The plot was some dumb thing about kids being turned into zombie-like killer munchkins by toxic waste, then going around hugging their parents to death in a cloud of flesh-dissolving chemical fog. Much like WHO COULD KILL A CHILD?, in this one the adults had to defend themselves by murdering the kids–by cutting off their hands, or something, I believe. (Don’t ask me, I didn’t write it.)
Something about this movie just GOT me as a kid–maybe it was the creepy, CARNIVAL OF SOULS makeup on those innocent little faces. Maybe it was the idea of Mommy reaching out for a hug from her beloved daughter and instead of warm fuzzies getting SCREAMING CHEMICAL DEATH! Or maybe it was the emotionally gut-punching notion that in order to survive, the parents had to kill their own children–an idea so distressing to my 9-year-old mind just thinking about it made me cry. Whatever the case, this movie got into my brain and stuck there. Anyway, I loved my parents, and I knew they loved me…so the horrification of that love, even making that love DEADLY, was truly traumatic.
I rewatched it years later and found (as I figured) it wasn’t a well-made or well-acted movie–and yet I still had the same visceral emotional reaction to it! So there’s still some scar tissue, obviously.
Afterwards, I called my Mom.