CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT
Directed by Tony Randel
Produced by Christopher Webster
Written by Nicolas Falacci
Director of Photograpy Richard Michalak
Music by Daniel Licht
Cast: Peter DeLuise, Karen Black, Ami Dolenz, Garrett Morris & Evan MacKenzie
1991/92 mins/Color/Dolby Stereo
1.33:1/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Columbia/Tri-Star Home Video DVD
It probably looked like a great idea on paper. Fangoria Magazine teaming up with Tony Randel, the director of the popular HELLRAISER II: HELLBOUND, to make a vampire film. Yep, I bet it looked good on paper, because CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT doesn't look very good anywhere else.
In the small town of Allburg, there is a tradition that anyone who wants to leave town must swim in the flooded crypt under the old church in order to wash the stink of the town from their bodies. What? So, teenagers Lucy (Ami Dolenz) and Cindy (Maya McLaughlin) visit the crypt in order to complete this bizarre ritual. In doing so, they awaken a vampire named Czakyr (David Sawyer), and soon the town is being overrun with vampires. Meanwhile, in the nearby town of River Junction, schoolteacher Mark (Peter DeLuise) has come to the aid of his friend, Father Frank (Evan MacKenzie). You see, Frank is having some problems with the vampire, Karen (Karen Black), that he has chained-up in the bedroom. Upon seeing this grotesque creature, Mark travels to Allburg to find the root of the vampire problem. There, he meets Lucy and must find a way to safely get her out of town.
As written above, the synopsis for CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT makes sense (except for that whole crypt-cleansing thing.) But, unfortunately, the film was shot in "Seizure Vision", so that nothing in the movie has any cohesion. The movie jumps back and forth between Allburg and River Junction, showing two stories that only share the weakest of links. Apparently, while the film was introducing us to Mark, Czakyr made almost everyone in Allburg a vampire, but we get no real explanation as to how. The characters here have no motivation or real purpose, and the story behind the flooded crypt is lifted directly from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. The cast of familiar faces tries hard, but there's not much that they can do with this material. Director Randel uses some odd angles and splashes every scene with nice colors, but that doesn't help the anemic story. The only interesting part of the film is the design of the vampires themselves, who need to rest underwater. You would think that after years of covering hundreds of horror films, the folks at Fangoria would have some idea on how to make a good fright flick. But, CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT is a dud, full of hackneyed ideas and incomprehensible plot points, be sure to put these children to bed early.
CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT comes to DVD courtesy of Columbia/Tri-Star Home Video. The movie is presented in a full-frame format. I don't know what the movie's original aspect ratio was, but I didn't notice any overt panning-and-scanning. The image lacks sharpness and shows a great deal of grain in most shots. There is also a noticeable amount of artifacting going on. Strangely, despite the visible flaws from the source material, the colors look very good here, especially the reds and blues. The DVD features a Dolby Stereo audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. But, this tracks lacks vitality and is unremarkable. The only extras on this DVD are bonus trailers for other Columbis horror films. Given those attributes, this DVD release of CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT isn't much better than VHS.
There is no extras!
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©