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Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (35th Anniversary Exhumed Edition) [Import]

Alan Ormsby , Valerie Mamches , Bob Clark    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 16.31 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (35th Anniversary Exhumed Edition) [Import] + Deathdream
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Product Description


Though Bob (Benjamin) Clark made his mark on Hollywood with films as diverse as Porky's and A Christmas Story, he began his career with this imaginative zombie tale. Alan Ormsby (who also wrote Paul Schrader's remake of Cat People and directed the cult horror film Deranged) penned the script and stars as Alan, a flamboyant theater director who brings his company--whom he condescendingly refers to as his "children"--to a rotting graveyard on a fogbound island. There he begins a ceremony to raise the dead, but it's all an elaborate practical joke, just another mind game by the would-be demagogue... or so he thinks. As Alan continues his midnight games of manipulation and degradation, it turns out the joke's on him as the graveyard rises to life. The acting, though amateurish, is energetic and delivered with gusto, and the awkward, theatrical dialogue becomes oddly appropriate (if somewhat stiff) in the affected presence of preening Alan. The often-slow extended introduction pays off in a carnage-riddled zombie blowout, like Night of the Living Dead compressed into a half-hour highlight reel. Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things is the work of ambitious beginners, but they deliver the goods when it counts with solid low-budget effects and a well-directed finale that turns the tense humor into unrelenting horror.

The DVD mastering is unaccountably sloppy: images jerk and intermittently slow down, the action hiccups, and in the second half red and blue flares rim the right side of the picture. --Sean Axmaker

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Prefer cheese to splatter? Bite into this one! Feb. 24 2004
Yes, the acting ranges from poor to hilariously bad (although Valerie Mamches has a good moment or two), and yes, the dialog suggests that the script was ghostwritten (so to speak) by a couple of kids in a clubhouse after reading lots and lots of mouldering EC comix--but beyond that, it's a fine li'l film. The makeup was credible, and the sound effects were quite creative: I've never heard loons used to such disturbing effect.
But what makes this movie shine is the direction. The idiot kids time and again tempt fate, and the camera zooms in on what your experience with B-movies tells you will be the subject of explosive action...and nothing happens. Over and over, you're teased to the brink of jumping out of your seat and screaming, 'Enough! Just kill 'em already!' Imagine if a couple of teens were having sex in the woods in a 'Friday the 13th' movie, with the 'cha-cha-cha' soundtrack blaring and a hand-held camera's POV--then the sated kids got dressed and walked merrily away, hand-in-hand. Brilliant pacing redeems 'CSPWDT', condensing all the action into the final moments of the film.
The fact that nearly everyone who's seen this movie saw it on TV yet were still scared is solid evidence that this movie is a must-see for mature (i.e. patient and forgiving) fans of low-budget macabre. It's not Shakespeare--the title gives that away--but it's a terrific early effort by a talented director.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap but Creepy Nov. 28 2003
Yeah, it's a cheap, cheesy rip-off of "Night of the Living Dead." Yes, the acting is only marginally better than its illustrious and more famous predecessor, and the dialogue truly has to be heard to be believed. That having been said, this is still a low-budget classic of the genre. I remember that me and my friends loved this when we were teenagers and it was being shown on late-night TV; it still holds up fairly well, although the overblown dialogue does wear thin after awhile. Alan Ormsby is effective as an effete Charles Manson wanna-be and his wife Anya, while she at times overacts shamelessly, still manages to convey a sad, ethereal quality to her character. The others bring off their roles with varying degrees of competence. Still, you're not watching this because of its flamboyant characters or the complexity of its storyline. You're watching it because of the flesh-eating zombies. How do they hold up, 30 or so years later? Very well, considering the budgetary limitations and the passage of the years. In fact, I'll still put the scene where the Undead finally emerge from their graves, summoned either by Alan's pompous Satanic ritual or Valerie's irreverent mockery of the same, up against anything out there. I defy anyone to watch this scene alone late at night and not feel that shivery chill of fear that you probably haven't experienced since you were a child watching "Chiller Theatre." There are elements that certainly haven't aged well. The whole concept of a necrophiliac-style wedding is just plain sick, not scary, and if you've ever wondered how much progress gay people have made over the years, check out some of the flagrant stereotypes presented here circa 1972. However, this isn't Bergman, or Fellini, and it isn't supposed to be. It is what it is- a cheap, cheesy rip-off of "Night of the Living Dead" that's still a lot of creepy fun all these years later.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Strange Stuff.... March 16 2003
On a deserted island that seems to be one big cemetery, Alan and his acting troupe are (God only knows WHY...) getting ready to dig up a little fun. Actually, they're digging up a corpse named Orville, to aid them in a Satanic ritual (Again, it's never explained WHY...). After spending a loooong time doing humilitiating things to poor dead Orville, Alan starts to read the ritual aloud, and the "Children" get a little more than they bargained for.....
This is strictly grade-Z stuff, so don't expect to see a Romero-level "Dead" epic. The acting is amateur-hour, ranging from tolerable to I-want-these-people-DEAD-sooner-rather-than-later (Alan & the shrill Anya). The first hour is interesting at times, but mostly laughable (Those loud hippie clothes!) and interminably sloooowww[...] The last half-hour makes the film worth seeing, though, as the angry dead come to life to punish their defilers. Although the film is PG, with no strong language and no gore, director Bob Clark (Later to find fame as the Director of Porky's 1 & 2, Murder By Decree, and A Christmas Story) manages to make that last half-hour as creepy as hell. (A friend of mine is unable to even look at the box art because the film scared her so badly!) I wasn't scared, but I'll tell ya: That shot of Orville getting up off of the couch is really memorable....
The DVD comes with text Bios of Bob Clark and Alan Ormsby, an ad gallery, and what must be the greatest trailer ever made. The film transfer isn't so hot, but the low price point makes it acceptable. If you have low expectations, Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things might just be for you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Either you swear by it....or swear at it July 10 2002
Format:VHS Tape
I first saw this movie on a late night horror show called "Chiller Theater" when I was about 12 or so back in 82 or 83. I remembered clearly the one zombie with the sport-coat and tie and imposssibly big mustache climbing out of the grave, which gave me chills then..and still does. Heck, I didn't remember this being a dark comedy back then, but it sure is.
You can look at this movie in two different ways: one being it is a cheesey, low-budget, poorly done film. Or 2: A bunch of college kids, seriously inspired by George Romero, who took a shoe-string budget and a lot of imagination and delivered a truly bizarre horror classic.
Sure, the dialog is pathetic and the Ormsby is very annoying in the lead role..but that's how he's supposed to come off. It's a 70's film and nothing more or nothing less. It's fun to watch and , at times, scary along the way.
The transfer of the film to dvd is just plain lousy. I doubt if any big companies like Universal, Fox, or even Anchor Bay would buy this and digitally remaster it but, let's hope they do.
This little gem of a movie is a classic and should get the respect it deserves. The sound on the film is ok at best. The video is horrendous: lots of drop-outs, many artifacts, and it looks like they got the worst possible film stock to transfer from.
So, if you are a hard-core zombie fan..this one should not be missed. If you are in the market for an all-out scream fest, you won't find it here. This is the perfect Late, Late, Late Show movie. I give it an all out A.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not scary enough.... just sarcastic and ...
Not scary enough....just sarcastic and entertaining...
Published 1 month ago by Julie Vallerand
4.0 out of 5 stars zombies 70s
A pastiche of night of the living dead with the unique humour touch of Bob Clark. Pretty amateurish. Bob Clark's debuts.
Published on Aug. 26 2010 by Mathieu Gratton
4.0 out of 5 stars A typical Bob Clark film
For "B" movie fans this is a must see. CSPwDT is Bob Clark's first real movie for fans of the "B" movie director. Read more
Published on Aug. 1 2009 by Jason Macdowall
Published on July 15 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars So bad it is funny
and not intentionally. A fun flick to watch at least 1 just for sheer idiocy reasons.
Published on June 9 2004 by Leon
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Low Budget Zombie Flick
Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things is an oft-overlooked zombie classic from the early 1970's. Although it is a low budget effort and this sometimes shows with the effects and... Read more
Published on May 25 2004 by Bobby Dillard
5.0 out of 5 stars the most underrated zombie flick of all time !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A TRUE ZOMBIE BLUEPRINT!!!!!!this movie stands side by side with the GREAT ONES like romero's "NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD" & fulci's "ZOMBIE" its such a shame its not as recognized... Read more
Published on May 21 2004 by creatureart
3.0 out of 5 stars cheesy but worth watching!
You take away the absence of production values, amature acting, bad dialouge and you got a pretty decent horror pic. Read more
Published on April 15 2004 by J. E Magoon
2.0 out of 5 stars See the Unexpected Terror of Rising...Rotten...Filmmaking!
Don't listen to all the hype from the fanatics. The basic story line of this cheap "no-budget" zombie flick (a budget of only $70,000) is shamelessly lifted from George Romero's... Read more
Published on March 25 2004 by Michael R Gates
4.0 out of 5 stars Go! Zombies Go!
I found myself cheering on the dead to hurry up and eat the infuriatingly annoying living, in this darkly humorous classic. Read more
Published on Dec 6 2003 by Bindy Sue Fr°nkŘnschtein
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