Director – Max Kalmanowicz
Cast – Martin Shakar, Gil Rogers, Gale Garnett, Shannon Bolin, Tracy Griswold, Joy Glaccum, Jeptha Evans, Clara Evans, Sarah Albright, Nathanael Albright, Julie Carrier, Michelle La Mothe
Release Year – 1980
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Not to be mistaken with the 2008 UK horror film by the same name, this film gives us pretty much the same plot but with some different elements thrown in, some AWESOME different elements. While the 2008 film is the better film, this one provides a more “fun” ride that comes with some pretty sweet kill scenes for a PG, yes PG horror film.
In this film a nuclear plant suffers an extreme pressure drop which causes a leak of nuclear material. The leak occurs as a school bus full of schoolchildren on their way home passes by the plant, and the toxic material has a nasty effect on the future of America. The children have been turned into diabolical beasts with the power to turn any adult they touch into a heaping mess of flesh and bone, and they are out to get mom and dad.
Once again, this is a PG horror film that gets things right and shows it sure is possible to give a great horror watch without the R-rating. Killer kid films were not new to the genre at this time, but a gory one like this one had yet to be done. While 1974’s It’s Alive provided some sweet gore(also with a PG rating), this one ups the gore a bit and delivers some NICE kill scenes. I personally feel that “melting” kill scenes are not employed enough in the horror genre simply because they are so damn awesome. Throw in lots of cheezy smoke and awesome sound effects and you get the type of “melting” kills we get in this film. It is awesome, end of story. Much thanks to director Max Kalmanowicz for making the kills memorable and enjoyable.
Story-wise this flick rocks simply because it involves “infected” children. These are not zombie children because these children are not dead, then are biologically changed due to the radiation, which in my book(and in all common sense) makes them “infected”. The character play of the naïve parents was pretty fun to watch because you can imagine the horror the parent goes through when their gleeful child gives them a hug that immediately turns them into organic slop. Towards the end of the film some of the parents have already learned what their children are up to, and what they are capable of, yet they still fall victim over the belief that they need to love and cherish the child, and of course you know that does not end well. For its time, this flick did a fine job of giving us that type of character conflict, and with fun and disastrous results.
Overall, this is a fun film to watch that I recommend to fans of cheezy 80s horror. We get some sweet death scenes, and a cool plot involving killer “infected” kids.