trap competition, but it was what I needed tonight.
The Appointment (1981, dir. Lindsey C. Vickers)What a good movie. I don't know why this isn't more well known. It's a slow-burning, dread-inducing, Twilight Zone-y kinda movie, from a one-time director, who also wrote. This does have a bit of a made-for-tv air about it, but not at all in a negative way; it reminds me of Fulci's made-for-tv stuff, but good, like it'd been cross-pollinated with a BBC 'A Ghost Story for Christmas' installment. Check it out!The Good Son (1993, dir. Joseph Ruben)Bah. This is some turgy junk. Ruben directed Sleeping With the Enemy, and this has the same erotic thriller-y structure and flavor as that, only with little boys. Elijah Wood's all "why won't you guys believe me?", and Macauley Culkin's all "no, he's the crazy one!" and I am very bored. I was kinda thinking to myself while watching, "man, if The Stepfather and The Good Son teamed up together, they would be unstoppable!" Turns out, the same guy directed The Stepfather, too!!
Ils a.k.a. Them (2006)So I was originally going to watch Bloody Birthday since I'm about 95% sure I had seen it when looking through stuff of Shudder when I was making my list back in May. However it doesn't appear to be on there now but it's on the Shudder Amazon channel which I don't have because I had figured an actual Shudder sub would have the bigger selection. A potential backup movie I had looked into, Bava's Kill, Baby, Kill was also only available on the Shudder Amazon channel. So it was that I decided upon Ils and it's been the first real dud for me for this Junesploitation. Maybe some of the fault was mine. My mood had been slightly soured by these Shudder shenanigans. The movie ended up losing me in the open sequence which seemed to check off about a half dozen horror movie cliches within a few minutes. Something appearing in the road to cause the driver to swerve and hit something? Check. Emergency phone calls that place the caller on hold for a length of time that even the shittiest pizza place would be embarrassed by? Check. The killer is in the backseat of the car? Check. Sometimes cliche horror can be fun or it can be twisted in a surprising way, but here it just felt lazy. Almost another half hour goes by before any other attempt at building tension starts. And while I'm also not against a slow burn it everything just fell flat for me.
Village of the Damned (1995)Even before tonight, Carpenter's Village score was one of my favourites, it often pops up on my shuffle when I'm reading on the train. It's one of those scores that feels a little too dramatic and I love it. After finally getting around to watching this, the score is my favourite thing about the movie. This is a movie I liked parts. The further I got into the movie the more it felt like Carpenter was almost rushing from beat beat to get through it. But, the beginning is really strong, it feels like the movie gets to stretch it's legs more. I like the cast, especially Christopher Reeves, who is grounded and charming as anything.
I so wanted to watch it today but couldn't secure a copy in time. Another day then!
That score is great! I think one that is similiar to both Village of the Damned movies is The Damned (1962), which I remember really liking. But sadly this one gets overlooked a lot. I want to re-watch it to make sure it still holds up, bjut it is worth a watch!
Thanks Gabby, I will check that out.
Id you do, let me know what you think :)
The Children (1980)A cautionary tale about the dangers of hugging your kids.A nuclear incident causes children to burn/melt whoever they touch. There wasn't much here. All the kills are the same, the characters are mostly bland and underdeveloped. Even at 90 minutes, it drags on quite a bit.
Ho Lee Crap. I'm watching too many movies. I was sure as of ten minutes ago that I'd never seen this movie, until I read your description, and remembered that I watched it earlier this year. Not a ringing endorsement for the flick.
Cooties (2015)28 School Days Later.Great cast, very funny, and suprisingly brutal.
The Brood (1979): This one is gnarly. I'd love to pair it with Silent Hill.
Bully (2001) (First Time Viewing):This is like the teenage version of Sexy Beast. Only instead of stylish and funny, it's depressing and sleazy. Nick Stahl is surprisingly good in the Don Logan role, the monstrous bully who terrifies everyone. The rest of the kids plot to kill him. Larry Clark is always trying to provoke, but where "Kids" was unique and sobering, Bully seems somehow more exploitative. His inappropriately roving camera bothered me. Skip it unless you are a Nick Stahl completionist.
RoboCop 2 (1990)I admit this is a bit of a left-field choice for today's theme, but I hadn't seen it in over a decade and my memory of it was pretty much limited to a creepy turn by Tom Noonan and the presence of a pre-teen drug lord. It turns out the kid doesn't actually kill anyone (though he shoots at people plenty, so I'm still counting it. Also I don't feel like picking out another movie) but he's still a violent little shit, and there is a scene where a Little League team loots a store and beats the owner within an inch of his life so hey...kids be crazy.The kid stuff is actually pretty distasteful, and the movie as a whole truly doesn't work. It takes the ultraviolent satire of RoboCop and keeps the ultraviolence but ditches the satire for a more forced style of humor (which, I admit, was actually pretty funny in some spots). While it's nowhere near as good as the first, it's still watchable and Peter Weller is still solid in the lead. It's certainly better than the overblown toy commercial that is RoboCop 3, but it doesn't have enough going on to move out of the shadow of the excellent original and stand on its own.
BLOODY BIRTHDAY (1981)I've only seen this once, and that was last year. Found it to be a wonderful surprise & damned effective at what it does.
The Brood (1979, dir. David Cronenberg)Wanna see a director working out his frustrations after a messy divorce and custody battle? Maybe not the best tagline for a movie.I have to say, I'm a bit disappointed. The movie's well put together and it's not like it's boring or anything, but I was expecting something gnarly and disturbing, and the movie only really delivers that in the final moments. But that's obviously more my fault than the movie's.
I may be spoiled with the five previous movies I watched being Italian. They don't usually make you wait for the crazy.
Nice to see other people also choosing Bloody BirthdayI love it, the Vhs Art is burnt on my brain forever
THE CHILDREN (1980) Kids get exposed to radiation and become zombie-like tykes who kill with radioactive hugs. They should have called this DEATH HUG. I enjoyed this on a camp level, especially the ridiculously phony gore effects. DON’T GO TO SLEEP (1981) A family is haunted by the spirit of their dead child, who may or may not have possessed the youngest sibling. Slow moving at first, it eventually ends with some horror movie cheese at its cheesiest. Diehard horror fans know this movie as “the one with the pizza cutter.” Recommended. THE DEVIL TIMES FIVE (1974) Five homicidal kids survive a car crash and then terrorize some vacationers at a nearby lodge. This one is long stretches of the characters just hanging out, not really becoming a horror/slasher until the last 15 minutes -- and even that doesn’t have much of a wow factor. A real yawner.
I'm a big Devil Times Five aka Peopletoys aka The Horrible House on the Hill fan. Fifty percent of that is because of the weird androgynous actress with the white hair who plays one of the children, Gail Smale, who was never in another movie. A weird, creepy presence, kind of part Paul Williams and part Janit Baldwin.
Children of the Corn (1984): I think the first half does a really good job of creating suspense. Two of the children are very creepy! The last act falls apart. The B movie aesthetic is all over this, but the lead up to the two visitors meeting the leader is really effective I think.
RED DAWN (1984)WOLVERINES!!!!!!!
Battle Royale (2000)I didn't really like the hunger games, but I didn't actively dislike it either. However, seeing Battle Royale show just how watered down and unoriginal the Hunger Games series is. Battle Royale is really good, and deserves its spotlight back. Everything is better, and more natural in this. The characters are also likable, and the later deaths become increasingly impactful. The score deserves a shoutout for being great too. All this rambling is to say that if you liked or disliked Hunger Games, Battle Royale is a much better use of your time.
Devil Times Five (1974, dir. Sean MacGregor)Like a lot of people, I finally checked this one out today. I guess I liked it about as much as everyone else. It's a weird movie that feels pretty unfocused, like it can barely bothered to actually be about killer kids. There are all kinds of unnecessary characters and subplots that are introduced and not resolved. I can maybe see myself warming up to it on future viewings specifically because it is so untethered to narrative conventions, but it's also not a super satisfying movie. Still glad to finally check the box and say I saw it, though.Also, our numbers are dwindling. We started the month with over 100 comments on our first post; today we're under 30. Thank you to everyone who is toughing it out and still taking part. You guys are kicking so much ass and I love reading about the movies I love that you're seeing for the first time or the movies you're helping me discover that I'm hoping to love.
Hey, man, it's called 'life getting in the way.' Gotta save some ammunition for Scary Movie Month too. Can't blow it all in one month-long load. Plus the real horror/exploitation show is happening nightly on CNN, MSNBC, Washington, DC., etc. ;-) :'(
We've also gone through a few categories in the last week that are less readily available than others. Code Red and Sybil Danning in particular both had very limited streaming options.
Plus a lot of people are doubling or even tripling-up the number of movies watched per post (E.S.S.A.D.). Fewer posts, but about the same amount of movies watched as in previous Junesploitation! years.
The Visitor (1979) I loved this! Ever since I saw the cover art on Shudder The Visitor has been in my list and while it didn't have as much psychadelic eyes as I would like it was still awesome. The movie opens of a psychadelic montage of creepy images and children and cuts to an intergalactic Christ figure teaching creepy children about the terrors of a being named Sateen. Yeah. It doesn't quite top that opening scene but it has some awesome imagery and some really interesting ideas. Would definitely reccomend!