A busload of elementary school children drive through a yellowish radioactive cloud caused by the local nuclear power plant land and are transformed into black-fingernailed killers. The sheriff comes across the abandoned school bus a short time later, puzzled where the kids went. A concerned mother goes searching for her son and finds the badly burned body of the bus driver in a nearby graveyard. She also finds her son, Tommy, who hugs her--and we see he has black fingernails. She starts smoking and soon looks like the unfortunate bus driver, a horribly burned mess.
One by one the kids return to their homes and hug their parents or siblings to death--and they seem to enjoy killing them. Bullets don't work against the zombie-like kids and the authorities figure out that the only way to stop them is to cut off their hands.
THE CHILDREN is along the lines of such fare as SLITHIS and even the more recent TEETH, though it has the feel of a John Russo movie. And it's not that often you see adults trying to kill kids.