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Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things 1973
Description: Six actors go to graveyard on a remote island to act out a necromantic ritual. The ritual works, and later the dead are walking about and chowing down on human flesh.
Released: 09 Jun 1972 Director: Bob Clark Writers: Alan Ormsby (screenplay collaboration), Bob Clark Actors: Alan Ormsby, Valerie Mamches, Jeff Gillen, Anya Ormsby Genres: Comedy, Horror
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Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things Reviews:

For the hardcore B-horror film junkie, I thought I'd pass along some interesting trivia similar to this films promotional scheme. This flick came to my city on the drive-in circuit and somehow managed to talk few zone restaurants into offering a unique menu for children (!) that hawked the film and simultaneously grossed out parents. The menu featured the individual restaurants usual fair, but with fresh titles... blood shake.. flesh strips (french fries)... brain delight (jello). The half rotten skull visage on the cover of the menu was enough to send most parents into fits. I want I had kept it. Talk about a collectible! It's a nice film, though. Enough tongue in cheek to create its sick theme tolerable. That menu made it impossible for me to see it. Had to wait until I found it on video many years later.


I first encountered this film as a kid. The advertisement in the paper with Alan, a corpse and the guy with the beanie...it was speaking to me in methods that I wouldn't understand for years--black humor! I first saw it on t.v. as a teen, long before I'd seen "Night Of The Living Dead," and it spoke to me again. It was scary...but it was funny and sort of "wicked" too. It went territories I knew instinctively most films did not, and I loved it for that, as well as the fact that I knew others would NOT like it.The storyline is nothing remarkable--a bunch of hippy actors invade an island, raise the flesh-eating dead, and die horribly. What is memorable about this film is the "execution." The characters are all wonderfully obnoxious actors. They spit campy, bitchy, memorable dialog and are all generally hateful and selfish, as all actors I've known tend to be. It comes off as phony, but most actors I know really talk and behave like the characters in this movie, as though they are "in a movie." The actors did a nice job. You have a sense all the characters are going to die in nice pain, especially the beautifully hateful, snivelling director of the theater company with the stripey bell-bottoms, and the anticipation of this is wonderful. When the zombies finally enact their revenge it's extremely satisfying.The results are cheap, but then, I've never had a trouble with cheap zombie effects. It's the concept of a zombie that is so frightening, not the make-up necessarily. They are irrational and unrelenting, even if it's a rubber mask they're wearing. But the zombies in this film are, for all that, fairly effective. They come late, but by then you've been nudged into believing the entire film is just a lark, so they're all the more effective. When they hit, they hit as difficult as "NOTLD." The melody score is eerie and effective, as well as the locale. You can almost feel the fog creeping up on you.Where this one really distinguishes itself, however, is the "weirdo" factor. It flirts with gay stereotypes and necrophilia, Satan worship, Jewish humor and seriously terrible 70's hair and clothing. It's a lot smarter than it appears, or most would think, and smart isn't what most folks wish (or get) with their cheap exploitation horror. It's surprisingly grisly for a PG and far too tame for an R. It's too funny for horror and too creepy for comedy. In another words, it's perfect! I'm sorry to hear they intend to makeover it, but hopefully with it's original author at the helm it'll be watchable at least. Bob Clark is an oddity, to be sure--he went from this to other unbelievable cheap-o zombie movie ("Dead Of Night," aka about 40,000 another titles) and "Black Christmas," to..."A Christmas Story"?? "Porky's"?? "Baby Geniuses 2?" Hmm. Well, it almost makes me respect him more for defying description.Here's a hint of that hat to a great, original movie from one of it's many "children..."


This is one of those nice horror films where the only issues can be found in corporate faults. This film is full of nice characters (even the hero you're supposed to hate is really interesting), with nice acting to back up the nice story. I also like how Alan's necrophiliac desires are really underplayed by how the movie is made. Some folks won't even catch them the first time they watch it, which gives this an oddly intellectual angle. Also, most of the make-up FX are truly nice in such a low-budget movie. The close-ups of some of these zombies really create that obvious, which makes me wonder how folks should trash on these perfect make-up jobs. You wish to see some terrible make-up? See "Redneck Zombies", it will redefine what terrible make-up is for you. Anyway, this film is nice at the black humor and just as nice with the chills. This being a PG movie without hardly any blood, I was surprised to search that the zombie attack scenes had an intensity to them that greatly rivaled those in "NOTLD" without hardly any gore. (Still, I do wish to see the uncut ver accessible through some import services and see why that ver was rated for folks 18 and over!) Other thing I love about this film is that it has some of the best atmosphere to it. It retains a classic, dark-foggy-night horror feel throughout, with even the slowest of moments having a definite creepiness to them. It's also nice to see a horror film with zombies that relies more on the characters than blood and guts for a change. Many criticize this for being too slow, but I enjoyed each minute of it. A very sadly underrated and ultimately overlooked masterpiece of indie horror.



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