Silly movies like this always cheer me up for some reason. I've read some of the other reviews and I can't believe some people would actually take a movie like this so seriously. The premise is laughable to begin with and Troma is well known for producing these kinds of delirious flicks. 'The Children' is neither scary nor atmospheric, but there's something about it that makes it worthy somehow. I don't know about the others, but I refuse to dislike a cheap horror movie from the early 80s about a group of zombie children with black fingernails who kill their victims by giving them a deadly hug. The "special effects" are just as laughable as the plot and this film is one of those cases in which I actually feel a strange admiration towards the director for making an effort with insufficient resources. A different director would have probably desisted or maybe even step out of the project, but Mr. Max Kalmanowicz took the risk and in the end, the results were good enough to release a future 'guilty pleasure'. Whatever the case may be, guilty pleasure or not, the director deserves credit for creating this stupidly fun little flick.
There's something oddly compelling about evil children in horror films, isn't there? I've seen my decent share of this kind and I realized that even if sometimes the film itself is not very good, there's still something morbidly fascinating about a child murdering a grown up. In this case, however, I think we could say that 'The Children' is more of a zombie flick instead. I know the killers are a group of five children who wander around a small town killing grown-ups, but they never actually act like human beings to begin with. We never see them talking to each other, planning their atrocities or expressing any emotions at all. They're just empty creatures with no personality or feelings whatsoever and the only reason why they kill, it's because at the very beginning of the film, they are all zombified by some kind of toxic cloud (?) These children are not exactly evil and they have no personalities because they're not human. So anyone who is in the mood to see a movie about mischievous children instead of zombies... skip this one because this is not what you're looking for.
What actually struck me about this film however, is that it seems to have a morally upright message. 'The Children' is mostly an unpretentious horror film, but there's still something strange about the grown characters if you analyze them. Most of the children's parents are portrayed as liberal people who don't play by the rules and guess what happens to all of them... exactly what you're thinking, yes! All right, first we have a lesbian couple (one of them is also very much into taking sedative pills), then we have an uncaring mother who smokes weed and shows her boobs and then we have a seemingly homosexual man who goes to town for no reason whatsoever. I wonder if these characters were unusual just to add a little 'something' or if there was some kind of hidden conservative propaganda behind the story.
Either way, this movie is fine and if you're in the mood for some modest entertainment, give 'The Children' a chance... but don't let them hug you, for crying out loud!