Kryptic Army Mission: April 2021 – Evil Kids!

Deviant little children, whether being possessed by demonic forces, or just born bad, they have been a part of horror cinema for a very long time. One of the earliest, if not the first, was little Patty McCormick in The Bad Seed (1956), that was based on the successful stage play of the same name. McCormick did so well that she was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as the evil little Rhoda Penmark. But these evil little offspring didn’t stop there. We had alien invasions in Village of the Damned (1960) to all sorts of nasty tikes in the ’70s, most notable little Damien Thorne in The Omen (1976).

A good friend of ours, Vanessa Morgan, is working on another book that she’s editing that deals with this exact same theme, so thanks to a suggestion of another friend and fellow soldier, Gert Verbeeck, we’re going use this theme for this month’s mission!

You will need to find and watch 2 horror films that you have not seen before that deals with evil children or child. It could be from an outside force, demonic or extra-terrestrial, or it could just be due to a mental illness, but it must be in the form of a child. Not really going to lay down any rules as to the age of them, but the younger the better. Don’t want to get into a squabble match over an older teenager that could be an adult. You have until 11:59pm on April 30th to complete your mission, and then report back here with your debriefing.

Are you up to it? Can you handle a couple of films with these little devils? Either way, we hope to see you make it through relatively unscathed. Good Luck.

29 thoughts on “Kryptic Army Mission: April 2021 – Evil Kids!

  1. It never ceases to amaze me, that after a long lifetime of watching fantastic films, that there are still a large number of films that I have not seen. At this point, I would like to recommend to everyone who hasn’t viewed The Children (1980) or The Child (1977) to check them out. They are two terrific examples of “evil children” films. Now on to my mission report…

    WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? (1976 / SPAIN)

    Holy sweet Mother of Pearl! This is, without a doubt, the movie you NEED to see. For various reasons, I have avoided this film for years. What an absolute knucklehead I’ve been. It’s been a long time since I’ve been affected so much by watching any movie. This movie packs a gut punch in it’s last half hour that will scar you for a long time. Don’t avoid this movie like I did.

    A British couple are vacationing in Spain. Their first stop is crowed and noisy. They head for an island off the coast that the husband has visited before. But here they find too much quiet and solitude. They encounter some kids when they dock, but in town there is not an adult to be found. The mystery only deepens, and gets more sinister as they go along. I don’t want to say much more as you need to go into this without knowing too much, for maximum effect. It is creepy. It is disturbing. It is possibly the best “evil kids” movie I have seen. Think of ‘The Birds’, but with children.

    Highest recommendation!

    IMPAKTO (1996 / PHILIPPINES)

    A woman gets a job as a nanny to Baby Junjun. But there a many strange rules that she must follow which seem unconventional. As strange things start to happen with uncomfortable regularity, we find out that the doctor she is working for is not really a doctor, having failed to pass the exams more than once. He has set up out in the country primarily as an abortion doctor. His wife assists as his nurse. After wading through all the backstory, we eventually find out that Baby Junjun is not human, and is actually a monster; an Impakto.

    Lots of fun set pieces in this movie. My favorite is the Doctor being attacked by the fetuses of aborted babies that he has dumped in the forest. It is an absolute jawdropper. There is much to love in this movie, and I definitely suggest that you find a copy and give it a view. You will definitely not be sorry

    Bonus Movie!

    HELLION: THE DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND (2001 / AUSTRALIA)

    Divorced mother of 3, moves back to Australia to start life over again. She buys a house with an evil past. And a Cubbyhouse (what we in the USA would call a playhouse). Demonic rituals and the sacrifice of children happened there 30 years earlier. The cubbyhouse is possessed by an evil being that wants the sacrifice of the youngest two children. It falls to the oldest son and the girl next door to defeated the evil and save the children from a fate worse than death.

    This turns out to be only marginally an “evil kid” film. The children are possessed by the demonic evil, but they don’t really do anything evil, other than try to invoke the demon of the cubbyhouse. Still, it’s a fun movie overall, and one I didn’t feel was a waste of my time.

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    • Hey Bob…glad you were able to knock off Who Can Kill a Child off your list (okay, maybe I shouldn’t have said “knock off”). I do agree that it is a tough film, especially that opening montage of footage. But it so well done and very unforgettable.

      As for Impakto, I never thought I would ever read this description of a movie before: “attacked by the fetuses of aborted babies that he has dumped in the forest.” And of course, now I think I need to see this one!

      I’ll have to look into Hellion as well. Thanks for the report!

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  2. Believe it or not, last month I couldn’t find any asylum movies. Not one. But this time I have a whole pile that claim to be about evil children, so that’s nice.

    #1. It’s Alive (2009). All I can say is that I hope Larry Cohen got a nice check for this. No attached names worthy of note. IMDb gives this somewhere around 3.5 and that’s really about as high as I would go, too. The story is vaguely like the original… A deformed, murderous baby. But there’s no heart… It just moves along without any attempt to make audiences engaged. The effects are nothing special and the social commentary is non-existent. Cohen’s film works on at least two levels… A monster film, and a thought provoking piece on abortion, pollution, birth defects, unconditional love… This version has maybe the former, but only in a very flat facsimile sort of way. Not recommended.

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  3. #2. The Other (1972). I had not heard of this one before, which is always unusual and pleasant for an older title. It does show some signs of age, and I guess the writer doesn’t like it, but I found it an interesting blend of psychology and the paranormal. I’m not quite sure why it is set in 1935, but that neither helps not hurts it. The horror aspects are minor, but there’s a definite body count and some evil children (well, kind of. No spoilers). Reminded me a lot of The Good Son, although the similarities are only superficial. Knowing the twist now I would gladly give it a rewatch!

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    • I’ve seen The Other a couple of times because it comes up once in a while as a must read book or must see film, but it’s pretty boring and forgettable. There’s one scene I remember because I used to jump out of haymows for fun when I was a kid, and the first rule of jumping out haymows for fun is to make sure you are going to land on hay!

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  4. I remember seeking this one out for years before it was available on VHS and immediately watching it when it did finally come out. It has been a long time since I’ve watched it but remember it having a particular solid and powerful stomach punch in the story. Need to revisit but I remember it being pretty damn good.

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  5. #3. Case 39. This one was frustrating. I went in with low expectations, but was hopeful that star power would save it. Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper? I mean, at this point in their career, they wouldn’t be in a dud, right? And there are moments I thought this could have been great. It held my attention really well. But something is just… Off. The big names are kind of phoning it in (especially Cooper). And the child isn’t believable. I suppose it’s in character for her to be a bit unusual, but I think this is just bad acting disguised as awkwardness. There’s a great movie in here but ultimately it’s just… Slightly better than average. Ugh. So frustrating. But if you’re into Omen knockoffs, I guess there’s been worse.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 1. The Pit/Teddy (1981)

    Synopsis: A 12 year old boy (& sexual deviant) that is picked on by others, finds a hole in the ground with monsters in it and begins feeding his enemies to them.

    Review: Wow…this movie! The pit definitely has the feel of late 70’s early 80’s movie. Some of the acting isn’t very good and the story has some WTF moments where people make some downright weird/ridiculous decisions. But I really had fun watching it. It has the “throw everything against the wall and see what sticks” mentality which leads to a wild and a bit unfocused narrative. There is a demented child, a talking evil teddy bear, a pit full of monsters, and they even throw in a ghost for good measure. But it all worked (for me anyway.) Because it’s a 70/early 80’s low budget movie it has that creepy/this movie could go anywhere vibe which makes that time period so good for movies.
    Too me the 1st part of the movie works better as a horror movie, when the monsters are in the shadows and look convincing, and the boy is focused more on spying/manipulating women. At that point he is really creepy and you can sense the danger lying just under the surface. Plus the moment where his friend the teddy bear actually moves on his own and reveals he is really talking, and not just alive in the boy’s head, was a stand-out moment. The second half doesn’t work as well, as the scenes of people getting tricked into the pit borders on ridiculous with people somehow walking directly into a 10 foot radius hole without even noticing it’s there. Plus when the monsters escape and it changes to a “monsters on the loose” movie, the creatures look a bit fake and the movie becomes a bit cliché.
    Put together this movie was an enjoyable ride with a mix of creep factor woven throughout and I got a kick out of it. I’m not saying that’ it’s a great movie, just that I had a good time watching it, which is what really counts. I especially loved the out of left field “WTF” ending which somehow just felt was such a perfect conclusion for such an odd movie. I would highly recommend it to people who like independent movies from that time period, people willing to empty their brains of logic and just enjoy the ride, and people who like movies that can enjoy movies that are eclectic and switch gears at a moment’s notice, just for the sake of entertainment!

    2. Hole in the Ground (2019)

    Synopsis: A divorced woman is haunted by the suspicion that her child is no longer her child but replaced with something else.

    Review: A modern movie, this film has the dark foreboding look and bleak feel that comes with movies these days. I really enjoy that aesthetic because it starts the movie with a scary feel to begin with. It’s what the film does from there that really measures its worth. This movie (also dealing with a pit and monsters within it) does fairly well and swings towards the good, but not great, side of things. It starts strongly with a creepy old insane woman who works as a harbinger of things to come. The fear and suspicion of the main character builds slowly coming to a climax in a great scene where she spies on her child through a keyhole and learns her fears are real. At that point, the mother has to deal with the monster she now lives with and find her real son. Unfortunately, the resolution of the problem felt (to me at least) a bit anticlimactic. It seemed to me just a little too convenient (and easy) so as to provide a happy ending. It just didn’t feel earned, appropriate or even sensible. I think it would have been better with a darker, sadder ending. It is a horror movie after all and nothing says they have to have a happy ending. So overall it was a really great ride but I felt like the final destination was a bit of a let-down. But maybe that was just where my mind was at it. It’s a well-made movie with a great creep factor early on and you may feel different about the resolution.

    Bonus Movie: Case 39 (2009)

    Synopsis: A child case worker rescues a child from parents that are trying to kill her. She takes her into her home only to quickly discover the girl is a demonic spirit.

    Review: This is another well-made movie that falls into the good but not great category. The acting and cinematography are excellent and the concept, while not original, is still a good one. On the positive side it spends a lot of time focusing on the “trapped” feeling of the case work once she realizes the danger she is in. This plays well and creates a sense of hopelessness and fear. The actress who plays the child does a good job of coming across both as creepy and menacing. When she threatens someone, it really comes across as scary. The problem, for me; seems to lie mostly in the script. I was never sure of what the child could and couldn’t do. Her power seems to lie in creating illusions in a person’s mind, making them panic and injure themselves or others. Yet at some points she uses physical force and on another occasion she “forces” someone to kill others. At other times she seems helpless to force the main character to do her bidding and others seems incapable of physically fighting off attacks on her. This made her feel less believable. In addition, I felt they could have played up the time when the social worker was learning the child’s true nature a bit. It seemed she was pretty quick to jump on to the “she’s a pure evil presence” very quickly. You would think as a social worker she would have seen enough crazy people or bad situations to know how damaged a person can become to rule out mental issues so quickly. Still, the movie entertained me enough and was good enough that I was glad to check it off my list…even if it was missing a little something.

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    • I’m so glad you stumbled across The Pit, because that is an epic WTF movie and damn entertaining. So much fun.

      And now you got me thinking a little more that I should watch Case 39. We shall see.

      Like

    • Some titles you managed to pick and watch there, Chris.

      The Pit is so bonkers. Just. Totally. Bonkers. I remember wanting that pesky little brat to die so badly. But other than that, this film is far too insane to not have fun with it.

      I liked Hole in the Ground quite a bit. It indeed has a sinister, gloomy vibe throughout. It’s stylish and favors a bit of subtlety over explicitness, I recall. But nonetheless offers some creepy and intriguing moments. I also remember the ending had me a bit puzzled. As in: did I really wanted to see it resolved and concluded this way? But then again, I couldn’t come up with an alternative ending that I might have preferred myself. So, it works well enough, I’d say.

      Case 39 indeed is a bit of a mixed bag, but surely an interesting one. Given the cast involved, I expected a decent film, which I got. The story and plot did make me wonder on some occasions, yet more than enough keeps happening to fully hold your attention. All in all, I’m in favor of the overall film, how it turned out.

      I saw Case 39 on DVD. Do you by any change have access to the special features on it? They offer some worthwhile insights. They shot quite a bit of extra material, including a different ending. Most of the deleted scenes would actually change some minor things about the child’s abilities and personality. If you get to see this, it might help to clear up some aspects about her (as you said, as to what she can do or not, how it may affect a different outcome). It’s clear they wanted to keep things open, to decide in the editing room which way to take her character. And it’s kind of fun puzzling the additional footage together: it’s as if they ultimately decided to mix elements of both possible narratives (regarding her character) together, to give the proceedings surrounding her slightly more supernatural overtones (leaving out aspects of a more psychological nature). Or maybe it was the other way around? Might have to rewatch it again some time, haha. Any case, it’s further proof that the film was meticulously crafted, resulting in a slightly better and more complex effort than you’d expect from what appeared to be yet another (average) mainstream scary movie.

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  7. THE PRODIGY (2019)

    A child comes into the world the moment a hand-chopping serial killer is taken out of it. They both have one blue eye and one hazel eye. The child has a peculiar interest in cutting off hands, the killer’s lone surviving victim, and just being evil in general.

    This film was not good. I chose it mainly because it was a new one coming up on Netflix and I kind of like Colm Fiore and thought I would see something fresh (to me). This movie is not fresh either, just a boring reincarnation story (sorry if that spoils it for you). It’s as if someone was trying to write a Treehouse of Terror segment for The Simpsons and decided to take out the humour and flesh it out into a full-length movie. On the other hand, it’s not a really BAD film either, but we all know that boring is definitely worse!

    DEVIL TIMES FIVE (aka THE HORRIBLE HOUSE ON THE HILL aka PEOPLETOYS aka TANTRUMS) (1974)

    Five children survive a bus crash and go on to murder everyone on vacation in a mountain lodge.

    Felt like I really could use a vintage palette-cleanser after watching the first movie. Frequently, the more titles a movie has, the worse it is, but this really is a gem! Quality grab-bag of kills, a cat-fight in which the combatants are shockingly over-clothed (and I am saying this as a straight woman), and a pre-Dukes of Hazzard performance by Sorrell Brooke. It reminded me a lot of The Children but in this instance they are a pack of mental hospital escapees killing a bunch of strangers rather than littles suddenly turning on their families. The thing about having the murderers as kids rather than adults is the way they easily manipulate people into giving them sympathy and letting their guard down, then suddenly turning on them, in a way even vulnerable adults cannot, so the violence seemingly comes out of nowhere. Worth a watch!

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  8. Thanks for the shout-out, Jon. Indeed, Vanessa’s new book – a movie reference guide on this particular theme, collecting an awesome array of many diverse titles – is in its final stages, near completion. Spring season brought busy times again, over here on the European shore lines. All good. But consequently, I almost feared I wouldn’t make this month’s Kryptic Army mission. Luckily, Nick always has a knack for working out in Time. So, without further ado, happy to debrief y’all on my two entries…

    VINYAN (2008)
    Director: Fabrice du Welz

    Six months after a couple lost their only child during a disastrous tsunami in Thailand, the mother gets convinced that their drowned / missing child might still be alive. The couple heads off on a questionable search party into the deep wilderness.

    Presenting its narrative as an entangled dichotomy of excruciating drama and horrifying adventure, du Welz keeps things bare bones and minimal. Yet not without using some striking visuals and a few gripping events interspersing the glacial pace, effectively enhancing an otherwise basic storytelling that deliberately provides only the strictest necessary info. The overall atmosphere is one of constant dread, with even the breathtaking Thai locations only emphasizing the sensations of hopelessness and desolation.

    The deteriorating relationship of our protagonist couple is psychologically disturbing. Their hopes are falsifying reality. Their search into the wild becomes progressively bleak and delirious; the revelations towards the end all the more shocking. Emmanuelle Béart and Rufus Sewell are stone cold solid. Their raw, unhinged performances feel real and believable, going through loss, grief, depression, passion, anger, detachment, addiction, delusional thoughts, erratic behavior, horror and insanity. Clearly, du Welz has a knack for tackling profound matters in his films, without actually saying anything about them. Instead, he prefers to throw the viewer into abyss-like depths, to see how you may (or may not) surface from it.

    The film’s first half sticks to the couple’s narrative, but the ‘savage children of the forest’ theme is already established during the opening scenes (by means of documentary footage shown at a private fundraising event). While their ultimate goal is to find these ‘bewildered orphans’ – with desperate hopes of finding their own child still alive among them – they’ll first have to suffer more disappointments and misfortune. Lost deep into jungle territory, they’ll inevitably encounter more and way worse than what they bargained for.

    An unexpected initial encounter with one of the children briefly establishes their vicious nature already. As of then, they become a constant, tangible threat, always present in the background. Rest assured, they’ll start to show more of themselves, their numbers will increase and their acts will be of extreme violence. They remain mostly silent (or at least devoid of speech) and sport creepy white face paint. The film’s finale adds a bit of seasoning that pretty much tastes like a sniff of Who Can Kill a Child? and a chunk of Cannibal Holocaust, steering things straight towards its doom-laden conclusion.

    Or, possibly, if only for one survivor, on a path of perseverance and no return, towards redemption?

    BEWARE: CHILDREN AT PLAY (1989)
    Director: Mik Cribben

    Oh my, oh boy. Until now I was mistakenly thinking this was one of the many titles Troma Entertainment picked up for distribution along the years. But they actually produced it. It shows, obviously, yet not in that typical goofy, trashy, gory, offend-to-amuse kind of way from their more famous outings (The Toxic Avenger, Troma’s War, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, Tromeo & Juliet, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, etc). More likely, it shows because cast & crew in front and behind the camera aren’t exactly oozing with many talents.

    The ‘other feel’ of this flick, presumably evident, comes from director Mik Cribben and “writer” Fred Scharkey – if the latter doesn’t sound like a one-time alias name; I don’t know what does. Most amusing are the film’s out-of-place conversation dialogues between the adults. As if a side dish that suddenly becomes the main course of discussion in random scenes, we’re being treated to insights on topics like: earning a living, marketing artwork, opinions on religion and education, and (my personal favorite) the use of alliteration throughout centuries of Anglo-Saxon literature and poetry. Not even to poke fun at it, or played out from a politically incorrect angle; it all gets mentioned in an utmost casual manner.

    Another surprise, is the fact that Mik Cribben actually went on to do much better things (in bigger productions) during the decades following this film. Albeit, perhaps wisely so, not as a director. If one thing is remarkably good for a film of this type, it’s the dialogue’s sound recordings, all of a clear and audible quality. Now go look at Cribben’s filmography, as of the year 2000, to see what all else productions he’s been involved with in the sound department. Bravo!

    All other aspects about this film are, uhm, not really very competently accomplished. Many things to chuckle with, but to mention only one: editing. A lot can be done during editing. You can even re-write your film with it. The point is, it’s supposed to make your film come together and look better. Not worse. There’s a thing called ‘trimming’ a shot. Chop off a few frames or a second or so, when something just doesn’t appear right yet. When you’re supposed to cut into a shot that has characters running and the camera moving, you might want to cut off that split second before, that shows the camera still starting to move and the characters not yet fully running. Many more goofs like this, all fun to spot.

    Yet, a bit of praise for their filmmaking efforts is in order. What all they were pulling off or failing at, it shows a consistent result throughout its 90 minutes running time. Nothing gets better or worse. Meaning, if you manage to get through the first 20 minutes of this particular level of quality, you’re good to go have fun with the rest of it. And the evil kids you came to see? They’re all you could wish for. They stab, impale, disembowel, rape, stone to death, cut out hearts, eat human flesh, slice torsos in half, leave your rotting body out in the sun-drenched fields for the rats to gouge out your eyes, perform pagan rituals with human sacrifices, and what not else mischief they find amusing. They even come with a backstory and a demented leader.

    As if Troma Entertainment envisioned a re-imagined hybrid formula of Memorial Valley Massacre meets Children of the Corn meets Who Can Kill a Child? The last 10 minutes are a hoot and a bloody gorefest; bonus shock ending included!

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      • Vinyan is a slow burner, Jon. It’s bleak and dark for sure. Gets under your skin in an unpleasant way. Ergo, not exactly the kind of cinema that you can say ‘instant like’ of. The subject matter is pretty harsh. It’s bound to linger a bit and I’m fairly convinced it features some things that will resonate. Give it a shot, I’d say.

        Addendum about Beware: Children at Play? AC brought this to my attention as well, so I had to check a bit more into it…

        IMDb confused me about Troma Entertainment’s involvement. It listed them as a production company, but Troma does not seem to have been involved yet at the point of actual production (filming). It was written and filmed independently by Mik Cribben & Co. before Troma got involved with release and distribution (as it’s briefly explained by Mik Cribben in a featurette interview on the French R2 DVD release)

        But given the ludicrous subject matter & shocking gaphic content of the film, it turned out a perfect match for Troma to get involved with after the facts.

        And, indeed, like AC said: it’s also some prime Turkey material.

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  9. Skating in at the last second with a couple of debatable entries, but I’m happy to report for duty and happy to debate! (Blame it on Vanessa, since both of them are included in her book!!!)

    CAMERON’S CLOSET (1988)
    d. Mastroianni, Armand (USA)

    Cameron, a young lad with psychic abilities (Scott Curtis) is put through the paces by his scientist father (Tab Hunter), but the attempts to amplify his powers have the unfortunate side effect of awakening a demon intent on crossing the veil over into our world using Cameron’s body as host. Meanwhile, a police detective with the rolls-off-the-tongue name of Sam Talliaferro (Cotter Smith) has been ordered to visit the local psychiatrist, Dr. Haley (Mel Harris), to address his poor sleeping habits due to bad dreams. When the demon starts bumping off Cameron’s inner circle, Talliaferro and Haley are mutually assigned to the case, unwittingly bringing them into the danger zone.

    Directed by Mastroianni (He Knows You’re Alone), scripted by Gary Brandner (whose novel The Howling yielded a minor modern horror masterpiece and a franchise of varying degrees of crap), scored by Harry Manfredini (recycling some leftover Friday the 13th cues), and with creature effects by legendary Oscar winner Carlo Rambaldi, it’s no surprise that the end result is wholly watchable without ever achieving any genuine level of consequence. Should resonate with fans of Empire Pictures’ heyday, with its enthusiastic blend of rubber monsters, latex gore, and briskly paced pandemonium.

    TOMORROW, THE WORLD! (1944)
    d. Fenton, Leslie (USA)

    Following the death of his father, literal-Nazi-in-training Emil (Skip Homeier) is sent to America to live with his uncle Mike (Fredric March) and family; within minutes of walking through the door, he defames the Jewish people (including Mike’s fiancee Leona), declares all women inferior (alienating Mike’s sister Jessie, daughter Pat, and housekeeper Frieda), and dons his Hitler youth uniform in prep for lunch (which pretty much takes care of everyone else). The small-town community attempts to put on their most understanding and welcoming faces, but with Emil engaging in an escalating campaign of bullying, profanity, extortion, misinformation, theft, and ultimately violence against his peers, will they eventually run out of other cheeks to turn?

    While not *technically* a horror flick, there is enough connective tissue to efforts like The Bad Seed (which, like Tomorrow, the World, began its life as a stage play) where malevolent children use their supposed innocence and/or ignorance to their advantage. The main differences between Emil Bruckner and Rhoda Penmark are 1) he’s not nearly as skilled a hunter or liar, believing his “natural superiority” to serve as a shield against any punishment, and 2) we can conveniently assign the boy’s evil leanings to his brownshirt upbringing.

    In addition to Homeier (recreating his award-winning Broadway performance) and March, there are a host of likable performances, including Betty Field as Leona, Agnes Moorhead as Jessie, and especially Joan Carroll (Meet Me in St. Louis, Bells of St. Mary’s) as Pat. Solid combo of melodrama and American wartime propaganda – well worth checking out.

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    • I can remember renting Cameron’s Closet when it first came out and don’t remember being too impressed, but again, that was a long time ago!

      I liked the choice for your second one and yes, I agree that it might not technically fit into the horror genre, I will have to say that there would be nothing more terrifying than the Hitler youth squad and what they did to even their own families. That is true horror.

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  10. My two picks for this month’s mission were THE PIT (1981 via Shudder) and CATHY’S CURSE (1977 via Midnight Pulp).

    THE PIT was already talked about in an earlier reply, so there’s no need to rehash it here. I’m sure it would be a lot of fun watching it with a group, but going solo, I found it to be pretty tedious.

    CATHY’S CURSE was also, sadly, a disappointment. I’d heard some pretty positive comments recently on a podcast and had raised my hopes, but the resultant rehash of Exorcist tropes with bad acting and fashion/set design straight out of the 1975 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalog left me frustrated. Its origin as a French-Canadian production does make it stand out as unusual. I just wish the film would’ve found a way to incorporate that into more of a presence within the story. It may hold some interest to fans of Exorcist knockoffs, but even taking that into consideration, it’s pretty bland.

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    • It’s been a while since I re-visited Cathy’s Curse, probably right after Severin put it out on Blu-Ray, but I do remember liking it. Not great mind you, but love that time of filmmaking and the low budget it stuff.

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  11. How sad is it that the guy leading this mission is getting his report in 10 minutes before the deadline, after just finishing his second movie!?!?!

    Village of the Damned (1995) – Yes, the John Carpenter remake. I never bothered seeing it because I never heard anything good about it. So I figured that I could finally check it off my list as well as using it for this month’s mission. And yes, it is not a good movie. It’s not terrible, but that is even worse because it is just blah. No real impact to it. Good cast, but just wasted.

    Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992) – I never liked the first movie so never bothered with any of the sequels. But looking for my last title for the mission, it came down to this one. This will teach me to plan a little better a head of time to hopefully find something good to watch. This is just a terrible film. Bad story from the start and not even fun in a bad way. The sad part is that I almost want to go through the rest of the series just to see how bad they get!

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    • I am genuinely surprised that you had never seen the Carpenter version of VotD, if for no other reason than a sense of completism. I finally tracked it down about 10 years ago and my reaction was very similar to yours, in that it’s surprisingly toothless and they don’t manage to step things up a notch considering it was shot in a more progressive age when you could actually talk about pregnancy. (As fate would have it, I revisited the original last night and it’s kind of amazing how much goes unsaid and is just implied. I think about 75% of it went over my head as a kid!)

      I’m sorry you didn’t have a better time with CotC2 – I remember it being a lot of fun, much more than the 1984 original, with Bob Keen having a high old time making up creative kills. (hello, monster nosebleed). I also appreciated the Wizard of Oz references and the fact that it at times resembles an unofficial Omen sequel.

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      • I never bothered visiting Carpenter’s Village because of all the lackluster reviews. I guess I always meant to but just never got around to it. I figured some day in the future, some idiot would start a monthly challenge and pick certain topics and then I could check it off!

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    • Interesting last minute picks there, Jon.

      I always felt Carpenter did justice to the original Village of the Damned with his remake. As in, his approach was respectful in updating it. But, indeed, for it being a Carpenter movie, it’s quite mild and he could have pushed the envelope a bit on some levels (as we were used to him doing that anyway, in the majority of his gerne work). Then again, it was also a Big Studio picture; who knows what all he had to tone down on?

      I’ll not go into the COTC films here (back in the VHS rental days, I experienced The Final Sacrifice as fairly lame too, but somehow on a subsequent viewing did come to find it more amusing).

      However …. maybe as The Kryptic Commander of Missions on here, you might owe it to your fellow soldiers to chunk down a couple more installments…? Haha.

      I’ll tell you this much: The ‘grand finale’ of COTC3: Urban Harvest is pretty much the hoot ‘n’ holler equivalent of a ‘practical effects shrapnel grenade’ …. And COTC4: The Gathering (starring Noami Watts & Karen Black) just might be considered the best (or most decent or most favourable) in the series so far ….

      But rest assured, all the others offer some pretty bad bumps down the road. If you should decide to take that long drive along the scenic routes of Gatlin… Enjoy the ride!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The funny thing is, Gert, a small part of my brain kept saying “well, you might as well knock the rest of the CotC movies out” which is still rattling around in my brain as I type this! Need better meds.

        Like

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