Children of the Living Dead

Does anyone else remember when this movie came out?  It was the Birdemic of its day.  It was reviled by fans and critics alike upon its release, but instead of abiding in the patois of cult circles with the mulishness of an Ed Wood nonstarter, it was swept under the proverbial rug.  Nowadays, it has zero name recognition.  That's incredible.  Back in 2001, Children of the Living Dead was one of the biggest stories of the year for horror websites.  Everyone...EVERYONE detested it.  A little background information, if I may.  This was supposed to be a quasi-sequel to both Night of the Living Dead and Return of the Living Dead.  Executive produced by John Russo (the hack responsible for the 30th Anniversary Edition of Night), Children was mismanaged at every turn.

How mismanaged was it?  Director Tor Ramsey e-mailed the author of a negative review to basically apologize for the film's very existence.  He denounced the zombie reel, claiming that producer/screenwriter Karen Wolf sabotaged the project.  She refused to tweak her (godawful) script.  After Ramsey edited and submitted his cut, she re-edited it, adding gobs of looped dialogue that muddied the storyline.  In effect, she butchered the fucking thing.  Genre specialists treat Children like a deformed sibling hidden away in the basement of our collective imagination.  We just don't talk about it.  Well, I'm ending the unspoken gag order.  I'm toting this homely, piss-stained freak into the virulent light of day.

To be perfectly honest, I'd rather sit through Children than Birdemic.  Don't get me wrong; this is sorry impedimenta.  It's plain bad.  But if you ask me, it's "interesting bad."  Apart from hordes of the walking dead, the film establishes a lead villain.  The guilty party?  Abbott Hayes, a kind of zombie slasher.  He seems to possess the capacity to reason beyond simply craving brain matter.  It's a nifty idea, but of course, we never find out how he reaped these powers.  The make-up effects are rubbery, which didn't bother me.  Children benefits from the patronage of 80's aesthetics.  You won't see a speck of modern day polish, and the last time I checked, that's a tally in the win column.

Onward!  To the loss column!  The acting is rigid, the pace is slack, the editing is a botch job and the climax doesn't actually resolve anything.  Tom Savini is gifted with the top bill, but he expires in the prologue.  Coincidentally, his scenes outshine the rest.  There are no real main characters, as the narrative decides to hit the reset button on two occasions.  I remember a cute chick and an annoying sheriff.  That's your cast breakdown.  So yeah, I don't care for Children of the Living Dead, but it's not offensively horrible.  I mean, it's horrible, but if it premiered on Syfy, nerds would quote the everloving shit out of it.  Where are my Abbott Hayes memes?

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