Children in horror movies always make the tension in such films more palpable, and therefore more fun. It’s one thing to consider horrific acts happening to adults…but it’s even more reprehensible to think of those things happening to children. But what about films where the kids are the ones committing these atrocities? Filmmaker Ivan Noel asked that very question, and thus, CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT was born. This haunting and inventive film is not perfect, but it’s a lot of fun and certainly worthy of your attention.
If you are not familiar with CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Artsploitation Films:
A secluded colony of child vampires come under attack from vengeful villagers in this darkly funny horror tale by Argentinean filmmaker Ivan Noel. A journalist visits a secluded orphanage where children suffer from an unknown skin disease. She soon learns that they are in fact not children, but vampires aging from 4 to 120 years old and who have been bitten at an early age and forever remain in that physical state. They are led and protected by a strange and deeply religious ex-nurse whose destiny in life is to find these ‘lost souls’ and raise them in her sanctuary. Through religious teachings, nocturnal rituals and the occasional visit to local towns for fresh human blood, she keeps them safe – that is until a cultish band of men from a nearby village plot to destroy the refuge. Now the children, headed by the 90-year-old grandson of Count Dracula, must defend their way of life.
When I heard this was a ‘darkly funny’ film, I was curious to see how deep the comedic elements might go. After all, horror comedies are big right now, and I can see how this concept could make a fun and funny film. Interestingly, though, the film is more of a dramatic piece with some hints of both humor and horror.
CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT is shot pretty well, although the camera used looks like it might be a cheaper one. The film quality is decent overall, but the darker scenes look grainier than I would have preferred. The set locations are nice, particularly the areas around the orphanage.
The acting is pretty good, too. Sabrina Ramos does a great job as the reporter, Alicia. Likewise, Ana Maria Giunta does a fine job in her final role before her death as Erda, the children’s overseer. The rest of the cast supports the main characters well enough, however there are no real standout performances.
The special effects in CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT look great. The blood looks real, and even the vampire teeth are believable. Surprisingly, the carnage is minimalistic, and yet effective. Most vampire films rely on a certain degree of gore to help maintain the intensity of the storyline. This film, on the other hand, shows a small bit but relies more on the story itself. I don’t consider this a negative at all; quite the contrary, in fact…it’s refreshing to see a film that can entertain without a lot of visuals.
And speaking of the story, it is a welcome and interesting addition to the vampire genre. I am truly impressed with its originality, as its focus on the children is something I’ve rarely seen in this genre of horror. My sole complaint is that I would have liked a bit more fleshing out of the characters, particularly Siegfried.
But with that aside, I still consider CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT a win, and I recommend it to anyone looking for lighthearted horror. The movie feels like a cross between Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and an older Hammer Dracula film, and that makes it worthy to watch on many levels. Be prepared to read subtitles, though…the film lacks an English dubover. CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT is available now in a variety of formats.