Children of Darkness

A glimpse into a juvenile psychiatry mental institution in 1980's USA

Children of Darkness explores juvenile psychiatry in America during the 1980s – it is a tragic view of how young mentally ill people was treated and “locked away” from ordinary society.

Many children in these institutions were simply warehoused and the common basic form of therapy was drugs, which didn’t really help the kids but merely controlled them. The film not only uncovered the mistreatments in mental institutions but it also captured the cold realization that mental illness can happen to anyone.

Public mental institutions were not just for the poor. Children from middle class families and upper middle class families often ended up there due to inadequate insurance money and dwindled savings.

Although there are still many who suffer from mental illnesses today, we do have much better grasp on treatments, facilities and knowledge compared to that of clinics over 40 years ago.

Where are they now?

What happened to Billy Calhoun? Since 1983 there’s been a few updates to what happened to Billy Calhoun. One of the updates is from his sister who wrote:

My brother is Billy Calhoun, the one who was hurting himself so badly and was strapped to his bed most of the time. That phase eventually passed, via therapies, probably a fair amount of drugs, etc. He was probably in that hospital another 15 years, but those places have been decentralized into group homes, which house the most profound cases now.

He’s lucky to be well cared for – he can’t function much better but he has caring staff day and night, and our mother saw him every week until she died 10 years ago.

The self-destructive behavior is still there, just medicated down to a level that lets him function. All that ECT and lobotomy stuff from the documentary never came to pass, thank God.

Mixerr reviews documented on May 22, 2018 that Billy is alive and well cared for at the age of 54 despite childhood traumas.

Billy Calhoun is still alive and is now at the age of 54. Things have changed. Billy has undergone several behavioral interventions and therapy sessions. Some of his phases eventually passed. The lobotomy and shock therapy never happened. As a result, Billy Calhoun now receives 24 hour care around the clock. He is well cared for.

The self-injurious behaviors and self-destructive behavior is still evident and present. Just to a level that lets him function to the point where he can function to be not as aggressive or dangerous as he once was earlier in his lifetime. Billy is now heavily medicated by fair amounts of drugs.

Things have changed, but we can never undo the abuse, trauma, pain, suffering, and torture he went through as a child. What happened there is beyond words.

What happened to Brian McAnally? According to Mixerr reviews, Brian was later diagnosed with mental retardation but thrived otherwise in his new group home.

After Brian McAnally turned 19 in 1983, he was moved from Eastern State School in Trevose, Pennsylvania to a brand new group home which was located 4 blocks away from his fathers home in Kensington, Pennsylvania.

Brian thrived and did pretty well in his group home better than he did at Eastern State School. He wasn’t as anxious or aggressive despite having been diagnosed with mania and schizophrenia earlier in his life.

Later on he was diagnosed with mental retardation.

Sadly, Brian passed away on July 28, 2016 where he was found dead in his Philadelphia group home.

On the date of July 28, 2016, Brian McAnally passed away in the group home he was living in. At the time of death, Brian was found dead in his dorm at the group home he was living in at the time. It was due to conditions regarding his health that he passed away.

His mania had taken a turn for the worst despite getting emotional healing through therapy.

Brian attended meetings with a behavior therapist and counselor on a regular basis. Despite all that, Brian was thriving in his group home better than he did at Eastern State School.

Brian McAnally was 53. He left several family members behind whom he hadn’t seen for years.

Children of Darkness
  • Info
  • Release date1983
  • Full runtime
  • Director(s)Chuck Levey
  • Production companyThe Television Laboratory