Children of the Night

Randel seems to have set himself the task of dispossessing the critics of their categories, and certainly their silence on this film bespeaks his success. He combines the visual splendor of Julian’s The Phantom of the Opera in his scenes at the flooded mausoleum with the lurid ghoulishness of Wiederhorn’s Shock Waves, elements of ghastliness from Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the zombies of Night of the Living Dead or Carnival of Souls, a conclusion from Hodges’ Flash Gordon and a little scene out of Bu˝uel’s Los Olvidados (the ass in the window), all with a constant application of skill and inspiration, to satisfy every taste or none, with reason.

The tale begins as virginal disgust and quickly escalates into a Lesbian Vampirocracy, before gradually revolving into a fully-rounded picture of vampirism smitten with the cross. Female resentment is allowed to fester until purulence bursts out, revealing the wound. The game is played with acute psychology bolstering the bogeys, which are altogether presented as such, allowing a constant stream of comedy to prevail amid the horrors.

Nicolas Roeg’s The Witches has something in common with this, but Children of the Night has a patrimony of horror from the silent days and the Surrealists as well, reaching all the way to the present. The style is closest to Mulcahy at times, but varies its brilliance with the mundane genius of a small town driven through at night and seen by headlights, finally in daylight a most ordinary town in the Midwest.