November 21, 2003

Imagine what would happen if I took some acid and started reading Beowulf. Then switched to the bible. Then switched to Children of the Corn. Then decided to try to write a screenplay. Chances are, the results would be really similar to Beware: Children at Play.

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I did learn many things from this movie. If you are an English teacher, don’t take your son camping. And it’s also not a good idea to step right into a bear trap. When you are all delirious and maggots are living in your wounds, don’t start quoting Beowulf, because after you die, your kid will start to think that cannibalism is a good idea. Your kid also might end up the leader of a nutbag cannibalistic cult. Oh well, still better than having him grow up to be a scientologist.

Ten years later, children are disappearing from town. The god-fearing folk has seen their children wandering around the forest, but they sure won’t go in there and look for them. A famous sci-fi author comes to investigate the disappearances. The author starts nosing around – then the townsfolk start dying in really lame ways…those darn kids! They’re just hungry!

Unbeknownst to me, this is not my first exposure to Beware: Children at Play. An episode of South Park actually parodies the movie. It was the Wacky Molestation Adventure, where all the parents in town were sent away for “molestering” the children. A society of children forms, with Cartman as their leader. “Your blood will spill, Outlander!”

TROMA has brought us a horror movie that breaks one of the last great film taboos – the graphic depiction of the murder of a child. Not just one child – a dozen of them – all at the same time. It’s impossible to think of a film that shows graphic harm coming to a child. (If you think of any, please prove me wrong and email me about it!) [JD Bandy emailed me with a few examples – Fight for Your Life and Who Can Kill a Child? Thanks, JD – I’ll have to check them out!] There are plenty of movies with dead kids, hell, there are plenty of movies with mutilated dead kids, but not many will go all the way and stick a .45 in a kid’s mouth and blow his brains out. Kids are not only shot, they are also pitchforked, stabbed, clubbed and bottled…er, hit with a beer bottle. This may sound disturbing, but it’s not. The special effects are so bad, the scene is just laughable. The kids have no acting skills at all, so they are kind of going all stiff and then laying down on the ground. If I ever watch any of this film again, it will be just the last 10 minutes. The first hour and a half was boring as hell, but it was totally worth it for the hilarity of the final massacre.

Year – 1989
Rating – R
Runtime – 94 minutes
Genre – TROMA
Director(s) – Mik Cribben
Writer(s) – Fred Scharkey
Actor(s) – Michael Robertson, Rich Hamilton, Robin Lilly
BOB Rating – Two BOBs
Favorite Quote – "Tear her to pieces! Bite through the bone! Gulp the blood! Gobble the flesh!" - Crazy Cannibal Children