Atomic Zombie Goth Kids: Muddy Brook Cemetery

September 1, 2019 — Muddy Brook Cemetery in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, is a cemetery I probably would have passed up visiting had I just been passing by. It’s old, sure, dating back to the 18th century, but it’s small, and you can see the entire grave-spiked hill from the road. It also doesn’t have any unique funerary art or interments.

But it does have a connection to atomic zombie kids with black fingernails that kill with hugs. So I made a special trip, of course.

There’s really—and I’ve scientifically tested this—only one thing better than an old cemetery, especially at this time of year. And that’s an old cemetery where a horror movie was filmed. Proof.

In 1980, Max Kalmanowicz showed the world his directing debut, The Children, aka, The Children of Ravensbeck, a low-budget horror romp with amateur actors and just enough of a special effects budget to pizza-face a few corpses.

In the story, a gas leak at a nuclear plant washes over a school bus with five children on it, turning those children into…children with black fingernails and dark circles under their eyes. Also, an insatiable need to kill, which they do with hugs that cook people into Chernobyl victims. Mostly, Kalmanowicz relies on the inherent creepiness of all children and especially child actors, to sell the monsters.

It’s…not a bad concept, honestly, but I can’t tell you that The Children is worth watching. What I can tell you, is that if you want to see the cemetery where the key scene was filmed (the cemetery was even important enough to make the poster), you should watch the movie first. Because I didn’t, and that means none of my photos match up to the film frames. Plus you’ll get to see a kid get his hands hacked off. You needed to check that off your bucket list of disturbing images to experience.

The cemetery scene takes place early in the movie. The sheriff finds the abandoned bus parked outside the cemetery and brings in the lover of one of the missing children’s mother. While there, she sees that child, whose name is Tommy, in the graveyard and goes to get him. In so doing, she trips over the peeling, burnt corpse of the bus driver, and then after getting hugged by Tommy, becomes one herself.

And it all happened on the sacred ground of Muddy Brook Cemetery.

The place hasn’t changed much. The fence is different. There’s a little less film grain in the atmosphere. But you could do a shot-for-shot remake of the movie there with ease.

Muddy Brook Cemetery is on Stony Brook Road, and if its short turn as a movie star is still not a draw for you (somehow), note that Great Barrington itself was the town where they lensed the 1968 Anthony Perkins film Pretty Poison. Anthony Perkins rules.

Maybe one unique piece of funeral art.