If you’re like me and grew up on 80’s horror, then maybe you remember a little weekly running event on the USA Network called Saturday Nightmares? Every Saturday night, you could stay up and watch your favorite horror movies with the nudity edited, but usually the gore staying primarily intact. It would usually be a double feature, and in between those features you could sometimes catch a little horror short to pass the time before diving into movie number two.
Thanks to Youtube this morning, I stumbled upon one of those aforementioned horror shorts called The Dummy. I haven’t seen this since my days of convincing my parents to stay up to partake in Saturday Nightmares, and it was definitely a nice trip down memory lane. Now before you watch, just know that this was a student film and it’s from 1982, so the quality is a bit sketchy. The music is great though and it’s got a creepy killer ventriloquist, so you really can’t go wrong there, right? On top of all of that, it’s been confirmed that this short inspired the story of Chucky from the Child’s Play franchise. Keep that in mind when you’re watching!
Disclaimer: I was young when I first saw The Children, and yes, it did give me the creeps back then. After further review in my older age though, it does not give me the creeps. Because, how could little kids with bad pale makeup and black fingernails give me the creeps? This feature is about when it gave me the creeps when I was young though, so cut me some slack. Let’s continue….
When I first saw 1980’s The Children, it scared the shit out of me. This is the cautionary tale of a school bus full of children that drive through a yellow radiation cloud and turn into zombie-like brats with black fingernails that burn anything they touch. Oh how I hated it when I saw this movie back in the day and those little shits would extend their arms out and say “Mommy” or “Daddy” and I would yell at the TV for the stupid parents to not hug them! Sadly, most of them did and ended up burnt like toast. (see visual aid below)
*fuck you ozone layer!*
Now, I’m not quite sure what exactly gave me the creeps about The Children. Maybe it was the fact that it made me look twice at the kids I went to school with that had dirty fingernails. Could they have been zombies with the ability to burn me at the slightest touch? Or did they just have parents who didn’t want them to practice good hygiene? Maybe a little bit of both, but it creeped me out nonetheless. There were parents in the movie who were hip to the game and not dumb enough to hug the little tikes by the way. And they were also smart enough to realize that they had to chop off their hands so they couldn’t destroy anyone with their fire hands. It was a small price to pay for saving lives (shrug).
*don’t worry – he’s just going through his Goth phase*
Troma of all people released a 25th Anniversary version of The Children on DVD a few years back. The transfer was a bit suspect, but I applaud the fact that they attempted to give this low-budget ridiculousness some love. I prefer my original viewings on the USA network on an early Saturday morning though. So if 8-year-old kids with cheap 99-cent Halloween makeup and black fingernails are your thing, then check out The Children and maybe it will give you a creep or two. If you’re more about the modern times though, it wouldn’t hurt to check out the 2008 UK non-remake of the same name. No black fingernails and parental burning here – just some kids who have the flu that turn into murderous tots and give a lot of creepy stares into the camera. Ok – now who wants to see a clip from the 1980 movie that is awesome?! You do? Here you go!