Robert D. West
Meet the Miller family. They're your typical upper middle class white bread keepin'-up-appearances couple + two kids. Husband / father Brad (Donald E. Miller) is often away on business, is neglectful and unappreciative ("Spaghetti again?") of his wife, short-tempered with his kids and prefers riding around on his lawn mower to socializing with the rest of his brood. To him, being a good father is limited to bringing in money and spending five minutes a week with his son. That leaves wig-wearing wife Marian (Marji Dodrill) with a bulk of the responsibility when it comes to running the household. She has to take care of the kids, food, shopping and PTA meetings, and obsesses over insignificant things like shoes on the furniture and washing hands because she's desperate for her dreary life to have some purpose. There's additional tension in the marriage as the husband still not-so-secretly pines for his late first wife, Cindy, and even sometimes accidentally refers to Marian by her name. Ouch.
Their youngest son Douglas is pretty much too young to really care either way, but the eldest, Scotty (Tom Kelly), from Brad's previous marriage, is another story entirely. The despondent, eye-rolling Scotty is the one who primarily has to deal with the fallout from his dad and stepmother's shitty relationship. Dinners are awkward and silent whenever the TV and radio are turned off. Scotty mostly just blankly stares off into space and starts behaving strangely. He demands Marian get him milk instead of lemonade, then refuses to drink the milk. At dinner, he requests extra meatballs, then doesn't eat them and just walks away from the dinner table. This all seems like his way of exerting control in an unsure world with unstable adults as well as a means to annoy his stepmother.
At church, Reverend Haines (played by the director) gives a five minute long sermon about the generation gap, parents not being able to relate to their own children and how we're all living in "a sinful world that may be headed to a judgment day at any moment." Mercifully, the babble is cut short when he goes into an (accidental?!) coughing fit and then it immediately cuts to road sign! Temporarily heeding the reverend's advice, Brad decides to try to patch things up with his wife and spend more time with his kids. He takes Scotty out to fly their 400 dollar radio controlled model airplane and gives another lecture comparing flying to being a father. You can't be too hard or too soft on the controls, eh? When he hands over control to Scotty, he crashes the plane. Brad screams at him and grounds him for a month. So much for that.
While pouting in a barn, Scotty meets Mr. Al Fenton (Alan Miskell), whom we immediately know is evil because he has a beard and smokes. Working undercover as a janitor at the church, Fenton starts promising the children of the congregation he will grant them a special power he calls "transferring," which will give them freedom, unlimited toys and candy, money and other such perks. And since the self-absorbed adults / authority figures are all failing these children, they easily fall under Fenton's evil influence. More and more kids join the flock, they start holding secret meetings in the barn and then all of the adults in town start disappearing...
This ultra low-budget amateur film from Wadsworth, Ohio was shot over a few weekends on 16mm with a budget of 13,000 dollars and stars amateur locals (mostly friends and family of the director). Only Dodrill as the mother gives what could be considered a passable performance, followed by juvenile lead Kelly, who's merely OK. Everyone else is awful. The film premiered at John Carroll University (where the director was teaching at the time) and then a version shortened by 20 minutes played on local TV, which is the only print to still be in existence. The original, longer master print is said to have been destroyed in a fire.
Aside from working as a film professor at various colleges (including his alma mater Kent State), the director was also a WWII army veteran, a program director at WJW-Radio out of Cleveland, a commercial director for an advertising firm and an ordained minister who led a church for three decades, which certainly explains the heavy moralizing and religious content here. A self-proclaimed "disciple of Val Lewton," he opted to never show any kind of special effects, blood or violence, so everything horrific or fantastic takes place entirely off-screen. However, he failed to take into consideration that Lewton films worked so well because they had good acting, strong scripts and excellent cinematography; all of which are absent here. The title comes from the old nursery rhyme / children's song "Monday's Child."
At its best, this provides only mild interest; namely in its similarities to the later Children of the Corn (published in 1977), and its setting in disillusionment-filled, mildly-rural, middle class suburbia of the early 70s, where the hideousness of the clothing, hair, home décor and furnishings seemed to match what most Americans were feeling inside at the time.