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John’s Horror Corner: Children of the Night (1991), a vampire B-movie in the vein of Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh (1991).

July 26, 2022

MY CALL: Like a piñata filled with cheesy guts and over-sized fangs, this was a pleasant surprise of slapstick horror comedy that spirals into silly nonsense. MORE MOVIES LIKE Children of the Night: Best match in tone and style might be things like Blood Diner (1987), The Granny (1995), Rabid Grannies (1988) and Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh (1991).

Okay, so the movie posters look lame. Really lame. But with a director like Tony Randel (Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Ticks) I sit back baffled as to how I somehow never heard of this movie. It’s not that I never got around to it, but that I truly never knew it existed until, well, this year!

As part of a local superstition, Cindy (Maya McLaughlin) and Lucy (Ami Dolenz; Ticks, Pumpkinhead II, Witchboard 2) visit a huge abandoned church to “swim the crypt” to wash themselves clean of their small town, which is about as religious and insulated as small towns get. I suppose the real horror here is the list of infections these girls would get from swimming in the historically stagnant flooded crypt. But also that the flooded crypt is still populated by dead bodies, some of them being submerged vampires.

The opening sequence is pretty good as far as low budget horror goes, and the awful storytelling is hilarious. Cindy and her mother Karen (Karen Black; It’s Alive III, House of 1000 Corpses, Mirror Mirror, Night Angel) become vampires held prisoner by a priest Father Frank (Evan MacKenzie; Ghoulies III, Scanner Cop II) who had an affair with Karen ten years ago. And while the budget is humble, we see every dollar on screen in Karen’s over-the-top claws, makeup and fangs, like something out of an inferior Night of the Demons sequel. It pains me to acknowledge this, but many of this movie’s vampires sleep submerged breathing through pairs of human lungs and esophagus fashioned into something of a snorkel!

Yup. This movie is a hokey cheesefest and it knows it. Much in the vein of The Granny (1995), we have a granny vampire unloading silly garbage dialogue. And these vampire fangs are so big you can hear the actors struggling to speak their semi-muffled lines through them.  The hands down best special effect was when Karen orally “secreted” her sleeping chamber in the form of stop-motion wet cloth and regurgitated gel, and then flopping out her slimy lung snorkel… which I’m beginning to think is her own inside out esophagus and lungs!

Father Frank recruits schoolteacher Mark (Peter DeLuise) to help him with Karen, Cindy and Lucy. Meanwhile, whereas we began with more serious vamps, the entire town has become a comical Halloweentown of slapstick ghoulish vampires.

Somehow as the vampire population, action and the heart-stakings mount, things get even a little too stupid for me. It’s funny, but it’s stupid. These vampires are dumber the more we see them. Like, actually dumb… like a clumsy zombie or a spastic simple-minded deadites. Still, there’s a lot of hokey action, awful writing, a little story development, a few half decent gore gags—yeah, this is a great “so bad it’s good” watch for a group of friends to enjoy.

All told, this was okay—but I’d probably enjoy it a lot more had I watched it with company. I much preferred the moderately hokey first half to the extremely hokey second half. But for those of you who simply adore movies like Blood Diner (1987), this is probably your jam.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 28, 2022 11:05 am

    Nice, never heard of this either. Sounds sufficiently strange.

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