#1 reason not to have children
You know… for such a great classic, its two central themes really just don’t make any sense. Not the whole evil children thing. But maybe it’s a part of that?
Let’s talk about the basics before I get into the spoilers. Acting is terrible. It’s mostly children and decent child actors are really hard to find. Funny though, the adult actors are terrible as well, so that’s not much of an excuse. However, the premise and story is actually quite gripping and I think that’s why the movie holds the test of time. Yeah the execution might have been a bit week, but the very idea is brutal as fuck. But the idea might be the only reason this movie is timeless.
I mean, lets face it, it’s actually campy as fuck. Because the movie is character driven, and the acting is pretty bad, there isn’t much else to judge the movie by. There’s really only one moment of special effects and for the time they were actually pretty revolutionary. The setting is dull. It’s just a small Midwest town and all they could really do to dress it up was scatter corn stalks everywhere. The setup is laughable at best. And seriously, there is no ignoring the abysmal acting.
However, I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone. Not just Hardcore Horror Head. Not just Riffers and movie geeks. This silly movie is kind of a gem and I don’t think that’s just it’s nostalgia talking. There really is something that’s penetrating about the overarching theme of the movie, and that is a cult of murderous children.
The idea that children could be turned into a bloodthirsty cult is what makes this movie. Just the basic premise is what captures you when you watch it. You see, it’s not just the fact that these children worship some strange supernatural creature, it’s not even their murderous nature. You have to come to terms with the fact that these kids, in cold blood, killed even their own parents, in the name of religion. That’s some brutal shit.
So, here’s my problem. Far too often, the children of this cult just let the male lead push them around. Yeah some of them are young, but some of them are teenagers. These kids didn’t have much difficulty killing off an entire town of adults, but this one guy just constantly bowls them over. If these kids really are the fucked up holy rollers they’re supposed to be, they’d just mob his ass and he’d be on a corn cob cross in no time. Seriously, there’s about a half dozen times they could’ve jump him but they never do. How about the end when he’s on top of Malachai and the rest of the cult is just watching. Aren’t they supposed to all be blood thirsty zealots?
Then there’s the ending itself. These kids murdered all the adults, and their parents, AND offer themselves as blood sacrifice… But at the end they just throw down their torches and disband, because a complete stranger, they’ve spent the whole movie trying to kill, gives them a stern talking to? What the fuck?! What kind of limp-dick fuckery is that?! Lets face it, they wrote themselves into a corner in this movie. At the end, ‘He Who Walks Behind the Rows’ possess Isaac and kills Malachai. Because further destabilizing its grip on the governing organization of children will really show em… Seriously? What the actual fuck?!? You get the feeling they just ran out of time and had to end the movie.
Still, the central premise and story is hard to ignore and it’s what makes this movie a timeless classic.
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In the Shadow of the Mountain