Children of the Living Dead title

Tag line : Thirty years later and they're walking again!

Children of the Living DeadUgh, what a complete mess! For some reason the producers of the original Night of the Living Dead, John Russo and Bill Hinzeman, decided to make another zombie film and churned out this complete clunker.

To be fair, the film looked quite promising at the start in which we see a group of sheriff's men and local rednecks taking part in a search and destroy mission, gunning down zombies in the fields surrounding a nearby town. One of the men being none other than Tom Savini (special effects guru and director of the Night of the Living Dead remake).

Unfortunately Savini's appearance is confined solely to the films intro, after which the film flashes forward some 14 years to where a group of construction workers are bulldozing the old town cemetery (a small grass field with a few fake tombstones), only to start a new zombie outbreak.

It seems that many years ago a convicted serial killer named Abbot Hayes was murdered in jail, but his body disappeared from the morgue and local legend has it that he still haunts the area. These legends prove to be true as the zombified Hayes, who's been hiding in an old barn close to the construction site, goes around biting the uprooted corpses, turning them into the living dead who subsequently attack the locals. As the walking dead start to mass, the local townsfolk and construction workers find themselves having to take up arms in an attempt to stave off this latest zombie outbreak and get them back to their graves for good.

Unfortunately the film is so slow, unoriginal and disjointed that by the end you won't really care what happens, just as long as its over. Not content with confusing everyone with 2 separate prologues, the film also keeps  jumping forward in stages, plus it seems that nightfall occurs shortly after daybreak on at least one occasion, which really makes you wonder just what the hell is going on.

The film claims to be a sort-of sequel to Night of the Living Dead, although is little more than a rip off, which also steals plot points and ideas from Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the kids in the van near the beginning), Friday the 13th (the killer in the barn) and even Psycho (the back-story behind zombie killer).

OK, it might not be the worst zombie film out there, but it's certainly not the best either.

Overall marks : 3/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • The original cut of the film, which was edited by the director, was apparently quite different to the version released. Producer Karen Wolf didn't like the way he'd put the film together and so insisted on hiring a new editor to re-cut it.

  • The marketing ads claimed this to be "The long awaited sequel to Night of the Living Dead". They are obviously oblivious to the fact that director George Romero had already made 2 official sequels at this point, namely "Dawn of the Dead" and "Day of the Dead" (Land of the Dead hadn't been filmed at this point).

  • Apparently the director was pressurised by producers Karen Wolf and John Russo into using their friends to film the feature, rather than hiring professionals.

  • Tom Savini was questioned about his involvement in the film, and said  had they used the original cut it would have been a far better film, but the producer insisted on cutting it her way. He has since distanced himself from his involvement with the feature.

  • The role of Candy, one of the girls killed in the car crash near the beginning, was played by Heidi Hinzeman who's the daughter of Producer Bill Hinzeman.

  • Marty Schiff, who plays the sheriff, appeared in "Dawn of the Dead" and "Knightriders"

  • The soundtrack was scored by Alan Howarth, who also provided the music for most of the Halloween sequels.

Extra Info.

Cast & Crew.

 
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Other 'rip-off' zombie films

Day of the Dead : Contagium

 

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