by Blacktooth Jan 24, 2023, 7:55 pm 0 Comments
Director – Bob Clark (Porky’s, Black Christmas)Starring – Alan Ormsby (Death Dream, Lenny), Valerie Mamches (Wanda), and Jeff Gillen (A Christmas Story, The Naked Zoo)Release Date – 1973Rating – 4/5UHD Release – 4/5
Many years ago, I was browsing the used DVDs at the nearest FYE to me. This particular FYE was at Mercer Mall which was over two hours away from my home, but it was the closest one to me. During my middle school and high school years I would often make a trip up there every few months to snag some new horror movies for my collection. One time during one of these many visits I found a copy of Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things and The Undertaker and His Pals on DVD from Diamond Entertainment. I had a few other releases from them, one of which was Slave of the Cannibal God, and I pulled the trigger on this one.
I’m glad I did because this would go on to become one of my favorite releases in my collection. The Undertaker and His Pals is rather decent but easily forgettable while Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is easily one of my favorite zombie flicks. The only downside to this release was its poor quality. I almost upgraded it sometime back when the blu release of the film hit shelves, but I held out for some unknown reason. That changed when VCI announced the release of the film on UHD. I was quick to reach out to MVD to request a review copy. A few weeks later the UHD arrived and I knew I had to make time to check it out.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a theater group, led by the charismatic Alan (Ormsby), who visit an isolated island with the intentions of practicing. However, Alan has a different idea when he has two of his goons dig up the corpse to perform a mock Satanic ritual. When it fails to do anything, they take Orville back to the cottage they are spending the night. They plan on playing games with the corpse but soon the dead begin to rise from their resting places and head to the cottage where the real horror begins. **Spoiler Alert**
Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is one of those films that is so simple yet so effective. The title catches people’s eyes and the original poster for the film really draws them in. However, it’s the film’s simple yet effective story that has gained the film the fanbase that it has. I’ve been a huge fan of this one for almost 20 years now and every time I watch it, I fall more and more in love with it.
The acting in this one is a lot of fun. The cast is so comfortable around each other and their interactions, for the most part, feel genuine. The characters are so enjoyable and their energy is what makes the film so much fun. With that being said, the film wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for Ormsby. His character is an asshole at heart, but the energy and on-screen presence makes his performance unforgettable.
The story for this one is simple and clearly inspired by Night of the Living Dead. We follow a theatre troupe who find themselves in an isolated cabin on an island while the undead are trying to get in. With that being said, the black magic and humor does give the story a completely different feel and completely takes away from the fact that the story is so simple. When you add that with the fully developed characters you have a fantastic zombie film that doesn’t try to replace Night of the Living Dead but instead it compliments it.
Finally, the film has some make-up effects that I never really cared for. The zombies look like their faces were painted and then flour was sprinkled over the paint. They look like dried out powdered donuts which is something I’ve never found menacing. It does add some unintentional humor but it’s nothing like the humor written into the film. Also, we get a few bloody deaths with decent enough practical effects but they are strangely enough, not the highlight of the film. Overall, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is a must see for zombie fans especially if you are into low budget flicks. I always recommend this one to fans of Romero’s NotLD and this UHD release is fucking top notch. I highly recommend it.
Special Features:New 2022 Video Introduction and Q&A with Alan OrmsbyNew 2022 – 90-minute Video Documentary DREAMING OF DEATH: Bob Clark’s Horror Films, with many new interviews with cast and crew.Full Commentary Track with Alan Ormsby, Jane Daly and Anya CroninMemories of Bob Clark: A video tribute to the late Director.The Los Angeles Grindhouse Festival, May 22, 2007 Q&A. A Video filmed in between a double feature showing of CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY… and DEATHDREAM at the Beverly Cinema.Confessions of a Grave Digger: Video Interview with Ken Goch.Extensive Photo & Poster Gallery“Dead Girls Don’t Say No” Music video by The Deadthings.“Cemetery Mary” Music video by The Deadthings.Original Theatrical Trailer and Radio Spots.New Special Liner-Notes Booklet written by Patrick McCabe.
(Staff Writer) Lover of all things horror and metal. Also likes boobs and booze.
Aug 3, 2023, 8:18 am
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